Conservatives agree that public broadcasting no longer needs federal funding. But McCain Republicans are hunting for strange compromises. Former McCain 2000/2008 adviser Kevin Hassett wrote for Bloomberg that NPR and PBS news is wrong-headed, but not its arts and education initiatives (like Big Bird): "Public radio and television, then, are defensible to the extent that they serve the public good by enriching the arts. NPR and PBS, however, wandered far from this mission, providing news content that is mostly indistinguishable from that provided by left-leaning for-profit enterprises."
Let's not assume that taxpayer-supported arts and culture aren't often twisted to support the statist agenda. NPR's "arts" reporting on Monday night's All Things Considered celebrated folk singer Barbara Dane, "a versatile voice with a political purpose." (Have you heard her songs, such as "I Hate the Capitalist System"?) Anchor Robert Siegel announced Dane passed "significant signposts," such as "She was the first white woman profiled by Ebony magazine. And she was the first U.S. performer to break the U.S. travel ban to Cuba."
On Monday's Morning Edition, National Public Radio offered the latest entry in its year-long series "The Hidden World of Girls," which is subsidized by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the National Endowment for the Arts. Naturally, any series with this title might disappoint if it didn't explore lesbians in Islamic countries, in this case, Pakistan.
Apparently, though, the definition of "girls" is quite flexible. On the October 16 All Things Considered, NPR celebrated the journey of Adam "Theresa" Sparks, running to be the first transgender member of the San Francisco City Council.
For this story, reporter Habiba Nosheen told listeners that the names of the lesbians had been changed to protect them:
After the debacle that was the high-profile Oprah-and-Michelle-Obama politicking in Copenhagen to get the Summer Olympics in Chicago in 2016, it might not be surprising that the networks weren't heavily tracking the U.S. bid to attract the World Cup soccer tournament for 2022. (You could argue that U.S. sports fans are much more indifferent to the World Cup than to the Olympics.) The American delegation that traveled to Switzerland included soccer stars, and former president Bill Clinton, and an Obama cabinet member. The Secretary of Commerce, perhaps? No, Attorney General Eric Holder.
When the tournament was awarded oddly to Qatar on December 2 (promising air-conditioned stadiums since summer temps are in the 120s, not to mention how global warming might ruin the planet by 2022), there was no mention on ABC,CBS, or NBC -- or The Washington Post, or the Los Angeles Times, or USA Today, for that matter. But that night, Monica Crowley and Sean Hannity did take it apart on Fox News:
America was founded on the principle of representative democracy: the government would make policy based on the consent of the governed. Liberal elitists have grown increasingly impatient with this unenlightened system, and more and more, they are relying on judicial activists to remake society in their desired image. Far from being tribunes of the people, these judges are honored by the media elite for going around public opinion – and the Constitution – whenever the liberal impulse beckons.
CBS’s “60 Minutes” earned the title “Syrupy Minutes” on November 28 with a thoroughly one-sided tribute to the “great” liberal Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, with a focus on how this “great” man publicly suggested George W. Bush was a tyrant.
Pelley hailed how Stevens had “shaped more American history than any Supreme Court justice alive.” He especially underlined how liberals see Stevens’ opinions on the rights of terrorist suspects as “among the most important of his career.” The detention center at Guantanamo Bay is a legal and political mess. One could easily blame the “historic” Justice Stevens; CBS lauds him.
It was apparently such a slow news weekend that NPR seemed like it was recycling. Legal correspondent Nina Totenberg dedicated a report on Friday night's All Things Considered to the ultraliberal Supreme Court justice William Brennan, publicizing a biography that's been out for eight weeks. She touted his "incredible" legacy:
For those not familiar with Brennan's incredible record, let us recapitulate. As the conservative National Review put it in writing about the liberal justice: "An examination of Brennan's opinions and his influence upon the opinions of his colleagues, suggests that there is no individual in this country, on or off the court, who has had a more profound and sustained impact on public policy in the United States."
Saying Brennan was influential was not exactly a compliment: as Nat Hentoff put it, NR was suggesting his influence was "pernicious." But Totenberg tried to forward the claim that Brennan was "far more conservative" than his decisions:
National Public Radio is right to defend itself against charges of Nazism leveled at the radio station by Fox News chief Roger Ailes, who has since apologized for the remark. But NPR decided to make the leap from defending the station to attacking Fox News as uniquely disposed to Nazi comparisons, an absurd claim on its face.
