Trying to write off calls—in reaction to the Juan Williams firing fiasco—for the federal defunding of NPR as mere right-wing electoral politics and "cable catnip," Norah O'Donnell has grossly understated the proportion of its budget that NPR obtains from the feds.
Aided and abetted by Chuck Todd, Norah offered her misleading math on today's Daily Rundown on MSNBC. O'Donnell claimed that only 1-3% of NPR's budget is derived from federal funding. But as you'll see, the real number is at least double that.
Juan Williams's firing from National Public Radio (NPR) earlier this week was not only animated in part by the liberal George Soros-backed radio network's disdain of Fox News, it also reeks of a double standard, NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell told viewers of Friday's "Fox & Friends" program.
"If [Juan Williams] had said those words on the Charlie Rose show, it would have been seen as provocative or thoughtful.... This is the same network that featured Nina Totenberg hoping that Senator Jesse Helms would die or one of his grandchildren would die of AIDS because of his position on gay rights and nothing ever happened to her."
Fired NPR analyst Juan Williams is pushing back hard against the taxpayer-funded network firing him over his appearances on the Fox News Channel. In an opinion piece for Foxnews.com, Williams says he was a victim of political correctness and increasing ideological orthodoxy in media, and concluded that NPR is worse than Richard Nixon and his enemies list:
I say an ideological battle because my comments on "The O’Reilly Factor" are being distorted by the self-righteous ideological, left-wing leadership at NPR. They are taking bits and pieces of what I said to go after me for daring to have a conversation with leading conservative thinkers. They loathe the fact that I appear on Fox News. They don’t notice that I am challenging Bill O’Reilly and trading ideas with Sean Hannity. In their hubris they think by talking with O’Reilly or Hannity I am lending them legitimacy. Believe me, Bill O’Reilly (and Sean, too) is a major force in American culture and politics whether or not I appear on his show.
Years ago NPR tried to stop me from going on "The Factor." When I refused they insisted that I not identify myself as an NPR journalist. I asked them if they thought people did not know where I appeared on the air as a daily talk show host, national correspondent and news analyst. They refused to budge.
In the wake of commentator Juan Williams' feckless firing by National Public Radio, supporters on the Internet sounded a cheeky rallying cry: "Free Juan!" But Williams has now been liberated from the government-funded media's politically correct shackles. It's taxpayers who need to be untethered from NPR and other state-sponsored public broadcasting.
Public radio and public television are funded with your money to the tune of some $400 million in direct federal handouts and tax deductions for contributions made by individual viewers, not to mention untold state grants and subsidies. Supporters argue that this amounts to a tiny portion of state-sponsored media's overall budget, and an even tinier portion of the overall federal budget.
If it's so negligible, why do NPR's government-subsidized "journalists" cling so bitterly to the subsidies? Leverage. The government imprimatur gives NPR and PBS a competitive edge, favoritism with lawmakers and the phony appearance of being above the fray.
At NPR, you cannot admit your prejudices, even in the context of disavowing them. You can, however, suggest that a U.S. Senator and his grandchildren should be infected with the AIDS virus, claim the world would be a better place if everyone who believes in the Christian rapture did not exist, claim that Newt Gingrich seeks "a civil way of lynching people," and, as long as you are just a freelancer, call for Rush Limbaugh's death.
That is National Public Radio's editorial (double) standard. NPR fired analyst Juan Williams, an 10 year employee of the organization, for admitting that he gets "nervous" when he sees people in Muslim garb on an airplane. But NPR employees (and a freelancer in one case) have made each of those statements above without suffering the swift action brought against Williams.
Managing Editor's note: National Public Radio (NPR) has fired longtime analyst Juan Williams for admitting he gets nervous on a plane when he sees a person dressed in Muslim garb. What follows is a statement from NewsBusters publisher and Media Research Center President Brent Bozell.
Juan Williams has done nothing wrong. What he said echoes what the vast majority of Americans believe. It’s their tax dollars that fund NPR. But NPR is ignoring them. Instead, they are kowtowing to the agenda of radical anti-Americans like CAIR, and doing the bidding of George Soros, who hates Fox News with a passion.
