Someone at NPR.org is feeling wildly optimistic about the political direction of President Obama and the Democrats. A transcript from Weekend Edition Saturday was headlined "Obama's Very Good Week." They summarized: "Obama scored a couple of significant victories during the week, earning a weekend break in Maine with his family. But it's not clear whether his wins will improve public approval." Not clear? When NPR anchor Scott Simon and White House reporter Scott Horsley discussed the polls, it wasn't a good week in the world of public opinion. It looked "terrible for the Democrats." Find the sunny side of this:
SIMON: And the skepticism about the president's economic program, if you take a look at the polls, its not just limited to his obvious political opponents, is it?
HORSLEY: Yeah, for some time now we have seen doubts about the stimulus program - widespread doubts. This week the White House released a report saying that the stimulus had saved or created as many as three and a half million jobs so far. But what the public is really focused on is that still painfully high unemployment, and slower private sector growth than any of us would like.
Last Friday on TV, NPR legal reporter Nina Totenberg touted Obama Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan as "spectacularly successful" -- twice. But that was mellow compared to her Tuesday report for Morning Edition, where she enthusiastically pitched her record as dean of Harvard Law School as a Superman legend (The audio valentine is here):
NINA TOTENBERG: In some ways, the descriptions of Elena Kagan as dean sound a little bit like the beginning of the old "Superman" TV series.
INTRO TO OLD SUPERMAN TV SHOW: Superman, who can change the course of mighty rivers, bend steel in his bare hands!
TOTENBERG: Translate that to Harvard, and you can almost hear the music. (Superman music in background)
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."
On Sunday morning's Weekend Edition, National Public Radio anchor Liane Hansen claimed a huge turnout for amnesty rallies nationwide: "An estimated half million immigrants and their supporters turned out yesterday to rally for immigration reform and against Arizona's tough new immigration law."
NPR's Ted Robbins offered a story from Phoenix loaded with four opponents of Arizona's new immigration law, but he seemed stunned at story's end when he asked a Minuteman what should happen:
ROBBINS: Both [Reza] Romney and [Javier] Ojeda says they're tired of people lumping all immigrants together with drug smugglers and criminals.
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.
National Public Radio’s Morning Edition on Friday devoted its latest interview on DVDs worth watching to the picks of leftist filmmaker Michael Moore, although they used no pesky label for him. Moore began by snobbishly asserting to anchor Steve Inskeep that he doesn’t like DVDs. He likes going to theaters, even for old movies: “I keep a list on my computer of the various art houses and places that show old films. And I'll drive, literally, for hours to go see something from the 1940s, if I can see on a movie screen."
Don’t alert the people who think long drives are causing global warming.
Unsurprisingly, Moore liked leftist films. First he recommended a movie called Czech Dreams, which mocked how desperate people who were liberated from Soviet-imposed communism wanted to shop, shop, shop. The filmmakers promoted a phony mall opening just to mock the suckers who would celebrate it. In the same Moore-pleasing spirit was Borat:
"Gun rights advocates contend that the Chicago handgun ban is unconstitutional, that the Supreme Court already has held that the right to bear arms is an individual and fundamental right, and that means the Second Amendment limits apply to every jurisdiction in the nation," Totenberg said on "Morning Edition."
Lefty author Margaret Atwood has created, in the form of a novel, the environmentalist's bible. "The Year of the Flood", as it is titled, is not merely a figurative bible for a dispersed and sporadic collection of greenies, but rather a sacred testament (the author says as much) for a movement that, every day, looks more like a church--complete with sin, salvation, and saints (one of whom is--you guessed it--Al Gore).
In an interview with Atwood, National Public Radio's Steve Inskeep described "The Year of the Flood" as gloriously melding science and religion into a harmonious enviro-theology. Atwood "thinks that in the future we could see a religion that combines religion and science," Inskeep states.
But the more the listener learns about Atwood's novel, the more he or she realizes that the book does not meld science and religion. Rather, it does away with religion and replaces it with radical environmentalism. Here is an excerpt from the NPR interview (h/t CATO's David Boaz):
A new Investor’s Business Daily poll of more than 1,300 physicians finds that nearly two-thirds (65%) don’t back ObamaCare, more than 70% say the government cannot provide insurance coverage for 47 million additional people and save money without harming quality, and 45% of doctors say they “would consider leaving their practice or taking an early retirement” if the liberal health care plan passes.
Earlier this week, as the front-page story in today’s Investor’s Business Daily noted, the Los Angeles Times ran a front-page story touting the American Medical Association (AMA)’s backing of President Obama’s health care plans, while a National Public Radio publicized a poll funded by a pro-ObamaCare group to claim that “nearly three-quarters of doctors said they favor a public option.”
The IBD/TIPP poll of 1,376 physicians suggests that the AMA does not represent most doctors as it advertises and lobbies on behalf of the administration’s plan, and offers a second opinion to the poll (of 991 physicians) originally published in the New England Journal of Medicine suggesting strong support for a bigger government role.
National Public Radio ombudsman Alicia Shepard isn’t afraid to raise questions of liberal bias occasionally. Her latest column is titled "Too Much Kennedy." She reports NPR offered 53 stories on Ted Kennedy’s death in the first five days (August 26-30), "But on that first day, in the 23 on-air stories, only one mentioned the name Mary Jo Kopechne and 5 mentioned Chappaquiddick." When they did, it was passed over gently as an obstacle to the White House:
NPR's Brian Naylor did tell the Chappaquiddick story during a 9-minute obit for Morning Edition. But the focus was on how Chappaquiddick and the death of Kopechne derailed Kennedy's presidential ambitions.
"An effort to draft the youngest Kennedy for the White House was short lived at the Democratic convention of 1968, and his presidential aspirations were dealt a blow a year later when in July of 1969, his car went off a small bridge on the Massachusetts island of Chappaquiddick," said Naylor.
Last Wednesday, NPR's Morning Edition ran a strange story picking up on how George Washington University professor Mark Lynch blogged for Foreign Policy magazine on how rapper "beefs" are a metaphor for foreign policy. Jay-Z, on top of the rapper heap, is the U.S., whereby a challenging rapper like The Game could be Iran. It prompted this funny letter, read on the air the next day:
LINDA WERTHEIMER: One NPR listener wrote on our Web site: Jay-Z and The Game are like foreign policy? I can't wait to see how Britney Spears and the Pussycat Dolls are like cancer research, or how the reunion of New Kids on the Block parallels how Russia is again consolidating power. Can I search your archives for a story about how Bobby Sherman mirrored the Tet Offensive?
Here's a part of Morning Edition anchor Steve Inskeep's interview with Professor Lynch:
NPR on Wednesday released results of a new poll finding declining support for President Obama and his healthcare initiative while also showing a tightening in which Party folks plan to vote for in the 2010 elections.
Also of note was the glaring difference between those believing the country is going in the wrong track versus the right track with those feeling the former exceeding the latter by a greater margin than has been seen in over a year, and the highest since the financial collapse last September.
Though none of this is surprising given other polling data of late, it is interesting to see this coming from NPR.
The results were published in an online article as well as discussed on Wednesday's Morning Edition (audio embedded below the fold, h/t Soren Dayton):
National Public Radio’s reporting on the George Tiller murder was perfect on Monday – in shutting out pro-life voices wanting to express regret. Reports on Morning Edition and on All Things Considered from Kansas City-based reporter Frank Morris lined up Tiller’s friends, lawyers, and customers to praise him.
There’s a huge hole in all of the public discussion about the reimposition of a "Fairness Doctrine" or a return to "localism" on the talk-radio format: What about National Public Radio? Liberals would like to "crush Rush" and his conservative compatriots by demanding each station balance its lineup ideologically. But since when has NPR ever felt any pressure to be balanced, even when a majority of taxpayers being forced to subsidize it are center-right?
Why no Fairness Doctrine attention to NPR? It is because those preaching "fairness" on the radio are hypocrites.
Conservatives argue that the media’s liberal bias drives people to talk radio for an opposing viewpoint. Limbaugh jokes: "I am the balance." But new numbers from NPR suggest its ratings may be nearly as imposing as Limbaugh’s: The cumulative audience for its daily news programs – "Morning Edition" and its evening counterpart, "All Things Considered" – has risen to 20.9 million per week.
