In Appreciation of Gore Vidal, NPR Broadcasts Historic Lie About William F. Buckley

NPR is the network that sought out Christopher Hitchens to trash Mother Teresa upon her death as a horrible fraud, and then when Hitchens died, they warmly remembered how he hated God and Mother Teresa. So it's not surprising that radical leftist and gay activist Gore Vidal was going to be honored without a second of dissent or disapproval of critics.

None of the glowing obituaries and appreciations carried an ideological label, and one -- on Wednesday night's All Things Considered -- contained a glaring falsehood -- that William F. Buckley called Vidal a "queer" on national TV in 1968 without being provoked. Vidal called him a "crypto-Nazi" first. NPR turned to the gay novelist Christopher Bram to do the honors, and he brazenly lied:

 

BRAM:  In 1968, he published "Myra Breckenridge," where transsexuality leaves the gay-straight question in the dust. Later that year, he got into a battle with William F. Buckley, which began with Buckley calling him a queer -- on national television during the Democratic convention.

How do the fact-checkers at NPR just let that lying sentence hit the airwaves? On Friday's Fresh Air, host Terry Gross rebroacast her reminding Vidal in an old interview: "Okay, what Buckley said after you called him a crypto-fascist, he said: 'Now listen, you queer, stop calling me a crypto-fascist, or I'll sock you in the g-damned face, and you'll stay plastered." The actual word was "crypto-Nazi," but Gross captured its essence.

Bram concluded by citing Vidal as a gay pioneer and role model: "Vidal did not want to be known as a gay writer, but he was also the godfather of gay literature in spite of himself. Gay men of my generation and older used him as an example, even a role model. If this cool, witty, outrageous man can succeed with American readers, maybe we could too."

Notice that as much as gay activists claim to be against "hate," the title of this appreciation on the NPR website was "Famous For His Hates: The Cool, Witty Gore Vidal." Bram began: "Gore Vidal was famous for his hates -- academia, presidents, whole portions of the American public, and most notably, Truman Capote."

On NPR's Talk of the Nation on Wednesday, host Neal Conan honored Vidal briefly as "one of the most erudite candidates ever to lose an election in this country."

On Morning Edition, NPR's Tom Vitale called Vidal "one of the most pointed cultural critics of our time," but he couldn't call Vidal a leftist, and then  bizarrely dipped into the audio vault to allow this radical elitist basher of the average American portray himself as a populist:

TOM VITALE: Despite his privileged background, Gore Vidal told BBC broadcaster Sheridan Morley in 1993 that he was tired of being called patrician.

GORE VIDAL: I'm a populist, from a long line of tribunes of the people. And I believe the government, to be of any value, must rest upon the people at large and not be the preserve of any elite group or class or anything of a hereditary nature.

VITALE: Throughout a career that spanned six decades, Vidal wrote and published essays that expounded his populist theme against what he called the serious wrong turnings America took in his lifetime.

VIDAL: Then in 1950, after we won the Second World War, which we regarded as our great victory, we were the number one nation on Earth, economically and militarily. Well, Harry Truman, our then president, decided to keep the country on a permanent military standing -- forever. The result is we're $4 trillion in debt. We don't have a public education system. We don't have health care. And we have two or three race wars going on. And we are falling back, back, back.

NPR didn't seem to note that this "populist" was saying that the people in this democracy kept voting for this kind of primitive government since World War II. This is your tax dollars going to NPR -- honoring elitists who hate America and its racist, militaristic Christian backwardness.

PS: As for ideological labels, see NPR's obituary on Buckley on the February 28, 2008 Morning Edition, where anchor Renee Montagne began: "We remember now the man known as one of the fathers of the conservative movement. William F. Buckley died yesterday at the age of 82. He was a CIA operative who founded the conservative magazine the National Review. He used the magazine, his prolific columns, and his television program to help push conservative ideology to the forefront of American politics."

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis