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:
Norman Ornstein is a long-time congressional expert (and favorite TV talking head) who works for the American Enterprise Institute. We've established that NBC anchor Brian Williams was citing him after the president's last press conference in support of how historic and wonderful and "productive" this Democrat-dominated Congress has been.
But the fact that AEI has long been a right-leaning think tank can cause reporters to use Ornstein to suggest "even" conservatives are hailing the accomplishments of liberals -- even if it's obvious from his sugary "sundae" quotes that Ornstein is no one's idea of a Limbaugh ditto-head. On Thursday's Morning Edition, NPR reporter David Welna played this trick on listeners:
DAVID WELNA: Congress has indeed outdone itself in the final days of big Democratic majorities controlling both the House and Senate.
NORM ORNSTEIN (American Enterprise Institute): To me, hands down, this is the most productive lame-duck session since we started to have serious lame-duck sessions in the 1940s.
WELNA: That's Norm Ornstein. He's a long-time congressional observer at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative Washington think-tank. Ornstein says this lame-duck session was a fitting climax for an amazingly productive 111th Congress.
Curtis Wilkie is a former Boston Globe reporter who once wrote a book with Whitewater crook Jim McDougal, and once claimed Bill Clinton’s 43-percent victory in 1992 was some kind of “mandate.” His latest book is on currently imprisoned trial lawyer Dickie Scruggs. On NPR’s Morning Edition Wednesday, Wilkie didn’t talk about Dickie’s Democrat friends, only about how former Sen. Trent Lott and his “nefarious” political machine, also described for the NPR listener as “the dark side of the Force.”
There you have it, on your radio: Trent Lott in a Darth Vader suit. From his brother-in-law in jail, no less.
On Tuesday's Morning Edition, actor Ben Affleck was selling his new movie about corporate layoffs, Company Men, and anchorman Steve Inskeep carefully led the left-wing actor onto a soapbox to lecture about the immorality of American capitalism and financiers who do nothing but "move money back and forth":
INSKEEP: There's a line in Company Men that's staying with me. Tommy Lee Jones is at a corporate conference table. Someone else at the conference table is discussing their plans to lay off a bunch of workers. And nearly all the workers being laid off are older, which could be construed as being wrong or illegal. Someone at the table says: "Oh, no. This is going to pass legal scrutiny." And Jones responds: "I always thought we aimed for a little higher standard than that."
AFFLECK: That speaks so perfectly to people's feelings about our country. It's like it's just about getting by, or people can like let people go if they can get away with it, that there's no deeper sense of right or wrong. The banks shouldn't -- people shouldn't make such a giant profit off just moving money back and forth. And CEOs' pay shouldn't be 200 times the average worker. It used to be nine times.
That taxpayer-funded leftist sandbox called National Public Radio promoted the latest work/wreck of “progressive art” on Saturday morning's Weekend Edition. In San Francisco, they're twisting the classic ballet The Nutcracker into a radical-left jeremiad. Anchor Scott Simon announced nonchalantly: "'Tis the season for The Nutcracker. One production in San Francisco is decorated with a grab-bag of liberal political causes. In the Revolutionary Nutcracker Sweetie, the ice caps melt during the Dance of the Snowflakes and Clara is an undocumented Latina maid."
Liberal reporters think liberals aren't at all noteworthy so they get no label. When the media elite announces something has "liberal causes," it's extremely leftist. Reporter April Dembosky interviewed the show's writer and director, Krissy Keefer, without mentioning she ran for Congress against Nancy Pelosi from the far left, demanding the impeachment of Bush in 2006:
KEEFER: We are a political dance company in that we try to make work that is socially relevant, that is responding to the real ideas and real needs of people today in the community.
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.
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?”
On NPR's Morning Edition on Monday, anchor Steve Inskeep welcomed a regular guest, Wall Street Journal economics editor David Wessel (from the liberal news side, not the conservative opinion-page side). The new Congress is already too "shrill" and "ugly" with libertarian argument against Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke's printing money to buy government bonds:
INSKEEP: Rand Paul is a name that got a lot of attention in the election this past Tuesday. He won a Senate seat from Kentucky. But, of course, his father, Ron Paul, ran for president a couple of years back, is still in the House, and it looks like he's going to chair the committee that oversees Ben Bernanke's Fed.
WESSEL: That's right. Ron Paul, who wrote a book called "End the Fed" - so you know what he thinks ought to happen. He'll definitely give Mr. Bernanke a hard time, but he's really seen as something of an outlier. He's a Libertarian. He doesn't believe in paper money. And I don't think many of the other Republicans are quite comfortable with that view. But it will be interesting to have him in the House and his son, a senator from Kentucky, taking a seat that was vacated by another shrill critic of the Fed, Jim Bunning. So, it will be a lot of fireworks there, I'm sure.
NPR and other liberals are trying to convert the firing of Juan Williams into another episode of bullying conservatism. NPR deployed Jon Stewart in self-defense on Tuesday’s Morning Edition. Anchor Steve Inskeep noted Stewart’s arrival in Washington, DC marked his first show since the Williams purge, and they ran this joke:
STEWART [From the Daily Show]: Are you kidding me, NPR? Are you picking a fight with Fox News? They gave Juan Williams a $2 million contract just for you firing him. NPR, you just brought a tote bag full of David Sedaris books to a knife fight.
NPR suggested that this came in the spirit of "sanity" and that Stewart's rally is designed to "take it down a notch." But wasn’t NPR the network who took a knife to Juan's career, and Fox the ones with a tote bag full of goodies? In The New York Times, Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter also explained that liberalism is losing because it’s not doltishly simple, it’s too complex for the average American:
National Public Radio’s firing of Juan Williams tells you all you need to know about the radical, and thoroughly intolerant, Left. Juan Williams is a liberal, but still, he isn’t liberal enough. The idea that he would acknowledge a mere thought of discomfort at the idea of people in “Muslim garb” on airplanes in a post-9/11 world became a firing offense. It didn’t matter that he prefaced it with all the perfunctory and politically correct disclaimers about not being a bigot and we shouldn’t blame all Muslims for terrorism.
Today’s Left is void of any principles whatsoever. They can be as astonishingly offensive and insulting as they want toward Christians, and no one gets punished. The indefatigable Catholic League provides the documentation.
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."