In Megan McArdle’s piece “A Tape Too Far” of January 26th, 2010, Ms. McArdle repeatedly refers to an alleged wiretapping plot by James O’Keefe at the offices of Sen. Mary Landrieu:James O’Keefe, the guy who did the ACORN sting, doesn’t seem to understand the difference between a completely legal recording of an interview between you and someone else, and a completely illegal and reprehensible wiretapping of someone’s phones. Journalists are not spies, and there are very good reasons that you need a warrant to bug a telephone system or otherwise eavesdrop on third-party conversations.
Like many 24-year olds, he may not have fully appreciated why what he was doing was wrong, but if the allegations are true, I hope that the judge explains it to him while handing down a stiff penalty.
There are no allegations of any wiretap plot in the FBI affidavit, and a law enforcement official has conceded that the four men were not attempting to wiretap or intercept calls. Furthermore, legal representation for the accused has gone on record stating there were no intentions to bug phones in the Senator’s office. The Atlantic’s own Politics blog recently published a post acknowledging there was no attempt to wiretap.
We kindly ask you to issue a correction/retraction to the story.
We have been/will be making similar requests of other news sources to correct similar errors. Some, such as the Washington Post and MSNBC’s David Shuster, already have posted corrections or retractions.
In addition, Mr. O’Keefe is 25-years old.
Retracto did not mention McArdle's second post on O'Keefe, in which she softened her criticism by stating that O'Keefe's excuses had "the ring of possibility," although they did not nullify breaking the law, and what he did "was not right."
As of this time, McArdle has not responded to the demand for a retraction.
Of course if she ever does address this, she'll use it to illustrate how since both sides attack her that means she's doing something right.
That first paragraph of Megan's that they quoted is a near-perfect example of why Megan is such an awful writer.
"the guy who did the ACORN sting"
"a completely legal recording of an interview between you and someone else"
As opposed to an interview between you and yourself? "Interview" covers it, for goodness' sake.
"there are very good reasons that you need a warrant to bug a telephone system or otherwise eavesdrop on third-party conversations."
I didn't know that when I over-heard the conversation of a couple at a neighboring table turning lunch that I needed a warrant for that.
This is also another reason why it's dangerous for people without any journalism training to work in that field. Megan never took the class where they hounded it into you that the very liberal use of the word "alleged" when referring to anyone who has not been convicted of wrongdoing is vital to your profession.
Considering how badly Megan screwed up in the first round, ignoring all the laws O'Keefe was breaking, dubious editing, etc - the only proper reaction if she gets burned is a big Nelson Muntz Ha Ha.
In Mass., it's illegal to audiotape anyone without permission. The police have been using that to confiscate cellphone recordings people make when they see the cops beating somebody up.
But it's okay, because he was just a kid pulling a prank. No doubt they'll send him to the kiddie federal pen.
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