There are commentators on both sides of the political spectrum who routinely prove Godwin right. But being the predictably-liberal news outlet that it is, NPR invoked vague claims by far-left Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank (neither his ideological leanings nor the multitude of his most recent baseless Fox accusations are mentioned) to paint FNC as unique in its invocation of Nazism.
The U.S. Catholic bishops' conference disappointed liberals this week by choosing a leader who agreed with the bishops' campaign this year against pro-abortion provisions in ObamaCare. On Tuesday night's All Things Considered, NPR religion reporter Barbara Bradley Hagerty reported the expected moderate winner was apparently smeared by “conservative Catholic bloggers” for being too close to the sex-abuse scandal. (This might be the first time reporters have felt bad about bishops over the sex-abuse scandal.) Hagerty reported:
It's not clear what tipped the election. But over the past few days, conservative Catholic bloggers and activists have waged a campaign against [Tucson Bishop Gerald] Kicanas, who's considered a moderate with a conciliatory style. His critics sent faxes and left voicemails telling bishops to vote against Kicanas, saying Kicanas had been tainted by the sex abuse scandal when he had recommended an abuser to be ordained as a priest.
Kicanas flatly denied knowing about any abuse of minors. But that did not save him. The bishops elected the media-savvy Timothy Dolan, who's considered one of the boldest and more orthodox bishops, and who's willing to speak loudly and publicly on issues like abortion, same-sex marriage and stem cell research.
On Sunday night's All Things Considered newscast, NPR anchor Guy Raz celebrated “Protestant royalty” coming out of the closet. Bishop Jim Swilley of a megachurch appropriately called The Church in the Now decided to reveal his sexual orientation because of the burst of gay-bullying publicity. Former CNN reporter Raz welcomed the change and how it must have been “incredibly liberating” to be openly gay.
NPR lavished 12 minutes of air time on the interview -- currently a hot and very recommended item on NPR.org -- and they also offered a more extended interview online, complete with the minister's coming-out speech to his church. Raz wondered:
RAZ: You come from a long and distinguished line of famous southern preachers. One of your kids said “Protestant royalty,” that's where you come from. Did you feel like - when you were growing up, did you feel like you were a sinner most of your life? I mean, as a kid, when you had certain thoughts, did you feel like, you know, this isn't what you were being taught?
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?”
National Public Radio is strongly urging America to get over its apparently rabid case of Islamophobia. On Sunday night's All Things Considered newscast, anchor Guy Raz played audio clips of Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin opposing the Ground Zero Mosque, and then launched into how much this resembles historic anti-Semitism:
In his column today, New York Times writer Nicholas Kristof points out that in 1940, 17 percent of the population considered Jews to be a menace to America. Almost every ethnic group in this country has gone through a period of transition when they had to fight to prove that, indeed, they were Americans.
Rabiah Ahmed and a group of Muslim leaders thought their community had to do the same today. So this week, they launched an online video campaign called "My Faith, My Voice."
In all of its Shirley Sherrod coverage this week, National Public Radio never managed to interview a conservative guest on the subject (other than a few tossed-in audio clips of Andrew Breitbart), although NPR never landed a Sherrod interview, either, despite her whirlwind tour. On Wednesday night's All Things Considered news program, anchor Michele Norris interviewed Newsweek columnist Jonathan Alter, who predictably scorned the right wing's "Fox obsessions" and "notorious smear artist" Andrew Breitbart. This judgment might be questioned, considering Alter wrote in 1996 it was a "weak case of media malfeasance" when his own magazine's sleuthing about the authenticity of medals spurred an admiral's suicide.
Norris offered Alter only softball liberal questions, allowing him a comfortable platform to promote his pro-Obama book The Promise while he disparaged the conservatives:
NORRIS: Let's set aside the specifics of the Shirley Sherrod case for just a moment and look at what this episode perhaps reveals about the culture of the White House and how it deals with race, and also the culture of the media and how it looks to, in some cases, exploit race for ratings.
The producers of NPR's evening newscast All Things Considered deserve credit for reading listener mail on the air, often to make corrections in the broadcast. But there was really nothing but liberals in the mailbag on Thursday, all furious at NPR for not being strong enough in denouncing Fox News and Andrew Breitbart:
MICHELE NORRIS: Here's some of what you had to say about our coverage of the story. Frank Holk(ph) of Wytheville, Virginia, writes this: I found it distressing that you spent the entire time talking about the actions of the administration with barely a mention of Andrew Breitbart and Fox News. Holk continues: Wouldn't it have been more appropriate to discuss their role in the matter? How about a discussion of Fox's sleazy reporting and Breitbart's fraudulent video editing?
