CNN Uses Misleading Headline to Further Smear James O’Keefe (Update: CNN Responds and Corrects)

(March 27th, 10:06 a.m. -- Please see update at the end of the post.)

What is the first step in the main stream media's handbook of liberal bias?  Why, alter the headline to fit your agenda, of course.

To say that CNN was misleading in their headline about James O'Keefe is to be kind:

CNN Headline

Feds punish ACORN filmmaker?  Seems an odd choice of headline considering the article itself does not mention any punishment being doled out by the Feds - in fact the word ‘punish' or any other variation does not even appear in the article

The actual story concerns the fact that prosecutors have reduced the charges against O'Keefe and three others involved in the Landrieu phone incident.  Perhaps CNN is confusing allegations and charges with actual punishment.

The opening paragraph of the article reads:

Prosecutors have reduced the charges against four men accused of trying to tamper with the phone system in the New Orleans office of Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-Louisiana.

The four men originally faced felony charges, but are now accused of entering federal property under false pretenses, a misdemeanor.

A more accurate headline simply would have been: Charges Reduced for ACORN Filmmaker.  But why pass up an opportunity to smear a key player in the demise of the uber corrupt ACORN outfit?

We live in an on-the-go society.  People get their news by scanning headlines.  Would it really be too much to ask that CNN have some vague aspect of accuracy in their headlines? 

Even more amusing than the ‘feds punish' headline, and perhaps unintentionally, is the actual substance in the story:

Days before, according to a Bill of Information released by the Justice Department, the four men plotted ways to talk with members of Landrieu's staff inside her office, "and record the interaction using audio and visual equipment."

They ‘plotted' ways to talk to a public servant, and record the conversation.  Well, that certainly sounds nefarious.  Or, as O'Keefe himself has pointed out several time, he is an investigative journalist.

Senator Landrieu adds to amateur hour in this particular article, saying that the four men, "clearly they were up to no good."

Yes Senator, and you would have been able to avoid your constituent's phone calls too, if it weren't for those meddling kids.

Landrieu's story and the media's efforts to smear O'Keefe have been steadily and consistently falling apart.  Clearly, they've been up to no good.

*Update*

CNN contacted NewsBusters to let us know that the headline was indeed misleading, and would be updated. 

Sam Feist, CNN's Political Director, explains, “Saw your blog this morning and noticed your item about the CNN.com overnight teaser headline on O’Keefe. You’re absolutely right – he wasn’t punished. The charges were reduced. We’re fixing the front page teaser head right now.  Nice catch. And yes, it’s good to know someone is looking over our shoulders.”

The corrected teaser appears below:

We thank CNN for reaching out to us and making the proper changes. 

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