NPR Claims Romney Seeks 'Friendly Confines' of Fox, But Obama's Comedy Show Was Not 'Friendly'

NPR’s loathing of the Fox News Channel surfaced again on Wednesday’s Morning Edition. In a campaign story, correspondent Brian Naylor announced “Mitt Romney went to the friendly confines of the Fox News Channel yesterday afternoon in another round of damage control.”

But NPR and Naylor didn’t identify the David Letterman show as the “friendly confines of CBS,” just as they didn’t try that last week in three mentions of Obama slamming Romney in the latest Steve Kroft softball clip. Cavuto asked Romney if he insulted the voters, and if he was losing the race. That’s somehow more notably “friendly” than Letterman bowing deeply to Obama: “180 looks good on you.” 

In a “friendly” article to Obama at Time magazine’s website, Lily Rothman wrote “the appearance was pretty much like a stump speech with prompts from Letterman and commercial breaks.” So how is that not the “friendly confines”? It appears Naylor is simply trying to tell NPR listeners that Fox News isn’t a serious news outlet, not as serious as the Letterman show.

Host Steve Inskeep declared “President Obama appeared on another late night program and offered his evaluation of Romney.” Naylor also had no modifier:

NAYLOR: Last night, at a taping of "Late Night with David Letterman" on CBS, Mr. Obama acknowledged, in his words: We all make mistakes.

BARACK OBAMA: There are not a lot of people out there who think they're victims. There are not a lot of people who think that they're entitled to something.

NAYLOR: He then added...

OBAMA: We've got some obligations to each other, and there's nothing wrong with us giving each other a helping hand, so that if there's a - that single mom's kid, even after all the work she's done, still can't afford to go to college?

Then Naylor briefly referred to Obama’s old clip proclaiming his socialist belief in the redistribution of wealth, but Naylor dismissed it and ran no soundbite of the remarks. Instead, he ended his one-sided story will a roundup of Republican Romney critics:

NAYLOR: The Romney campaign also tried to change the subject yesterday. It pointed to an old 1998 audiotape of then-State Senator Barack Obama talking about his belief in redistribution. The Obama campaign shot back that dredging up of the 14-year-old tape was evidence of the Romney camp's desperation.

Republican political consultant Ed Rogers says the flap over Romney's remarks is not doing the GOP nominee any good.

ED ROGERS: Some people are going to be angry. Some people are going to be puzzled. The people that agree with what he had to say are already for him. So he didn't get any new votes. He didn't break any new ground. He didn't solidify any old support. It's a waste of time. It's unfortunate.

NAYLOR: And at least two GOP Senate candidates running in Democratic-leaning states - Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts and Linda McMahon in Connecticut - distanced themselves from Romney, Brown saying: That's not the way I view the world.

By the way, Naylor also had no label (like "unfriendly" or "left-wing") for Mother Jones magazine. "Romney's original comments came last spring, at a Florida fundraiser. They were surreptitiously recorded and obtained by Mother Jones magazine, which made the entirety of his comments available yesterday on its website." This, obviously, was an error: Mother Jones left a chunk of its Romney video out. 

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