But on Monday, 20 months later, Knell announced his decision to join the National Geographic Society as its president and CEO, even though that meant leaving NPR, which he said "is and will always bea beacon of journalistic integrity, commitment, and courage,” a claim NewsBusters has repeatedly demonstrated as false.
New York Times media reporter Elizabeth Jensen reported on new NPR CEO Gary Knell on Monday without devoting one word to conservative NPR critics in a piece loaded with public-broadcasting officialdom. The Times is clearly reporting from inside the NPR tank.
But Jensen did find time to quote the radical-left Noam Chomsky lovers at Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR) from October 7: "The media watchdog group...criticized Mr. Knell earlier when he said he wanted to 'depoliticize' the public broadcasting debate. The group has called such efforts 'code for appeasing public broadcasting’s conservative enemies by adding more right-wing content and censoring things they may not like.'” Jensen also sounded the tinny arf of a lapdog by utterly avoiding any mention of the Project Veritas "Muslim Brotherhood" video sting as she discussed people getting fired (for what?):
New NPR President Gary Knell made an appearance on their afternoon talk show Talk of the Nation on Friday (his first day) to give the appearance of transparency and responsiveness and to build morale after scandals such as the Juan Williams firing and the deeply embarrassing Muslim Brotherhood sting video, which led to several firings.
Knell just strained credulity beyond the breaking point by claiming NPR is not an advocacy organization, but a network of "fairness and accuracy and honesty," and it's "probably barred by our charter." It's correct that the founding Public Broadcasting Act of 1967 called for objectivity and balance in "all programming of a controversial nature," but NPR has followed that legal language about as seriously as Bill Clinton has upheld his marital vows. One might say this is a promising rhetorical start -- until you listen daily to the product right now.
Incoming NPR president Gary Knell smugly dismissed NPR critics in an interview with James Rainey of the Los Angeles Times. "If you listen over a period of time you hear voices from all ends of the political spectrum on NPR," Knell argued. "I think a lot of the critics, by what they say, don't even listen to the service." (Dear Mr. Smug: read the NPR section of NewsBusters, with links to your transcripts.)
That's not the only smug echo among the NPR rookies. Another line is that conservatives (or people who agree there's a liberal tilt) aren't the "real listeners," the "core audience" of NPR -- even if they're "core" funders through taxes. That's what new NPR ombudsman Edward Schumacher-Matos said in an interview on NPR's Talk of the Nation on October 11: