Washington Post media reporter Paul Farhi was complete enough in his reporting on the internal NPR review of the Juan Williams firing on Saturday that he included financial numbers that NPR released on the bonuses of NPR CEO Vivian Schiller. The decision to cancel her bonus over that Fox-loathing fiasco was a six-figure decision:
According to tax records released by NPR on Friday, Schiller received a bonus of $112,500 in May 2010, about 17 months after she was hired by the Washington-based organization. This was in addition to a base salary of $450,000. The bonus was included in her hiring package, NPR said.
The preceding year, before Schiller's arrival, NPR paid out $1.22 million in salary, bonuses and deferred compensation to Schiller's predecessor, Kevin Klose, who retired that year. It paid another $1.22 million to Ken Stern, its president, who was forced out. Stern's compensation was swelled by a early buyout of his contract, according to NPR.
On Saturday, Washington Post media reporter Paul Farhi found that NPR insiders are furious at the forced resignation of Ellen Weiss, the senior vice president for news who so controversially canned Juan Williams. The liberal arrogance of NPR was on full display, that they were the future of "democracy," and Fox News was clearly the enemy of democracy and an independent press:
"We have allowed Fox News to define the debate," wrote Peter Block, a member of the board of Cincinnati Public Radio, in a posting to an e-mail group consisting of public radio managers. He added, "I do not think this kind of capitulation [by NPR] assures the future of an independent press....Democracy is on the line and NPR is one of the last bastions of its possibility."
Farhi added that NPR's ombudsman, Alicia Shepard, also pointed to Fox (less harshly) in her column, that the Williams "incident has become a partisan issue in Washington's hothouse atmosphere, with Republicans (egged on by Fox News) using it as a rallying cry to demand that NPR be 'defunded' by the federal government." Do conservatives need to be "egged on" about NPR's shameless actions?
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:
Appearing on FNC's Fox & Friends on Friday, NewsBusters publisher and Media Research Center president Brent Bozell reacted to the resignation of National Public Radio executive Ellen Weiss and credited the incoming Republican Congress: "NPR is hearing footsteps, their hearing the footsteps of Republicans, who are saying...what in the world are we doing spending hundreds of millions of dollars a year on this network that is completely unnecessary."
As NewsBusters' Tim Graham earlier reported, an internal review of NPR's firing of news analyst and Fox News contributor Juan Williams led to Weiss being forced out.
In addition, Bozell predicted that despite the resignation of Weiss, NPR would soon returned to its biased coverage. He explained: "This is the face of the intolerant left today...these people are utterly intolerant of any position other than their radical agenda and they will kneecap you, including their own, Juan Williams, if you do anything such as appear on Fox News." [Audio available here]
"She took the admission of my visceral fear of people dressed in Muslim garb at the airport as evidence that I am a bigot. She said there are people who wear Muslim garb to work at NPR and they are offended by my comments. She never suggested that I had discriminated against anyone. Instead she continued to ask me what did I mean and I told her I said what I meant. Then she said she did not sense remorse from me. I said I made an honest statement. She informed me that I had violated NPR's values for editorial commentary and she was terminating my contract as a news analyst."
Williams chose not to participate in the review (perhaps knowing his view of the firing was already quite public.) The idea that Weiss's departure is coincidental doesn't come across in the Board's findings:
As scornful as the media were of conservatives last year, they were just as adoring of top liberals, as documented by the MRC's Best Notable Quotables of 2010. Topping the MRC's annual "Media Hero Award," ABC's World News anchor Diane Sawyer fawned over House Speaker Nancy Pelosi after the passage of ObamaCare in March:
“All agree she gets credit for locking up this vote, one of the biggest since Medicare in the 1960s. And she’s said to have done it with an epic blend of persuasion, muscle and will, even when half the town said it couldn’t be done....Their indefatigable, unwavering almost 70-year-old Speaker, mother of five, grandmother of seven....[to Pelosi] What do you think your dad and your mom would have said about this moment?”
Every year, the Media Research Center invites a distinguished panel of expert judges to sift through the dopiest, wackiest quotes of the year, and every year it seems the honor roll of idiocy gets longer and longer.
This year, top honors in the MRC's "Audacity of Dopes Award for the Wackiest Analysis of the Year" went to the Boston Globe Magazine's Charles Pierce, for a January 10 column he addressed to Republican Senate candidate Scott Brown just days before the Massachusetts special election. In Pierce's highly-esteemed opinion, Brown's cause was hopeless:
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.
Gordon Peterson on Friday asked either a staggeringly ignorant or intentionally provocative question.
On the most recent installment of PBS's "Inside Washington," the host queried his guests, "Why is it constitutional to require Americans to buy automobile insurance but un-Constitutional to force them to buy health insurance?" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
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.
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:
The latest meme among the legions of lefty Fox-haters is that FNC "distorted" or "skewed" the ObamaCare debate by instructing employees to call the "public option" the "government option" or some variation of that. The horror!
Of course none of the Fox-haters uttered a word of criticism when National Public Radio officially instructed employees to drop the "pro-life" and "pro-choice" labels in favor of "abortion rights opponent" and "abortion rights advocate," labels that clearly frame the debate favorably for the pro-choice position (who wants someone's rights denied them, after all?).
