NPR loves to label individuals and groups—but not all the time. They usually want listeners to know who Republicans are, as they did incessantly last year with GOP Senate candidate Todd Akin. A piece about the North Carolina General Assembly righting an old wrong on the July 25 All Things Considered evening news show took a different approach, with reporter Julie Rose entirely omitting party designations.
North Carolina, like many other states, had an involuntary eugenics-based sterilization program for most of the 1900s. The program finally stopped in 1974. In the four intervening decades, the state did nothing to compensate victims. Last week, that changed with the passage of a bill establishing a fund for victims.
NPR in general and their legal affairs/Supreme Court correspondent Nina Totenberg in particular want the public to believe that they view sexual harassment charges against public figures as a very important issue that demands immediate and full coverage. The reality: they behave that way only if the accused has a Republican party identification.
The most recent evidence of that: the reporting on the charges of sexual harassment and sexual assault by San Diego’s current Democratic mayor and former 20-year U.S. Congressman Bob Filner. In the two weeks following the initial disclosure of the accusations July 11, which was followed by named accusers coming forward July 22, 23 and 24, NPR has aired a grand total of two pieces on the matter. The first occurred a full five days after the accusations first came out, on July 16 (even The New York Times reported it July 12). And both pieces were done by a public radio journalist in San Diego who doesn’t even work for NPR.
The next time a public-radio station goes into pledge-drive mode and begs listeners to chip in $100 for those snazzy premiums like the Nina Totin'-Bag, it would be wonderful if, in the spirit of balance and fairness, they would read off some salary numbers for NPR stars. Do people on modest incomes really want to chip in $25 to make sure an anchor can take home $375,000?
Instead, pledge-drive announcers often plead that stations need donations to pay for program fees, not anchor salaries. Blogger and news-app developer Andy Boyle pored over a few IRS 990 forms and revealed some of the highest-paid public radio poobahs:
Even after tax-subsidized NPR’s very slanted coverage of the racial aspect of the George Zimmerman trial, NPR delivered a unanimous verdict on President Obama’s July 19 Trayvon Martin race speech: it was outstanding and political considerations had nothing to do with its timing. On all of NPR’s Friday, Saturday and Sunday shows post-speech, all NPR hosts, NPR reporters, NPR commentators, interviewees and those featured in audio clips saw Obama’s speech the same positive way.
Ordinarily skeptical of political motivations by politicians, NPR’s journalists lapped up the Obama administration’s claim that Obama’s July 19 race speech just happened to be delivered spontaneously when it was. The fact that Detroit’s bankruptcy filing, terrible news for Obama, occurred less than 24 hours earlier, along with the fact that the Zimmerman verdict was a full six days earlier, didn’t raise anyone’s suspicions at NPR. NPR political correspondent Mara Liasson’s explanation for the timing: “they wanted to make sure that the protests were not violent.”
What do you get when an already race-focused news organization staffed and run almost entirely by liberal journalists decides that it needs a full race desk alongside its foreign and crime desks? A full 259 separate on-air pieces (not including web-only ones) discussing Trayvon Martin over a 16-month period — 190 of them (80 percent) mention the word "black.". You also get coverage that furthers the narrative of whites targeting blacks. The theme that Trayvon Martin was unarmed was repeated in 89 stories (35% of the Trayvon stories).
Despite NPR always granting complete deference to a mixed-race President Obama being regarded as black, very few NPR journalists used the words "Hispanic" or "Latino" for Zimmerman. While the words were used in 15% of the the 190 articles that mention Zimmerman, only five of them (3%) called him simply "Hispanic" or "Latino."
NPR announced to its listeners on Thursday night's All Things Considered that their audience is chock full of "tolerant" lefties. Dipping into letters from the audience, anchor Melissa Block said there were "a lot of strong reactions" to Tuesday's ludicrous one-sided story by Margot Adler on young people demanding to be whimsical about gender pronouns and redefining the "gender binary." Some letters were negative, "but most of your comments were positive," Block insisted.
"Anndal Nurayan of Chapel Hill, North Carolina writes this: 'I wanted to thank you and her for this thoughtful coverage. There is so much nastiness about trans people in public discourse. As Adler rightly said, that they are one of the most vulnerable groups in our society.'”
In a classic "diversity" turn at National Public Radio, Thursday’s Morning Edition promoted the comedic career of Indian-American Hari Kondabolu, who writes for the FX comedy show “Totally Biased With W. Kamau Bell.” He also has a forthcoming album of stand-up comedy. Anchor David Greene declared "The brainy, young comedian cuts through any polite talk about race or gender. And his incisive anecdotes are making a whole lot of people laugh."
NPR reporter Elizabeth Blair unsurprisingly plucked out a routine from a recent show at the indie-music venue the Black Cat in Washington, DC, where Kondabolu mocked the Bible as a ridiculous guide for someone’s beliefs on homosexuality. He compared the snake in the Garden of Eden to a “Jungle Book” scenario:
On Wednesday's All Things Considered, NPR's Elizabeth Shogren blasted the Republican congressional majority led by Newt Gingrich during the 1990s. Shogren spotlighted a MIT professor's assertion that former President Bill Clinton "stood up for the EPA when it faced the most frightening attack it had ever had. Congressional Republicans, led by Newt Gingrich, wanted to gut regulations...some even wanted to do away with the EPA."
The correspondent made this over-the-top statement as she covered the EPA renaming its headquarters after the two-term president. Shogren also hit the Democrat from the left by claiming that "Clinton's record on the environment was mixed".
NPR afternoon co-host Melissa Block inexplicably seems to have changed her view of the value of U.S. Senate candidates living in a state for a while before running. On the July 17 All Things Considered, Block wondered why Liz Cheney would run for a Senate seat in the West. She "grew up in the East. She only moved back to Wyoming last year. Why is she running for Senate now and launching a primary fight against the incumbent?“
While Cheney had lived off-and-on in Wyoming before considering a Senate run, in 2000 then-First Lady Hillary Clinton had never lived in New York. Yet Block blithely announced on the February 16, 1999 All Things Considered: “On the books, there's nothing to bar Mrs. Clinton from a New York Senate run. All she needs to do is set up residence here by Election Day, and that's worked before....Robert Kennedy came from out of town to win the New York Senate seat in 1964.”
You could tell it was going to be a wild night of transgender advocacy on NPR when Tuesday's All Things Considered anchor Melissa Block sent this insane-sounding tweet: “Coming up on @npratc: beyond he and she? High school students say ‘I want you to call me 'Tractor' and use pronouns like Zee, Zim, Zer.’” But wait, there is one certainty in this milieu: NPR would be channeling the Left, and there would be no time to consider conservative dissent from the evolving political correctness.
NPR reporter/pagan witch Margot Adler was exploring the brave new world of gender fluidity with young cultural innovators who reject the "gender binary" as oppressive. It came to this conclusion:
On Weekend Edition Sunday, NPR's Rachel Martin helped Daily Beast editor Reza Aslan promote his new biography of Jesus, who posited that there is a "chasm between the historical Jesus and the Jesus...taught about in church." As proof of this supposed gap, Aslan claimed that "there is actually no statement of messianic identity from Jesus" in the Gospel of Mark.
Aslan has it wrong. Jesus actually affirmed that he was the Christ (the Greek word for Messiah) in Mark 14: 61-62: "Again the high priest asked him...Art thou the Christ the Son of the blessed God? And Jesus said to him: I am. And you shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of the power of God, and coming with the clouds of heaven." Even NPR pointed out Aslan's false statement in a correction on Monday, but Martin, a former religion correspondent for the public radio network, didn't catch his error during the segment.
One might think that with the constant barrage of liberally-slanted news and commentary on NPR news shows, NPR game shows would give the liberal bias a rest. That is certainly not true for the top NPR game show “Wait! Wait! Don’t Tell Me,” a show based on current events. That humor sometimes goes beyond the pale, as it did Saturday.
During the show’s “Lightning Fill in the Blank” segment Saturday, NPR game show host Peter Sagal asked a question about KFC considering a lawsuit against a Thailand restaurant that used an altered version of the Colonel Sanders logo -- one that had an image of Adolf Hitler superimposed over Sanders. After advice columnist Amy Dickinson provided an incorrect answer to Sagal, he said that the restaurant would just use Chick-fil-A’s logo the next time.
On Friday’s Morning Edition, NPR “Code Switch” blogger Gene Demby (exploring the "frontiers of race, culture, and ethnicity") was brought on to discuss the Zimmerman trial. For his blog at NPR.org, he had written that trials like this are “lousy proxies for fights over big, messy social issues” like racial profiling.
But in making this point, Demby highlighted his point unintentionally. He declared that the legal proceedings in the courtroom were focused on “really, really small technical points” like who attacked whom in the Zimmerman-Martin fight and who was acting in self-defense:
NPR’s Legal Affairs / Supreme Court correspondent Nina Totenberg loves to cast conservatives as fringy. In 2005, President George W. Bush nominated then-Circuit Court Judge John Roberts to the Supreme Court. At the time, Totenberg seemed to be suffering from a fixation on the word “very,” calling Roberts “very, very conservative” and “very, very, very conservative.”
Even though Roberts voted for Obamacare last year, Totenberg insisted last week on the news magazine "Here and Now" (a new joint venture of NPR and Boston NPR station WBUR) that he was still “very, very conservative.” Maybe with more Roberts rulings that she likes, she'll whittle it down to “very conservative.” For now, "This is a very, very conservative justice who also believes in a certain level of , as he puts it, modesty, meaning don’t do it all at once if you can do it one step at a time."
Controversial sex columnist and liberal political activist Dan Savage was treated to a hero’s welcome—courtesy in part to taxpayer funding— by NPR’s mega-affiliate (staff of 55) WBEZ in Chicago. He appeared June 28 on WBEZ’s interview program "Afternoon Shift" to promote his most recent book on politics, "American Savage." WBEZ business reporter and interim Host Niala Boodhoo acted more like an adoring fan than an impartial journalist.
Even though the 24-minute interview was primarily about political matters, never once did Boodhoo challenge the incendiary Savage. She didn’t ask him about his many outrageous actions and statements over the years (such as wishing cancer on Sarah Palin, calling the Pope obscene names, and calling for political opponents to perform sexual acts on him; see NewsBusters' archive for a partial list), or about him then broadly painting all opponents of same-sex marriage as “haters.” In fact, Boodhoo sympathetically brought up what Savage calls “Bigot Christmas,” where Brian Brown of the National Organization for Marriage went to Savage’s house for dinner (and debate).
Government-funded National Public Radio has a vested interest in seeing liberal programs succeed, as their funding could evaporate under a conservative administration. Given NPR’s heavy reliance on federal dollars, it should come as no surprise that they have weighed in on the side of the Obama administration in its decision to lobby sports leagues to promote the controversial health care law.
In a piece on the July 8th All Things Considered, Colorado Public Radio’s Eric Whitney highlighted the lengths the Obama administration is going to “recruit baseball teams and other sports franchises to help” push Americans into signing up for new health insurance exchanges. When it comes to the health exchanges, Whitney lamented that “polls show most Americans don’t understand how they’re supposed to do it” and how recruiting sports teams in the past “worked before.”
In the past few years, NPR has run a public relations campaign called “I Heart NPR,” featuring photos of celebrities (nearly all liberal) proclaiming their love for NPR by holding an “I Heart NPR” sign. NPR may never actually print a “NPR Hearts Wendy Davis” sign, but NPR News has nonetheless clearly displayed its affection for Davis in news pieces by several of its journalists.
Even though events didn’t finish up until after midnight, that night East Coast-based NPR reporter Elise Hu posted a sympathetic online story about Texas state Senator Wendy Davis’ “riveting” filibuster of an abortion bill. In her piece, Hu included photos and quotations sympathetic toward Davis, but none critical of her. She attributed one of the four included quotes to President Obama from a tweet that was actually written by his political organization Organizing for Action. That her piece was sympathetic to Davis is confirmed in a reply on Twitter to lefty writers Rachel Sklar and @geekgrrl33, who were outraged over “lack of media coverage” of the filibuster.
In sharp contrast to her view of the Supreme Court decisions on the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8, NPR’s Legal Affairs / Supreme Court Correspondent Nina Totenberg was quite unhappy about the Court’s June 25 ruling on the Voting Rights Act. Parroting the assessment of the very liberal chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee Patrick Leahy, Totenberg tweeted June 27, “Court conservatives gut voting rights act.” Unsurprisingly, she did not equivalently characterize the Court as “gutting” DOMA, however.
In trying to paint the Court decision as extreme, Totenberg in the June 26 Morning Edition piece linked to by that tweet, ludicrously claimed that the very partisan Congressman John Lewis (D-GA) is “normally soft-spoken,” but that the decision prompted an "outraged" response from him. It is not clear whether Totenberg has ever heard Lewis’ many sharp-elbowed rants, or whether she simply views them as “soft-spoken.”
On Wednesday's Morning Edition, NPR's Wade Goodwyn trumpeted Wendy Davis' pro-abortion filibuster in the Texas State Senate as a "tiny ray of hope" for Democrats in the Lone Star State. Goodwyn ballyhooed how "Davis took to the floor in a desperate filibuster" against a pro-life bill, which he labeled "one of the nation's most restrictive abortion bills." He later added that it was "as good a moment as Texas Democrats have had in 20 years."
The correspondent, a former leftist community organizer, also spotlighted the Battleground Texas effort, headed by former Obama campaign staffers, aimed at increasing Hispanic voter turnout in Texas. He underlined that getting higher turnout amongst this growing minority group was "the pot at the end of the Democratic rainbow – the donkey holy grail."
NPR health policy correspondent Julie Rovner has a bad habit of stacking the deck in her stories, frequently giving the liberal side several times as much time as conservatives. During NPR’s June 21 Morning Edition, Rovner appeared to be aiming for a personal record in tipping the scales for a piece about the group Enroll America. Rovner gave almost 15 times as much time for the group’s case than against it.
Enroll America is a liberal organization working to get as many people sign up for ObamaCare as possible. Its founding chairman is Ron Pollack, head of the liberal (even according to The New York Times) advocacy group Families USA. That group pushed hard for both major Democrat health care bills (Hillarycare & ObamaCare). Enroll America’s president is Anne Filipic, a former Democratic political operative. Rovner conveniently left out the ideological and party labels and the background for Ron Pollack, Families USA, Anne Filipic and Enroll America, instead portraying them as impartial experts: “of…Families USA,” “consumer group,” “president of Enroll America,” and “a private nonprofit group" respectively.
National Public Radio enjoys a brand new and quite costly state-of-the-art facility just north of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. The new facility "includes a cafe with chefs, a gym with a trainer, a staffed wellness center, plug-ins for electric cars and other perks" and that begs the question, "Does an organization that well-heeled still need taxpayer money?"
As a news organization funded in large part by those on the left and staffed by those on the left, NPR often hews to the priorities of the left in its coverage. Those priorities deem the death of one individual, Trayvon Martin—a black teen killed by a non-black man—to be far more newsworthy than the gruesome deaths of numerous black babies killed by abortionist Kermit Gosnell just after birth.
In the 15 months between Zimmerman’s shooting of Trayvon Martin and the start of jury selection, NPR aired about 100 pieces dedicated to the issue. Contrast that with the number of pieces NPR aired about Kermit Gosnell in the 36 months between a federal raid on his clinic and the start of jury selection: just 3 pieces. That works out to one piece about every five days for Zimmerman and one piece about every 12 months for Gosnell.
