Previously, Newsbusters described how NPR News refused to answer in writing NPR’s own ombudsman’s devastating critique of a series by correspondent Laura Sullivan in which she made sensational claims of South Dakota state government greed at the expense of American Indian families. In their brief non-response response, NPR admitted that there were a few mistakes, but spent as much space attacking their own ombudsman (including ironically inflating the number of months he spent on the investigation). As reported in the public radio trade publication Current, NPR continues to stonewall on the issue.
NPR news executives not only refuse to discuss the matter with outsiders, but they won’t even do so with their own. While the NPR ombudsman agreed to talk to NPR media correspondent David Folkenflik, NPR news executives would not. They also would not speak to Bob Garfield, host of the NPR-distributed weekly media program On the Media out of WNYC in New York.
With its frequent overt bias, NPR’s weekend media show On the Media makes NPR’s news magazine shows like Morning Edition appear thoroughly objective by comparison. It is so hopelessly biased that shows to explore the question of whether NPR was biased were themselves overwhelmingly biased. More recently, it deemed the issue of media coverage of butcher Kermit Gosnell’s trial to be too insignificant for any of its nine one-hour shows that occurred after the trial began.
On this past weekend’s show, On the Media aired a segment on the Internal Revenue Service targeting conservative groups. While the segment primarily consisted of a Bob Garfield interview with Michael Calderone, Senior Media Reporter for the Huffington Post, it’s clear the shows’ two co-hosts used the segment as an excuse to ridicule conservatives and conservative websites—Glenn Beck / TheBlaze and Right Side News on this occasion.
As Newsbusters has detailed again and again, coverage by dominant news organizations of the Kermit Gosnell murder trial has been almost non-existent. Taxpayer-subsidized public radio is no exception, even after the issue of non-coverage gained widespread attention last week.
As the fifth week of the Gosnell trial continues (it opened March 18), NPR still has not devoted a single piece to the topic of the trial. It did briefly reference the trial once--in a story about Pennsylvania abortion clinic regulations that resulted from what authorities found in Gosnell's clinic during a raid. On March 28, NPR's afternoon news magazine All Things Considered gave only 19 seconds out of 4 1/2 minutes to reporting on the Gosnell trial. In sharp contrast, the piece's author, Jeff Brady, NPR's Philadelphia-based National Desk Correspondent, gave five times the amount to time to detailing the "expensive" hardships Pennsylvania abortion clinics now have to endure. The story left out entirely the details of the horrendous charges against Gosnell.
Even when they tackle the question of NPR's liberal bias, NPR can't help themselves. The NPR show On The Media on Saturday aired a segment on the question of bias lasting 18 minutes. NPR offered the largest chunk of time (eight minutes) to Tom Rosenstiel of the Pew Research Center, who asserted that data on story selection and tone do not demonstrate a liberal bias at NPR.
Another almost three minutes were granted to Steve Rendall of the radical-left group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting. He wouldn't say NPR was conservative, but complained "we've had four decades of formal campaigning by the right, by groups like Accuracy in Media, the Media Research Center, the Heritage Foundation to portray our media, corporate and public broadcasting, as being to the left of center. It's paid off. And I think the fact that we're having this discussion here [in which Rendall was allowed to speak, and MRC and AIM and Heritage were not], the fact that there's a debate in Congress shows how much it's paid off."
By contrast, NPR host Brooke Gladstone devoted 90 seconds to the findings of professors Tim Groseclose and Jeff Milyo, who found, she said, that NPR was "much less liberal than the New York Times." Conservatives were represented not by experts, but by two average NPR listeners, who were granted five minutes. That's about 35 percent of the time.
NPR's On The Media is a weekly show produced by WNYC in New York. When there's a NPR scandal, they are not fair and balanced. They are liberal warriors. They have stated repeatedly that liberal bias is a "canard" that causes "false balance." So it's not surprising they went into major Self-Defense Mode this weekend.
