In 2007, when The New York Times granted MoveOn.org a special discount it wasn't entitled to so they could slam David Petraeus in a full-page ad as "General Betray Us," NPR reported on the ad, but never on the Times cut-rate controversy.
But NPR is sometimes very sensitive about the "independence" of media outlets -- when it seems compromised by Republicans. On Tuesday's All Things Considered, they granted air time to KUOW reporter Sara Lerner in Washington state to discuss how the Seattle Times outrageously used their own free ad space for an favoring the Republican running for governor, and how 100 of the paper's journalists were protesting:
At the same time that NPR was offended enough to go “truth squadding” on Romney’s advertisements attacking Obama's weakness on welfare, NPR’s Don Gonyea reported on Harry Reid’s unsubstantiated charges of Romney tax evasion by leaving the clear impression that Reid is effectively punching away at a Romney “vulnerability” and sees nothing to lose. He certainly can’t seem to lose with NPR.
On Wednesday's All Things Considered, NPR anchor Melissa Block introduced the story as “Don Gonyea reports on the increasingly ugly fight,” but that was applied to both Reid and the Republicans. But their online headline was “In Brawl Over Romney's Tax Returns, Harry Reid Gets Marquee Billing.” Like a boxer, get it?
In 2008, NPR's All Things Considered tried to take apart the "swift-booking" of Barack Obama by conservative author Jerome Corsi, insisting in several places "we know" Corsi's reporting wasn't factual. On Friday's All Things Considered, NPR media reporter David Folkenflik took a looser standard in publicizing the Palin-bashing book by liberal author Joe McGinniss. Folkenflik eventually found book experts who disdained the difference between a "warts and all" book and an "all warts" book. But none of the book's claims were held up individually as false. It just on the whole "felt unreliable."
This leads the listener to wonder what might be true: Palin's cocaine-snorting, the premarital sex with NBA stars, the neglect of her children? Which? Folkenflik brings up McGinniss's tawdry publicity stunt, renting right next to the Palin home in Wasilla, running some mini-soundbites of outrage from conservative talkers like Sean Hannity ("creepy") and Bill O'Reilly ("immoral"). But Folkenflik tweeted Friday "How rascally is the writer behind 'The Rogue'?" All in all, the stunt was a plus:
Perhaps obviously, George W. Bush didn't grant an interview around his memoir Decision Points to National Public Radio, since they described his presidency daily as the Triumph of the Dark Side. But when they touched on the new book, the hostility was still there.On Tuesday's Morning Edition, Don Gonyea, who covered the White House for most of Bush's presidency offer a brief summary of Bush's interview with NBC's Matt Lauer. There was a little bit on Iraq, and then more time on the drinking problem:
GONYEA: Part of the book is personal, with stories it's awkward to hear him talk about. There's his history as a serious drinker. Again, from NBC. [NBC clip]
BUSH: So, I'm drunk at the dinner table at mother and dad's house in Maine, and my brothers and sister are there, Laura's there. And I'm sitting next to a beautiful woman - friend of mother and dad's - and I said to her, out loud: “What is sex like after 50?”