On Tuesday's Morning Edition, NPR's Julie Rovner spun the debate over a proposed mandate for private insurance companies to cover birth control without a copay as being between "women's health groups," which were not given an ideological label, and organizations such as the Family Research Council, which she clearly identified as "conservative." A representative from her example of a "women's health group," Planned Parenthood, labeled "unintended" pregnancies an "epidemic."
Anchor Steve Inskeep began the report with an admission about ObamaCare: "President Obama's health care overhaul law touches almost every aspect of health care, including birth control." Rovner first highlighted a woman from Tucson, Arizona who, despite having a "full-time job with health insurance [and] a husband," along with two kids, apparently couldn't afford the $25 a month copay for her birth control prescription. This led to her having a third child, and the woman declared that "while we're happy that she's here, it was not planned, and had we had some better finances, we probably could have made some better decisions."
CNN's Fareed Zakaria made a bit of a Kinsley gaffe Friday.
On NPR's "Morning Edition," Zakaria said, "The people who watch Fox are not going to watch CNN...Our competitors should properly be The New York Times, the BBC, NPR" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
NPR's Renee Montagne touted the Rep. Anthony Weiner sex scandal as a "dilemma" for Democrats on Wednesday's Morning Edition. Correspondent Andrea Seabrook also underlined how it was apparently "hard for Democrats to call for his resignation" because the New York politician is a "bulldog" for their issues.
Montagne used her label during an introduction for Seabrook's report, which put the Weiner controversy in the context of other Washington sex scandals: "The New York Democrat admitted earlier this week that he had inappropriate exchanges with women online, exchanges that included sexually explicit pictures. He also said he will not resign his House seat. As NPR's Andrea Seabrook reports, that poses a dilemma for his Democratic colleagues."
On Tuesday's Morning Edition, NPR's Jennifer Ludden all but acted as an proponent of egg donation and freezing to preserve women's fertility, but failed to acknowledge the dangers associated with the donation process, ranging from negative psychological effects to kidney failure and death. Ludden barely touched on other risks to the procedures, such as using them to permit women over 50 become pregnant.
The correspondent began her report by hyping the emotion behind the problem the donation and freezing procedures aim to fix: the declining fertility of women 40 years of age and older:
On Tuesday's Morning Edition, NPR's Renee Montagne and Scott Horsley spotlighted the "warm welcome" President Obama received during his recent visit to Ireland. Horsley marveled at the "large crowds lining the street to welcome him," as well as the "enthusiasm with which they greeted the American president. This is something we really haven't seen in the U.S. for a couple of years."
Montagne turned to the White House correspondent, who is traveling with the President, to report on Mr. Obama's European visit. After devoting the bulk of the segment to the British portion of the trip, the NPR anchor asked about the commander-in-chief's stop in the Emerald Isle and set up Horsley's effusive reply:
NPR's Mara Liasson noticeably left out anti-illegal immigration conservatives on Tuesday's Morning Edition as she reported on President's Obama's latest push for "comprehensive" immigration reform. Liasson only played clips from the President, Democrat Rep. Luis Gutierrez, and Republican consultant Marty Wilson, who claimed that "the hardline approach on immigration...is not going to work."
Host Steve Inskeep introduced the correspondent's report by noting the President's forthcoming speech later in the day outlining his "principles for an immigration overhaul." He continued by recalling how "President Bush's immigration efforts encountered opposition from his own party, and many Republicans are also likely to resist President Obama's efforts."
Instead of turning to those who would be part of such a resistance, Liasson quickly turned to an excerpt from Obama's recent commencement address at Miami Dade College, where he proclaimed, "I strongly believe we should fix our broken immigration system...and I want to work with Democrats and Republicans, yes, to protect our borders and enforce our laws, and address the status of millions of undocumented workers."
NPR's Ari Shapiro emphasized the possible political benefits for President Obama on Thursday's Morning Edition in the aftermath of the death of Osama bin Laden. Shapiro lined up sound bites from three pundits who touted the "big moment" for the "bold" President and how it amounted to a "fundamental shift in the way Americans perceive Mr. Obama."
Midway through his report, the correspondent introduced a clip from former Bill Clinton speechwriter Jeff Shesol: "He [Shesol] believes this week could mark a fundamental shift in the way Americans perceive Mr. Obama." The Clinton alum claimed that it would be "very hard after this moment to suggest that President Obama doesn't have the guts to make tough calls, to make bold and risky calls...and then to go ahead because he knows it to be the right thing to do."
On Monday and Tuesday, NPR played up how Osama Bin Laden's death might translate into a political win for President Obama. Mara Liasson trumpeted the "huge victory" for the President and spotlighted a scholar who gushed how Obama now looked "strong and competent and decisive." Cokie Roberts boasted how the military operation was a "score" for the Democrat and that it was a "game changer politically."
At the beginning of her report which lead Tuesday's Morning Edition, Liasson gushed that "every president benefits from moments of national unity, but none so much as Barack Obama, who ran for office promising to bridge partisan divides." Later, the journalist noted that, with the raid against Bin Laden, "he [Obama] made good on his repeated promise to act unilaterally if he had actionable intelligence."
NPR's Renee Montagne apparently didn't take an alleged death threat seriously, as she practically chuckled during a report on Friday's Morning Edition about anti-Koch brothers protesters mistakenly calling a Des Moines, Iowa business named Koch Brothers office supplies.
Substitute co-host Mary Louise Kelly, noted that "Charles and David Koch are the billionaire owners of a giant industrial conglomerate based in Wichita, Kansas. They've poured millions into conservative and anti-union causes. People who don't like their politics have sent many critical e-mails and letters, even death threats, to Dutch Koch."
On Friday’s Morning Edition, National Public Radio celebrated poetry – especially the left-wing, anti-war, anti-American "empire" kind. Poets were constructing a Japanese "renga" – a "kind of poetic relay race." Anchor Renee Montagne handed off the summarizing to poet Carol Muske-Dukes:
So the poets were in conversation with each other. In a line that Michael Ryan, for example, making a riff on the joke: How many poets does it take to change a light bulb? And it ends with how many poets does it take to change a country? How many presidents? How much pain?
The wonderful poet Brenda Hillman picks up on that with: And the light bulb turns earth, Berkeley lovers in a Thai cafe: mint, sweet basil, Geminid showers all this week, solstice, almost. You can take money out of the empire but you can't take the empire -- look, enough of these wars. A rabbit crouches in the Moon.
Empire? Well, Brenda Hillman is not just a poet, but a member of the Code Pink Working Group of protesters in San Francisco.
On Tuesday's Morning Edition, NPR's Tovia Smith promoted a homosexual activist's campaign protesting the inability of same-sex couples to file joint federal tax returns. Smith played sound bites from the founder of the campaign, as well as two other supporters of same-sex "marriage," but omitted any from opponents. NPR also highlighted the tax-related "complications" of a specific same-sex couple on Friday's Morning Edition.
Host Renee Montagne introduced Smith's report by noting how "some same-sex married couples are planning a protest this Tax Day. They object to the federal law requiring them to check the 'single' box on their federal tax returns....In defiance of that law, known as DOMA, some couples are checking the married box on their federal returns."
Eleanor Beardsley slanted towards opponents of France's ban on the niqab, or Islamic face veil, on two NPR programs on Monday. Beardsley played several sound bites from French Muslims during her Morning Edition report who forwarded the notion that the law contributes to an "anti-Muslim climate" in the country, and agreed with a guest on Tell Me More who labeled the ban "sinister."
The correspondent, who is based in France, led her report on Morning Edition with a clip from the imam of a mosque in Aubervilliers, a suburb of Paris, who stated, "You know there is an Islamophobic climate right now and the police don't like to see us praying in the streets." She also turned to another Muslim man who singled out the niqab ban for contributing to this apparent climate:
NPR's Cokie Roberts hinted congressional Republicans were going to resort to extreme tactics regarding the debt ceiling on Monday's Morning Edition. Roberts noted the "rough votes" on the horizon in Congress, specifying the "debt ceiling that has to be increased, where Republicans have promised Armageddon."