Washington Post media reporter Paul Farhi reveals a story that public broadcasters don't like to talk about: their ratings. They don't want to sound like they care (they certainly do), like they're obsessed like a for-profit company, or that they're taking market share away from commercial radio. But now, in tough times, NPR's rating success is leaking out:
The audience for NPR's daily news programs, including "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered," reached a record last year, driven by widespread interest in the presidential election, and the general decline of radio news elsewhere. Washington-based NPR will release new figures to its stations today showing that the cumulative audience for its daily news programs hit 20.9 million a week, a 9 percent increase over the previous year.
The weekly audience for all the programming fed by Washington-based NPR -- including talk shows and music -- also reached a record last year, with 23.6 million people tuning in each week, an 8.7 percent increase over 2007.
The Post routinely leaves the public radio stations out when it surveys the D.C. radio landscape. But there are two public stations in the top ten:
Rock stars are rarely controversial for acting like rock stars. A decadent lifestyle of sex, drugs, and alcohol abuse are the expected menu. In our upside-down popular culture, rock stars create controversy only when they advocate an alternative lifestyle – when they wear purity rings and abstain from sex until marriage.
Some dream of being rock stars just for the selfish fantasy of organizing an assembly line of casual sex partners. In the minds of those with no moral brake on their sex drive, rock stars favoring abstinence are wasting a national resource, akin to monks pledging a vow of poverty while living inside a gold mine.
Last September, the Disney-boosted teen rockers known as the Jonas Brothers were a rich target for mockery at the MTV Video Music Awards for their purity rings. The emcee, a British comedian named Russell Brand, sneered that the Jonas Brothers were "a little bit ungrateful because they could have sex with any woman they want. That is like Superman deciding not to fly and go everywhere on a bus." Tee-hee, and all that.
From the home page and the Most Popular list at NPR.org: National Public Radio took up the cause of social-realist art in government buildings on Monday's Morning Edition, and its ameliorative effects at the Justice Department. "This building is a sermon, a hymn to justice, a tour guide is quoted as saying. NPR Justice Department correspondent Ari Shapiro introduces the art as hymn: "That hymn includes verses that are progressive, controversial and even radical."
The main subject of praise is a mural from the 1930s depicting a lynching attempt thwarted by a courageous judge. Opposing lynching is hardly controversial today. But oddly, Shapiro finds a liberal expert who says this exposes "us" in modern America, even if our youngest voters were born in 1990:
"This is art really doing its work," says [Roger] Kennedy. "And it tells us what our country is really like. It's inescapably us: not somebody else, not the founders, not the 19th century. Because what illuminates the scene are two things: the flame of hate in the back, and the car headlights in the front."
National Public Radio's Morning Edition celebrated the end of 2008 on New Year’s Eve with black commentator (and Huffington Post contributor) John Ridley listing the top "non-troversies" of 2008, which he defined as "what seemed monumental then, in retrospect has all the significance of a Dennis Kucinich stump speech." Ridley’s top "non-troversy" was Reverend Wright’s sermon clips about America deserving 9/11 and the U.S. government inventing AIDS. Ridley claimed he was only saying what the Robertsons and Falwells did:
And the number non-troversy of 2008? Are you ready for this? How dare Jeremiah Wright say the bigoted, hurtful things in the privacy of a black church that men of God like Pat Robertson, John Hagee, and the late Jerry Falwell said in public? Barack Obama denounces Wright, comes across as a rational black man, then delivers a historic speech on race in America and ends up in the White House. I mean, the whole thing worked out so well, I have a feeling that somewhere Wright and Obama are secretly sharing a cigar, swapping one of those terrorist fist jabs Fox News warned us about, and saying to each other, ‘We got 'em, baby. We got 'em.’
The impending nomination of Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State has caused a complete mental breakdown among the usually punctilious ethicists in the media. Suddenly, there is no conflict of interest worth investigating, especially Bill Clinton’s multiplicitous foreign connections through the Clinton Global Initiative. Listen to the bow-to-our-king tone coming from NPR "news analyst" Daniel Schorr on Weekend Edition Saturday:
SCOTT SIMON, host: Does Bill Clinton become a complicating factor? Because he not only has financial interests all over the world one way or another, but in some ways, he's been conducting his own foreign policy campaign.