Few seem to remember now, but throughout the 1970s, the advertised threat to society from global cooling was as prevalent as the current global warming alarmism. Publications including The New York Times, Time and Newsweek - the same ones hyping the dangers of a warming planet in 2010 - were warning about global cooling then.
A prominent global cooler from that era has recently passed away. Stephen Schneider, a Stanford University climatologist and United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change member died in London on July 19, as noticed on National Public Radio's "All Things Considered." (h/t Tim Graham)
In an interview with NPR's Michele Norris, White House Science Adviser John Holdren remembered Schneider, not for getting the science wrong at first but for inventing this field of science, with its acknowledgement that mankind could change the climate.
On Tuesday night's All Things Considered newscast, Michele Norris sadly relayed news of the Gore separation: "The Gores had a storybook romance: college sweethearts, four beautiful children. Their playful affection energized the campaign trail. The concession was you don't make that kind of stuff up. The Gores' union became a model of stability in a hard-charging town where partnerships, even romantic ones, are sometimes seen as a matter of convenience."
Norris discussed the matter with Rebecca Traister of the liberal website Salon.com, who said she felt "ashamed" and "sort of silly having an investment in a couple that you don't know," and that's when the inevitable secular-left analysis began: traditional, monogamous, heterosexual, reproducing marriage is an archaic social construct:
TRAISTER: And so it is a little bit like mom and dad breaking up out of the blue, except they're not really our mom and dad - and I am aware of that, I just want to make clear.(Laughter)
NORRIS: In some ways is the presidency and the requirements that presidents have solid marriages, is that a bit out of step with larger society, where almost half of all marriages end in divorce?
Ken Cuccinelli, the conservative Attorney General of Virginia, came under attack on Friday night's All Things Considered on National Public Radio. This is one angle of Climategate the national media have noticed. But they pitch the battle as Cuccinelli vs. Science or Cuccinelli vs. Academic Freedom.
What's most infuriating is the notion that it's Cuccinelli who's "politicizing" science, and not Michael Mann's openly politicized e-mails explaining his data manipulations and plotting to censor his political opponents. Somehow, the Union of Concerned Scientists is painted as non-political.
Host Michele Norris began: "The University of Virginia says it will fight a demand from the state's attorney general. He wants the school to turn over private e-mails and documents related to a former professor's climate research. The case has sparked a national debate over academic freedom."
NPR’s All Things Considered aired a long report on Thursday night on nasty Internet commenters – but reporter Laura Sydell’s examples centered on anti-Obama and anti-Muslim commenters (including one who wanted Obama shot), and no one from the left (like the Huffington Post people regretting Cheney wasn't shot in Afghanistan). She began with a sympathetic sick family that favored ObamaCare:
LAURA SYDELL: If you want to know what it's like to get attacked online, just ask Miki Hsu Leavey. She wrote a thankful letter to the editor of the local paper when the health care bill passed. She has lupus. Her 24-year-old son can't get health care because of a preexisting heart condition and her husband was diagnosed with liver cancer.
Ms. MIKI HSU LEAVEY: So my thank you note was really about the relief I had mentally.
SYDELL: When Leavey looked at the site the morning it was posted, she got comments like this one.
Ms. LEAVEY: Oh, my poor baby is sick. Only the great Obama can save him. Makes me sick just reading it.
Sigh. Dionne tried to make the special elections sound like a great week for liberals:
DIONNE: I didn't know tea gave you a hangover, but I think Rand Paul's victory in Kentucky has already given Republicans --
SIEGEL: He won the Senate nomination.
DIONNE: -- he won the Senate nomination. And already, his rather pure strains of libertarianism is causing Republicans trouble. He seems to be against the public accommodations section of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that banned discrimination at lunch counters and hotels and the like. So, that's going to be an interesting race to watch.
Novelist Marc Acito offered a perfect elocution of National Public Radio snobbery on Thursday's All Things Considered. In defending the defensible cause of proper English, Acito equated Palinesque populism with a complete lack of respect for the intellect. Acito even sang (badly) from My Fair Lady to illustrate his point:
You see, My Fair Lady is based on George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion and both pieces explore the ramifications of learning how to speak properly at a time when elocution was valued as a symbol of education and upward mobility. Emphasis on the was.