Host Renee Montagne brought on the journalist to talk mainly about the recent proposed agreement on the budget between the Democrats and Republicans. Near the end of the segment, however, Montagne raised the other budget-related battles that are expected later in the year. Roberts dropped the biblical reference in her answer:
NPR's Ari Shapiro slanted towards President Obama and two of his Democratic allies in Congress on Thursday's Morning Edition on the continuing battle over the federal budget, playing seven sound bites from them versus only three from Republican House Speaker John Boehner.
Shapiro highlighted the late night negotiations over the budget on Wednesday during his report, playing three clips from the President and one from Senator Harry Reid before even getting to his first one from Speaker Boehner:
On Monday's Morning Edition, NPR's David Schaper slanted towards a professor and his allies in academia who object to a recent open records request into his e-mails from the Wisconsin GOP, playing five sound bites from them versus only two from a non-Republican source who thought their concerns were overblown. One of the professor's allies labeled the request a "contemporary version of McCarthyism."
Host Renee Montagne introduced Schaper's report by putting the issue in the context of the continuing debate over state employees' collective bargaining rights in Wisconsin:
If you thought of a place on the radio dial on a Saturday morning where Sen. Tom Coburn would be pressed as squishy, it probably wouldn't be NPR. But on Weekend Edition Saturday, NPR anchor Scott Simon asked some basic questions about a budget deal, and then shifted to Grover Norquist's criticisms of Coburn for being a tax hiker. This could be seen as quite an anti-Grover segment, with how strongly Coburn attacked him:
SCOTT SIMON: Let me ask you about a debate that was brought to my attention this week. You're -- Oklahoma, I think can fairly be identified as a farming state. You're opposed to ethanol subsidies.
TOM COBURN: Well, I'm specifically opposed to the ethanol blending credit, which is just one of the subsidies that we give for ethanol.
SIMON: This has opened up, as I don't have to tell you, a pointed disagreement with Grover Norquist and his group, Americans for Tax Reform.
NPR's Julie Rovner lined up proponents of the federal Title X program on Friday's Morning Edition, devoting most of her four-minute report to three employees at a Washington, DC health care clinic who all pushed for continuing the funding of the subsidy for contraceptives. Rovner left only 30 seconds for a conservative advocate of defunding the program.
During the bulk of her report, the correspondent featured Unity Health Care's Upper Cardozo Clinic in Washington, DC. She stated that it is locate in a "heavily Hispanic neighborhood" and accented this by playing a clip of one of the clinic's doctors, Andrea Anderson, speaking in Spanish with a patient. Dr. Anderson's female patient had a "sinus problem," according to Rovner, but continued by noting that the "family physician" also asked the patient "if she's happy with the birth control method she's using. Thanks to the Title X program, Unity has available a wide array of contraceptive options....Anderson says one of her favorite things about the family planning program is the way it lets her integrate contraceptive choices into her everyday practice."
Greedy, deep-pocketed Wal-Mart went to the Supreme Court yesterday to argue it's "too big to sue."
That's the sort of rhetoric one might expect from Brad Seligman, one of the attorneys representing Christine Kwapnowski and a handful of other women who are suing Wal-Mart on the claim of gender discrimination.
Appearing with Kwapnowski on Tuesday's CBS "Early Show," Seligman used those words to deride Wal-Mart's argument about why the Supreme Court should not let his and numerous other discrimination suits across the country to be consolidated into a single class action case.
[Update, 10:20 am Friday: The original version of this item stated that Brandon Smith worked for Indiana Public Radio. He is actually affiliated with Indiana Public Broadcasting Stations.]
NPR's Steve Inskeep, who used "deceitful sophistry" to contend that his network's audience leaned right in a Thursday WSJ column, also claimed in the same piece that "not much of the media pays attention to the middle of the country, but NPR and its local stations do." But an affiliate in his home state of Indiana touted the findings of a pro-ObamaCare organization on the first anniversary of its passage, while leaving out anything from opponents.
Brandon Smith of Indiana Public Broadcasting Stations led his Wednesday report on the one-year anniversary of the signing of the legislation by trumpeting how "Families USA, a non-partisan, national health care advocacy organization, released state-by-state data on the potential impact of the law." Despite running a sound bite from Ron Pollack, the executive director of the organization, and highlighting some of their data specific to Indiana, Smith didn't point out Families USA's liberal political leanings. NPR correspondent Julie Rovner also omitted the organization's ideological affiliation on Wednesday's Morning Edition, the very program which Inskeep hosts.
