Charles Krauthammer justifiably lost his patience with his fellow panelists on PBS's Inside Washington Friday evening.
No matter how many times he explained that Republicans last week proposed a revenue increase that Democrats refused, PBS's Mark Shields and NPR's Nina Totenberg couldn't seem to grasp this simple concept leading Krauthammer to ask, "What planet are you guys living on...I’ve rarely encountered such thickness" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
NPR's Nina Totenberg on Friday exhibited what Hillary Clinton would call a willing suspension of disbelief.
When the subject of failed solar company Solyndra came up on PBS's Inside Washington, Totenberg actually said with a straight face, "There is no evidence that there was any political anything about the awarding of this contract" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
National Public Radio proved a long time ago it disdains black conservatives. Remember when NPR’s Nina Totenberg launched the unproven sex-harassment charges against Clarence Thomas? NPR doesn’t even like black liberals who appear on Fox News: they canned Juan Williams. The sex-harassment charges against Herman Cain aren’t ruining him quickly as the media hoped, so on November 11, NPR viciously attacked Cain for being an enemy of blacks, and a “minstrel” to white conservatives.
Reporter Karen Grigsby Bates began with Harvard professor Randall Kennedy. “Black people know that if Herman Cain had his way, their lives would be diminished,” he announced. “And they intuit that Herman Cain's policies are against their interests.”
MSNBC host and radio talker Ed Schultz gave a "What I Read" interview to The Atlantic, but the reading list was less interesting than his complaining about how talk radio is owned by conservatives: "Citadel doesn't do liberal talk radio. Bonneville doesn't do liberal talk radio. The Salem Radio Network, same thing." Of course, he admitted, If Ed Schultz owned 600 radio stations, I can guarantee you Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity or any other right-wing hack job would not be on my stations. But until liberals go out and buy signals, you're not going to get a lot of liberal talk radio."
Then Schultz admitted where liberal radio is located. It's at the left end of the dial. "I don't buy that there are more conservative listeners than liberal listeners. A lot of the liberal listeners are listening to NPR. In Washington or New York City, the NPR station has huge listenership. That's where most of the liberal audience is and that's who we, the commercial liberal format, have to peel away listeners from. This industry is ideologically-driven. That's the culture of it."
Harvard professor Randall Kennedy claimed “Black people know that if Herman Cain had his way, their lives would be diminished.” Former Time reporter Jack E. White added “Herman Cain tells them what they want to hear about blacks, and in turn, they embrace him and say, see, that proves we aren't racist. He's even willing to be a minstrel for them.”
NPR brought on Shinseki to hail "the president stepping out and leading in this area, trying to provide incentives for hiring young veterans. And this is the jobs bill. This is his speech in August at the American Legion. We won't balance this budget on the backs of veterans. I mean all very, very strong statements." This may not be surprising, but there's no record of NPR going out to interview the veterans affairs secretary on Veterans Day in the Bush years.
Bill Clinton appeared on Tuesday morning on NBC and MSNBC to promote his latest book, and neither asked the man – who paid an $850,000 settlement to Paula Jones and surrendered his law license for false testimony – to comment. The same pattern happened on National Public Radio. Morning Edition anchor Steve Inskeep gave Clinton more than seven minutes of air time to his thoughts on Obama and the economy, but no harassment inquiries.
This question was jaw-dropping in its ignorance. “Your administration was known politically for seeking to reposition the Democratic Party, not get stuck as being defined as tax-and-spend liberals,” Inskeep proclaimed. “President Obama also was seen as trying to take the party in a new [moderate] direction, but ended telling an interviewer last year that he had been tagged as another tax-and-spend liberal. How'd that happen to him?”
Gary Locke, Obama's Commerce Secretary turned ambassador to China, drew an unlikely "rock star" goo-fest on NPR's All Things Considered on Friday night. In China, the former governor of Washington state is now apparently an "internet sensation" with "runaway popularity," a "rock star" who's mobbed by crowds with outstretched hands, but is still "very down to earth," since "He carries his own backpack, travels in economy and buys coffee with discount vouchers."
NPR reporter Louisa Lim insisted to the audience at home that nominating an ethnic Chinese man to be ambassador to China was a very wise move on Obama's part, as was proven by Locke's third trip to his ancestral homeland in southern China:
Would NPR or other liberal outlets ever suggest liberals were leading the fight for tax cuts for the rich? But on Saturday night’s All Things Considered, substitute host Laura Sullivan announced “In the small tourist town of Holland, Michigan, an unlikely group of religious leaders and conservatives are leading the fight for gay rights.”
But the star of reporter Lindsey Smith’s piece was not a conservative, but Rev. Bill Freeman, whose own website boasts “He has marched for world peace, lobbied Congress to pass the Hate Crimes Law, lobbied the state legislature to pass anti-bullying legislation and been arrested for civil disobedience in his support of gay rights.” When a liberal pushes a liberal cause, why can't NPR be honest?
On Friday night's All Things Considered, the Week in Politics segment could have been titled "Another Horrible Week for Republicans." Helping out enthusiastically was New York Times columnist David Brooks, who is billed as the conservative half of the political analyst team with ultraliberal Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne. But the two end up agreeing so much you can't tell which one is the liberal.
When anchor Robert Siegel asked if this week marked the "beginning of the end of the Cain phenomenon," Brooks sneered that Cain was a "TV show that lasted a little while," and Dionne naturally agreed. Then Brooks turned to Romney and insisted he drops the emotional temperature of the room to chilling lows -- and of course, Dionne agreed.
At the tail end of the second hour of the Diane Rehm Show on many NPR stations Friday, defense reporter James Kitfield of the National Journal broke out his outrage about the French magazine Charlie Hebdo, which was firebombed this week. Like Time's Bruce Crumley, Kitfield saved his outrage for the "irresponsible" satirists and all his sensitivity for the Muslims of France.
In the Huffington Post, French journalist Romina Ruiz-Goiriena complained that while "For many, the publication has been an iconic soapbox for the far French left since its creation in 1960," it failed to achieve what freedom should: "The issue was not thought-provoking; it simply contributed to burgeoning anti-Muslim sentiment. What it should have been doing was pushing the conversation forward to confront the seemingly dormant but rampant institutional bigotry. After all, is that not the point of having a free press tradition in the first place?"
PBS's Mark Shields on Friday took some childish swipes at Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich.
During an Inside Washington discussion about who might be next to challenge Mitt Romney for the GOP presidential nomination, Shields said, "Don't count out the chubby fellow from Georgia, Newt, the rehabilitated Newt Gingrich, carrying along a bogus IQ and some other baggage" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Guest hosts of the NPR-distributed Diane Rehm Show announced on Thursday and Friday that "Diane is in Maine on a station visit." But that description to the public was incomplete. In fact, Rehm went to Portland, Maine as a keynote speaker on Friday to the fall conference of the local environmental group Maine Businesses for Sustainability. "Diane Rehm will discuss the ways in which sustainability and sustainable concepts have infiltrated current events, touching on her personal observations of sustainability trends in the media."
On Friday’s edition of the Diane Rehm show on many NPR stations, a conservative-leaning caller, identified as “Frank from St. Louis” lit into “you guys in the mainstream press” for ignoring and/or delaying sex scandals about liberal Democrats, but leaping on the Herman Cain allegations, no matter how fuzzy.
What “Frank” got in return from the three journalists on the “Friday News Roundup” panel was denial, denial, and denial. They said there was “no evidence” of a double standard. Obviously, someone needs to look at the MRC’s 63-to-7 numbers on Cain vs. three of Clinton’s sex scandals.
On Friday's Morning Edition, NPR's Joel Rose played up the apparently "ominous" finding that voting-age adults 30 and younger aren't as "enamored of Mr. Obama as they used to be." Rose obtained sound bites from the President's supporters, but didn't play any from opponents. He also expressed liberal hopes when he stated that "there's still time for [them] to rediscover the excitement they felt four years ago, but the Obama campaign has some serious work to do."
Host Steve Inskeep introduced the correspondent's report by noting that "young people powered the election of President Obama in 2008. The so-called Millennial generation...voted in record numbers... [and] gave time, money, and a sense of excitement to the campaign. Now, a Pew Research Center report shows that some Millennials are questioning their support for the President. They're anxious about the economy."
NPR's Philip Reeves slanted towards the Occupy Wall Street on Wednesday's All Things Considered as he played up the "huge outcry" over St. Paul Cathedral in London's dispute with the left-leaning movement, which has an encampment outside its doors. Reeves spotlighted a local official who "called St. Paul's a 'national laughing stock,'" and omitted sound bites from the opponents of the movement.
