Well, well, well. The plot thickens:
The videos of Mitt Romney's remarks at a May fundraiser, released in full by Mother Jones yesterday, omit "one to two minutes" of the candidates remarks, the journalist who obtained the video told POLITICO. The omission comes between parts one and two of the video, following Romney's now famous remark that "“there are 47 percent who are with [President Barack Obama], who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims” and who would never vote for him. Part one ends with Romney discussing the "47 percent," part two picks up with him talking about China. Mother Jones published Romney's remarks in two parts yesterday, which is how journalist David Corn says he received it from his source. When we put up the full video, the source said -- and I have no reason not to believe him -- that the device that was being used inadvertently shut down or timed-out," Corn told POLITICO. "As soon as he knew that, he turned the camera back on and, at most, one to two minutes were missed. The video came to me as two separate files, and that is how we posted it on the website."
Ah, it was an innocent device malfunction that "inadvertently" cut out a minute or two of Romney's remarks. Sure. Incidentally, why should we believe that "at most, one to two minutes [of Romney's comments] were missed." Is there any proof of that assertion? David Corn -- the Mother Jones journalist who received the tape from a source we now know to be Jimmy Carter's grandson (the Carters can always be counted on for seamless competence) -- now says he "anticipated" the missing segment of the tape would stir up controversy:
Corn says he's anticipated criticism since the moment he decided to publisht [sic] the video. "You release a video this long, someone is always going to see something," he said. "I published the video as I received it."
Pro tip: If you can't independently verify the full content and context of a clip that you publish and hype as "the full tape," disclose that fact up front. This new wrinkle casts doubt on the credibility of those who recorded, leaked and promoted the tape. We have no idea if Romney cleaned up or clarified his controversial statements at the time because the recording "accidentally" shut off for an undetermined period of time. The new questions do not, however, change what Romney said in the segments that have been released -- which I critiqued and contextualized earlier this week. For his part, the Republican nominee is staying on offense regarding government dependency, penning an Op/Ed in USA Today:
Efforts that promote hard work and personal responsibility over government dependency make America strong. When the economy is growing and Americans are working, everyone involved has a shared sense of achievement, not to mention the basic sense of pride that comes with the paycheck they earn. However, over the past four years, those kinds of opportunities have been in short supply. We're experiencing the worst recovery since the Great Depression. Unemployment has been above 8% for 43 straight months; 47 million Americans are on food stamps. Nearly one in six Americans now live in poverty. Under President Obama, we have a stagnant economy that fosters government dependency. My policies will create a growing economy that fosters upward mobility. Government has a role to play here. Right now, our nation's citizens do need help from government. But it is a very different kind of help than what President Obama wants to provide.
Last but not least, Team Breitbart is having a field day with the eye-popping double standard liberals are applying on the subject of complete tapes and selective editing:
Earlier on Tuesday, new media pioneer James O'Keefe pointed out the hypocrisy of the mainstream media in accepting, without question, a snippet of a video recording that aimed to portray a Republican in a bad light, while conservatives are still doubted even after providing full video or audio, as O'Keefe did with his famous ACORN tapes. Whether Romney is right or wrong about the "47 percent" of Americans he says have become dependent on government--he stood by his May remarks on Monday evening--he may have been taken out of context. Mother Jones has failed a basic test and broken its promise to its readers and the public. There is now reason to doubt that it provided Romney's full remarks--not just the context, but the remarks themselves. And there is new reason to suspect manipulation.
There are two sets of media rules. It's that simple.
Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson. He is co-authors with Mary Katharine Ham for their new book End of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun).
Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography
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