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.
"It’s an outrage that federal money has been an enabler for NPR and PBS since 1967 in their efforts to undermine conservatives and Christians," NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell complained in a statement released this morning that accompanies the release of a new Media Research Center (MRC) study detailing a comprehensive compilation of the 20 most memorable leftist excesses of National Public Radio and the Public Broadcasting System.
"In this current era of huge deficits, surely this is the most non-essential spending. The pattern of bias from PBS hosts and contributors is more than severe. Now is the time for Congress to finally put an end to it," the MRC founder argued.
Some of the 20 instances in the MRC’s report on NPR & PBS include:
Barbara J. King of the College of William and Mary bizarrely asserted that a "person's sex can be socially constructed" in a Thursday item for NPR.org's "13.7" blog. King used the rare phenomenon of hermaphroditism to justify Chastity Bono's "transformation" to become "Chaz" Bono, and lamented that the "the case of Chaz Bono tells us that enormous unease still exists in our society when individuals celebrate, rather than hide, that transformation."
The biological anthropologist started her piece, "Sex, Gender And Dancing With Chaz Bono," by going so far to refute the standard left-leaning view on sexuality: "A person's sex is unambiguous. As a result of biology, we're born either male or female. A person's gender, by contrast, is a matter of social construction. If we're born female, we may choose to act in ways considered in our society to be masculine — or vice versa. This dichotomy between sex and gender is often asserted as fact, and may seem like common sense. But it's flat wrong. A person's sex can be socially constructed."
NPR’s Talk of the Nation devoted a segment on Tuesday afternoon to the question “What Happened to the Political Left?” For answers, host Neal Conan brought on the leftist professor Michael Kazin and Katrina Vanden Heuvel, editor of The Nation magazine. It didn’t get hilarious until Kazin made the claim that nowhere in Flyover Country -- in Iowa or Nebraska, for example -- can you hear a left-winger on the radio.
NPR science correspondent Robert Krulwich promoted the ancient atheist Lucretius on Monday's Morning Edition with the author Stephen Greenblatt. Then the network took a second bite of the apple on Tuesday's Fresh Air with Terry Gross when book critic Maureen Corrigan raved for six minutes over Greenblatt's book The Swerve as "part adventure tale, part enthralling history of ideas." It a "brilliant work of nonfiction" and a "profusion of riches."
It didn't matter how Vatican-bashing it sounded, since that's a plus for NPR:
In 2008, NPR's All Things Considered tried to take apart the "swift-booking" of Barack Obama by conservative author Jerome Corsi, insisting in several places "we know" Corsi's reporting wasn't factual. On Friday's All Things Considered, NPR media reporter David Folkenflik took a looser standard in publicizing the Palin-bashing book by liberal author Joe McGinniss. Folkenflik eventually found book experts who disdained the difference between a "warts and all" book and an "all warts" book. But none of the book's claims were held up individually as false. It just on the whole "felt unreliable."
This leads the listener to wonder what might be true: Palin's cocaine-snorting, the premarital sex with NBA stars, the neglect of her children? Which? Folkenflik brings up McGinniss's tawdry publicity stunt, renting right next to the Palin home in Wasilla, running some mini-soundbites of outrage from conservative talkers like Sean Hannity ("creepy") and Bill O'Reilly ("immoral"). But Folkenflik tweeted Friday "How rascally is the writer behind 'The Rogue'?" All in all, the stunt was a plus:
On Thursday, NPR's Morning Edition used a Republican mayor to boost Obama's push for infrastructure spending. On Friday, the same show displayed a new Tea Party Republican House member representing tornado-ravaged Joplin, Missouri to gush over the effectiveness of the Obama disaster relief team, as if to say "No Katrinas here, America." Janet Napolitano told NPR Long would give them a "12" out of 10.
Liberals have this habit of thinking that disaster relief somehow rebuts "foes of Big Government," or that Tea Party members ran on the promise of abolishing disaster aid. NPR reporter Frank Morris pressed hard on the chastened-anti-statist angle:
The Public Broadcasting Act of 1967 contained language that the liberals inside PBS and NPR have rarely tried to observe, to seek "fairness and objectivity in all programming of a controversial nature." Apparently, there was no controversy about gays in the military, since NPR's coverage of the end of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy consisted of five segments adding up to almost 27 and a half minutes interviewing elated gay men and lesbians.
Was there anyone inside the military or outside who disagreed? Was there anyone who feared what would happen going forward, what next step on the gay agenda would be imposed? NPR had no time for any dissidents from the PC line. They were a publicity network for one side.
On Tuesday's Morning Edition, NPR's Wade Goodwyn carried water for pro-abortion activists who are targeting Governor Rick Perry and the Texas legislature for cutting the state funding of "women's health clinics." Goodwyn didn't give an ideological label for the activists, referring to them merely as "family planning advocates," and highlighted their objection that some of the cut funds were now going to crisis pregnancy centers.
Hosts Steve Inskeep and David Greene pushed a liberal talking point against the Republican presidential contender in his introduction for the correspondent's report: "Texas has been attracting people who move there for jobs. At the same time, though, more than a quarter of the state's population has no health insurance, which is more than any other state. Hospital emergency rooms and dozens of women's health clinics have been filling the gap." Greene continued that "this year, Perry and the state legislature drastically cut funding for the clinics."
On Monday's Morning Edition, National Public Radio channeled the thrill of discovering an ancient Roman writer's "spookily modern" writings. Anchor Steve Inskeep touted a long-forgotten work championing atheism: "Some people wake up in the morning and thank God for granting them another day. Others get up, and thank their genes, their frontal cortex and their lipids. Secular thinking has a long, long history, longer than many of us knew."