And since when did NPR have standards? Here are just three examples of left-wing statements 100 times more outrageous than what Juan Williams said, with no reaction from NPR:
If Juan Williams knew at 9:45 p.m. yesterday that he was out of a job, he sure didn't show it.
The same night he was fired by NPR, Williams appeared on Sean Hannity's "Great American panel" segment in an ostensibly cheerful mood, exchanging playful banter with the host and panelists.
"I love the sartorial splendor of his mutton chops," quipped Williams, referring to New York gubernatorial candidate Jimmy McMillian's facial hair. "And I'm thinking what would you look like with this? A little bit of that deputy dog look. You know what I'm talking about? You would look marvelous, my friend. That would be you as more liberal. That was a hip, younger Sean."
It shouldn't be shocking that as many NPR stations are conducting pledge drives of their liberal audiences, NPR has found a pretext to fire its longtime analyst Juan Williams for an appearance on Fox News. NPR listeners have complained loud and long that NPR analysts should not dignify that right-wing media outlet with their presence. Williams admitted on The O'Reilly Factor "when I get on the plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous."
It should be noted that the Council for American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) sent around a press release on Wednesday afternoon. CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad called for action against Williams: "Such irresponsible and inflammatory comments would not be tolerated if they targeted any other racial, ethnic or religious minority, and they should not pass without action by NPR." The New York Times somehow omitted CAIR from its Juan-is-gone story.
Perhaps the people at National Public Radio are worried that a new Republican Congress could threaten the lavishness of its federal subsidies again. Or maybe NPR is just a sandbox for the Left. But on Wednesday, the show Fresh Air spent most of its hour suggesting the Republican Party was dangerously infested with extremists. The guest was socialist Princeton professor Sean Wilentz, who has written that George W. Bush practiced "a radicalized version of Reaganism." Host Terry Gross was promoting Wilentz's article in The New Yorker on Glenn Beck and the Tea Party:
GROSS: Can you think of another time in American history when there have been as many people running for Congress who seem to be on the extreme?
WILENTZ: Not running for Congress, no. I mean even back in the '50s.
This is par for the course, since Gross promoted a New Yorker piece by Jane Mayer just a few weeks ago (on August 26) on how the Koch brothers were funding the Tea Party as part of a "war" on that secular saint, President Obama. What stuck out in this interview was the use of "extreme" labels for the conservative movement and the GOP -- twelve of them. In Sesame Street lingo, the hour was brought to you by the letter E for Extreme. Most of them came in Gross's restate-the-thesis (or in this case, restate-the-attack-ad) "if you're just joining us" reintroductions.
Media reporter Michael Calderone at The Upshot reported on Thursday that National Public Radio officials were surprised the outpouring of attention they drew with a memo insisting reporters shouldn't attend the liberal Comedy Central rallies of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. When Calderone asked NPR senior vice president Dana Davis Rehm why there was no memo for the Glenn Beck Restoring Honor rally or the recent liberal One Nation event, she explained that NPR felt "it was obvious to everyone that these were overtly political events" and staff would surely know not to attend. "It's different with the Colbert and Stewart rallies; they are ambiguous," she continued. "But their rallies will be perceived as political by many, whatever we think. As such, they are off limits except for those covering the events."
Calderone asked other media outlets if they had a policy on the Stewart-Colbert event. ABC said it would follow a similar policy to NPR, to be present only as journalists and observers. An NBC News spokeswoman responded in a statement: "NBC News prohibits employees who function in an editorial role from participating at partisan events, however on a case by case basis we have permitted MSNBC hosts to participate in such events."
The Washington Post sent out a similar-sounding memo to staff about being observers, not participants:
The Poynter Institute's Romenesko website published a memo (sent today, and leaked today) from Ellen Weiss, senior vice president for news at National Public Radio insisting to the staff that they cannot attend the liberal Jon Stewart/Stephen Colbert rallies on October 30.
NPR journalists may not participate in marches and rallies involving causes or issues that NPR covers, nor should they sign petitions or otherwise lend their name to such causes, or contribute money to them. This restriction applies to the upcoming John [sic] Stewart and Stephen Colbert rallies.
Glynnis McNicol at Mediaite quipped: "No word on whether NPR issued a similar memo prior to Glenn Beck's rally in August…I’m going to hazard a guess it probably wasn’t needed." Uh, yes. It could be argued NPR already gave Stewart an extremely positive promotion on Fresh Air with Terry Gross on October 4. (It was a Gross-out.) Weiss also said it would be wrong to advocate for political issues -- that "you could not" advocate, ahem, in your day job at NPR:
Nationally distributed NPR talk show host Terry Gross was putting her feelings on her sleeve and on the air Monday in an interview with liberal comedian Jon Stewart. The episode was taped at an event at the 92nd Street Y in Manhattan with a live audience. Gross began by proclaiming "I just want to say thank you before I ask you the first question.....Thank you for the last thing I see every night, in addition to my husband and my cat, is your show. And I'm able to go to bed with a sense that there is sanity someplace in the world."
Stewart joked constantly through the hour, but it was also clear he had serious anger with how the Democrats haven't been leftist enough, and about a media that hasn't been biased enough. He expressed frustration near the show's end when he asserted that the media's too timid because of the talk of a "liberal media conspiracy." When asked about liberals being concerned that his October 30 "million moderates" march will hurt Democrats, he actually said "Tough [expletive]."
GROSS: Now, some people are worried. There's a big AFL-CIO liberal march, there's the FFL, the NAACP, a whole bunch of groups. Some people worry that your march is going to take away from their, like, serious political march.
Think President Barack Obama has thin skin? How could one not, after the attacks on media personalities like Rush Limbaugh or his on-the-record comments about the liberal blogs and Fox News?
On PBS’s Oct. 2 broadcast of “Inside Washington,” NPR’s Nina Totenberg pointed out the left-wing blogosphere has been critical of Obama, yet she chalked it up as just being “whiny.” “Inside Washington” panelist and Fox News contributor Charles Krauthammer responded, and pointed out the president’s “thin skin,” in the wake of his remarks about his cable channel in a recent Rolling Stone interview.
“You would think that the presidency is slightly higher than the left blogosphere, but it is not, and that is what the problems,” Krauthammer said. “The president has an unbelievably thin skin, left or right. His obsession with Fox is a good example of that.”
On the final day of his United Kingdom trip, Pope Benedict XVI formally beatified English theologian and apologist Cardinal John Henry Newman. Let’s look at some of the stories about Newman. NPR’s excellent religion reporter Barbara Bradley Hagerty had a piece speculating that Newman was gay. I thought it a completely bizarre approach for the main story the news outlet chose to report on the man.
The piece itself acknowledges, eventually, that there’s no actual evidence for the claim. But that comes after the large point headline asks: "Was Cardinal John Henry Newman Gay?"
Today, eight city council members were arrested in Bell, California for what Los Angeles County District Attorney labeled "corruption on steroids." Thus far, every major news outlet that has reported on the story has omitted the fact that all eight individuals arrested are Democrats.
These glaring omissions come only weeks after NewsBusters reported that of the 351 stories on the then-brewing controversy, 350 had omitted party affiliations, and one had mentioned they were Democrats only in apologizing for not doing so sooner.
On Friday's American Morning, CNN's Carol Costello followed up on her biased report from the previous day, which promoted Catholic women posing as priests, with a second report on dissenting Catholics, focusing on heterodox nuns inside the U.S. Costello promoted the claim of the nuns, who accuse the Vatican of conducting an "inquisition," or wanting to "silence nuns when they disagree with the Pope."
