February 25, 2014

AP’s Tomlinson Hauls Out Tired ‘Heavily Edited’ Jab at O’Keefe as State Launches Investigation of Battleground Texas

At the Associated Press on Friday, Chris Tomlinson wrote a story of national significance (“State officials investigating Democratic activists”) which the wire service appears not to have ever carried at its national site.

It is nationally significant because the establishment press, both in print and over the airwaves, has chosen to make the Lone Star State gubernatorial candidacy of Democrat Wendy Davis a national matter. However, continuing a pattern going back several months (examples here and here), when negative matters relating to her campaign or to those assisting it surface, all of a sudden we’re supposed to believe nobody outside of Texas cares.


Tomlinson’s story concerns the State of Texas’s response to James O’Keefe’s exposure of Battleground Texas’s illegal use of information on voters it has registered to beef up the database the Democratic Party group will then use to pester registrants to show up at the polls this fall to pull the lever for Davis. As has been the press’s habit for four years since O’Keefe videos caused ACORN to disband, Tomlinson dissed O’Keefe for doing what anyone who shoots a lot of raw footage has to do: edit it down to something people will want to watch (bolds are mine):

The Texas Secretary of State referred three complaints against Democratic group Battleground Texas for possible prosecution as violations of a state election law on Friday.

… Attorney General Greg Abbott’s office, which would normally investigate further, recused itself and forwarded the complaints in a letter to Susan Reed, the district attorney in Bexar County, where one of the violations allegedly took place.

Abbott is running for governor against Democrat Wendy Davis, whom Battleground Texas is assisting by registering voters, building a supporter database and ultimately mobilizing those voters for the Nov. 4 general election.

Reed said she was looking at “possible penal implications,” including charges of abuse of official capacity or even misuse of official information — a third-degree felony punishable by up to 10 years in jail and a $10,000 fine.

… the initial complaints were filed after a conservative activist group produced a video that purports to show a Battleground organizer talking about transcribing phone numbers off of voter registration cards. James O’Keefe, whose group Project Veritas made the video, alleges that transcribing the phone numbers off the registration cards is illegal.

Project Veritas uses hidden cameras to film Democratic Party and liberal politicians and activists. The videos are heavily edited and some in the past have misrepresented the actions of the people in them.

Battleground Texas, though, said taking down the numbers does not violate the law.

“We will show that these claims restate various demonstrably false assertions, and fail to note legal authority issued in the past by the Attorney General that flatly undermines any suggestion of a violation of law,” the group’s statement said.

Here is O’Keefe’s video, for those who didn’t get a chance to see it last week:

In the video, O’Keefe presents the following graphics clearly explaining what the law is, followed by admissions of illegal activity by a Battleground Texas official:

TexasRegistrationLawAndBGtxStmts0214

Now let’s get to Tomlinson’s hack complaint about O’Keefe and Project Veritas.

Virtually every video news presentation seen on TV is edited from much longer raw footage and has graphics and other items helping the viewer follow the presentation inserted. The fact that O’Keefe does the same thing is obvious.

So what’s the point, Chris? Oh, that “some (of the videos) in the past have misrepresented the actions of the people in them.”

Well, Chris, “some AP stories” have deliberately distorted what people have said to make them look better or worse than they really are. “Some AP stories” have looked at crowds numbering in the thousands and told readers that they numbered in the hundreds. “Some AP reporters” have been completely fooled by pranksters. The reporters in “some AP stories” have abused their position as alleged providers of objective news to passive-aggressively attack their story subjects.

Do you really want to compare the size of the pile of AP “misrepresentations” against O’Keefe’s, Chris?

And while we’re at it, Chris, why hasn’t the AP told readers every time it does a story involving NBC that it’s the network which rigged crash tests of a pickup truck over 20 years ago to make it look more dangerous than it is? Why doesn’t every story relating to ABC bring up the network’s Food Lion infiltration and encouragement of lawbreaking in the early 1990s?

Based on how Tomlinson chose to treat O’Keefe, that’s what AP should have been doing all along.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

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