Newsweek worried this week that “What’s Killing NPR” is declining to let its journalists deny (ludicrously) that there’s any liberal bias on its airwaves. Morning Edition anchor Steve Inskeep is now taking on the lead lobbyist’s role with an op-ed in Thursday’s Wall Street Journal with the headline “Liberal Bias at NPR?” Inskeep’s claiming the answer is “No.”
The pull-quote in the paper is “Surveys show that millions of conservatives choose NPR, even with powerful conservative alternatives on the radio.” He also uses a GfK poll to argue "most [NPR] listeners consistently identify themselves as 'middle of the road' or 'conservative.'" The actual results from that poll: 28% conservative, 25% percent middle of the road, 37% percent liberal. Even NPR lovers accused Inskeep of using “fuzzy math” to fight the liberal-bias claim, like Jeff Bercovici at Forbes:
So, yes, it's accurate to say that 53 percent of NPR listeners - ie. "most" listeners - are either self-described conservatives of middle-of-the-roaders. But it's even more accurate to say that most listeners - 62 percent - are self-described liberals or middle-roaders.
NPR's Julie Rovner put the best liberal spin on the one-year anniversary of ObamaCare becoming law on Wednesday's Morning Edition. When an opponent of the legislation stated that supporters would try to "create constituencies that will fight to preserve it...[by] spending hundreds of billions of dollars on health insurance subsidies," Rover added that "those are just a few of the law's benefits."
The correspondent led her report with sound bites from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who marveled over the "landmark law," and Senator Orrin Hatch, who labeled it "one of the worst pieces of legislation in the history of this country." She continued by focusing on the opponents of ObamaCare:
On Friday's Morning Edition, NPR's Mara Liasson conspicuously excluded conservatives who are opposed to "comprehensive" immigration reform proposals, such as those forwarded by former President George W. Bush, during a report on Utah's new and "milder" immigration law. Liasson emphasized the state's "conservative politics," but couldn't find any conservatives who opposed the law.
Host Renee Montagne introduced the correspondent's report by highlighting how "Arizona's tough immigration law has received extensive coverage, and there's been a lot of talk about similar measures in other states. Yet, one of Arizona's neighbors, also known for its conservative politics, has taken a very different approach." Liasson set up her report by underscoring Utah's conservative credentials: "If you were to choose a state that would allow illegal immigrants to come out of the shadows, work and drive without fear of deportation, you probably wouldn't pick Utah."
NPR's Scott Horsley favored Democrats over Republicans by a five-to-two margin on Thursday's Morning Edition. Horsley played sound bites or quoted from Obama administration officials or congressional liberals more often than from GOP representatives.
During his report, the correspondent highlighted congressional concerns over the safety of nuclear energy during the Tuesday hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Energy Secretary Chu and Nuclear Regulatory Chairman Gregory Jaczko were the main witnesses during the hearing. Horsley first noted that "Chu was cautious in talking about Japan's nuclear crisis and its meaning for the U.S. Damage to the Fukushima reactors seems more serious than Three Mile Island. But Chu confessed we don't really know what's happening, and the situation is unfolding hour by hour."
On Tuesday's Morning Edition, NPR's Carrie Johnson highlighted critiques of the Obama White House from the left on their promise to be "the most transparent administration in history," but downplayed questions over the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Unit's use of non-disclosure agreements with companies under investigation.
Host Renee Montagne introduced Johnson's report, noting that "in Washington, D.C., some people are calling this 'Sunshine Week.' It's a time of year when government watchdog groups evaluate the administration's commitment to openness. Two years ago, President Obama promised to run the most transparent administration in history."
An NPR correspondent recently went incognito for a sting operation aimed at exposing U.S. border agents who target Muslims for "interrogation" at the Canadian border.
Employing the same tactics used by James O'Keefe to bring down top NPR executives, counterterrorism correspondent Dina Temple-Raston draped herself in a headscarf, drove to the northern border, and recorded her encounter with a U.S. border agent. [Click here for audio.]