SCHORR: Well, somewhat. Well, he could be a problem but apparently he has satisfied Mr. Obama that he will not be a problem. He has surfaced everything that he got in the way of money from Arab and other countries for his library and for himself. He apparently has given promise that in the future, he will not do anything in his own travels around the world that will interfere with his wife as secretary of state. And if the president-elect is satisfied, I suppose we must all be.
On Saturday morning, National Public Radio’s Weekend Edition Saturday reported on a most unusual art installation in Manhattan – prayer booths, which look like little phone booths, but come decorated with a kneeler and hands folded in prayer. NPR sent reporter Margot Adler – the pagan witch – to address this issue, and she just happened to stumble across the New York City Atheists as she opened the story:
MARGOT ADLER: You couldn't find a place less conducive to meditation than this corner of 60th Street where cars are streaming east toward the 59th Street Bridge or down 2nd Avenue. And yet there are two prayer booths here a block apart. I'm surprised to see Ken Bronstein, the president of New York City Atheists, checking them out.
(To Bronstein): So you just happened to be walking by at this very moment.
KEN BRONSTEIN: I just happened to be walking by at this exact moment. But I always keep my eyes and ears open.
ADLER: And what Bronstein says is "art-schmart," this is prayer in a public place.
Although the audio that recently emerged of Sen. Barack Obama discussing "redistributive change" came from an interview he did with Chicago Public Radio, National Public Radio's "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered" on Monday as well as "Morning Edition" on Tuesday completely ignored the audiotape of Obama's 2001 interview.
During his campaign stop in Dayton, Ohio, on Monday, Sen. John McCain specifically addressed the recently surfaced audio and even quoted Obama as saying, "One of the tragedies of the Civil Rights movement was because the Civil Rights movement became so court-focused I think that there was a tendency to lose track of the political and community organizing and activities on the ground that are able to put together the actual coalitions of power through which you bring about redistributive change."
Nevertheless, during Monday's "All Things Considered" report on McCain's campaigning in Ohio, there was no mention of the audiotape or of McCain using Obama's own words against him. Instead, the broadcast focused on McCain's argument that one party ruling the country would be disastrous.
Lazy journalism at NPR typically causes a return to their default position: liberal bias. Such was the case yesterday. In the morning edition, NPR reported on the recent and unsurprising announcement that NOW--the National Organization For Women, an ideological & partisan group--would endorse Barack Obama.
Rarely does the National Organization For Women endorse a presidential candidate. On Tuesday, the group announced it is endorsing Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama. Kim Gandy, president of NOW, talks with Renee Montagne about why the organization is endorsing Obama.
That “Made in America” sticker is looking more attractive.
Second-quarter (2Q) Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was revised up from 1.9 percent growth to a higher than anticipated 3.3 percent, according to reports on August 28.
Rising exports played a significant role in the expansion. According to the Commerce Department, real exports increased 13.2 percent in the 2Q of 2008, compared with an increase of 5.1 percent in the first. Real imports of goods and services decreased 0.8 percent in the first quarter and 7.6 percent in the second.
NPR’s Morning Edition broadcast an interview with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday, lamenting her from the left. Co-host Steve Inskeep reported that a new vote on war funding "means Democrats get a reminder of something they have not accomplished. For a year and a half now they've tried and failed to end the war." Would that really be an "accomplishment"?
While the story aired current and dated declarations from Pelosi that Bush has his "head in the sand" to conditions in Iraq, NPR’s interviewer, KQED/San Francisco correspondent Scott Shafer, never asked if improvement in Iraq might have changed just which politicians look like they have a "head in the sand" to current conditions. But then, Shafer has a partisan background: he worked as a press secretary to San Francisco Mayor Art Agnos and as chief of staff to Gray Davis when he was the state of California’s comptroller.
