Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter fears he’ll be a victim of an O’Keefe-style ‘surreptitious video’

Jeff Poor Media Reporter
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Have things finally reached a point where journalists’ views are susceptible to criticism, even if those views are “surreptitiously” obtained?

That’s the concern of Newsweek magazine’s Jonathan Alter, also an MSNBC contributor. On MSNBC’s “Newsnation” Wednesday, Alter criticized the recent release of an undercover video by James O’Keefe that revealed now-former NPR executive Ron Schiller making disparaging remarks about various segments of society.

“When you do, you know, have a resignation, it does tend to validate in the same way that you know, ACORN essentially going out of business validated that kind of guerilla video when the video itself is extremely misleading both in the ACORN case and in this case,” Alter said. “There are a lot of corners that they cut. It’s not exactly journalism that they’re doing. It’s an ideological hit job.”

However, “Newsnation” host Tamron Hall did point out the words weren’t put in Ron Schiller’s mouth. Still, Alter worried what this meant for those in his profession.

“You don’t [put words in their mouth] and that’s why they’re paying a price,” Alter said. “But you know we have to ask, are we getting to a point in this country where like anytime you and I go to lunch, Tamron, you know we have to worry about our private conversations being listened to with an ideological agenda? You’re not allowed to express your own views even in private anymore?”

And in this day and age where there is more information readily available to everyone, Alter is concerned that everything will be scrutinized.

“The kind of the larger story is that all bets are off when it comes to the ideological combat we have in this country now and you have to sort of see that in this context,” Alter said. “Yeah, the guy from NPR said some really stupid things but you know, does everybody have to pay necessarily so that these guys can keep doing their surreptitious video? I don’t think any of us really want a world where everything is on Twitter, everything is listened to, everything is taped. It’s a little creepy.”