Host Guy Raz noted in his introduction to the correspondent's report how St. Paul's was a "national treasure" associated with Churchill's funeral and the wedding of Charles and Diana, and continued that it was now "the backdrop for another kind of drama: a protest camp modeled on the Occupy Wall Street movement. NPR's Philip Reeves says it's causing upheaval in the heart of British society."
On Friday, NPR's Julie Rovner bemoaned the "crummy month for sentiment" about ObamaCare in an online report about the latest poll from the liberal Kaiser Family Foundation, which found that over 50% oppose the liberal law. Rovner also labeled Romney's Massachusetts health care law his "landmark achievement."
The correspondent lead her NPR.org item, "Democrats Lose Enthusiasm For Health Law," by seemingly downplaying the poll results and using her "crummy" label: "Sure, it's just one poll of many, but October marks a crummy month for sentiment about the federal Affordable Care Act." She continued by noting that "more than half of those polled...had an unfavorable view of the measure overhauling health care. Only 34 percent said they viewed the law favorably, a post-passage low."
Another NPR freelancer has been fired for activism at an Occupy rally. On Gawker, Caitlin Curran laments she was canned from 20 hours a week producing for the public radio talk show The Takeway (co-produced by Public Radio International and WNYC Radio in New York, and supported in part by the taxpayers through the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.)
Unlike Lisa Simeone, who served in a very official capacity as a public-relations flack for “Occupy DC,” Curran held up a sign in the Occupy Wall Street march in Times Square on October 15. The plan was for her husband to hold the sign, but she was also photographed with it and posted it to her personal Twitter account. It drew blog kudos – which was her undoing.
National Public Radio continues to define itself in every way as a taxpayer-funded nest of leftism. NPR couldn’t just supportively report on the Occupy Wall Street protests. A fire-breathing spokeswoman for the "Occupy DC" protests against capitalism was also an NPR host.
Lisa Simeone was an NPR anchor for their weekend version of the newscast "All Things Considered" for a year and a half, from late 2000 to early 2002. Now this radical was leading protests as she hosted a radio documentary series called "Soundprint" and an arts show, "The World of Opera."
On Monday's Morning Edition, NPR's Carrie Kahn followed her network's standard operating procedure by omitting anti-illegal immigration conservatives from a report highlighting Latino Republicans' concern over the apparently "rough" language from GOP presidential candidates. Kahn cited one activist who bemoaned that the "the harsh talk is making it difficult to recruit new Latino voters."
During his introduction for the correspondent's report, fill-in host Ari Shapiro acknowledged that "Mr. Obama has lost popularity with Latinos recently, mostly due to the economy," but then added that "Hispanic voters looking for alternatives are not too happy with the Republican slate either." Kahn continued by playing up how "if you've been listening to the GOP presidential candidates lately, the talk about immigration control is getting rough."
NPR's Michele Norris, an anchor on the evening newscast All Things Considered, will temporarily step down as anchor while her husband Broderick Johnson accepts a senior position with the Obama re-election campaign. She will keep reporting what NPR calls "signature pieces" for the show (but not on politics), and plans to return as co-anchor after the 2012 elections.
Norris recused herself without an announcement in 2004 when Johnson aided Kerry's congressional outreach, but not in 2008 when he was unpaid adviser to Obama’s campaign. In a message sent on Monday morning to NPR staff, Norris said:
There was a truly marvelous exchange between syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer and NPR's Nina Totenberg on Friday's "Inside Washington."
When Krauthammer pressed her on why President Obama didn't embrace the Bowles-Simpson plan to reduce the budget deficit, Totenberg replied, "Don’t make me the spokesman for the White House," leading him to deliciously ask, "What would be new about that?" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Incoming NPR president Gary Knell smugly dismissed NPR critics in an interview with James Rainey of the Los Angeles Times. "If you listen over a period of time you hear voices from all ends of the political spectrum on NPR," Knell argued. "I think a lot of the critics, by what they say, don't even listen to the service." (Dear Mr. Smug: read the NPR section of NewsBusters, with links to your transcripts.)
That's not the only smug echo among the NPR rookies. Another line is that conservatives (or people who agree there's a liberal tilt) aren't the "real listeners," the "core audience" of NPR -- even if they're "core" funders through taxes. That's what new NPR ombudsman Edward Schumacher-Matos said in an interview on NPR's Talk of the Nation on October 11:
Editor's Note: The following is a quote from a letter NewsBusters publisher and Media Research Center (MRC) founder Brent Bozell sent to Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) earlier today, spurred in part by the recent revelation that NPR host Lisa Simeone served as a spokesperson for the Occupy DC protest.
