|"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast"
|"The liberal soul shall be made fat, and he that watereth, shall be watered also himself."
-- Proverbs 11:25
Of course, the real story is never what it seems with O'Keefe. From the selectively edited Acorn videos to his abortive efforts to "take down" Senator Mary Landrieu (Democrat, Lousiana), which resulted in criminal charges, to his sophomoric attempts to get a CNN reporter in a room with him and a variety of sex toys, the mainstream media has had plenty of warning about his love of "truthiness" and disregard for actual facts. And, as with most of O'Keefe's videos to date, releasing selectively edited, embed-friendly clips got him exactly the coverage (and notches on his Flipcam) that he wanted – even as the full footage showed that almost everything he claimed to have discovered was untrue.
In the end, though, it wasn't the "liberal" media that jumped to NPR's defence, or even the mainstream media that O'Keefe and his followers decry as biased. It was Glenn Beck's conservative site, the Blaze, that thoroughly debunked the videos long after the mainstream media had breathlessly and largely uncritically reported their existence with the exact framing O'Keefe intended: NPR caught on tape defaming conservatives! Given the maelstrom of the 24-hour cable and internet news cycle, and in the midst of a pitched battle over Republican budget cuts, NPR's board waved the white flag and offered up its sacrificial CEO to the outstretched claws of the partisan attack machine.
Of course, after the videos have been debunked, NPR remembered to do the due diligence it should have done before and decided the videos were "inappropriately edited". Unlike former agriculture department employee Shirley Sherrod, who was fired in haste by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and later got an apology after her misleadingly edited video was debunked, there's not likely to be much absolution for either of the hastily-booted NPR executives. Despite some navel-gazing by reporters who shouldn't have swallowed anything from O'Keefe without a massive grain of salt to accompany it, the sad truth is that O'Keefe's reputation hardly had further to fall when they bought his story once again.
So, for all the evidence that should lead to the contrary, the great likelihood is that O'Keefe's headline-baiting videos will continue to claim victims. And reporters and editors will vow to learn, and then be unable to resist a good, truthy story – even if it's not the actual, you know, truth. After all, they can always run a correction – without losing their jobs.