Substitute anchor Drew Griffin gave a brief on Pope Benedict XVI's second day in the U.K. 25 minutes into the 6 am Eastern hour, just before his colleague Kiran Chetry introduced the correspondent's report. Chetry proclaimed how the Vatican is apparently "squarely at odds with American nuns," and that many of these nuns "feel they're under siege from the Church, which is questioning the quality of their religious life." Costello picked up where the anchor left off: "[T]he Vatican is now conducting two sweeping investigations of American nuns...the Vatican hopes to have a better understanding of how nuns live their lives in the United States. Nuns don't see it that way, though. Many think these investigations are nothing short of interrogations, designed to take away all they've gained."
Costello led her report by featuring Sister Maureen Fiedler, a liberal public radio host who attended the "ordination" of seven women on the Danube River in 2002. Fiedler stated during her first sound bite, "Some of my friends asked me why the Vatican officials suffer from a deep seed hatred of women." The correspondent continued by describing how "the Vatican ordered two sweeping investigations into the religious views and lifestyles of American nuns- investigations that have alarmed many sisters like Marlene Weisenbeck, whose organization represents thousands of American nuns across the country." Sister Weisenbeck was president of the Leadership Council of Women Religious until August 2010. She led the organization when it endorsed ObamaCare, contrary to the stance of the U.S. bishops' conference. Costello played two sound bites from the nun during her report.
Public broadcasting is often a sacred cow in the media. Reporters don't often dig skeptically to find self-dealing inside the walls of PBS or NPR stations. But kudos should go to Paul Farhi and The Washington Post for offering such a story on Tuesday.
NPR listeners in the Washington metropolitan area get their news programs on WAMU-FM, based at American University. One of its regular features is called Capitol News Connection, which offers little newscasts within WAMU's regular NPR news shows. Farhi found a conflict-of-interest case, and notice how the adjective “public” can fall away from public radio:
As it happens, the founder and chief executive of CNC's parent company is also the wife of the WAMU executive charged with determining which programs the station airs.
WAMU officials say they see no problem with the admittedly unusual arrangement, which isn't mentioned in any of WAMU's public filings or press material about the program. The station executive, Mark McDonald, has recused himself from any dealings about Capitol News Connection, according to WAMU.
National Public Radio is strongly urging America to get over its apparently rabid case of Islamophobia. On Sunday night's All Things Considered newscast, anchor Guy Raz played audio clips of Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin opposing the Ground Zero Mosque, and then launched into how much this resembles historic anti-Semitism:
In his column today, New York Times writer Nicholas Kristof points out that in 1940, 17 percent of the population considered Jews to be a menace to America. Almost every ethnic group in this country has gone through a period of transition when they had to fight to prove that, indeed, they were Americans.
Rabiah Ahmed and a group of Muslim leaders thought their community had to do the same today. So this week, they launched an online video campaign called "My Faith, My Voice."
The secular-left stronghold of National Public Radio dumped on conservative Christians again last week. On the August 25 edition of the nationally distributed talk show Fresh Air with Terry Gross, the topic was Christianity vs. Islam in northern Africa. Gross's guest was author Eliza Griswold, who Gross explained was the daughter of Frank Griswold, "the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church in America in 2003, when Gene Robinson became the first openly gay person ordained as a bishop in the church."
With those PC credentials established, Gross asked about Griswold accompanying Rev. Franklin Graham to Sudan in the Bush years, when Graham asked the Muslim dictator there for the right to preach the Christian gospel, and he was refused. But NPR's Gross was most worried that "very extreme" Graham was ruining America's reputation in the Third World:
GROSS: I guess, you know, I'm wondering, when Franklin Graham, who was perceived in the United States by a lot of people as very extreme, when he goes to a place like Sudan, establishes hospitals there, meets with the president, is he seen as representative of what Americans believe?
Even though liberal MSM types like Ron Elving, senior Washington editor at NPR, have a hard time understanding what's going on, they are giving credit for Joe Miller's Alaska GOP Senate primary (apparent) victory to pro-life voters.
But the title and opening paragraph of Elving's August 26 piece not so subtly tell us he thinks Alaskans have gone crazy...