NPR is out of control, using taxpayer money to lend support to a sometimes violent and lawless mob set on crippling the financial backbone of our country.
AP is reporting NPR host/Occupy protest leader Lisa Simeone has been fired: "A freelance broadcaster who works for music and documentary programs has been fired from a job after NPR questioned her involvement in a Washington protest." (Update: AP reports WDAV declared it would retain Simeone as host of World of Opera: "Ms. Simeone's activities outside of this job are not in violation of any of WDAV's employee codes and have had no effect on her job performance," WDAV spokeswoman Lisa Gray said.)
Lisa Simeone said Thursday that she was fired from "Soundprint," a documentary show that is not produced by NPR, but by Soundprint Media in nearby Laurel, Maryland. "Simeone says she was fired Wednesday in a phone call during which NPR's code of ethics was read to her." Simeone is angry that her free-speech rights are being trampled, telling journalist David Swanson on the left-wing site War Is A Crime.org:
Matthew Boyle of the Daily Caller has a hot scoop about a National Public Radio employee aiding "Occupy" protests in the District of Columbia. "National Public Radio host Lisa Simeone appears to be breaking the taxpayer-subsidized network’s ethics rules by acting as a spokeswoman for Occupy D.C. group 'October 2011,' which is currently 'occupying” Freedom Plaza in Washington, D.C.'
Simeone hosts NPR’s nationally distributed “World of Opera” program and “SoundPrint,” a program that airs on DC NPR affiliate WAMU-FM. In a YouTube video uploaded in July, Simeone proclaimed "The time has come to stop these wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and all the other places we're now bombing with our drones and other equipment, and to demand that money that's being spent and wasted on slaughter come home here to spent in the U.S. on human needs."
The ombudsman at a media outlet is supposed to be an advocate for the audience, a watchdog to keep the media outlet honest. But several new ombudsmen are following a more comfortable rut: kissing the hand that feeds them, and defending the media outlet from "baseless" public criticism. Patrick Pexton is doing that at The Washington Post, and Edward Schumacher-Matos is doing the same at NPR.
Late Monday, the NPR ombudsman slammed NewsBusters and National Review Online. The pull quote summarized: "I want to learn from the advocacy groups. But not much of their criticism holds up." He even suggested there was "certainly no liberal bias" as NPR flooded the zone of the London phone-hacking story that leftists thought could be Rupert Murdoch’s undoing:
On the Washington Post-owned black commentary website The Root, managing editor Joel Dreyfuss wrote an open letter to Gary Knell, the new CEO of NPR, insisting the firing of Juan Williams means NPR should respond by going beyond its white liberal "myopia" and broadening the network to more "black voices and brown voices and white voices that challenge conventional liberal thinking."
Dreyfuss applauded Knell for "your efforts to set a new tone on this volatile topic after the nasty fallout that followed the clumsy exit of commentator Juan Williams early this year. The highly publicized incident left NPR with a tarnished image, seen by many as hypocritical in its tolerance of a variety of voices, and questionable when it came to giving people of color a significant role."
On Friday's Inside Washington on PBS, regular panel member Nina Totenberg of NPR incorrectly claimed that the "top tenth of one percent" of income earners in America "controls something like 20 or 30 percent" of the nation's income, and went on to characterize the economic situation as being worse than it has been in "hundreds of years," as she suggested income gaps were at a level that "people came to this country to avoid."
In reality, it is the top one percent - not the top "tenth of one percent" - that earns about a quarter of the nation's income.
As the group discussed the Occupy Wall Street protests, Totenberg made the following observations:
On Tuesday night’s All Things Considered, NPR celebrated its pivotal role in creating the “riveting” and “tumultuous” Hill-Thomas hearings, which ended in Thomas being confirmed “by the smallest margin in a century.” So said substitute anchor Guy Raz.
NPR handed over the microphone to their legal reporter Nina Totenberg, who channeled that liberal-Democrat leak of Anita Hill into “history.” Totenberg filed an almost nine-minute report that could be called a “screed” against Thomas. Her thesis was that Thomas was a radical, extremist judge untethered to tradition, with a “vociferous” wife to boot. Totenberg hasn’t learned any objectivity over the last two decades.