NPR Editor Compares Obama to Nixon, Apologizes Next Day

Do you think National Pubic Radio political editor Ken Rudin took some heat for comparing President Obama to Richard Nixon Wednesday?

Such seems to be the case given his somewhat groveling apology posted at his blog Thursday.

Before we get there, here's what Rudin said about the White House's current feud with Fox News on Wednesday's "Talk of the Nation" (h/t Byron York):

Well, it's not only aggressive, it's almost Nixonesque. I mean, you think of what Nixon and Agnew did with their enemies list and their attacks on the media; certainly Vice President Agnew's constant denunciation of the media. Of course, then it was a conservative president denouncing a liberal media, and of course, a lot of good liberals said, 'Oh, that's ridiculous. That's an infringement on the freedom of press.' And now you see a lot of liberals almost kind of applauding what the White House is doing to Fox News, which I think is distressing.

According to York, "Reaction from the NPR audience was negative, and within 24 hours, Rudin was in backtrack mode."

Apparently so, for here's what Rudin wrote Thursday:

I made a boneheaded mistake yesterday, during the Political Junkie segment on NPR's Talk of the Nation, one that I'd like to correct right away. [...]

I will tell you, that the Nixon "enemies list" is the first thing I thought of when the topic came up. And obviously, that's what was going through my mind during yesterday's conversation.

But comparing the tactics of the Nixon administration -- which bugged and intimidated and harrassed journalists -- to that of the Obama administration was foolish, facile, ridiculous and, ultimately, embarrassing to me. I should have known better and, in fact, I do know better. I was around during the Nixon years. I am fully cognizant of what they did and attempted to do.

I still think the Obama administration showed a childish, thin skin in its dealings with and reaction to Fox.

But childishness is a far cry from illegal and unconstitutional activities. And for that I apologize for a dumb comparison.

Wow. Foolish, facile, ridiculous and, ultimately, embarrassing.

Think he REALLY feels that way, or was bullied into it?

After all, just 48 minutes before his mea culpa was published, Media Matters' Eric Boehlert scolded Rudin.

But even more comical was Friday's response from NPR ombudsman Alicia Shepard:

Live radio is tricky. Some times reporters talking 'live' say things they instantly regret.

Hmmm. Why don't conservative talk radio hosts like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, and Mark Levin receive such understanding when they say things they regret?

Regardless, Shepard was quite pleased with Rudin's apology:

While it was a dumb thing to say, I applaud Rudin for quickly apologizing. Journalists are going to make mistakes -- not intentionally but they will happen.

Yeah, and I bet all that pressure put upon Rudin made him come to his senses quite quickly.

Nice backbone there, Ken. Way to stand up for yourself.

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.