"An agent from Customs and Border Protection was sitting in what looked like a little toll booth," recalled Temple-Raston on the March 10 Morning Edition, who gave the agent no indication that he was being recorded. "He asked me to remove my sunglasses and peered into the car. I was wearing a headscarf and so was Kathy Jamil. He asked why we'd been to Canada."
On Thursday, National Public Radio's Morning Edition decided to revisit the censorship controversy over the National Portrait Gallery removing a video image of ants crawling on a crucifix in an ideological exhibit promoting homosexuality. (The show closes Sunday.) The irony or the outrage in this story is that the "villains" of this piece -- conservative Christians and Republican politicians -- were not allowed to speak. NPR reporter Neda Ulaby quoted only the two left-wing curators of the exhibit, a left-wing critic for the Village Voice, and a left-wing man protesting the apparently ruined exhibit.
The most outrageous part was this soundbite of co-curator Jonathan Katz: "It's no longer the same game that it was 15, 20 years ago, where you simply had to point out the homo and yell 'Kill it!'And the mob attacked. Now, you have to clothe your homophobia in something else."
A story this biased makes it worth pointing out that Neda Ulaby is a lesbian journalist and activist who found this NPR job through the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association. The Advocate celebrated a list of openly gay people with cool careers and explained:
Beware when the liberal media starts a "fact check" story on political speeches. Their "facts" often come directly from liberal policy wonks. On Wednesday's Morning Edition, NPR ran through a series of Obama claims without really saying he mangled a fact. Reporter Elisabeth Shogren suggested he was too optimistic about getting electric cars on the road with "this Congress" (ahem, not progressive enough). But reporter John Ydstie suggested Paul Ryan was wrong to suggest the stimulus failed, citing that "economists of both persuasions" agree Ryan was incorrect:
RENEE MONTAGNE, anchor: And the president also spoke of infrastructure projects, such as high-speed rail and expanding to most of the population high-speed Internet. John Ydstie, let's bring you back in. Investment was a big theme of this State of the Union speech. In the official Republican rebuttal, Congressman Paul Ryan had this to say about that.
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:
Long past the time when it was debunked that Tucson shooting suspect Jared Lee Loughner might have been motivated by talk radio or TV, NPR was still entertaining the "vitriol" attack line, as anchor Scott Simon interviewed liberal St. Petersburg Times TV critic Eric Deggans on Saturday morning's Weekend Edition. Simon even bizarrely claimed that this kind of violence didn't happen when "63 million people watched Walter Cronkite every night."
First, that exaggerates Cronkite's nightly audience (it's more likely the networks might have attracted 63 million between the three of them). But does Simon really believe that in the Sixties and Seventies, there was never a mass shooting with six deaths in America? Or say, a Jonestown mass suicide of Americans (preceded by a congressman being shot there)? Or the shootings of JFK, RFK, MLK, Malcolm X, George Wallace, or two attempts at Gerald Ford? Facts were being mangled:
SIMON: People have observed over the past few years, for example, that, you know, this just didn't happen when 63 million people watched Walter Cronkite every night. But I don't know, hasn't colorful and even intemperate speech been a part of politics and journalism?
On the morning before NPR announced its internal review of its leftist purge of Juan Williams for appearing on The O'Reilly Factor, media reporter David Folkenflik was "reporting" that the problem with the American news media is its painful lack of bias. Come again? "Mainstream news reporters don't tell you what they think enough of the time." That came from the star of the Folkenflik story, journalism professor Jay Rosen, a favorite of Bill Moyers. On the website, the story was headlined: "American Media's True Ideology? Avoiding One."
Anchor Steve Inskeep began: Yesterday on this program, we heard a story from London about the boisterous world of British newspapers and how they, unlike their American counterparts, openly embrace a point of view. Today, NPR media correspondent David Folkenflik brings us an influential media critic who argues that mainstream American journalists do cling to their own ideology. It's not exactly on the right, not exactly on the left. He calls it the voice from nowhere."
It's not hard to imagine that Jay Rosen is "influential" in liberal media circles when he tells them they're not being liberal enough for him. Folkenflik set up his theory and his hopes and dreams for more bias: