With its frequent overt bias, NPR’s weekend media show On the Media makes NPR’s news magazine shows like Morning Edition appear thoroughly objective by comparison. It is so hopelessly biased that shows to explore the question of whether NPR was biased were themselves overwhelmingly biased. More recently, it deemed the issue of media coverage of butcher Kermit Gosnell’s trial to be too insignificant for any of its nine one-hour shows that occurred after the trial began.
On this past weekend’s show, On the Media aired a segment on the Internal Revenue Service targeting conservative groups. While the segment primarily consisted of a Bob Garfield interview with Michael Calderone, Senior Media Reporter for the Huffington Post, it’s clear the shows’ two co-hosts used the segment as an excuse to ridicule conservatives and conservative websites—Glenn Beck / TheBlaze and Right Side News on this occasion.
Co-host Brooke Gladstone teased the segment at the top of the show by saying, “one of Glenn Beck’s conspiracy theories has turned out to be kinda true.” Gladstone passed the bias baton over to her co-host Garfield (who had earlier described presidential candidate Mitt Romney as the “Michael Vick of presidential candidates”). Garfield proceeded to cast TheBlaze and Right Side News as fringe, describing them as “right-wing.”
During the Calderone interview, Garfield found himself unable to maintain a professional tone, devolving into contemptuous name-calling (“crazy,” “vast conspiracies”), laughing and sneering. To his credit, Calderone maintained his professional and objective demeanor. Garfield then finished his exercise of overt bias by playing a clip of someone saying that Glenn Beck is like a broken clock—right twice a day.
Tax-subsidized On the Media from NPR claims to maintain “the civility and fairness that are the hallmarks of public radio.” Perhaps they do at times—but not toward their political opponents.
Transcript excerpts from NPR’s On the Media, Friday, May 17 (emphasis mine, except [LAUGHS]):
BOB GARFIELD: And if the stories were there, and there were reasonably well-documented, why do you suppose the mainstream press didn’t pick up on these blog posts in the right-wing media?
BOB GARFIELD: Well actually, though, there was exactly that kind of language in her pieces, in addition to the primary sources. And, you know, it's easy to understand, when you go to the Right Side News and see crazy “Gold Bug” kinds of stories and vast conspiracies reported about Obama Care. It – it’s not hard for me to see why this stuff would be dismissed with a wave of a hand. If the boy is always crying wolf, how do you know that this time it’s a real wolf?
BOB GARFIELD: Do you suppose that the mainstream press now has the responsibility [LAUGHS] to spend more time combing through these more politically inflected blogs, in case they are, in fact, detecting scandals that have not caught the attention of the outside world?
MICHAEL CALDERONE: I think it’s smart for reporters to be aware of what partisan sites whether on the right or left, might be putting out there. At the same time, you don't want reporters that go down the rabbit hole spending all their day combing through conservative or liberal blogs to try to figure out whether there might be a story there. There are some very good conservative reporters, like Bob Costa at National Review, and he’s one who frequently is breaking news out of the Republican Party and the conservative movement, and those stories then get pickup very frequently by reporters at what would be considered, you know, more mainstream news outlets. And I think it's because the stories aren’t overblown or overhyped and there’s no suggestions of malicious or nefarious intent at the hands of Democrats or the Obama administration.
BOB GARFIELD: How about you, Michael? Is Glenn Becks’ TheBlaze now on your newsfeed? [sneering]
MICHAEL CALDERONE: Well, I try to pay attention to what Glenn Beck does because he has a large following and things he says will get picked up. At the same time, for any viewer of his previous show on Fox News, Glenn would wield together all these various conspiracy theories, so when you see his site talking about whether Obama is at the heart of some possible scandal, there’s going to be a likelihood that reporters might still tune that out, thinking, well, there's no “there” there.