Welcome to all of the Comedy Central viewers!Introduction
Over coming days we’ll be adding links and information to this page as a part of our rebuttal of The Opposition’s two pieces on Lee, Citizen Journalism School, and the local cover-up of the Twin Falls ‘refugee rape’ story in 2016.
They lied in those pieces, and we’ll show you exactly how.
Full Exchange of Interview Shows Dishonest Editing
It appears @KobiLibii accuses me of "plausible deniability" and then I call him an asshole.
But that's not what happened…stay tuned to see how left media LIES. pic.twitter.com/djKfdFmYrc
— ??? ????????? ⏳ (@stranahan) January 13, 2018
Here’s the full audio of this section of the interview:
Lee:Then don’t do an implication. Just ask me what I think. If you ask me that, that would be genuine curiosity. That would be genuine cur … That would be going like, “okay, I’m trying to figure out what your position is.” But what you want to do… Kobi: You know what the thing you’re doing is?
Kobi: The thing you’re doing…
Lee:No I’m not really… I’m really honest.
Kobi:The thing you’re doing… I’m [inaudible 00:00:20] The thing you’re doing–
Lee:I’m trying to approach you as a human being–
Kobi:The thing you’re doing–
Lee:And I understand your urge to fight me, that’s fine.
Kobi:The thing you’re doing is–
Lee:That is… That’s fine.
Lee:Good. Good. Good, you should wait.
Kobi:Are you talking over me?
Lee:I am. [inaudible 00:00:37] I can do it too.
Kobi:The thing you’re doing.
Here’s the first part of their edit
Kobi:The thing you’re doing. I’m aware of the thing you’re doing.
Lee:Which is what? Which is what?
Kobi:I recognize this tactic. It’s called “plausible deniability”.
Lee:No, it’s not called plausible deniability.
Kobi:It’s the thing cowards use to say hateful things–
Kobi:And then not have to own them.
Then they cut out my response to him: note that this is NOT where I called Kobi Libbi an asshole
Lee:Right. No, that’s what you’re doing. You’re the coward here.
Kobi:I want to know how to do that.
Lee:So you wanna ignore what I actually said. You wanna ignore what I’m actually saying. Because you’re so morally superior.
Kobi:This is a great conversation. I’m a metaphor. I’m a metaphor.
Lee:You are not–
Kobi:I’m a metaphor.
Lee:No. No, no no.
Kobi:Look, so what you’re saying … I … the only thing that’s–
Lee:Right. I– I know, that’s fine.
Kobi:The only thing that I said is that I came to learn from you. That’s what I said explicitly.
Lee:Right. I know.
Kobi:And you’re reading something beneath and outside of my words that says to you, I have a different point of view. Is that fair?
Lee:I … I missed what you were saying.
Kobi:What I’m saying is all I’ve said out loud is “I respect you and I wanna learn from you.” And what you’re saying is, you’re getting a different vibe that’s not what I’m explicitly saying, but a little off and not explicitly stated by me. Is that fair?
Kobi:Oh. So you think I’ve just been passive. I’m glad you take me at my word.
Kobi:That I’m just [inaudible 00:01:49]
Lee:No, it’s more … It’s again … it’s more complex than that.
Kobi:I’m a metaphor for your work, Lee.
Lee:No, you’re not a metaphor for my work. You don’t know anything about my work. You really don’t. Did you watch the videos I made when I was in Lebanon?
Lee:Okay. So you don’t really know anything about my work.
Kobi:Is it … were they linked to in your Breitbart article?
Lee:I … maybe. I don’t remember.
Kobi:Did you link to your work with refugees–
Lee:I posted …
Kobi:–when you characterized refugees in a particular, did you link to it?
Lee:Which refugees? The one who raped the girl?
Kobi:Do you believe that’s representative of all refugees in the world?
Lee:No, I don’t and nowhere do I say that. I don’t think it’s representative.
Kobi:You’re right. You don’t say it. But I bet a lot of people got that from you.
Lee:I — no, you got that. I don’t know if a lot of people got it. You got that because you’re being dishonest. And if–
Kobi:I’m being? Lee —
Lee:No you’re not being honest.
Kobi:I swear to God.
Lee:You’re not being honest.
Kobi: I swear to God from the bottom of my heart.
Lee:No you don’t.
Kobi:From the bottom of my heart that is how I read your articles.
Kobi:From the bottom of my heart, I read these texts–
Lee:I know. Why is that? Why is that?
Kobi:And it seems like Islamophobia. And it seems like anti-refugee propaganda. From the bottom of my heart, that’s how it reads.
Lee:Right, so it’s Islamophobia is based on–
Kobi:Do you find that incredible? Do you find it incredible that I read your reporting like this?
Lee:No, I just find it dishonest.
Kobi:You believe it’s dishonest that that’s my reaction to your writing?
Lee:Yeah, I do.
Lee:I believe you like using terms like “Islamaphobia” to show… how, I mean, like, for instance, I don’t know how much you actually know about Islam. In general, what I found is that a lot of people–
Kobi:Wanna go toe to toe on what the fuck sharia means?
Kobi:Wanna go toe to toe on what the fuck sharia means?
Kobi:Okay. Let’s do it. We don’t have time for this. We don’t have time for this, Lee. *bangs fist on table*
Lee:What does sharia mean?
Kobi:I’m so excited.
Lee:It’s Islamic law, right? That’s what sharia means.
Lee:Like, Ansar al-Sharia, for instance. Do you know who they are?
Kobi:But the way you use sharia in your article makes it seem like sharia law is a thing that could credibly replace US law. And that’s not what sharia law is and that’s not how sharia law is defined in the fucking study that you quote.
Lee:Okay, do you know what–
Kobi:Fucking, do you know that the definition of sharia is in the study that you quoted? You do not know.
Lee:Do you know what the definition of a Muslim Majority country is?
Kobi:I’d be excited to learn.
Lee:Well do you know what it is? And not according to me.
Lee:The definition of a–
Kobi: *begins banging fists on table* Teach me. Teach me. Teach me. Teach me.
Lee:The definition of a muslim majority country according to–
Kobi:Uh-huh. Okay, hold on. I’m gonna jump in \[inaudible 00:04:16].
Lee: Do you know what the Muslim World League is? Who’s the Muslim World League? Who’s the Muslim World League? Do you know who the Muslim World League are?
Kobi:Do you think I’m gonna get death threats as a result of this conversation? Because it would be a real honor to get a death threat because of a Lee Stranahan conversation.
Lee:You think I’ve gotten death threats?
Kobi:I’m just saying if I get a death threat because of this, it would be really neat.
Lee:You think the death of my daughter was mocked? Do you think the death of my daughter was mocked?
Kobi:So you’re doing the thing again where you bring up a thing that’s so universally sad that I can’t respond to it. And I–
Lee:No, no. It’s actually true.
Kobi:But it’s completely unrelated to the thing that we’re talking about.
Lee:Shane, did I lose a daughter?
Kobi:But it’s completely unrelated to the thing that we’re talking about, man.
Lee:No, you wanna bring up–
Kobi:I don’t wanna talk about that. I wanna be respectful of your daughter–
Lee:Here’s what it is. No, you don’t wanna be respectful.
Kobi:You just did the thing that you did over and over again.
Lee:You don’t wanna be respectful. You–
Kobi:You invoked an equivocal tragedy.
Kobi:To run over anybody who disagrees with you.
Lee:No, you brought up … you brought up death threats against you.
Kobi:That’s what you do and it’s fucking genius.
Lee:No, it’s not.
Kobi:I’m saying it’s goddamn brilliant and I wanna learn it.
Lee:Yeah. So here’s what it is. You brought up the death threats. I don’t wish death threats on you or anybody, right?
Lee: I’ll let you read that.
Kobi: Okay, sorry, this is just that we’re short on time.
Lee: Uh… really? It’s not like some secret sharia thing?
Kobi:I never said … so uh … so yeah. So … it’s really interesting for me … I mean … it’s so … it’s so distressing.
Lee:But here’s the thing. No no no. But I’m not Islamophobic. I’m not Islamophobic. But I’m not.
Kobi: Lee, it is so distressing… it’s so distressing to me that you think I’m making light of the sexual assault of a five year old girl.
Lee: Because you are.
Kobi: Because all I–
Lee: Because you don’t even care.
Lee: You don’t give a shit about … you know, apparently we can swear. Because you’ve been doing it. But you don’t. You don’t care about the sexual assault of a five year old. You don’t care to figure out what the actual story is. You don’t care that the prosecutor came out and said explicitly there was no knife when that information came from the victim. You don’t care, right?
Kobi: I just think… I just think you’re exploiting the sexual assault of a five year old girl to peddle your xenophobic bullshit. And I also wanna peddle xenophobic bullshit.
Lee: What’s that?
Kobi: And so it’s an opportunity for me to lean.
Lee: Yeah. I don’t have xenophobic bullshit. I’m a xenophile.
Kobi: I just read a bunch of it.
Lee: No you didn’t read a bunch of it. You read … you read …
Kobi: I just read shitloads.
