NPR Staff and Audience Want Another Ombudsman That Thinks NPR Is Too Conservative

NPR’s absentee ethics watchdog/ombudsman Edward Schumacher-Matos is ending his three-year term (with three items in the the first six months of 2014, one of them insisting on a ban of the word “Redskins.”) NPR is looking for someone who has a “diplomatic style that will earn the respect and trust of the public and the NPR staff and other NPR managers.”

In reality, they’re not looking for someone who makes sure all taxpayers get a fair shake from the media outlet they’re subsidizing. They’re looking for someone to please NPR staff and the hard-core lefties known as the NPR “public.”

Schumacher-Matos told St. Louis Public Radio he “found the NPR audience to be a passionate bunch, with a close connection to NPR.”

“I know of two media outlets in the United States where the audience considers the outlet theirs. It’s a part of their life and they have an emotional attachment to it,” said Schumacher-Matos. “One’s the New York Times, where I worked. And one is NPR.”

Let us repeat: leftists treat public TV and radio as their own ideological sandbox. They get very upset when anyone more conservative than David Brooks appears. Juan Willams got canned by NPR for going on The O’Reilly Factor – because the NPR audience was furious. Don’t ignore that the firing happened in the middle of a pledge drive for listener cash.


Schumacher-Matos appeared on the Kojo Nnamdi Show on WAMU in Washington D.C. on June 4. In the very last minutes, Nnamdi read someone’s complaint about a liberal tilt.

KOJO NNAMDI: We got this email from Gail in Bethesda. "I am a long time and frequent listener to NPR and on the point of diversity, there is one category you are neglecting to discuss. Political diversity. The vast majority of viewpoints are liberal and progressive. If --both of these segments self describe as being inclusive and open-minded, unless you differ with them politically." Comments, Edward Schumacher-Matos?

SCHUMACHER-MATOS: This will surprise some members of the audience. I get more complaints from the left than I do from the right about bias. People complain that NPR has fallen into false equivalence and it bent over backwards and has become too conservative. And I get real complaints from people who consider themselves the real progressive left and this is, you know, the Ralph Naders and a whole -- Gloria Steinems and all the people who have, you know, were big leaders from the left side during the '60s and '70s and still are out there today.

And a lot of people to the left of President Obama and to the left of Bill Clinton who are saying that, you know, you are using these centrists as representing the left and the progressives when they're just centrists. And so all of your stories are about the political fight or the views of the center, maybe it's a little bit center left, but not really progressive, as far as they're concerned, versus the right or versus the conservatives.

And so the voice that's being left out is the left voice, not the right voice, if I'm making myself clear. And, you know, they have a very good point.

This matches how E.S.M. handled allegations of liberal bias in 2012 by interviewing....Ralph Nader.

Earlier: NPR Ombudsman Slams NewsBusters, National Review: 'Certainly No Liberal Bias' on Murdoch

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