On Monday's Tell Me More, NPR talk show host Michel Martin offered a few supportive thoughts about Sarah Palin: she "was somebody you wanted to see in the game" as a working mother, and "She seemed practical, honest, unfazed and down-to-earth, exactly the qualities people hope newcomers in general and hopefully women will bring to public life." Apparently, though, these warm feelings evaporated within days. When she "trashed" Barack Obama at the Republican convention, she became "just another Mean Girl" on a rampage:
But then for some reason, maybe it was the glare of the national spotlight, maybe she was that way all along, Palin seemed to morph pretty quickly out of Superwoman into just another Mean Girl — ridiculing people who don't make the same choices she does, and then crying about it when the rest of the world bit her back.
National Public Radio’s website has a section called "Books We Like," and NPR is unafraid to declare it likes books that please the hard left. NPR book critic Simon Maxwell Apter lauded a book on white supremacists called Blood and Politics by the author Leonard Zeskind, a man who recently declared on Pacifica Radio that Sean Hannity and Pat Buchanan offer "a rational sense of justification" to hardened racists. Apter revealed that he liked not only the book, but the election of Barack Obama:
The recent murder of a security guard at D.C.'s Holocaust museum reminds us that racial and religious fanaticism live on in the U.S. But thankfully, while a handful of bigots are still grumbling on about the South's loss of the Civil War, the tyranny of "ZOG" (the "Zionist Occupied Government" currently reigning in Washington) and the "eight Jewish families" who "own" the Federal Reserve, some 70 million others have, in a testament to the overwhelming tolerance of contemporary American society, gone ahead and elected Barack Obama president.
On June 5, I reported that National Public Radio was piling on the story of murdered abortionist George Tiller, but had yet to report the shooting of Army private William Long, a gap of at least seven stories to zero. In her Ombudsman column on June 9, NPR’s Alicia Shepard asked the NPR staff why Tiller was more newsworthy than Private Long. They said because Tiller was a long-time figure of controversy. Liberals seem much quicker to conclude a soldier is a cold-blooded killer and more predisposed to think an abortionist is just a humanitarian doctor:
NPR Managing Editor David Sweeney defended last week's coverage decisions.
"The fact we gave more coverage to the killing of Tiller doesn't diminish the value of Long's life," said Sweeney. "But Tiller was a national figure given his practice and the attention he drew from abortion opponents. His killing has wider implications for the emotive debate on abortion on this country and we have covered those angles in reporting his death."
In one example, Morning Edition on June 5 carried a story exploring whether a 1994 law is sufficient to protect abortion providers.
Just like audio offered on the National Public Radio website, NPR transcripts in Nexis do not include top-of-the-hour newscasts. But a quick Nexis search finds there is no mention of the Monday shooting of Private William Long at a Little Rock recruiting station by a Muslim convert. I searched for "William Long," "army private," and "Little Rock."
Meanwhile, Nexis lists NPR has aired seven full stories or interview segments on the Sunday shooting of late-term abortionist George Tiller.
This is the only listing for Little Rock in the last week: a Tuesday story on master accordionist Steve Jordan:
The backroom studio is crammed with all the equipment they need to mix and produce albums on their own. The first CD will be titled "Carta Espiritual," "Letter to God;" quite different from earlier compositions like "Piedrecita," "The Little Rock," a paean to cocaine, but you won't hear a sample of it here. I tried. Jordan is famously paranoid about people ripping off his music.
In the very heart of the pro-life community, there is nothing they wanted less than another shooting of an abortionist. An unhinged vigilante's shooting of notorious Kansas late-term abortion "provider" George Tiller prompted an avalanche of press releases from pro-life groups denouncing the killing.
Why bother? Let's face it. The national media had zero interest in spotlighting a pro-life spokesman expressing horror, because let's face it, they don't believe it. Instead, as with ABC, they found anonymous citizens on the website Twitter saying "Oh, happy, day. Tiller the baby killer is dead." Another wrote, "God bless the gunman."
It was time for a barrage of liberal mudslinging. Keith Olbermann started his MSNBC program with these words: "A religious jihad by fundamentalist crusaders who believe that murder is justified, their acts of violence having the intended effect of changing behavior. Our fifth story on the Countdown: Not the Taliban, not Hamas, not al Qaeda."
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.
At almost the same time NPR's Peter Sagal and White House advisor David Axelrod were disgracefully mocking Carrie Prejean in front of a cheering crowd at George Washington University, NPR's Scott Simon was pointing out to his listeners how Barack Obama shares Miss California's views on same-sex marriage.
Talk about your inconvenient truths.
Potentially even more shocking, Simon exposed how absurd it is that folks have attacked Prejean while giving Obama a pass: "If you point out, as I have to a couple of e-mailers, that the president's opinion on gay marriage is more or less identical, the same people dismiss it as a painful insincerity he is forced to adopt because of people like Miss California."
