When Obamacare was signed by the president in 2010, NPR marked how its health reporter Julie Rovner had a "picture perfect day," and took a snapshot. She "was all smiles when asked about how important this day was to her.” She said: “It's the first month of my twenty-five years covering health policy...and I did not intend to miss this event!”
So it’s not surprising that she would write a blog on how utterly conservatives failed to nick Obamacare in the shutdown fight – or as she called it, “their 16-day tirade against the government.”
On PBS’s Inside Washington Friday, NPR’s Nina Totenberg actually called House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) “the most effective Congressional leader probably in 30 years” (video follows with transcript and commentary):
You can trust National Public Radio to take the statist side in a shutdown. It happened again on The Diane Rehm Show on Monday, where “objective” reporters took turns slashing at “reality”-deprived Tea Party conservatives. Washington Post reporter Lori Montgomery said “the Obamacare push was a giant mistake.”
She even announced that “Obamacare madness” can be blamed for the shutdown:
Sarah Varney's report on Friday's Morning Edition is just the latest example of NPR's one-sided coverage of the health care issue in general, and ObamaCare specifically. Varney spotlighted how California's government gave a local chapter of the SEIU – a major supporter of President Obama during his two presidential campaigns – $1 million to enroll people in the state's insurance exchange.
The journalist also turned to UCLA's Gerry Kominski, who downplayed the "bumpy roll-out", as she put it, of ObamaCare enrollment since it began on October 1, 2013. Varney didn't mention, however, that the professor trumpeted the Supreme Court's decision upholding ObamaCare in a June 2012 YouTube.com video:
The first laugh line from Gross? She asked Matthews, “Can you remember that far back, to when you were partisan?” Another gag line came when Gross asked if Matthews grew emotional when his liberalism (“love for the political process”) was challenged by people who want to dismantle and defund things:
On NPR’s On Point Thursday, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman actually equated Republicans with the terrorist group Hezbollah (transcript follows with commentary, audio available here, and via NPR with relevant section at 13:48):
Andrew Beaujon of Poynter MediaWire reports that NPR standards editor Stuart Seidel asked reporters and editors to “please avoid overusing ‘Obamacare’” after the Maynard Institute’s minority-journalism blogger Richard Prince wrote him saying “the term can no longer be defended as neutral.” Prince said Obama isn't using "Obamacare" in recent speeches.
Seidel explained "I’m not persuaded that the use of 'Obamacare' is wholly inappropriate, but I am persuaded that good effort needs [to be] made to avoid over-using it. I’m sharing that feeling with NPR's editors and correspondents."
President Obama granted a 24-minute interview to NPR Morning Edition anchor Steve Inskeep, the man who compared him to Abraham Lincoln in a softball 2012 interview with David Axelrod. On Tuesday's morning show, they spread the interview into three segments distributed throughout the show. The questions were mostly brief, neutral process questions about budget negotiations, but Inskeep did ask a tough question, from the Left, about rising income inequality on Obama's watch. (The full transcript is here.)
What really stood out was the part where Inskeep helpfully suggested to Obama that conservatives are scared that Obamacare will be implemented because it will become popular – which it certainly isn’t now – and then agreed it’s a deficit-shrinker:
NPR took up the NFL as a topic, with author Gregg Easterbrook, a sports junkie and long-time writer for liberal magazines and sites like Slate. On Wednesdays’s All Things Considered, anchor Robert Siegel seemed to sneer at the sport: “Football: part sport, part national addiction, part cult.”
Siegel told Easterbrook “Yours is one of the most conflicted books I've ever read. You love the game. And you document the umpteen ways in which it has forfeited any claim to your love. Why not say ‘Enough, goodbye, football’?” Easterbrook said “I love football and I want it reformed.” Both liberals and conservatives might be shocked that the massively profitable NFL is chartered as a nonprofit:
NPR is a very favorable place for atheists. Richard Dawkins, the harsh leftist author of “The God Delusion,” was smothered in air-kisses on the Diane Rehm Show on Tuesday (distributed across the country from WAMU-FM in DC). Fill-in host Katty Kay of the BBC began: “This year Richard Dawkins was voted the world's top thinker in Prospect Magazine's poll of 10,000 readers in more than 100 countries.”
As he touts the first half of his memoirs in a book called “An Appetite for Wonder,” Kay oozed: “I wanted to start by asking you if it's a prerequisite for the world's top thinker to have an appetite for wonder?” This followed:
Kudos to NPR All Things Considered anchor Robert Siegel, who on Thursday night pressed liberal Sen. Patty Murray to consider that perhaps Democrats might want to bend a little on Obamacare. He cited a Pew poll showing the partisan blame for a shutdown would be 39 percent Republican, 36 percent Democrat.
But it really got amusing when Murray wouldn’t budge – in fact kvetched that Obamacare was based on a “Republican idea” – when Siegel suggested that if Obamacare remained unpopular a year from now, would she then concede something might be wrong? Murray, who chairs the Senate Budget Committee, actually suggested the American people are simply unaware they have already benefited:
On Monday's Morning Edition, NPR's Scott Horsley boosted President Obama's push for new gun control measures at the Sunday memorial service for the victims of the mass shooting at the Washington Navy Yard. Horsley played four soundbites of Obama bemoaning the apparent lack of action on this issue, while including just one clip from the NRA's Wayne LaPierre.
The correspondent also asserted that two pro-gun control state legislators in Colorado were "recalled by voters after a campaign fueled by the National Rifle Association." In reality, gun control supporters spent seven times more money in the recall than gun rights supporters, as reported by CBS This Morningearlier in September.
NPR ombudsman Edward Schumacher-Matos addressed the issue of bias, but only on whether NPR should accept “enhanced underwriting” – commercials – from Al-Jazeera America. The advocate for the listeners told them they don't have "free speech values."
He basically said critics of the network are destroyers of free speech, and should stop complaining: “Whether NPR should even accept the sponsorship from Al Jazeera is a separate matter of management policy that is outside my purview. But I do have a vital interest in anything that restricts free speech, and this essentially is what the complaining listeners want to do.” The question of an anti-American bias is irrelevant:
A 6 p.m. Google News search on "Occupy Movement" (not in quotes, sorted by date) returned 69 items dated September 16 and 17.
The same search adding the word "capitalism" returned only two items. This is odd, because, as one of the two items returned noted, "capitalism" — as in ending it — is the core platform of the few who remain involved with the two year-old movement.
On Washington's NPR station WAMU on September 11, afternoon talk-show host Kojo Nnamdi organized a typically one-sided hour on food-stamp policy, with three liberal advocates trashing Republicans for proposing some kind of limit on skyrocketing "SNAP" spending.
But callers ruined the tilt by asking: What about fraud? "John from Chantilly, Virginia" talked about watching a person buy lobsters with their SNAP card. John asked if there was a party, and was told lobsters were all the dogs would eat. The NPR host then started a debate about corrupt governors in Illinois:
John Fund at National Review has written about three recent elections that show “Liberals In Retreat,” but only one is domestic: the Colorado gun-rights recall. The other two liberal defeats were in Norway and Australia.
A quick Nexis search demonstrated that ABC, CBS, and NBC all skipped the conservative victories in Norway and Australia -- but all three found time for news briefs in 2007 when Labor prime minister Kevin Rudd was elected in Australia on an anti-Iraq war platform. Meanwhile, lighter-than-air "Good Morning America" on ABC did find "news" Down Under when it came to trickle-down celebrity updates on Michael Jackson's daughter:
Washington Post media blogger Erik Wemple recalled Daily Beast boss Tina Brown hate-tweeting her former Washington bureau chief Howard Kurtz: “am I forgetting something or didn’t I fire you for serial inaccuracy?”
“That was a bit of classlessness that simply wasn’t going to go unpunished,” Wemple wrote. “And now the journalism gods have spoken, via a correction that is available on NPR.” On a Thursday interview on Morning Edition, Brown made a very dramatic error, falsely claiming a pregnancy by rape of a journalist in Somalia, as anchor Renee Montagne announced on Friday's show:
Back to school is an exciting time of year – new classmates, new subjects, new books, new gender and a new court-invented right to use the boys or girls room, depending on how you currently “identify.”
Welcome to the brave new world of “the next civil-rights struggle.” From a California law decreeing that any student has the right to use any gender-specific restroom and play on any gender-specific sports team he or she (or she or he) wants, biology be d**ned, to LGBT activists counseling network honchos on more sensitive TV portrayals, transgender is all the rage among liberals and media types.
NPR’s All Things Considered on Saturday night offered unsurprisingly gushy coverage of Saturday’s Sharpton-replaces-MLK 50th anniversary march. There was no room in their stories for a black conservative or anyone who might be critical of the Black Left.
What might be surprising is NPR then airing a story getting out a hanky for sex offenders and warning about how a so-called “vigilante” group called “Parents for Megan’s Law” has way too much power on Long Island in monitoring sex offenders. They were even compared to George Zimmerman, the Left's favorite recent villain.
But on Monday, 20 months later, Knell announced his decision to join the National Geographic Society as its president and CEO, even though that meant leaving NPR, which he said "is and will always bea beacon of journalistic integrity, commitment, and courage,” a claim NewsBusters has repeatedly demonstrated as false.
On Monday's Morning Edition on NPR, Cokie Roberts did little to hide her feelings about the Republican National Committee's recent decision to exclude NBC and CNN from hosting future debates between would-be GOP presidential candidates. Roberts asserted that "some might think it's a little bit childish."
Roberts also brushed off the impact of the RNC's move, stating that it's "not likely to play much one way or the other" with voters.
