Questions for O'Keefe's Daily Caller Publicist, Matthew Boyle

Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

Well, actually Matthew Boyle is a staffer on the Daily Caller's editorial team. But in dealing with James O'Keefe over the last two weeks and helping the conservative activist roll out his undercover NPR videos, Boyle has acted much more like a publicist than a journalist.

Meaning, Boyle has dutifully, and excitedly, transcribed whatever hand-fed claims O'Keefe has been making about his sting videos and about NPR. More telling though, was the fact that when the NPR story began to crumble, and when troubling questions were raised about O'Keefe's unethical editing (questions raised by a conservative site, no less), Boyle and the Daily Caller temporarily pulled the plug on the O'Keefe story. But that was just the beginning of Boyle's woes.

After publishing nearly two dozen cheerleading NPR-related items last week (most of them penned by Boyle), the Daily Caller suddenly dropped O'Keefe's NPR story when gaping holes began to appear. The Daily Caller and Boyle refused to acknowledge what everyone else in the press and politics who followed the story was talking about: O'Keefe's NPR story had been torpedoed by Glenn Beck's site, The Blaze.

Boyle, who seemed to enjoy access to O'Keefe during the roll-out of last week's NPR sting, suddenly appeared to have no interest in interviewing O'Keefe about the video discrepancies. Instead, Boyle and the Daily Caller hunkered down in damage control mode and opted to play massively dumb about the unraveling of the right-wing sting.

And that's why I'd suggest Boyle acted more like a publicist and less like a reporter on this story. He rode the O'Keefe crest early last week and pushed out all kinds of items and updates. Until, that is, the story collapsed. Then Boyle decided to look away and refused to do any independent reporting. The NPR controversy took an unexpected turn late last week at which point Boyle and the Daily Caller simply refused to the follow the story's turn because it wasn't the story the Daily Caller wanted to tell.

That's all bad enough. But then Boyle made things worse.

He made things worse this week by agreeing to flack O'Keefe's comically lame follow-up attack on NPR. As Media Mattersnoted, the gotcha collapsed virtually upon publication. (The story garnered almost no pick-up outside far, far-right media circles.) Incredibly, in the process of presenting that story, Boyles refused to address the widespread allegation that last week's NPR tapes were dishonestly edited and ripped all kinds of quotes out of context. Question: Did Boyle ever even askO'Keefe about the controversy?


As Media Matters also highlighted, in "reporting" yesterday's story all Boyle really did was traffic more misinformation peddled by O'Keefe, namely that it somehow it was news George Soros had given money to NPR before last year. According to Boyle's write-up that was the whole point, the whole angle, of the O'Keefe video. Right, except that anyone remotely interested in the topic could have found out that Soros donated money to NPR before last year by using Google. Because NPR has put out press releases announcing such donations. But instead of doing an ounce of research, Boyle just typed up what O'Keefe was claiming and actually hyped the misinformation right in the Daily Caller headline.


Earlier this week Boyle was on Twitter hyping "a couple of huge stories" he appeared to be working on. If Boyle was honestly referring to O'Keefe's almost too-dumb-for-words NPR follow-up as one of his "huge stories," then that really does confirm the fact he's acting as O'Keefe's publicist.

Finally, while it's true that Boyle played a major role in the Daily Caller's shoddy, amateurish O'Keefe coverage over the last two weeks, ultimately the responsibility falls to its editor Tucker Carlson.

So, what's his excuse?

Tucker Carlson
The Daily Caller
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