The New York Times has a long history of selectively praising undercover journalists. If those undercover journalists reveal information which fits The Times’ preferred narrative – such as exposing oil companies or the meat industry – The Times’ accepts the undercover work without hesitation. But if undercover journalists reveal something The Times doesn’t like – such as Planned Parenthood’s treatment of aborted baby parts or anything making mainstream media outlets look bad – they insist the videos are “deceptive” or illegally obtained.
This difference was recently highlighted by The Times’ fawning feature story about undercover tapes produced by Greenpeace’s “journalism” arm Unearthed. The tapes purport to show a lobbyist for Exxon describing how the oil and gas company had sought out certain U.S. senators in an effort to fight President Biden’s climate agenda.
The lobbyist also appeared to admit what everyone should already know – when big companies support a policy that would hurt them, they’re doing it because either they know the policy will never become reality or because they can withstand the harm while their smaller competitors can’t. This lobbyist said on a recorded call that Exxon’s public support for a carbon tax was simply “a great talking point” because the company didn’t think it’d ever become a reality.
Exxon disowned the lobbyist in a statement to the Times, yet the story was picked up as yet another “oil companies bad” narrative from The Times and other outlets, who worship at the altar of climate change.
The Times admits in its article that the lobbyist thought he was speaking to a recruiter, but it was actually a secretly recorded phone call from Greenpeace U.K. It also refers to the quoted statements as mere “excerpts.” The videos that have been publicly released are pieced together with narration, and are not raw, uncut videos.
In the past, with conservative undercover journalists, The Times would refer to such tactics as deceptive. Indeed, in a story last year about James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas videos, they wrote:
Mr. O’Keefe and Project Veritas have a long history of releasing manipulated or selectively edited footage purporting to show illegal conduct by Democrats and liberal groups.” (Emphasis added.)
The same could be said of the Greenpeace videos.
Further, Greenpeace admitted that it completely lied about who they were when speaking to the lobbyist, something that violates the Code of Ethics of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ). The SPJ states that one must verify secretive reporting before releasing it and “Avoid undercover or other surreptitious methods of gathering information unless traditional, open methods will not yield information vital to the public” (emphasis added).
But again, The Times and other outlets did not care about this when it was Greenpeace violating the ethics guidelines.
The left-leaning Brookings Institute also called out Greenpeace’s tactics as well, while also taking a shot at conservatives using similar tactics.
“Whoever the culprit, using secret video recordings to embarrass opponents is undermining the health of our already ailing American democracy. Doing so sets a bad precedent for surreptitious activity and erodes trust in civic life,” wrote Darrell M. West, Brookings’ vice president and director of governance studies.
In the case of David Daleiden and his Planned Parenthood videos, the state of California went after him for allegedly violating state law because he posed as a biotechnology representative in order to obtain the recordings. A California jury later ruled in favor of Planned Parenthood, including the abortion giant’s claim that Daleiden violated the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.
As we all know, nothing like this will be done to Greenpeace because their deceptively edited videos made by misrepresenting themselves targeted the “right” people.
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.
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