Listen to Franklin Delano Roosevelt say the only thing we have to fear is fear itself, and it's almost inconceivable that ordinary Americans trusted someone who sounded like Thurston Howell III from Gilligan's Island. We are now in an age when Sarah Palin speaks to a quarter of the electorate even though she talks like she's translating into Korean and back again. Even the rhetorically gifted President Obama has felt compelled to drop his G's while trying to sell health care reform.
Liberal media outlets were quick to pounce on the new Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate from Kentucky about his views on the Civil Rights Act of 1964, not just Rachel Maddow on MSNBC, but NPR All Things Considered anchor Robert Siegel on Wednesday night. The sharp questioning of Paul is a contrast with NPR's interview with Joe Sestak, the new Democrat Senate nominee in Pennsylvania in the same newscast.
NPR anchor Michele Norris glanced right past an important, newsworthy, unresolved issue in Sestak's race, from much more recent history: did the Obama White House bribe him with a job offer to stay out of the primary, as he claimed last year?
NORRIS: It's been reported that the White House at one point tried to get you to back away from this race. Who told you to back down?
NORRIS: And did that continue even after you started to gain on Arlen Specter?
Brent Baker remembered NPR reporter Nina Totenberg found Judge John Roberts carried conservatism to wretched excess. On NPR's All Things Considered back in 2005, she prefaced “conservative” with three verys, describing him as “a very, very, very conservative man.” But in a taped soundbite on the next day's Good Morning America on ABC, she cut back to merely “a very, very conservative man.”
But Totenberg matched other media liberals in finding no measurable ideology in Elena Kagan when her nomination was announced. Within minutes (for the West Coast stations still in Morning Edition time), Totenberg could only exclaim Kagan was "was a star student at Princeton, at Oxford, at Harvard Law School -- then clerked for the man she calls her mentor, Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, who used to refer to her as Shorty."
NPR's All Things Considered devoted an entire one-sided story Tuesday night to the apparently heart-breaking news that illegal aliens are considering moving out of Arizona to more illegal-friendly states.
Reporter Ted Robbins spent his whole story talking to illegal aliens and their defenders about how they're misunderstood, and even touted how community organizers are "flexing their political muscle" by putting together "barrio defense committees" like "reverse neighborhood watches" to alert illegals that law enforcement is in the area.
One laudable practice at National Public Radio is reading listener reactions on the air. On Monday night's All Things Considered newscast, they noted several listeners objected to NPR media reporter David Folkenflik stating Fox offered "voracious conservatism" while MSNBC merely offered "leftward tilt." Anchor Michelle Norris relayed:
The Pew Research Center last year found that public trust in the media was at an historic low because of those perceived slants. Well, several listeners thought our story had a bit of a slant. Stan Henney of Longmont, Colorado, writes: The reporter described Fox News as voraciously conservative, and MSNBC as tilting to the left. Both are subjective, not objective descriptions. I personally think that while some Fox personalities can be aggressive, MSNBC does a lot more than just tilt.
Does NPR love Barack Obama? Look at how they reviewed an Obama book Tuesday night on All Things Considered:
In many ways, David Remnick's new book, "The Bridge: The Life and Rise of Barack Obama," is very much like its subject: even-handed, eloquent, beautifully packaged.
The reviewer was Susan Jane Gilman, author of a book called Undress Me In the Temple of Heaven. She liked the Remnick book, but felt that much of it was already familiar and too recent to feel like history. She ended with this:
The leftist Southern Poverty Law Center is a National Public Radio staple in analyzing right-wing militia groups -- and then connecting them to the Tea Party movement and conservative talk-show hosts.
Imagine a conservative group connecting liberal talk-show hosts and protesters to radical leftists like...Bill Ayers. Would they get a baldly promotional interview on NPR? No. But NPR Fresh Air hostess Terry Gross both aided the SPLC with a 37-minute promotional interview on March 25 -- and aided Bill Ayers in trashing Sarah Palin days after the 2008 election.
NPR promoted SPLC's Mark Potok and his narrative of "astounding" growth of militias in the Obama era thanks to "ostensibly mainstream" conservatives on All Things Considered on Tuesday night.