On Monday's Morning Edition on NPR, Minnesota Public Radio correspondent Elizabeth Stawicki featured Karen Pollitz of the Kaiser Family Foundation during a report about ObamaCare, but failed to mention the left-leaning political affiliation of the organization. Stawicki merely labeled the foundation "non-partisan".
The public radio journalist also failed to mention that Pollitz is an alumna of both the Obama and Clinton administrations, and previously worked for two Democratic politicians.
NPR media reporter David Folkenflik filed a fond and light remembrance of liberal Baltimore Sun reporter Jack Germond on Wednesday night’s All Things Considered: “He lived life large and didn't suffer phonies. But here's the thing about Germond, and you don't find much among reporters today, he liked politicians.” He was "a lover of horse races, and horses." Nobody remembered Germond comparing Jerry Falwell to Nicaraguan communist dictator Daniel Ortega. (Correction: The original article cited Pat Robertson instead of Falwell.)
Folkenflik didn’t exactly offer the same treatment to Germond’s seatmate on “The McLaughlin Group,” Robert Novak. On August 18, 2009, after some fond remembrances from colleagues, Folkenflik brought in leftist David Corn to announce Novak’s reputation was damaged by the Valerie Plame leak case:
One of the reasons liberal talk radio has never been a big national success is the liberal elephant in the room: NPR. But when you're a leftist host like Thom Hartmann, NPR looks like a den of corporatist pigs about two political inches away from his villains, like the Koch brothers.
On Tuesday's show, he announced "I'm astounded that several times a week I hear on NPR somebody from the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the Heritage Foundation, the Cato Institute, treated as if they were some kind of an expert on something. These are front groups for the right-wing corporatists and the billionaires." You can't be an "expert" and a capitalist, apparently.
Media liberals have been up in arms since the Supreme Court decision that Congress should revisit the Voting Rights Act. They’re also upset about North Carolina, which on Monday, August 12, passed sweeping new voter laws including the use of state issued ID cards in all elections starting in 2016.
On the August 13 All Things Considered on NPR, reporter Dave DeWitt of North Carolina Public Radio mostly channeled the view of unlabeled “voting rights advocates” like the NAACP, who presented a sympathetic 92-year-old woman who was allegedly being denied the right to vote by Gov. Pat McCrory: [Story continues after page break.]
If President Obama were following his 2012 media strategy, his latest appearance with Jay Leno on the Tonight show would have been his last "press conference." But since he was going on vacation, he decided to lower himself to a few questions from the White House press corps.
He did not call on NPR's Ari Shapiro on Friday -- but on Thursday's Morning Edition, Shapiro offered a typically one-sided story almost celebrating how in today's media, "the White House can avoid the [media] filter altogether." He can show up on Leno, or on the real-estate website Zillow, anywhere no one's asking about a "phony scandal" or two:
Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) had quite a testy exchange with CNBC’s John Harwood Tuesday.
Appearing on NPR’s On Point, Paul eventually told the substitute host, “Don't you have something better to read than a bunch of crap from people who don't like me? I mean, that won’t make for much of an interview if I have to sit through, you know, reading after recitation of people calling me a racist” (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Taxpayer-subsidized NPR has a headline problem that won’t go away. As biased as much of its reporting is, NPR’s headline writers often appear to think that there is not enough bias. Sometimes they even write headlines that aren’t supported anywhere in the corresponding report. Even though there has been a history of headline problems at NPR recently, it appears that the headlines go out without being first checked by someone else.
On July 30, NPR congressional reporter Tamara Keith did a fair piece on Internal Revenue Service targeting of political groups (see Newsbusters post on it). That piece initially appeared only online with the headline, “Report: IRS Scrutiny Worse For Conservatives." In what looks to be an updated on-air version of the same story the next day , an NPR headline writer changed the initially accurate headline to one unsupported by the piece: “House Republicans Work To Keep IRS Scandal In The Spotlight.”
Inside the liberal echo chamber that is National Public Radio, the stale show known as “Fresh Air with Terry Gross” addressed Congress on Wednesday with New York Times congressional reporter Jonathan Weisman. Host Terry Gross announced “this Congress has been one of the least productive in history. They have accomplished so little that the president is looking into how he can bypass Congress and use executive actions to make changes in areas like job creation, immigration and the economy.”
Gross put all the blame for Congress on the “radical” Obama-resisting conservatives: “What do you think have been the most dramatic examples of partisanship or obstructionism or radicalism during this 113th Congress so far?” Weisman said tax hikes made Congress "productive" at first, but conservatives ruined it:
On July 27, 2013, former Democratic congresswoman Lindy Boggs died at the age of 97. She achieved a number of firsts in her career, including being the first woman to serve in Congress from Louisiana and the first woman to serve as U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican for Bill Clinton.
She was also known for strongly championing a number of causes. One of those causes was opposition to abortion. NPR aired four pieces after Boggs’ death that remembered her, mentioning just about every major achievement and cause of Boggs—except her commitment to fighting abortion and the resulting significant impact that stand had on her career.