Media Matter’s Deceptive Editing On Fox Story

Media Matters for America is doing a victory lap over their story about Fox News exec Bill Sammon supposedly lying repeatedly on air during the 2008 election after audio they have released shows Sammon saying he found the idea of Barack Obama being a socialist to be ‘far fetched’. But not so fast.

The watchdog group has actually produced a video about the story with blatantly deceptive editing, using trick editing that is so blatant that one wonders why they have such contempt for their fan base. Of course, that fan base includes Howie Kurtz and Greg Sargent. (Is it coincidence that these are the two reporters who were carrying water for Arianna Huffington on the recent Breitbart / Huffington story?)

I’ve done a video showing exactly how MMfA uses editing trickery to lie and frankly, every time I watch the original video I’m stunned with what they try to get away with. They do such a botch job of literally making Sammon say something he never said that repeated viewing make me almost admire their cajones. You’ll see.

But before you watch the video, let’s make clear the real goal of the exercise beyond trying to make Fox look bad. MMfA, Kurtz, Sargent and the rest of the pile-on blogs want to undercut the idea that Barack Obama is socialist by discrediting those claims as crazy lies. Again, they don’t just argue against the idea on the merits of the evidence – they need to discredit completely all sources that say it.

Here’s Sagent

Now, Sammon is also claiming here that Obama’s behavior in office ultimately persuaded him that the original diagnosis of Obama as a socialist turned out to be correct after all. That in itself, of course, is also a ridiculous falsehood. (Emphasis added.)

Once again, Media Matters goal isn’t the truth – it’s discrediting ideas.

Here’s the original Media Matters piece.

And here’s part one of my analysis.


Adding: Media Matter responded to my video.

they corrected one point properly – I said there were three clips they cut together – it was two. This is totally inconsequential. Media Matters tries to make hay from it by saying “That’s a pretty embarrassing error and a good indication of how seriously his work should be taken.” – I could say the same thing about them getting the date wrong in their clip.

Again, they are all about discrediting – not truth.

Beyond that, they don’t even actually respond. For example, how do they justify cutting together two clips from different days in one sentence? Let’s see..

But let’s move on to his accusation that we’re guilty of deceptive editing in switching between those two (not three) clips.

Stranahan believes that by going from this clip:

SAMMON: But I do think that when you start talking about, "spread the wealth around," which is what Barack Obama said to Joe the Plumber —

To this clip on a previous day:

SAMMON: — the red flag went up. I mean, that’s just code – and I knew that conservatives would say, ‘That is exactly code for income redistribution which is tantamount to socialism.’

We’re guilty of "making Sammon say something he never said." Stranahan says that it’s "obvious that Sammon is not stating his own opinion. … Sammon is saying he knew that’s what conservatives would think."

But that’s not deceptive editing. Media Matters included Sammon’s statement that "I knew that’s what conservatives would say." In other words, Stranahan accuses us of deceptive editing in our video by pointing to a line from our own video. Stranahan’s criticism makes little, if any, sense.

Umm – they don’t explain why they cut those two clips together. Nowhere.

And my video explains why cutting I clip that starts “But I do think…” with a clip talking about what someone else thinks is deceptive.

And Media Matters doesn’t address switching from the Joe The Plumber discussion to other things Sammon said. Why does this matter?

Look at what Sammon said in the speech…

SAMMON: You know, speaking of mischief, last year, candidate Barack Obama stood on a sidewalk in Toledo, Ohio, and first let it slip to Joe the Plumber that he wanted to quote, "spread the wealth around." At that time, I have to admit, that I went on TV on Fox News and publicly engaged in what I guess was some rather mischievous speculation about whether Barack Obama really advocated socialism, a premise that privately I found rather far-fetched.

Sammon is talking about the Joe The Plumber part – he makes two references to the time in that one section. Nowhere does Sammon indicate that when he mentioned Obama’s connection to Ayers, for example, was that ‘mischief. But I’ll save some of this for part two.

Original Pigford Claimant Calls It One Of “Biggest Conspiracies Against The U.S. Treasury Ever”

It’s back to business on our investigation of the Pigford story – the ongoing fraud that needs your help and attention to make it stop. The mainstream – with a few exceptions like John Stossel – are ignoring the story of the one of the biggest frauds in U.S. history because it doesn’t fit their narrative. The good guys are the real farmers who faced discrimination at the hands of the UsDA and the people, mostly conservative at this point, trying to bring their story to light. The bad guys are the trial lawyers, politicians, race hustlers and those inside the USDA who profit by lying to the public about how the Pigford settlement is a ‘victory’ for black farmers.

In this video, we introduce you to Lucious Abrams, a Georgia farmer who was one of the seven original claimants. Abrams has spent years working for justice only to be betrayed by people like the Congressional Black Caucus.  Now Lucious is speaking out and speaking truth the power structure that doesn’t speak for him.

When a group like Color of Change wants to silence investigation into Pigford, it’s farmers like Lucious Abrams they are silencing.

When liberals on sites like DailyKos try to bully Rep. Steve King and Rep. Michele Bachmann with charges of racism, it’s really farmers like Lucious Abrams they are bullying.

When supposed advocates for black farmers like John Boyd ignore the plight of real black farmers and keep the Pigford fraud going, it’s famers like Lucious Abrams they ignore.

Arianna Huffington & Roy Sekoff (Finally) Say Breitbart Isn’t Racist

The Daily Caller is burying the lede in their new article with the juicy headline HuffPo To Breitbart: You Lie!

This comes towards the end.

“I want to make it as clear as possible that neither I nor Arianna believe that Andrew Breitbart is a racist,” Sekoff said in his email to TheDC. “If we did believe that, we never would have allowed him to blog on HuffPost — let alone featured him on our front page. The decision about not featuring him on the front page in the future had nothing to do with race, but was based on the nature of his attack on Van Jones, as we’ve always made clear.”

For what its worth, Roy Sekoff wrote me this afternoon to say he was misquoted. Here’s his email n its entirety.

Lee — Don’t believe everything you read. I NEVER denied speaking to you. I NEVER denied telling you that I don’t believe Andrew is a racist. I’ve always said that I don’t in any way believe that he is. What I denied – and deny — was ever saying that I wouldn’t publicly defend Andrew because I was  worried about how our readers would react.  That was the quote that was presented to me by the Daily Caller (as you can see below), and that is what I said was "an untruth.” I resent being called a liar, especially when that charge is based on incorrect and incomplete information. 

I’m not going to get into a back and forth accusationfest – I remember what I remember and I repeated it to others. I’m glad that Roy isn’t denying the whole conversation but still puzzled why he’s denying that he was worried about how Huffington Post readers would react. But let’s take him at his word for a moment and see how it plays out…

For months now, Andrew Breitbart has been attacked over and over on The Huffington Post as a racist, a race-baiter, a defender of racists and on and on and on. Now we know that both Roy and Arianna personally knew these charges weren’t true but didn’t say anything about it. So – why/ Roy says he wasn’t worried about reader reaction. If that’s true, then wow – it makes their personal betrayal WORSE, not better. Roy is saying that he knew it wasn’t true, wasn’t worried what the readers would say and still he published what he knew were lies and didn’t say a peep.

What held him back? What stopped Arianna? And when Color of Change launched this latest attack on Breitbart, complete with charges of racism, why didn’t they say anything then, either?

If it wasn’t concern about reader reaction, what possible excuse remains? Ideological bias? A complete and total lack of journalistic responsibility? No sense of fairness? I’m all ears – what’s the explanation?