NPR Touts Leftist Campaign Against 'Hardline Conservative Policies'

On Thursday's Morning Edition, NPR's Peter Overby slanted towards a left-wing coalition targeting the conservative group ALEC. Overby trumpeted how Coke and Pepsi succumbed to pressure from the "campaign to put a spotlight on companies that sell products to a public that might object to hardline conservative policies, such as 'stand your ground' laws or requirements that voters show a photo I.D."

The correspondent featured representatives from two of the groups in the coalition- ColorOfChange and Common Cause- and labeled them as a "civil rights group" and a "good government group" respectively. He also made only one passing reference to their political ideology- that they were part of "progressive groups and shareholder activists."

Co-host Renee Montagne noted in her introduction to Overby's report that "two of America's best-known companies, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, have dropped their memberships in a low-profile conservative organization called ALEC- the American Legislative Exchange Council. That group promotes business-friendly legislation. It's also been pushing more controversial measures, such as voter identification laws and that 'stand your ground' law, the one linked, we've just heard, to Trayvon Martin's slaying."

Peter Overby, NPR Correspondent | NewsBusters.orgThe NPR journalist, who once worked for Common Cause (and didn't disclose this detail during his report), first noted how Coke ended its involvement with ALEC after "a civil rights group, ColorOfChange.org, launched an online drive calling on Coca-Cola to stop underwriting the ALEC agenda on voter I.D." He continued with his "hardline conservative policies" phrase, and played a clip from ColorOfChange's director, Rashad Robinson. Before working for the "civil rights group," Robinson worked with the radical homosexual activist group GLAAD, according to his profile on his group's website

Overby continued with a summary of how Pepsi ended its affiliation with ALEC, which included his "progressive groups and shareholder activists" line. He also played a clip of Doug Clopp of the organization he used to work with, Common Cause, who claimed that "everything up until now had been done behind closed doors, and these memberships were not known to the American people." It should be pointed out that former Secretary of Labor under President Bill Clinton, Robert Reich, chairs Common Cause's national governing board.

Later in his report, the correspondent did play a soundbite of House Speaker John Boehner speaking to ALEC's 2009 conference. But Overby then added a slanted outline of the group's agenda: "Until recently, ALEC was best known for its volumes of pro-business legislation: bills to weaken labor unions, as in Wisconsin; to privatize government operations, and reduce regulation. But this new anti-ALEC campaign comes at a time when some investors have already been pushing for more transparency on corporate political activities."

At the end of the segment, the NPR journalist spotlighted how a major company decided to side with ALEC: "Yesterday, another well-known company, Kraft Foods, said it's keeping its membership in ALEC. A spokeswoman for Kraft said its only concerns at ALEC are business related, and have nothing to do with 'stand your ground' or voter I.D."


Almost a month earlier, on the March 7, 2012 episodes of Morning Edition and All Things Considered, NPR boosted another protest targeting a conservative individual or group. The MRC's Tim Graham pointed out how the programs highlighted a dozen protesters of Republican Senator Marco Rubio, but ignored the annual March for Life where tens of thousands demonstrated against abortion.

The full transcript of Peter Overby's report from Thursday's Morning Edition can be found at MRC.org.

Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan is a news analyst at Media Research Center