In Friday's speech at George Mason University, President Obama slammed as one of the "crazy things" conservatives said about his health-care effort was that it would offer federal insurance coverage to illegal aliens. On Friday night's All Things Considered newscast on National Public Radio, reporter David Welna's story underlined that liberals like Rep. Luis Gutierrez expected exactly that, but are now hoping that an amnesty bill will make them eligible instead. But Welna sought out no opponents of illegal immigration for comment.
Worse, Welna predicted a large "pro-immigrant activist" protest turnout on Sunday, in advance:
The renewed effort to move immigration legislation comes as thousands of pro-immigrant activists plan to march on the Capitol this Sunday as the final showdown on health care begins in the House.
As Brian Williams hailed Patrick Kennedy’s "gripping" attack on the media for ignoring yesterday’s House debate on Afghanistan, perhaps Kennedy should be offering an apology to his fellow liberals at National Public Radio. On Wednesday’s night’s All Things Considered, NPR reporter Andrea Seabrook hailed the debate, and even though Kennedy’s "anti-war" side lost by almost 6 to 1 (356 to 65), NPR’s soundbite count was far different: three for "peace," two for "war."
Seabrook seemed thrilled that Kucinich had pressed this rather pointless debate. She concluded that it was "elemental," where the peaceniks could just talk of peace:
The most striking thing about the debate today was that the House was having it at all. This is the first time since Congress voted to authorize the war in 2001 that there's been a clear debate about the policy. In previous debates, the war policy was always connected to its funding. So, if lawmakers didn't support the war, they would have to vote against a bill that included support for the troops. That's a tough position for an elected official whose charge, in part, is to deploy the armed forces responsibly.
Robert Siegel, an anchor of NPR’s evening newscast All Things Considered, had an emotional response on Wednesday night as Pew pollster Andrew Kohut described how young adults voted heavily for Obama and call themselves liberals, are less "militaristic" and less religious: "Who raised these terrific kids, Andy?" The men laughed.
The Pew Research Center studied the "millennials," those aged 18 to 29 who did much growing up in the first decade of the new century. Here’s how the discussion unfolded:
SIEGEL: Give us a thumbnail sketch of the millennials.
KOHUT: They're Democratic. They voted very heavily for Barack Obama. They're a little less supportive of Obama today, but still - compared to other generations - they are more supportive of the Democratic Party. They're more supportive of Barack Obama.
They call themselves liberals. Yes, they use the L-word. Twenty-nine percent of them say they're liberals. Less than 20 percent of all of the other generations say that. They're very tolerant of gays and race...
National Public Radio covered the "Code Red" protests against liberal health "reform" plans on Tuesday night’s All Things Considered newscast, but the tone wasn’t loaded with respect. Correspondent Andrea Seabrook, the same reporter who recently bowed before Michelle Obama on NPR as "the perfect mix of personable and formal, poise and personality," played up a dorks-with-pitchforks angle for conservative protesters.
Seabrook found a man with a papier-mache pitchfork and torch and sneered: "They're happy to tell you they're the right-wing mob, several hundred people gathered to listen to their favorite conservative lawmakers."
Several hundred? NPR’s estimate was way below a report from Politico, which estimated attendance as "several thousand." Seabrook concluded with brio that the protesters wanted to "shove the entire health care bill off a cliff." Here’s how it sounded:
Last week, NPR president Vivian Schiller took questions briefly on washingtonpost.com about the taxpayer-funded radio network. When the liberal-bias question came up, she claimed "NPR tilts left! NPR tilts right! Frankly, we hear it equally from both sides -- or should I say from ALL since most issues are not that linear. The fact is, NPR takes NO sides."
When someone discussed the regular commentaries of NPR Senior News Analyst Daniel Schorr, she claimed: "Dan Schor [sic] is a liberal commentator. I will not deny that is true. So what do we do about that? We balance his views with those of conservative guest commentators who frequently appear on our airwaves."
But what if those conservative guests just happen to take a stand NPR likes? Case in point: on Tuesday night’s All Things Considered, NPR touted a Sarah Palin book review by "conservative columnist" Rod Dreher, who concluded: "She quotes her father's line upon her resignation this summer as Alaska's governor: Sarah's not retreating, she's reloading. On evidence of this book, Sarah Palin is charging toward 2012 shooting blanks."
Speaking of blanks, did Dreher really read the whole book? On his Beliefnet blog yesterday, Dreher blogged at 12:35 pm that he was 100 pages in. All Things Considered starts airing locally at 4 pm. Did he really finish the book and write a script before the taping?