Shafer made no acknowledgment anything has changed since 2006, that the surge happened and violence is way down, but only that the death toll surpassed 4,000:
As part of their post-mortem for the zombified Hillary Clinton campaign, National Public Radio is blaming the media (including talk-radio hosts like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck, and Fox's Neil Cavuto and Bill Kristol) for demeaning Hillary Clinton "pioneering candidacy" with sexist coverage during her race for the White House. On Wednesday’s Morning Edition, media reporter David Folkenflik interviewed male political reporters (Richard Stevenson of the New York Times and Chuck Todd of NBC) and liberal feminists (Dee Dee Myers and Susan Estrich) to recount Hillary’s burdensome struggles with cackle coverage:
FOLKENFLIK: But journalists and pundits do constantly describe Clinton in different terms than they would her male rivals. In the following clip, Fox News pollster Frank Luntz was asking voters what kind of campaign they wanted Obama and Clinton to wage.
FRANK LUNTZ (Pollster, Fox News): How many of you want them to really argue? Raise your hands. And how many of you want them to make love to each other?
FOLKENFLIK: Just try imagining John McCain and Mike Huckabee in that scenario, or Joe Biden and these remarks by conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh.
In all the brouhaha last week over the incendiary comments made by Barack Obama's pastor the media seemed to forget to partake in their traditional Holy Week Christian-bashing excercise. There were a few entries in the "Easter Hit Parade," like the Comedy Central show "Root of All Evil" which my boss, Brent Bozell, wrote about in a column recently, and an episode of "Law and Order" which featured another Christian-stones-someone storyline.
I suppose it's good news that there was less faith flagellation courtesy of the liberal media, and yet at the same time it's sad that I was expecting to find it at Easter time. But the fact remains that Christmas and Easter are generally times when the media attacks on Christians are more pronounced.
Jennifer Harper, Washington Times reporter and friend of Newsbusters, gives us a revealing look at how far left our taxpayer funded National Public Radio network has gotten itself these days. Even when they try to go a little toward the conservative side of the debate, they get lambasted by their audience, angered that they had the temerity to air conservative views. Of course, the only reason they would get such a rude reception from their own audience is because they have garnered only a far left listenership as a result of their far left programming. After all, if they had a balanced listenership they wouldn't get deluged by angry emails when they aired conservative content.
Apparently, at the end of February, the NPR program "Morning Edition" took the unusual move of airing four consecutive days of interviews with conservative thinkers in a segment they dubbed "Conversations with Conservatives."
One last State of the Union note. I found this introduction to an NPR interview with a Clinton speechwriter and a Reagan speechwriter on Monday's Morning Edition on a two-term president's last SOTU a little odd:
STEVE INSKEEP, anchor: It's a moment for any president to reflect on his accomplishments, as President Clinton did in his last State of the Union in 2000.
CLINTON: Never before has our nation enjoyed at once, so much prosperity and social progress with so little internal crisis and so few external threats.
How is it that NPR plays that clip thinking that it represents Clinton's accomplishments, instead of his utter cluelessness in retrospect about the gathering storm of 9/11?
National Public Radio's "Morning Edition" gave a report November 30 on misleading "green" products, charging companies with "The Six Sins of Greenwashing."
"You may have thought they were environmentally friendly just because the product says so, but some environmentalists think you're being ‘greenwashed,'" said host Steve Inskeep. "Is one of the sins just lying, then, basically?"
Scot Case of the environmental marketing firm TerraChoice conveyed that "the biggest sin [they] found ... was called ‘The Sin of the Hidden Tradeoff' for products that promote a single issue ... but there are a wide variety of environmental considerations."
TerraChoice evaluated 1,018 retail products for their environmental claims and only one was found to be without sin, while the rest were guilty of offenses like "The Sin of the Lesser of Two Evils," "The Sin of Fibbing" and "The Sin of No Proof."
As oil flirts with $100 a barrel, guess who is getting gold stars for reporting ... NPR.
National Public Radio's "Morning Edition" stories on $100 a barrel oil this week have featured some underreported views on the industry: The economy is surviving the higher costs, and the oil companies are using the profits for future exploration.
Reporter Jim Zarroli told NPR listeners what was supposed to happen, saying, "Time and again, economists from Alan Greenspan on down have warned that oil prices are inflationary ... Interest rates go up, borrowing becomes more difficult, and growth slows."
But, Zarroli also pointed out the unique trend that gets little coverage: Despite the rise in oil prices since March 2007, the economy has continued to grow at a strong pace.
There's more than one way to survive the rising cost of oil.