Lee:Here’s what you did. You cherry picked. You read selected sentences that missed … so let’s go over the headline again. Twin Falls Refugee Rape Special Report, which is the story. It was a girl in Twin Falls who was raped by refugees.
Why are the refugees moving in? And my answer is that the refugees are moving in because of the economic conditions, which is what it goes over. The story–
Kobi:Let’s go back a sec. Let’s go back a sec.
Lee: Like you point out … this is about a six page story and you quoted about three fucking sentences from it. And the reason you did that–
Kobi: Let’s go back a sec.
Lee: No. Since you wanna learn, I’ll teach you something. What you’re doing is called bullshit cherry picking. You don’t know me. You don’t know what I believe. You don’t give a shit. You’re trying to make a point for your TV show. That’s what you’re doing and this is why you are an asshole. You’re an asshole —
Lee: –because all you’re trying to do … I’m gonna point out, I’m gonna deal with you as a human: you don’t give a shit about me. You don’t give a shit about reporting accurately what I say or think, but the reason I’m not worried about it is because my record and what I say stands for itself. I say it everyday on the radio. I do three hours of radio a day. I could introduce you, I could introduce you to the Muslims I know, and by the way, some of the muslims I know are people who a lot of people would be … you wanna talk about Islamophobic? They’d be Islamophobic about.
Then after I say he’s doing this to keep his job as an actor on a Comedy Central show, he tells me to shut the fuck up, twice.
Kobi:Lee, you know what I give a shit about?
Kobi: I give a shit about–
Lee: About keeping your fucking job, I’ll bet. You give a shit about keeping your job.
Kobi:You shut the fuck up and let me finish.
Kobi:I give a shit … I give a shit–
Kobi:You shut the fuck up for a second.
Lee (to Shane):Are you getting this?
Shane Stranahan:Of course. Of course.
Kobi: I give a shit–
Lee: Get this. Get this.
Kobi:I give a shit about the refugees who have been through hell you can’t–
Lee:You don’t give a shit about–
Kobi:Hold on. Let me finish.
Lee:Because I interviewed… were you in fucking Beirut? You weren’t in Lebanon interviewing. How many–
Kobi:And now I’m getting yelled at by Lee Stranahan. This is amazing.
Lee:I know. Because you weren’t in Beirut interviewing–
Kobi:Is this what your reaction video is gonna be like?
Lee:–interviewing refugees. No, I’m sorry, I missed–
Kobi:Is this what the reaction video’s gonna be like? Am I getting a live preview of the reaction video?
Lee:Well no, it’s easy, the reaction video is going to be you are bullshit cherry picking. You want to… you wanna make me out to be Islamophobic. I’m not. You wanna make me out to be xenophobic. I’m not. You wanna make me out because it fits your narrative.
Lies About Citizen Journalism School
Kobi Libii and The Opposition took brief clips from different parts of our conference and edited them together out of order to make it seem like our business is teaching students how to lie and manipulate using subliminal messages.
We taught our students the exact opposite of this: to tell the truth and to try to be fair to the stories and the people you’re dealing.
Below are the two complete clips containing the quotes they edited deceptively, as well as several minutes of surrounding material to give readers a sense of what we were talking about at the time. We’ve bolded the clips The Opposition excerpted.
In this first clip, after talking about an experience he had with Steve Bannon after Lee decided to go on a trip to Lebanon to cover the Syrian refugee crisis, Lee mentions one of Bannon’s favorite films, and then goes on to describe how aspiring creatives, including journalists, have to begin by imitating the greats.
Kobi Libii then says how much he loves the idea that journalism is an avant-garde film. Lee responds by saying that this is what it’s become: that people have to imitate the great professionals within their creative discipline.
Lee Stranahan: And after I quit, Bannon, to his credit, helped me. He said, “No, no, no. I get it. I’ve quit jobs before. Sometimes you gotta follow your art. Do your art. Do your art. I get it.” That’s the way he views it.
Lee Stranahan: Bannon’s interesting. I’ll tell you, here’s another thing about Bannon. One of Bannon’s favorite … I’ve mentioned this to people who know indie documentaries. One of Bannon’s favorite films is a fairly obscure film, a documentary called “Koyaanisqatsi: A Life Out of Balance.” Philip Glass did the soundtrack. It was like an ’80s film. It’s like, lots of like… footage. There’s no dialogue. It’s an environmentalist film. It’s got slow-motion footage or time-lapse footage. And it’s one of his favorite movies.
Lee Stranahan: You just look at it, and you go, “Well, Bannon doesn’t seem avant-garde.” It’s kind of an avant-garde film. It’s one of his favorite movies. And once you know it’s one of his favorite movies, he rips it off constantly. He’s always doing these little visual sequences, and it’s like, “Oh, he’s ripping off ‘Koyaanisqatsi.'” He’ll cop to it. It’s the same thing.