On Sunday’s Reliable Sources on CNN, during a discussion of the Ground Zero mosque controversy, after Bloomberg’s Margaret Carlson recommended that the mosque be moved as a compromise, NPR’s Michel Martin – formerly of ABC News – compared relocating the mosque to similarly treating a Catholic church after the Oklahoma City bombing.
Even though McVeigh -- who described himself as "agnostic" despite his Catholic parents -- timed the bombing to coincide with the second anniversary of the Waco disaster to signal that he was motivated by revenge, Martin ridiculously responded: "Did anybody move a Catholic church? Did anybody move a Christian church after Timothy McVeigh – who adhered to a cultic, white supremacist cultic version of Christianity – bombed the Murrah building in Oklahoma?"
Below is a transcript of the relevant exchange from the Sunday, August 22, Reliable Sources on CNN:
Todd Purdum, a former White House reporter for the New York Times in the Clinton years -- a man so impressed by Clinton's first press secretary Dee Dee Myers that he married her -- discussed his latest Vanity Fair article on how Washington is broken on the NPR show Fresh Air on Tuesday. Purdum's most noteworthy complaint is how the Washington press corps is mean-spirited, even "profoundly silly" in its "perverse rituals" of questioning President Barack Obama. (See Lachlan's blog, too). Dave Davies, the substitute host for Terry Gross, helpfully summed up the thesis:
DAVIES: In the afternoon, you say there's this what you call one of the most perverse rituals of the modern presidency. That's the press briefing. Why is it perverse?
PURDUM: Well, if what the congressional leaders do is Kabuki theater, what the press do is really it's really comic theater. It's opera bouffe (comic opera), I guess. But, you know, I used to cover the White House 15 years ago for the New York Times, and I went to the briefing every day, and I confess that I thought it was kind of silly then.
From his usual perch on the NPR show Fresh Air, liberal linguist and Berkeley professor Geoffrey Nunberg predictably sneered on Tuesday at Sarah Palin's use of "refudiate," and then her refusal to correct herself. He suggested she obviously doesn't read enough. "You have to frequent the places the word hangs out in, the kinds of books and periodicals that have semicolons in them." But he also tried to cover his tracks a little bit by suggesting eloquence is overrated in politicians:
Palin could have picked up refudiate from someone else or come up with it on her own. The question is why she didn't correct it along the way, before she got called on it and felt the need to defend it. After all, the course of our lives is strewn with abandoned misconceptions about words. I'm always struck by how tenacious these are. A word will go right past me five or 10 times before I suddenly have this duh moment. As in, duh, it has a 'c' in it. Or duh, compendious doesn't mean comprehensive at all.
But Palin apparently never had a duh moment with repudiate, probably because she hasn't encountered it often enough.
Initial requests for jobless benefits rose last week to their highest level since April, a sign that hiring remains weak and some companies are still cutting workers.
The Labor Department said Thursday that new claims for unemployment insurance rose by 19,000 to a seasonally adjusted 479,000. Analysts had expected a small drop. Claims have risen twice in the past three weeks.
It seems that not even the truth can possibly overturn the narrative that President Obama and the Democrats in Congress have brought transparency to Washington.
Last Wednesday I wrote about how the Dodd-Frank financial regulatory bill Obama signed into law last month contains a provision exempting the Securities and Exchange Commission from Freedom of Information Act requests. Such an exemption would surely have been grounds for a media outcry during the Bush administration, yet apart from The Wall Street Journal and CNN, only blogs have been following the developments. The latter opted simply to parrot the administration's claims without challenge.
Other media ouetlets, such as National Public Radio and MSNBC, completely ignored the controversy, in stark contrast to their extensive coverage of the Bush administration's attempts to curtail the scope of the Freedom of Information Act. NPR's Don Gonyea said "When conflicts arise over what should or should not be open, the administration does not hesitate to invoke the memory of 9/11. And while it's true that 9/11 changed the security landscape, it's also true that the administration was tightening the control of information much earlier . . ."