On June 7, liberal Democratic House member John Dingell became the longest-serving member of Congress in history and NPR was prepared to celebrate—four days straight.
On June 5, NPR’s Talk of the Nation host Neal Conan and “Political Junkie” Ken Rudin discussed the milestone. Then, on All Things Considered May 6, longtime host Robert Siegel conducted a gushing interview with Dingell himself. In the six-minute interview, Siegel couldn’t bring himself to ask a single tough question—not even about whether the 86-year-old Dingell was too old or too out of touch after being in Washington for so long.
NPR’s rising young celebrity-like star Ari Shapiro, White House Correspondent, appears to be able to follow his own set of rules at NPR. As detailed in Newsbusters Wednesday, Shapiro will soon join vicious bomb-throwing activist and lefty partisan Democrat Dan Savage to promote Savage’s new book. Last May, when covering Romney, Shapiro slammed him as a bully on Twitter and Instagram with a carefully juxtaposed photo.
Now, as reported June 13 in The Washington Post by Paul Farhi (but relegated to the Style section), Shapiro’s spouse Michael Gottlieb has been working in the Obama White House Counsel’s office since April. Despite this, NPR has kept Shapiro in the same position as White House Correspondent and has never disclosed on-air or on its website this significant conflict of interest.
NPR’s new “Code Switch” blog on the “frontiers of race, culture, and ethnicity” is already demonstrating just how sensitive it gets on the liberal frontier.
Blogger Gene Demby assembled tweets demonstrating that many NPR listeners thought Michelle Obama’s lesbian heckler Ellen Sturtz was employing “white privilege” and the media coverage seemed racist. Demby began:
Judging from the silence from the NPR ombudsman, it would appear that the taxpayer-funded radio network has solved the pervasive problems of bias and ideological monoculture that have plagued it for decades.
NPR's internal media critic, Edward Schumacher-Matos, has not written a blog post since May 6 and has not been seen on Twitter since May 3, despite being called out several times by various individuals on the microblogging service for being unresponsive.
He may have committed the largest and most reckless leak of national-security information in America’s history, but Bradley Manning had a happy Monday at National Progressive Radio. NPR’s Morning Edition ran a story by reporter Carrie Johnson that contained absolutely no one who could see Manning in a critical light.
Johnson began: “In the three years since his arrest, the slight Army private with close-cropped blond hair and thick military glasses has become less of a character than a cause.” It’s a cause NPR believes in.
The Wall Street Journal's David Wessel channeled the Obama administration's doom and gloom about the sequester on NPR's Morning Edition on Monday. Host Renee Montagne turned to Wessel to give a "reality check" on the sequester's current and future economic impact. The journalist cited how unnamed "economic forecasters...say they're worried that the effects of this spending restraint may have bigger negative effects" later this year.
Wessel harped on the "lots of little ways" the sequester has impacted people around the country, including the "bathroom in a national park where the toilets have been closed in some places" and how "the military is mowing grass less often at bases."
On Thursday night’s O’Reilly Factor, the Fox News host opened the show by attacking former IRS commissioner Douglas Shulman for visiting the White House 157 times, almost four times as many appearances as Hillary Clinton. O’Reilly hinted this was a “smoking gun” of the White House running the IRS harassment campaign of the Tea Party.
But guess what: this fact of Shulman’s well-worn path to the White House gates has yet to be reported by ABC, CBS, NBC, and PBS. O’Reilly can’t believe this number:
On Tuesday's Fresh Air on NPR stations from coast to coast, host Terry Gross interviewed author Stephen King on his new book "Joyland," which features a young man in a wheelchair with muscular dystrophy and his grandfather, a radio evangelist named Buddy Ross, who insists the disease is divine punishment.
King might have surprised the secular-left devotees of public radio -- not with the usual talk of how organized religion seems like a "theological insurance scam," but by proclaiming he believes in God: "Everything is sort of built in a way that to me suggests intelligent design." He had to talk more about his inconsistency and doubts to get back in NPR's secular sweet spot.