The Washington Post's E.J. Dionne said Sunday that NPR is one of the best news organizations in the world and challenged anyone to find evidence the radio network is the slightest bit liberally biased.
To prove his claim, Dionne hysterically pointed out to his fellow "Meet the Press" panelists that whenever he's on NPR, he's often countered by "conservatives" - like New York Times columnist David Brooks (video follows with transcript and commentary):
E.J. DIONNE, WASHINGTON POST: See, I think there are two issues here. The first issue is, NPR is quite simply one of the best news organizations in the world, and anybody who thinks that they are liberal biased, I challenge them to do what a student of mine once did at Georgetown, take a week of transcripts, take a month of transcripts and examine it for political bias. You're not going to find it. Fox News, on the other hand, is a Republican propaganda network that put into circulation the false idea that Obama went to--President Obama went to a madrassa, and they stoked the tea party. They stoked, not the tea party movement, but the death panels. That's on the one side. On the other side, I think NPR made a mistake in the way they handled this. I was a member of a union for a long time. I think employees, contract employees included, deserve some respect. What they should've said is sat Juan Williams down, he's done a lot of good work for them, and say, "Look, you have a choice here. Look at the context you were on with O'Reilly. You could barely get your points out in the middle of the propaganda. Do you want to work for Fox, that's OK, but--or you want to work for us, that's OK. But you've got to decide," if I may use Fox's slogan. They should have handled it that way. But this should not be used to run a smear campaign against NPR.
Two minutes later, Dionne offered proof NPR isn't liberally biased:
DIONNE: Should I just say, David and I argue politics on NPR all the time. So I should disclose that. And I would note, I'm a liberal. I'm always countered by David or somebody more conservative than David.
HAROLD FORD, FORMER TENNESSEE CONGRESSMAN (D): Is that possible?
DIONNE: Thank God it is.
And there it is. NPR isn't liberally biased because it uses "conservatives" like Brooks to counter liberals like Dionne.
Of course, calling Brooks a conservative is like calling an ox a bull: he's thankful for the honor, but would prefer to have back what's rightfully his.
More humorously, Brooks doesn't even consider himself conservative. When I interviewed him at the Republican National Convention in 2008, he told me he's a right-leaning moderate.
Yet he and other moderate-righties like him are what NPR and PBS have on to counter the far-left leaning views of folks like Dionne.
And this is what they call balance.