On NPR's weekend show On The Media (produced by radio station WNYC), New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller reacted badly to NPR's Bob Garfield suggesting Julian Assange of WikiLeaks was a "looter" or a smasher of windows. Keller insisted the document dump has "more value" than that metaphor, that the dump is "absolutely fascinating...like a graduate seminar" on international relations. It's a "ridiculous standard" to insist these finds must be Earth-shattering to be a positive development:
BOB GARFIELD: Now, the stories so far have been revealing but unsurprising, it seems to me, and not especially indicting. It’s made me wonder whether WikiLeaks is a legitimate whistleblower in this case or just a looter. Has Julian Assange shed light here with the release of 253,000 cables or has he just smashed a very big store window?
BILL KELLER: I think that the documents have more value than your metaphor gives them credit for.
Former president Jimmy Carter lied in an interview with NPR talk-show host Diane Rehm on Tuesday. She ended the interview by asking about the Tea Party and he claimed he had never criticized them -- despite smearing them as racists in 2009 in an NBC interview with Brian Williams:
REHM: Last question, very briefly, what do you think of the Tea Party movement?
CARTER: You know, I never have criticized the Tea Party movement because, strangely enough, I capitalized on the same kind of situation politically that has made the Tea Party successful -- that is, an extreme dissatisfaction with what was going on in Washington. Because I came along right after Watergate and right after the Vietnam lost and right after the assassination of the two Kennedy brothers and Martin Luther King, Jr., and so I capitalized on that, and I was elected over some very wonderful people who were U.S. senators and immersed in the Washington scene.
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:
It appears that at NPR, even a fat lip for the President is to be heralded as a crowning achievement furthering his prestige and street cred when dealing with despots like Kim Jong Il and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
According to Scott Simon, a president with a "gnarly, vivid scar" might even be able to intimidate China's rulers into halting their currency manipulation (audio follows with partial transcript and commentary):
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.
Katie Couric's boosterism of "moderate Republican" Sen. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and NPR's cheap shot at former President George W. Bush's recovery from alcoholism were just two of the "Media Mash" topics NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell and Fox News host Sean Hannity addressed on the November 20 edition of "Hannity."
"When will you ever hear the word 'liberal' attached to a Republican?" Bozell asked, noting that Murkowski is in fact a liberal Republican.
"In eight years, she was on [CBS] one time. In the last week, she's been on there twice," the Media Research Center president noted after viewing a clip of CBS "Evening News" Katie Couric's November 15 interview with the Alaska senator.
[Video of the full "Media Mash" segment is available after the page break]
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.
Since National Public Radio somehow missed out on an author interview with George W. Bush -- they did portray his presidency as a horror film -- NPR's Chicago-based weekend game show Wait! Wait! Don't Tell Me! mocked the former president by "interviewing" clips from his audio book, or as they called it, "A Fake Interview with a Real President." Bush's decision to tell about how he gave up drinking after his 40th birthday in 1986 is apparently a lie, if you're a public-radio comedian. Game-show host Peter Sagal mocked Bush as a drunk in the White House (MP3 AUDIO)
SAGAL: Thank you, everybody. With President George W. Bush's memoir, "Decision Points," coming out this week, naturally we reached out to invite the president on for an interview. Now this was the response we got, for real, from his former press secretary Dana Perino, quote, "That's hysterical. You guys are so funny," and then a smiling emoticon. So instead, we'll be interviewing George W. Bush's audio book. So welcome to WAIT WAIT, this is a big honor for us. Now, you tell some great stories in the book. Tell us about your first week as president.
BUSH: I had a few beers with the guys on Monday night. On Tuesday, I’d fix my favorite after dinner drink, Benedictine and brandy. I had a couple of bourbon-and-Sevens after I put Barbara and Jenna to bed on Wednesday.
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?”
On this past weekend’s Fox News Sunday, panel member Mara Liasson - also of NPR - invoked the name of Winston Churchill as she recommended that House Democrats send off Nancy Pelosi "in a blaze of glory" after having "accomplished historic things," rather than keep her on as party leader in the House. Liasson:
Nancy Pelosi did two things for which she will go down in history. She was an incredibly effective majority leader when, and Speaker, there was an opposition President. She helped make the majority. And when she was in the majority, she was the hammer that got through President Obama’s agenda and sent it to the Senate. However, that is a completely different role than what she wants to do now. For which, I think she’s kind of like Winston Churchill. I mean, she accomplished historic things for the Democrats, and they should be sending her off in a blaze of glory and adjusting for this new regime.
Panel member Brit Hume took exception with Liasson connecting Churchill and Pelosi. After Hume argued that "the difference between her and Winston Churchill is that Winston Churchill was turned out after he led his country to a great victory," leading Liasson to respond that she agreed Pelosi "should be turned out," the exchange continued:
The public-radio show "On The Media" explored the debate over defunding public broadcasting on Saturday -- but utterly stepped around any evidence from certain conservative media watchdog groups that NPR or PBS have a liberal bias. Host Brooke Gladstone perfectly characterized how the NPR elite arrogantly conceive of their mission: some say they have a liberal bias, but they are merely seekly to build a better, more informed, more thoughtful democracy. As usual, liberalism and enlightenment are the same thing:
I guess fundamentally this all boils down to what you think of public broadcasting. If you think it’s a left-wing-inflected source of information, then there would be no reason to support it. But if you think – you know, going back to that old chestnut, that it actually leads to a more informed electorate that can make a better democracy, then you might have a different view.
Speaking up for defunding (and bashing conservative Republicans) was Nick Gillespie, the editor of Reason magazine. Later, co-host Bob Garfield brought on former Washington Post editor Steve Coll for the liberal-overdrive position of massively increasing federal support for taxpayer-funded media.
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.