That's a strange opening. It's not very historical -- no one questioned theism in ancient Greece? But NPR's Robert Krulwich seemed thrilled at the story of "our book" of godlessness being saved for the ages. His guide was leftist literary theorist Steven Greenblatt, but NPR failed to mention the taxpayer-funded network was following the footsteps of The New Yorker. Greenblatt concluded by touting the "deep truth" and joy found in discovering there is no God:
NPR's Sylvia Poggioli filed a completely one-sided report on Wednesday's All Things Considered about a radical-left organization, along with a group purporting to represent victims of clergy sexual abuse, lobbying the International Criminal Court to investigate the top leadership of the Catholic Church, including Pope Benedict XVI, for "crimes against humanity." Poggioli played sound bites only from those involved with the effort, and none from anyone sympathetic with the Church.
Host Melissa Block stated in her introduction that "the International Criminal Court in The Hague has dealt with plenty of war criminals and warlords, but it may soon have a different target: the Catholic Church. The tribunal is being asked to investigate top Vatican officials over the global clerical sex abuse scandal....the argument is that the sex offenses meet the legal definition of crimes against humanity, and should be prosecuted."
On Thursday's Morning Edition, NPR's touted the Obama administration's "more aggressive legal approach" towards pro-life demonstrators with the stepped-up prosecution of alleged violations of the controversial FACE Act. Correspondent Carrie Johnson highlighted the prosecution of an elderly pro-lifer, and let an abortion lobbyist denigrate pro-lifers as possible terrorists.
Host Steve Inskeep introduced Johnson's report with slanted language about how "the fight over abortion rights continues in courtrooms and state houses all over this country. But a smaller-scale version of that conflict is on display almost every day between protesters and escorts at abortion clinics. And some of those tensions are on the rise, as the Obama administration takes a more aggressive legal approach against people who block access to clinics."
There's a reason why Rush Limbaugh talks about "state-run media." On National Public Radio, Friday night's story on the embarrassing zero-jobs story included three experts for soundbites: current Obama economic spinner Gene Sperling, former Obama economic spinner Jared Bernstein, and the current Democrat Mayor of Philadelphia, Michael Nutter, who blamed "senseless" congressional (read Republican) spending restraint.
It's not like NPR couldn't find a Republican anywhere to interview. Their view only came up when reporter Scott Horsley was discussing how reasonable Obama was being: "The administration's move to scrap smog regulations today could also be seen as an olive branch to Republicans and the business community." He didn't even say "proposed new smog regulations that would shut coal plants and cost more jobs." He just implied Republicans are pro-smog.
On Wednesday, NPR strongly hinted that they would bring their liberal bias into their special programming for the tenth anniversary of 9/11. Their planned reports on the mass atrocity includes an investigation which scrutinizes the efforts of private firms guarding soft targets like sports arenas: "[The] investigation...suggests that these kinds of programs are disrupting innocent people's lives."
An August 30, 2011 press release on the public-funded network's website stated that "it has been said that America would never be the same after terrorist attacks took nearly 3,000 lives on September 11, 2001. A decade since the tragedy, how have the attacks affected people's lives and shaped America's collective outlook and future? Beginning September 5, NPR News offers a week of reports looking back at the events leading up to 9/11 and reflecting on the ways it continues to impact the nation."
On Tuesday's Morning Edition, NPR's Julie Rovner promoted the supposed benefits of ObamaCare, and played up a recent poll which found that "about a third of those without health insurance think the law will help them, and that's because only about half know that it includes key provisions that will make insurance more available and affordable."
The sole source for the correspondent's report was an August 2011 tracking poll conducted by the liberal Kaiser Family Foundation. Rovner played three sound bites from Drew Altman, who works for the foundation, and none from opponents of ObamaCare. In his first clip, Altman highlighted how a majority of people surveyed for the poll agree that "it [ObamaCare] really does help the uninsured. Thirty-two million uninsured people will get coverage."
In a Thursday NPR interview, CNN's openly-gay anchor Don Lemon lumped discrimination against gays and lesbians in with atrocities committed in Libya.
When asked why audiences should be interested in gay and lesbian issues, Lemon answered that "people are glued to what's happening in Libya, because it affects us. Any atrocity that's committed against one person affects us all and we are becoming more of one society, of a global society. "
On Tuesday, NPR ombudsman Edward Schumacher-Matos reached back to a July 26 story on the horrific shootings in Norway. Correspondent Sylvia Poggioli suggested the shooter, Anders Breivik “once belonged to the ultra-right Progress Party.” Schumacher-Matos lamented the “ultra-right” label, and asked Poggioli to explain herself. He called it "ultra-wrong."
It quickly became clear that Poggioli saw "ultra" extremism in the party's opposition to Islam and immigration. The ombudsman posting including just a few paragraphs of what Poggioli wrote in her own defense. But at the bottom of the page, he posted the whole reply, and her affinity for left-wing rags like the Nation and "far right" labels became really obvious:
On Thursday's All Things Considered, NPR's Richard Gonzales slanted towards homosexual activists who laud the Obama administration's recent move to slacken its deportation policy and allow foreign-born nationals in same-sex "marriages" to stay in the United States without a green card. Gonzales found an opponent of the new policy, but noted that "his objection has nothing to do with sexual orientation."
The correspondent highlighted the plight of Bradford Wells, a resident of San Francisco's infamous Castro district, whose Australian partner's permission to stay in the country is about to expire. He stated that Wells "has good days and bad days....[He] has AIDS and a host of related ailments. His primary care-giver....Anthony John Makk, a citizen of Australia....entered this country legally.... he's applied for a green card. But he's been rejected because under the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, the federal government doesn't recognize their marriage....So, he's left in a legal limbo, and the upsets Wells."