BOB GARFIELD, co-host: Joyce Slocum, NPR’s General Counsel and Senior Vice President of Legal Affairs, was named interim president and CEO. She says that the political fallout from the sting will not change NPR’s journalism.
JOYCE SLOCUM: Knowing our newsroom and our journalists as I do, I think that they are going to continue to do as they have done and that is to take great care to ensure that their coverage is balanced, that they’re bringing a variety of voices to any given issue…
In response to this week's shameful exposure of bias at NPR, a couple of its hosts on Friday had an on air discussion about whether or not the radio network does indeed have a political leaning.
Shortly after "On the Media" host Bob Garfield said, "If you were to somehow poll the political orientation of everybody in the NPR news organization and all of the member stations, you would find an overwhelmingly progressive, liberal crowd," Ira Glass of "The American Life" maintained the outlet had no left-wing bias whatsoever (audio follows with partial transcript and commentary):
On NPR's weekend show On The Media (produced by radio station WNYC), New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller reacted badly to NPR's Bob Garfield suggesting Julian Assange of WikiLeaks was a "looter" or a smasher of windows. Keller insisted the document dump has "more value" than that metaphor, that the dump is "absolutely fascinating...like a graduate seminar" on international relations. It's a "ridiculous standard" to insist these finds must be Earth-shattering to be a positive development:
BOB GARFIELD: Now, the stories so far have been revealing but unsurprising, it seems to me, and not especially indicting. It’s made me wonder whether WikiLeaks is a legitimate whistleblower in this case or just a looter. Has Julian Assange shed light here with the release of 253,000 cables or has he just smashed a very big store window?
BILL KELLER: I think that the documents have more value than your metaphor gives them credit for.
The public-radio show "On The Media" explored the debate over defunding public broadcasting on Saturday -- but utterly stepped around any evidence from certain conservative media watchdog groups that NPR or PBS have a liberal bias. Host Brooke Gladstone perfectly characterized how the NPR elite arrogantly conceive of their mission: some say they have a liberal bias, but they are merely seekly to build a better, more informed, more thoughtful democracy. As usual, liberalism and enlightenment are the same thing:
I guess fundamentally this all boils down to what you think of public broadcasting. If you think it’s a left-wing-inflected source of information, then there would be no reason to support it. But if you think – you know, going back to that old chestnut, that it actually leads to a more informed electorate that can make a better democracy, then you might have a different view.
Speaking up for defunding (and bashing conservative Republicans) was Nick Gillespie, the editor of Reason magazine. Later, co-host Bob Garfield brought on former Washington Post editor Steve Coll for the liberal-overdrive position of massively increasing federal support for taxpayer-funded media.
Over last weekend, the NPR show On The Media devoted a segment to co-host Bob Garfield remembering the legacy of William F. Buckley Jr. Garfield quoted George Will on the massive effect Buckley had on the history of conservatism and even ending the Cold War, but he turned it around to how conservatism is badly represented today by the Limbaughs and Coulters.
"It’s an unfortunate bit of media irony, then, that the most famous moment in his courtly, witty, supremely civilized pundit’s career would be his televised confrontation in 1968 with author and rival Gore Vidal," as Garfield recalled Vidal calling Buckley a "crypto-Nazi" and Buckley pledging to sock him in his "queer" face. Would the liberal media remember liberal eminences by their biggest TV fight? Garfield concluded:
National Public Radio’s weekend show "On The Media" is often a liberal oasis inside of a liberal oasis. Last weekend, NPR host Brooke Gladstone invited on Paul Waldman of that Hillary Clinton-cloned media pressure group, who wrote a study claiming the religious left was underrepresented on TV. (It might be because you often can’t really tell the difference between the "religious" left and the secular left. Both want socialism, abortion on demand, forced gay acceptance, the banning of the SUV, and the restoration of the 90-percent top tax bracket. But just one half says Jesus wouldn't drive an SUV.)
Gladstone’s other guest was Jeff Sharlet, a leftist blogger at a media-and-religion site called The Revealer. (It's the counterpoint to Get Religion, in other words.) At the segment’s end, Gladstone uncorked a new motto jokingly: "We really span the spectrum here from sort of left to very left."
As the religious holidays commence, people who preach tolerance worry that religious (or non-religious) minorities are left out. As Christmas approached and Hanukkah began on Friday night, National Public Radio’s "All Things Considered" devoted a story to atheists, but not just any story. It was a story about atheists who feel that ridicule and intolerance of religion is just what this country needs. The message was simple: atheists look forward to when "religious tolerance is no longer tolerated."
Co-anchor Robert Siegel began: "Atheism has never gained much of a foothold in the United States. Barely one percent of Americans describe themselves as atheists. Now, a small group on nonbelievers has a new approach to getting their message out, challenging the faithful with a fiery rhetorical blend of reason and ridicule, especially ridicule..."
If we were to believe liberals, the last several years could be dubbed the Age of Propaganda, what scandalized columnist Frank Rich, who knows quite a lot about this subject, calls the “decline and fall of truth.”
They complained when government agencies like the Department of Health and Human Services put out “video news releases” that some lax TV stations aired without editing. They complained when the Pentagon hired American P.R. companies like the Lincoln Group to place positive stories about American forces in the Iraqi newspapers. They complained when conservative P.R. man Armstrong Williams struck a deal with the Department of Education to promote the Bush “No Child Left Behind” policy.
But the same left-wing crowd that claims to hate propaganda seems to be offering nothing but flowers and best wishes for the November launch of al-Jazeera English.
On the weekend before the election, the NPR show "On The Media" brought their usual liberal criticism of the media to bear, with co-host Brooke Gladstone complaining how the national media was somehow an over-enthusiastic puppy in coverage of Kerry's don't-be-stupid-and-get-stuck-in-Iraq comment: "But the media can't stop masticating on this latest liberal gaffe like a Washington Monument-sized Snausage." (As in "scrumptious" doggie treat.)
Her guest was Washington Post national political editor John F. Harris, who boasted he succeeded in burying the Kerry story inside the paper, at least on the first day. But NPR's Gladstone hammered him for "playing right into the Administration's hands" by covering it, when Kerry wasn't even running:
NPR's weekend program "On The Media" ran several interviews on Obama-mania in their last edition, including a talk with National Journal media writer William Powers. After discussing the many steps of national media hype, Powers suggested Obama was really a black Kennedy:
NPR host Brooke Gladstone: "In this recent round of what a lot of people are calling Obama-mania, would you say that there is now a media consensus about Obama, that he's just a natural?"
William Powers: "Oh, I think there's a consensus that he is The Natural, the most preternatural political figure we have seen since the Kennedys. The Kennedys come up constantly in these comparisons.
Gladstone: "The Kennedys or one particular Kennedy?"
Sorry, this item is a bit dated. On last weekend's edition of "On The Media" on National Public Radio, host Bob Garfield devoted a segment to the utter, outrageous waste of public broadcasting. Oops, no, not that public broadcasting, but U.S. propaganda broadcasts to Cuba. (Forgive me for chortling whenever a government-funded news outlet denounces another government-funded news outlet. It ought to come with a disclaimer. "We here at National Public Radio believe deeply in biting the hand that feeds us -- hard.")
Garfield began by reporting on TV Marti's satire show, "The Office of the Chief," that mocks Cuban dictator Fidel Castro. In the chair normally occupied by El Jefe was his brother Raul Castro, "waxing about his 59 luxury homes and barking orders at his staff." After a clip, Garfield instructed:
In an interview with NPR's "On The Media," former ABC reporter Dave Marash, now signed up for the English-language version of al-Jazeera, goes almost faint singing the praises of his new employer:
Al-Jazeera in Arabic is, I believe, one of the most revolutionary and positive influences on the Arabic-speaking, mostly Islamic Middle Eastern world in, literally, centuries. It has opened up public discourse and it has brought American standards of reporting to an area that previously had nothing but really moronically state-controlled television and news operations.