Fox Business is reporting that the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill that President Obama signed recently includes a provision that exempts the Securities and Exchange Commission from responding to Freedom of Information Act requests. Fox wrote:
The law, signed last week by President Obama, exempts the SEC from disclosing records or information derived from "surveillance, risk assessments, or other regulatory and oversight activities." Given that the SEC is a regulatory body, the provision covers almost every action by the agency, lawyers say. Congress and federal agencies can request information, but the public cannot.
Several years ago, the media was confronted by several similar issues involving attempts by the Bush Administration to narrow the provisions of FOIA and exempt certain agencies from having to respond to requests filed under that act. The question that remains in these next few days as the media reports on this story is weather their response will be as condemnatory as it was when George W. Bush was in office.
In all of its Shirley Sherrod coverage this week, National Public Radio never managed to interview a conservative guest on the subject (other than a few tossed-in audio clips of Andrew Breitbart), although NPR never landed a Sherrod interview, either, despite her whirlwind tour. On Wednesday night's All Things Considered news program, anchor Michele Norris interviewed Newsweek columnist Jonathan Alter, who predictably scorned the right wing's "Fox obsessions" and "notorious smear artist" Andrew Breitbart. This judgment might be questioned, considering Alter wrote in 1996 it was a "weak case of media malfeasance" when his own magazine's sleuthing about the authenticity of medals spurred an admiral's suicide.
Norris offered Alter only softball liberal questions, allowing him a comfortable platform to promote his pro-Obama book The Promise while he disparaged the conservatives:
NORRIS: Let's set aside the specifics of the Shirley Sherrod case for just a moment and look at what this episode perhaps reveals about the culture of the White House and how it deals with race, and also the culture of the media and how it looks to, in some cases, exploit race for ratings.
The producers of NPR's evening newscast All Things Considered deserve credit for reading listener mail on the air, often to make corrections in the broadcast. But there was really nothing but liberals in the mailbag on Thursday, all furious at NPR for not being strong enough in denouncing Fox News and Andrew Breitbart:
MICHELE NORRIS: Here's some of what you had to say about our coverage of the story. Frank Holk(ph) of Wytheville, Virginia, writes this: I found it distressing that you spent the entire time talking about the actions of the administration with barely a mention of Andrew Breitbart and Fox News. Holk continues: Wouldn't it have been more appropriate to discuss their role in the matter? How about a discussion of Fox's sleazy reporting and Breitbart's fraudulent video editing?
NPR's blog The Two-Way is running the apology of public-radio producer Sarah Spitz, who claimed to her fellow liberals on JournoList she would "Laugh loudly like a maniac and watch his eyes bug out" if Rush Limbaugh were dying in front of her. But they also wanted to insist that her ties with NPR were few:
In fact, Spitz has never been an NPR employee. For many years, she has worked for KCRW, a public radio station in Santa Monica, California, as a producer and publicist.
KCRW is one of some 900 independently-operated public radio stations across the country that air NPR's news, talk and entertainment programming. Like network TV affiliates, they air national programming but act autonomously.
If you were in the presence of a man having a heart attack, how would you respond? As he clutched his chest in desperation and pain, would you call 911? Would you try to save him from dying? Of course you would.
But if that man was Rush Limbaugh, and you were Sarah Spitz, a producer for National Public Radio, that isn’t what you’d do at all.
In a post to the list-serv Journolist, an online meeting place for liberal journalists, Spitz wrote that she would “Laugh loudly like a maniac and watch his eyes bug out” as Limbaugh writhed in torment.
In boasting that she would gleefully watch a man die in front of her eyes, Spitz seemed to shock even herself. “I never knew I had this much hate in me,” she wrote. “But he deserves it.”
So much for the idea that NPR is an oasis of civil discourse in a desert of vituperation. Spitz is a producer for trendy-hot NPR station KCRW and its nationally distributed talk show Left Right & Center (which could be called Three Leftists and Tony Blankley). But Spitz has also done stories for NPR's evening newscast All Things Considered.