Lee Stranahan: You know, I mean, someone said this: “Don’t even try to be original at first because you can’t.” Ira Glass from “This American Life” did a good piece on it. You can find it. Ira Glass on creativity. Ira Glass says that the problem when you start doing creative work is you’re doing creative work — and journalism is creative work — you’re doing work because you’re, like a musician, because you love music, right? And you love guitar playing, right? But at first, you suck because you just started playing guitar. But your heroes don’t suck. So the gap between you and them is massive. And it’s the same thing for writing or journalism or filmmaking or anything.
Kobi Libii: Yeah.
Lee Stranahan: So his point is you’ve just gotta push through that. You’ve just gotta keep going.
Kobi Libii: It’s so helpful to me.
Lee Stranahan: Yeah.
Kobi Libii: It’s so helpful to me to think about journalism as an avant-garde film.
Lee Stranahan: Yes.
Kobi Libii: That image is really resonant for me.
Lee Stranahan: Well, and… because it is. That’s what it’s become. You can’t help… You can’t help… If you’re a Hendrix fan, you’re gonna try to sound like Jimi Hendrix at first.
Kobi Libii: Right, right.
Lee Stranahan: So don’t even … just give in.
Kobi Libii: Uh huh.
Lee Stranahan: Just go for it. Just be like, okay. And then eventually, you push through that, and you start to find your own thing.
‘It’s not there’ and Sergei Eisenstein
In this second clip, Lee describes an idea relating to interviewing people: that an honest portrayal of somebody’s beliefs will be read by readers differently depending on the reader’s beliefs, and finishes by saying that the job of the journalist is to portray their speech honestly, and that this requires a commitment to fair and honest reporting.
Lee Stranahan: Sergei Eisenstein was one of the … Is a Russian film director, Battleship Potemkin. He was one of the early … Yeah, bring it, bring him over here. Eisenstein was one of the early filmmakers. And, he did — this is at the very beginning of filmmaking, it was brand new to everybody — he did these tests where you get an actor and you shoot, you have the camera up here, and this is the shot. Now, then if you cut that, me looking like that, if you cut that with a woman, and people watch the film, and you say, “What’s the actor thinking?” they’ll go, “He’s thinking about how much he’s in love with her.” If you cut that with a baby, they’ll go, “He’s thinking about what the baby will be like.” If you cut that with a fire, a house on fire, he’s thinking about what he’s lost. Now, really, it’s this. I’m not thinking about anything. I’m just standing there. Does that make sense? But what he found is, is that the audience fills in, you see what I’m saying? It’s not there, it’s this. It’s just standing there, but if you cut it with stuff, people fill it in.
Lee Stranahan: This is what people are like, and people do that if you interview them. So if I interview somebody at Occupy Wall Street, and I go, “What’s the most important issue to you, why are you out here?” Or if I interview somebody at a Tea Party rally, same question, they will fill in the answer. Depending upon who you are and what your political beliefs are, you might go, “That guy’s a jerk.” You might go, “That person’s awesome.” It’s the same interview. What’s my job? My job is to let that person say why they’re out there and what this … Does that make sense? That’s really my job, is just to get them to, “Hey, why are you out here and what’s the most important issue to you?” It’s not to trick them. It’s not when they say, “I’m out here in favor of income inequality … you know, I’m out here fighting incoming equality.” I don’t have to bicker with them to go, “Well, incoming equality, what about this or that?” I can do that, I can, but often if I don’t do that, if I just let them say what they think, that’s it.
Lee Stranahan: Now then, there can be a point, we do this all the time, where my primary thing is, just let people talk, right. Just let them say what they want to say, and then fill it in. Now, let me get to, because I just don’t want to lose one thing. Let me get back to some specific techniques for being the best interviewer people have ever had.
Lee Stranahan: A) try
Lee Stranahan: In fact, let me talk about this broadly. We talked a lot, I’ve talked a lot about intention. We talked a lot about motive in the first section this morning, the way I think about stuff, what I’m trying to do as a journalist. I cannot stress this enough: You hit what you aim for. Right, if you’re not trying to be a good, fair journalist, you’re not going to lock into it. You’ve got to have some intent to be good. You’ve got to have some intent to be honest. Does that make sense? I cannot stress it enough. No amount of technique. I can show you how to research stuff, and I will, I can show you how to do stuff, but if your goal is not to be good, you’re just not going to be good. If your goal is not to like … I really want to illuminate this, I really want to bring this out. I really want to …