The audio of this marvelous segment is available here with transcript below the fold (h/t JohnK):
In addition to a sympathy tour on Oprah Winfrey’s show, Elizabeth Edwards was interviewed by National Public Radio on Thursday. But All Things Considered co-anchor Michele Norris deserves credit for channeling some of the resentment of voters – both Edwards voters and others – who feel defrauded not just by John, but by Elizabeth, who consented to completely fraudulent media stories celebrating her wedded bliss. Deep into the interview, Norris asked the toughie:
NORRIS: Now, I don't have to tell you this, but you know that some people feel misled by your husband but also by you. You knew about the affair, but you chose to actively campaign for your husband and to present him as a man of character and to present yourselves as the people involved in an ideal marriage. And people are angry because they feel like you've perpetrated a fraud. People are angry because they feel that his campaign had an impact on the election. Is the anger directed at you justified?
The tea-party coverage even trickled on National Public Radio on Wednesday night, on their newscast All Things Considered. It was a fairly respectful hearing of dissent, even though anchor Melissa Block suggested the protesters were bearing only "pet peeves," and reporter Robert Smith insisted the festivities weren't exactly "grass roots" activity, since they were grown with "partisan fertilizer."
They were put together by "conservative" groups and Fox News. Would NPR or the TV networks ever describe the anti-war or pro-amnesty protests they lavishly cover as "liberal" events, or note they're less than "grass roots" because they got heavy play on ABC, CBS, and NBC? But Smith went there on the tea parties:
The NPR-distributed talk show On Point from WBUR in Boston – which airs nationwide on 169 stations – took up “Angry America” as a topic on Monday, illustrated on the show’s website with pictures of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, and Michael Savage. Host Tom Ashbook summarized that radio talk could lead to violence: “Lately, the language on air in the age of President Obama, economic bust, and big government bailouts, has been particularly hot – and hot when sales of guns and ammunition are surging.”
For a network that calmly bowed to the "advantages" of totalitarianism in Cuba's natural-disaster preparations, it was a bit shocking to hear National Public Radio anchor Melissa Block pressing a leftist congressman on Tuesday's All Things Considered about Cuban repression.
Employing what should be the standard practice of presenting the opponent's position, in this case on normalizing relations with Cuba and the Castro brothers. She found that Rep. Emanuel Cleaver of Missouri, touring Cuba with the Congressional Black Caucus, may be a "Democrat" but he celebrates a "diversity" of government styles, including lock-step communism:
BLOCK: Well, congressman, you well know that supporters of current Cuba policy -- supporters of the embargo -- say that if you lift sanctions you are going to just aid and justify a repressive regime. You're going to kill any hope of democracy. Now that regime will just use more resources to become more oppressive than it already is.
CLEAVER: Well, the world operates at its best when there is diversity. Every nation does not need to be like the United States. And frankly we already have diplomatic ties to repressive nations. And frankly if there is repression in Cuba, we didn't see it. We mingled with Cuban people. I preached at an Episcopal Church, Sunday, where we were told that there was no freedom of religion, which is not true.
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:
Since “I've really been getting pretty upset in the last week, just like every other American,” NPR's Nina Totenberg decided to watch President Obama on the Tonight Show “and he calmed me down. And he was presidential. I thought it was just a masterful performance.”
The eager-to-be-impressed Totenberg made her comment on Inside Washington, a weekly show produced and aired over the weekend by Washington, DC's ABC affiliate and its all-news cable channel, News Channel 8:
When I heard he was going to do this I thought, should a President really do that? Then I actually stayed up and watched it and he calmed me down. I've really been getting pretty upset in the last week, just like every other American I think. And he calmed me down. And he was presidential. I thought it was just a masterful performance.
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.
Ellen McDonnell, National Public Radio’s director of morning programming, sent a memo to staff (reproduced at Poynter Online) that financial hard times require them to gut the basics:
As of April 1 NPR is cancelling all newspaper subscriptions. We are making some arrangments to get the Wall Street Journal either on line or hard copy. You have until tomorrow to appeal this if there is a solid reason why you should be exempt. This is a cost saving measure company wide.
Earth to Ellen: Have you considered that paying salaries of $300,000 or more might be a bigger problem than paying a few quarters for the morning papers? Recall NPR's list of their top five salaries:
1. Managing Editor Barbara Rehm, $383,139. 2. All Things Considered host Robert Siegel [pictured], $350,288. 3. Morning Edition host Renee Montagne, $332,160. 4. Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep, $331,242. 5. NPR afternoon programming director Richard L. Harris, $190,267.
