As her term wraps up, NPR ombudsman Alicia Shepard explored the controversial $1.8 million donation from leftist hedge-fund manager George Soros and his Open Society Institute, and how NPR tried to talk its way out of the idea that it was a liberal media outlet taking money from a major liberal agitator of means. Shepard reported executives there determined “it would be wrong to turn down money because of someone's political beliefs and based on how it looked.”
"OSI Foundations met NPR's qualification criteria for funders," said Dana Davis Rehm, NPR's spokesperson. "They understood and accepted our terms – chief among them the prohibition of any effort to influence editorial decision making. Our acceptance of the grant was based on principles of independence and fairness, and we stand by it."
Newsweek’s Howard Kurtz suggests “What’s Killing NPR” is its failure to strike back at conservative charges of liberal bias: “Staffers flown in for a recent meeting in Washington groaned when executives said it would be too risky for them to aggressively defend NPR, and that perhaps they should get media training for Joyce Slocum, who took over on an interim basis after the firing of CEO Vivian Schiller.”
Kurtz quotes a series of angry NPR anchors who think they are the essence of fairness and balance. Morning Edition anchor Steve Inskeep insisted “I actually get accused of being a conservative as often as I get accused of being a liberal.” Kurtz asserted in an NPR survey last year, 37 percent of listeners described themselves as liberal or very liberal, 25 percent as middle of the road, and 28 percent as conservative or very conservative—a split he said was very much on Inskeep’s mind. “If you’re saying we’re a liberal propaganda front,” he says, “you’re insulting the intelligence of millions and millions of conservatives who listen to us every day. You are saying they’re stupid.”
It shouldn't be shocking that as many NPR stations are conducting pledge drives of their liberal audiences, NPR has found a pretext to fire its longtime analyst Juan Williams for an appearance on Fox News. NPR listeners have complained loud and long that NPR analysts should not dignify that right-wing media outlet with their presence. Williams admitted on The O'Reilly Factor "when I get on the plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous."
It should be noted that the Council for American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) sent around a press release on Wednesday afternoon. CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad called for action against Williams: "Such irresponsible and inflammatory comments would not be tolerated if they targeted any other racial, ethnic or religious minority, and they should not pass without action by NPR." The New York Times somehow omitted CAIR from its Juan-is-gone story.
In the media's eyes, the Boy Scouts of America are on par with bubble wrap - unimportant, disposable and something largely ignored unless someone wants to stomp on them.
The Boy Scouts celebrated its 100th anniversary last month. And as an organization in which over 110 million Americans have participated, including film director Steven Spielberg, 211 current members of Congress and Presidents John F. Kennedy, Gerald Ford, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama - and given the positive characteristics often associated with Scouts - hard-working respectful and loyal - it's logical to think the media would love to celebrate along with them.
But for the media, the gay agenda trumps everything else. As the Boy Scouts do not allow open homosexuals to serve in leadership roles within the organization, the Scouts will have to look elsewhere for commemoration.
ABC was the sole broadcast network to air anything about the Boy Scouts in the five weeks since the organization's anniversary. Two other segments aired on NPR. But while NBC and CBS could highlight the 50th birthday of bubble wrap and the Etch-A-Sketch, the 80th birthday of Nancy Drew, and the 60th birthday of the FBI's Most Wanted List, they couldn't muster even a mention for the Boy Scouts.
Chief among them is it doesn't fit with NPR values, one of which is a belief in civility and civil discourse. [Cartoonist Mark] Fiore is talented, but this cartoon is just a mean-spirited attack on people who think differently than he does and doesn't broaden the debate. It engages in the same kind of name-calling the cartoon supposedly mocks.
And why is NPR running a cartoon from just one perspective?
After I complained, Shepard asked me to offer a conservative take on the cartoon, which she included. I told her:
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."