Friday, February 19, 2010

update: beware the conservative collegiate press...

What journalism is not.

First we posted this, re James O'Keefe, who was credited for breaking the ACORN story back when, then got caught breaking into a U.S. senator's office last month:
I got two emails from Jack yesterday. The first was a link to this NYT story about the wiretap attempt at Sen. Mary Landrieu's office (D -La) in New Orleans. Jack took issue with the following quote, from the father of the kid who had been arrested for the alleged tampering:
“He is an outstanding young man doing investigative journalism,” Mr. O’Keefe said of his son. “He studies a different form of journalism, and he pushes the limits a bit. What they were up to, I have no idea.”
To which Jack responded:
The father's quote infuriates me. Apparently his "reporter" son has never heard of Food Lion v. ABC. Wiretapping a senator is no "investigative journalism" I'd ever practice.

Now, more on the story from Eric Alter, via the Center for American Progress:

While we may never find out just who plotted the break-in by James O’Keefe and his comrades of Senator Mary Landrieu’s (D-LA) district office or why, we may be certain it was no accident or “misunderstanding.” It was the culmination of a long-term investment strategy by conservatives to rewrite the rules of professional journalism. Organizations like The Leadership Institute, the Collegiate Network, and the National Journalism Center—an arm of Young Americans for Freedom, a conservative youth organization—have been funneling millions of dollars into college newspapers and training programs designed to overturn what they believe to be a liberal bias on the part of the mainstream media. In doing so, they are also working to subvert the media’s professional standards.

As TPM Muckracker notes, The Leadership Institute, where James O’Keefe was employed to train young activist/journalists—and where he met Ben Wetmore, who put up the alleged criminals in Louisiana—claims on its website to “prepare conservatives for success in politics, government, and the news media.” So far, the organization boasts, it has trained more than 79,000 students since its inception in 1979. It claims assets of $11.8 million and a staff of 58.

Read more, much more here.

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