As the Dow Jones dipped below 7,000, it’s worth remembering that formerly conservative pundit Andrew Sullivan (for a while with Time magazine, now with The Atlantic) touted how "grown-up" Barack Obama would restore calm in the markets. From the October 17, 2008 Diane Rehm Show on National Public Radio, just after Sullivan claimed Gordon Brown and Obama were calming while Bush was not:
Bush at this point, I think largely because of Katrina and Iraq, is unable to use the authority of the office to calm people or the markets, and I think until this election is resolved, the markets will not stabilize. They need to know there is a grown-up back in the White House.
Two days later, Sullivan went on the set of the Chris Matthews Show and declared the McCain campaign a bust on fiscal conservatism: "It's been all tactics and no strategy. He’s supposed to be a fiscal conservative, but in fact he will add more to the debt than Obama will."
In Sullivan’s last appearance on the Sunday Matthews show, on February 15, he wildly denounced the conservatives for daring to oppose his hero Obama’s socialist deficit-spending plans.
Does the media show religious discrimination in their news judgment? The founder of a TV network devoted to improve the image of Muslims being charged in the beheading of his wife is not a story the major media have leaped on. On Friday, news broke that Muzzammil Hassan, founder and CEO of Bridges TV, was charged with murdering his wife Aasiya after she filed for divorce. After some Nexis research, here’s a listing of major media outlets that have yet to report it: ABC, NBC, NPR, the NewsHour on PBS, USA Today, and The Washington Post.
But on November 12, 1993, all these networks (including NPR) reported within hours on the charges made against Chicago's Catholic cardinal at the time, liberal-leaning Joseph Bernardin, by a 34-year-old AIDS patient, who had just "remembered" he was sexually abused 18 years after the alleged event, and wanted $10 million for his anguish. It led newscasts on CNN and NBC. Connie Chung's sensational introduction on the CBS Evening News typified media reaction: "The Roman Catholic Church in America was rocked today by charges of scandal against one of its most prominent leaders and reformers." (The accuser, Steven Cook, recanted the lawsuit in March of 1994.)
Updated: while the Nexis search showed no CBS story on the beheading, MRC's Kyle Drennen found a news report on Wednesday's Early Show.
News broke Thursday that Ellen Weiss, senior vice president for news at National Public Radio, insisted that Juan Williams must tell Fox News that his NPR affiliation should not be mentioned or pictured on The O’Reilly Factor. (Weiss also banished a Williams interview with President Bush from the airwaves of NPR in 2007, so it just aired on Fox News.) But what about Ellen Weiss’s potential conflict of interest?
In a brief phone interview with me Friday, Weiss insisted that if news came up "that had anything to do with that advisory board, I’d recuse myself, as anybody would." She added "I have on other things, including how we were going to cover our budget crisis." NPR laid off 64 employees and canceled two programs in December. (Weiss refused to discuss her decision to tell Juan Williams that his NPR affiliation should not be raised on O’Reilly's show.)
Weiss told me that she saw her husband’s appointment as "a non-political advisory council, it’s not paid," and added: "I don’t see his participation as challenging my ability to oversee the independent news coverage of NPR."
Here’s more proof that NPR’s most devoted listeners consider it their own liberal playground. NPR ombudsman Alicia Shepard reported "NPR has more than 400 reporters, editors, producers and analysts on its news team, and none is more of a lightning rod than Juan Williams. But it's usually not for anything he says on NPR." It’s about his appearances on Fox News, where he had a contract before joining NPR in 2000. Shepard wrote:
Last year, 378 listeners emailed me complaints and frustrations about things Williams said on Fox. The listener themes are similar: Williams "dishonors NPR." He's an "embarrassment to NPR." "NPR should severe their relationship with him."
It’s gotten so serious that NPR's Vice President of News, Ellen Weiss, "has asked Williams to ask that Fox remove his NPR identification whenever he is on O'Reilly."
There's been a lot of news about Democratic senators supporting the reinstitution of the Fairness Doctrine. Last week Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., said it was "absolutely time to pass a standard." Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, came out with a similar message, saying, "We need the Fairness Doctrine back."
However, Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., is serving as the voice of sanity in the debate and has pledged to lead a filibuster in the U.S. Senate against any attempt to reinstitute the Fairness Doctrine. He appeared in an interview on Mark Levin's Feb. 10 radio show.
"Let me ask you this Sen. Sessions," Levin said. "If they try to make a run at talk radio, whether it's the local rule or diversity of ownership, or equal this or equal that - will you lead a filibuster among others to try and stop that?"
President Barack Obama's pick to head his faith-based initiative is a 26-year old former Pentecostal pastor by the name of Joshua DuBois. The media have largely noted DuBois's religious affiliation in a matter-of-fact manner.
