Shhh: NPR Goes Almost Silent on Hillary After Contentious Terry Gross Interview

On June 12,  the night of NPR’s surprising grilling of Hillary Clinton on Fresh Air over her apparent lack of fervor for gay marriage over the years, NPR’s top-of-hour newscast ran a clip. But a Nexis search of NPR reveals there's never been an NPR feature on (or quoting from) the Terry Gross interview.

Not only that, but NPR news programs have only barely touched on Mrs. Clinton's surfeit of interviews and appearances since the interview, with a brief mention on Weekend Edition Sunday and another brief mention in a decline-of-Iraq story on Wednesday’s All Things Considered. Why so quiet?

Did Hillary lash out at NPR and Gross after the broadcast ended?

Hillary coverage is also sparse on the NPR website. In the immediate aftermath of the “Fresh Air” squabbling, NPR’s Frank James had “Four Takeaways”  on the Fresh Air fight and the first three were all in defense of Hillary’s tactics.

1. Rare is the politician who has publicly admitted to holding or changing a position for political expedience. So it wasn't surprising that she would deny shifting her public position because the same-sex issue went from being politically unpopular to popular. In fairness, she may have evolved on the issue, like so many other Americans, in an organic way and publicly announced her change soon after it happened. But if she did change her stance, or the timing of her announcement of it, for political reasons, political best practices would dictate that she not admit that publicly.

2. Some as "testy" Clinton's response to Terry on the same-sex marriage question. "Testy" is clearly a negative description, but her response just as easily could have been described as "forceful," a more positive adjective. A large body of research suggests that when women are assertive, that's often read more negatively than when men are assertive. Maybe that's what's happening here. It's just something to keep in mind.

3. Clinton has to contend with both her record and her husband's. Terry asked her if she was glad that the Supreme Court struck down parts of the Defense of Marriage Act, which her husband, President Bill Clinton, signed in 1996. "Of course," Clinton said, explaining that DOMA was a compromise whose aim was in part to prevent even more discriminatory laws from passing Congress.

In the fourth one, James picked up on the fact that Clinton was mocking the Bible-thumpers when she said some live in an “evidence-free zone” with a “direct line to the divine.”

Yesterday, in line with Don Gonyea's on-air mention of Iraq, James noticed Hillary “still has an Iraq problem.”

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