Public school spending (too bad if you’re color blind)

OK, NPR. This would be an interesting, informative graphic if you had decided to make a better choice in your color coordination:

At first glance, this looks like Louisiana is spending as much on schools as New York. Of course, that’s a joke. Did NPR not bother to notice that its $10,000-$12,000 range looks an awful like its $15,000-$19,000 range?  If you’re not color blind, you can tell the difference if you have your nose right against the computer screen, but seriously, didn’t anyone say to the mapmaker that from a normal distance the dark blue sure looks like the dark green?

No wonder our kids aren’t learning anything.

James O’Keefe and the media: a failure on both sides

In the Nadia Naffe opus on her being held by right-wing sting clown James O’Keefe, she explains that one of the reasons she worked with the cartoon pimp was to set up an New York University professor named Charles Seife for alleged liberal biases.

Charles Seife isn’t well known. He doesn’t appear to have an abundance of influence over the political process. So why was O’Keefe after him?

Because Seife caught O’Keefe breaking the law … again.

O’Keefe was running a non-profit called Project Veritas (veritas is truth in Latin). Only, that was a lie. It wasn’t a non-profit because papers were never filed. Here are the details from Seife:

Project Veritas was not a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, and donations were, as a result, not tax-deductible. James O’Keefe had apparently committed an illegal act that could have caused donors unwittingly to make false claims on their taxes.

I finally had my answer. James O’Keefe was apparently breaking the law. So did I contact my friends in the liberal elite press establishment to try to make it a huge story? I could have gone to Romenesko, or sent it to my colleagues on major papers around the country. But I didn’t.

For me, what O’Keefe had done wasn’t a major story. Boil it down and O’Keefe’s violation was pretty technical and easily correctible — once I got his attention, he quickly altered his website to remove the claim of nonprofit status — and, in my view, it would be petty to go after him because of it. O’Keefe was in the public eye because of his unethical (and occasionally illegal) surveillance of his enemies. A misleading phrase or two on his website, as dishonest as they might be, seemed to me to be small potatoes — and irrelevant to the much more substantial discussion about O’Keefe’s tactics.

Rather than make a big deal of it, I did a quick tweet to let my small handful of followers know the denouement to the saga — I had a few who had asked for updates — and I promptly forgot about the matter.

Apparently, O’Keefe didn’t.

So O’Keefe is a panty-stealing liar, stalker and criminal. And the American media fell for his NPR and Acorn stings that damaged institutions performing important public services.

Way to go, guys.

NPR should learn “The Chicago way”

I haven’t said much about James O’Keefe (the right-wing’s Ashton Kutcher) and how he Punk’d NPR recently because I’ve already expressed my views on him:

O’Keefe is a liar. Everything he does is a lie. Anyone who puts him on air saying he’s telling the truth is actively engaging in and encouraging a lie. If you see his face on your television set everything that comes out of his mouth will be a lie.

But what really pisses me off in the wake of all this is NPR. It’s in a fight for its life. The right wing is giving it the full Acorn treatment and won’t be satisfied until it’s dead. And despite all this, it isn’t fighting back.

Atrios has the perfect reaction to this:

I’ve really lost interest in defending organizations that are uninterested in defending themselves.

Jon Stewart has already used NPR and pussies in the same segment.

And Media Matters chronicled how NPR has let O’Keefe get away with this crap before, without even pointing out the reality that … (see my quote above).

NPR repeatedly covered O’Keefe, and adopted his (false) claims about what his videos showed. But only a single NPR report available on Nexis contained so much as an allegation that he’d ever been less than honest. NPR’s coverage of O’Keefe helped enhance his stature and credibility. And then he peddled a misleading videotape of an NPR executive, and the media ran with it, badly damaging NPR.

Right now, NPR should at least be like Sean Connery in “The Untouchables.”

But I think it’s gone beyond that point. NPR should go Robert De Niro on him:

There’s a certain president in Washington who can learn from this movie.