In a Newsweek Web exclusive, Lisa Miller and Amanda Coyne set out to find something juicy about Alaska Governor Sarah Palin's house of worship, Wasilla Bible Church. But finding a "staid" worship environment that "steer[s] clear of politics" and whose main attraction is Biblical preaching, they opted to focus on where the governor used to worship regularly years ago, an Assemblies of God church:
Pentecostalism is one of the fastest growing branches of Christianity in the world, and the Assemblies of God is one of the largest Pentecostal denominations in the country, claiming 1.6 million members. Pentecostals are generally characterized by a strict adherence to moral codes--no tobacco, no alcohol, no social dancing, no sex outside of marriage--and by their belief that the Holy Spirit bestows upon some the gift of "speaking in tongues," a reference to Acts 2: "And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost and began to speak with other tongues." A spokeswoman for the McCain-Palin campaign has said that Palin attends many churches and does not consider herself to be Pentecostal.
When University of Washington Professor Eric Steig announced in a news conference and paper published in the January 22 edition of the journal Nature that he and several colleagues removed one of many thorns in the sides of climate alarmists -- in this case, evidence that Antarctica is cooling -- he received extensive worldwide attention in the mainstream press.
The Stieg paper's release was covered by 27 newspapers, including the New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle & Los Angeles Times, by CNN, by the Associated Press, by NPR and quite a few others (see reviews of the coverage at the end of this post).
After independent analyst Steve McIntyre discovered a major error in the data, and released his results on his influential blog Climate Audit beginning on February 1, based on a Nexis search I conducted today, none of these outlets chose to inform their readers.
Here's how the Stieg research showing supposed warming was received by the mainstream press:
On Inauguration Day, National Public Radio wanted to know how the Iraqi people would greet the American transition of power. On the afternoon talk show Talk of the Nation, host Neal Conan talked to NPR Baghdad Bureau Chief Lourdes Garcia-Navarro, and her street interviews led her to the idea that Iraq was unanimous: not a single Iraqi was grateful for the removal of Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship:
Any Iraqi that you speak to on the street will tell you, and I ask them this question, was the war worth it for you? Did this invasion, do you feel, give you a better life? And across the board, I didn't find one Iraqi who said to me, actually, I'm glad this happened. Most Iraqis have paid the price of, you know, if you want to call it their freedom, in blood, the blood of their relatives.
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."
Bill Ayers isn’t the only communist insurgent who’s greeted warmly by the national media. Tuesday’s edition of National Public Radio’s black-oriented talk show News & Notes carried an interview with Frank Wilderson, a rare American accepted into the armed insurgent wing of the African National Congress. The show’s host, former Newsweek writer Farai Chideya, tried to assist Wilderson in explaining how Nelson Mandela looked like a sellout to the South African Communist Party. "We were insurgents for an ethical reorganization of civil society and political economy. And in this day and age it's too easy to mark that kind of activity as a pure terrorist activity," he complained.
National Public Radio's Morning Edition celebrated the end of 2008 on New Year’s Eve with black commentator (and Huffington Post contributor) John Ridley listing the top "non-troversies" of 2008, which he defined as "what seemed monumental then, in retrospect has all the significance of a Dennis Kucinich stump speech." Ridley’s top "non-troversy" was Reverend Wright’s sermon clips about America deserving 9/11 and the U.S. government inventing AIDS. Ridley claimed he was only saying what the Robertsons and Falwells did:
And the number non-troversy of 2008? Are you ready for this? How dare Jeremiah Wright say the bigoted, hurtful things in the privacy of a black church that men of God like Pat Robertson, John Hagee, and the late Jerry Falwell said in public? Barack Obama denounces Wright, comes across as a rational black man, then delivers a historic speech on race in America and ends up in the White House. I mean, the whole thing worked out so well, I have a feeling that somewhere Wright and Obama are secretly sharing a cigar, swapping one of those terrorist fist jabs Fox News warned us about, and saying to each other, ‘We got 'em, baby. We got 'em.’
Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer are "moderate" liberals. And GOP opposition to Obama Supreme Court nominees would constitute a "fake fight" demonstrating that Republicans remain mired in the culture wars. Such was the collective wisdom of two of the roundtable members on ABC's "This Week" today.
Before moving to the substance, a word about the roundtable's lopsided composition, which resembled nothing more than Homecoming for public radio types. To "balance" David Brody of CBN, ABC chose Kurt Andersen of Public Radio International, Alison Stewart of NPR, and John Dickerson of Slate and . . . NPR. Andersen kicked off the Supreme Court segment with his "moderate" liberal comment. Dickerson followed with his pre-emptive warning about that potential Republican "fake fight."
An environmentalist's dream might be a businessman's nightmare. But when it came to describing the the environmental team Pres.-elect Obama has assembled, it was sugar plum fairies for GMA this morning. Rachel Martin, who came to ABC from NPR, narrated the segment.
RACHEL MARTIN: They are calling it the "Green Dream Team."
Which invites the obvious question: who's "they," kimosabe? Running down the team line-up, Martin viewed things from an environmentalist perspective.