NPR Offers No Credit for Republicans When North Carolina Rights Racial Wrongs

NPR loves to label individuals and groups—but not all the time. They usually want listeners to know who Republicans are, as they did incessantly last year with GOP Senate candidate Todd Akin. A piece about the North Carolina General Assembly righting an old wrong on the July 25 All Things Considered evening news show took a different approach, with reporter Julie Rose entirely omitting party designations.

North Carolina, like many other states, had an involuntary eugenics-based sterilization program for most of the 1900s. The program finally stopped in 1974. In the four intervening decades, the state did nothing to compensate victims. Last week, that changed with the passage of a bill establishing a fund for victims.

The story pointed to several individuals who worked to get the bill passed. Among them was a former member of the North Carolina House, Larry Womble, a Democrat, and a Republican, Nelson Dollar. Another Republican, House Speaker Thom Tillis, was key to getting the bill passed (a fact mentioned briefly in passing at the end of the piece, though oddly without his name). NPR left out all their party labels.

More importantly, NPR also omitted the party who was in charge of the whole North Carolina General Assembly upon passage — the Republican Party, as they did for the party in charge who did nothing from after the sterilization program ended in 1974 until 2010 — the Democratic party. (Democrats were also in charge at the time that the sterilization program was implemented in the early 1900s).

Compare that with NPR’s liberal use of “Republican” in two June pieces discussing Monday protests (“Moral Mondays”) organized by liberals against the General Assembly for what they deemed as  harsh policies. For those pieces, NPR used “Republican” eight times between the two.