In an interview with Jordan Zakarin at The Hollywood Reporter, liberal public-radio star Ira Glass – whose weekend show This American Life airs on more than 500 public radio stations – admitted the obvious: they don’t need the federal money to survive.
As they discussed the “silly Killing Big Bird thing,” Glass insisted “just a tiny, tiny portion of public radio’s money comes from the federal government. And when the Republicans say that public radio would survive without that money, the truth is, they’re right, it would survive.” But he wishes Mitt Romney had singled out his show in the first presidential debate:
Mike Daisey shamelessly lied about Apple's abuse of factory workers in China on stage, which was then picked up by the trendy public-radio show "This American Life," which airs on many NPR stations. It caused a black eye for NPR (by their one-degree association), but The Washington Post has proclaimed Daisey's "voice" is too important to shame off the stage.
Post theatre critic Peter Marks announced Sunday that "after days of wrestling with what’s been found to be Daisey’s dysfunctional relationship with candor, when I have felt angry and a bit betrayed — you put your own reputation on the line when you embrace someone else’s in a review — I’ve settled on a sense of solidarity with Shalwitz." That's Howard Shalwitz, artistic director of Washington's Woolly Mammoth theater, which plans to put "dysfunctional" Daisey back in the spotlight.
Newsweek’s Howard Kurtz suggests “What’s Killing NPR” is its failure to strike back at conservative charges of liberal bias: “Staffers flown in for a recent meeting in Washington groaned when executives said it would be too risky for them to aggressively defend NPR, and that perhaps they should get media training for Joyce Slocum, who took over on an interim basis after the firing of CEO Vivian Schiller.”
Kurtz quotes a series of angry NPR anchors who think they are the essence of fairness and balance. Morning Edition anchor Steve Inskeep insisted “I actually get accused of being a conservative as often as I get accused of being a liberal.” Kurtz asserted in an NPR survey last year, 37 percent of listeners described themselves as liberal or very liberal, 25 percent as middle of the road, and 28 percent as conservative or very conservative—a split he said was very much on Inskeep’s mind. “If you’re saying we’re a liberal propaganda front,” he says, “you’re insulting the intelligence of millions and millions of conservatives who listen to us every day. You are saying they’re stupid.”
In response to this week's shameful exposure of bias at NPR, a couple of its hosts on Friday had an on air discussion about whether or not the radio network does indeed have a political leaning.
Shortly after "On the Media" host Bob Garfield said, "If you were to somehow poll the political orientation of everybody in the NPR news organization and all of the member stations, you would find an overwhelmingly progressive, liberal crowd," Ira Glass of "The American Life" maintained the outlet had no left-wing bias whatsoever (audio follows with partial transcript and commentary):
On Saturday, Washington Post media reporter Paul Farhi found that NPR insiders are furious at the forced resignation of Ellen Weiss, the senior vice president for news who so controversially canned Juan Williams. The liberal arrogance of NPR was on full display, that they were the future of "democracy," and Fox News was clearly the enemy of democracy and an independent press:
"We have allowed Fox News to define the debate," wrote Peter Block, a member of the board of Cincinnati Public Radio, in a posting to an e-mail group consisting of public radio managers. He added, "I do not think this kind of capitulation [by NPR] assures the future of an independent press....Democracy is on the line and NPR is one of the last bastions of its possibility."
Farhi added that NPR's ombudsman, Alicia Shepard, also pointed to Fox (less harshly) in her column, that the Williams "incident has become a partisan issue in Washington's hothouse atmosphere, with Republicans (egged on by Fox News) using it as a rallying cry to demand that NPR be 'defunded' by the federal government." Do conservatives need to be "egged on" about NPR's shameless actions?