NPr headlines in the Bush years were in a different spirit, such as this beaut: “Naomi Wolf Likens Bush to Hitler.” The happy talker on this forget-lousy-polls story was NPR’s Ari Shapiro, who just left the Obama White House beat:
President Obama is now on his fourth annual “man of the people” summer vacation to Martha’s Vineyard (for some reason, Obama skipped that vacation three months prior to Election Day 2012). While there, he hangs around fellow rich and powerful liberals. Last night (August 12), one of those liberals included NPR anchor and special correspondent Michele Norris, who hosted Obama for a cocktail party at her vacation home on the Vineyard.
In 2011, Norris appropriately notified her NPR supervisors that husband Broderick Johnson was offered a full-time position in the Obama reelection campaign. She then recused herself from any coverage of the 2012 campaign and became a special correspondent and fill-in host. Now apparently nothing is off-limits, including hosting at her home the president she inevitably has to cover (or at least discuss) as a journalist. The official pool report from the White House press corps didn't list any media conflict:
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:
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."
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 is lending its imprimatur to one of America's nastiest leftists -- Dan Savage. The sex columnist and author boasted online:
"Ari Shapiro, NPR's White House Correspondent, will be interviewing me about my new book this Sunday night at 7 PM at Town Hall in Seattle. We'll wind up talking about more than just American Savage—I have some questions for Ari about covering the Romney campaign for NPR—and it's sure to be an interesting conversation." Is Shapiro being paid, or is he appearing free of charge because he's a big Dan Savage fan?
On Thursday's All Things Considered, NPR's Ari Shapiro couldn't be bothered to feature any of the religious leaders who spoke at the inter-faith service in honor of the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing, Instead, Shapiro zeroed in on the liberal politicians who spoke, playing five straight clips from President Obama's speech at the memorial event.
The correspondent also played up the President's speaking ability: "This was Obama the orator, a man who is famous for his ability to give a speech that, even in a time of mourning, can bring a crowd roaring to its feet."
NPR's Ari Shapiro did little to conceal his slant towards same-sex "marriage" on Thursday's Morning Edition, as he reported on the Defense Department granting limited benefits to the same-sex partners of members of the military. Shapiro hyped that supposedly, "as a political move, the Pentagon's action is barely controversial."
The openly-homosexual correspondent later asserted that "it's hard to tell whether President Obama's pro-gay positions are helping to create this wave [of support for homosexuals in the military], or just letting him surf it." He also lined up three left-leaning talking heads during his report, versus only one social conservative pundit.
As NewsBusters reported Wednesday, CBS and NPR reporters were caught on a hot mic plotting to ensure Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney would be asked if he regrets scolding Barack Obama for his response to the recent anti-American hostilities in Egypt and Libya.
On Thursday's Fox & Friends, conservative author Michelle Malkin said the people involved were Obama's "tools' and "stenographers," and that this represented "an underline and exclamation point on the obituary of main stream objective news" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
"While I sat at my laptop, most of the reporters around me stood and put their hands over their hearts. This time instead of just sitting and working, I tweeted what I was feeling."
So wrote NPR White House correspondent Ari Shapiro Tuesday about refusing to say the Pledge of Allegiance or stand for the national anthem at the beginning of a Mitt Romney campaign event the previous day.
On Wednesday's Morning Edition, NPR followed the example of its Big Three counterparts in failing to cover a new ad from a pro-Obama super PAC that points the finger at Mitt Romney for a woman's cancer death. Instead, the liberal radio network sent correspondent Ari Shapiro to "do some truth squadding" about the Romney campaign's latest ad slamming the Obama administration on welfare reform.
Shapiro slanted towards the Democratic campaign's spin of the Romney ad, and concluded that the White House's move on welfare work requirements was "poor form by the Democrats, perhaps, but not the same at gutting welfare reform."
All three journalists invited to the journalists' roundtable on the Diane Rehm Show on NPR Friday played down the Fast and Furious scandal as a loser for Republicans. Jeanne Cummings of Politico wanted Congress to drop it like a hot potato: "to create this big constitutional clash with the White House makes Congress, once again, look like it's just got its eye off the ball. This isn't what people want them to do... we're going nowhere here."
NPR reporter Ari Shapiro recalled how Bush attorney general Alberto Gonzales was dogged by a U.S. Attorney-firing scandal because Republicans were willing to harp on it. But the Democrats are united for Obama, so it somehow cannot be a scandal: "I think it's only when and if we see Democrats turning against Holder, which I don't expect we're going to see, that this will really enter a new phase." How convenient is that reasoning?
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."
The National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association held their annual convention this weekend in Philadelphia, and the keynote speakers were CNN's Don Lemon and NBC's Ann Curry. Their pictures were featured under the motto "Creating a Revolution." The group says it's "working from within the news industry to foster fair and accurate coverage of LGBT issues." (That often means censoring conservative views, not just correcting errors.) Comcast, the majority owner of NBC Universal, is a top financial backer of the convention.
The plan was for Curry to be interviewed by Javier Morgado on "How does she see network news evolving?" And "does she believe in the ‘greater good’ of the work that journalists do?" Morgado, a gay activist, spent 11 years at NBC, including five years as Senior Producer at the Today show, and he managed the network's political coverage for the 2004 presidential election and the 2006 midterm elections as Senior Political Editor.
On Thursday’s All Things Considered, NPR profiled conservative activist Grover Norquist, the head of Americans for Tax Reform. Michele Norris began: “In the debate over the debt ceiling, one person who has outsized influence is not actually at the negotiating table.” That might sound good to Norquist’s donors, but when liberal reporters accuse someone of “outsized influence,” it means “too much power for the good of the country.”
Reporter Ari Shapiro signaled hostility by strangely noting that Norquist’s “donor list is not public,” when that is true for almost every tax-exempt political group in Washington (not to mention NPR!):
On Wednesday's All Things Considered, NPR's Ari Shapiro let The Daily Show's John Oliver and The Washington Post's Dana Milbank cast aspersions on some of the declared 2012 Republican presidential candidates and their surrogates. Oliver mocked the talking points of a Ron Paul spokesman as "pointless" and "meaningless," while Milbank derided the candidacy of Herman Cain.
Host Melissa Block introduced Shapiro's report about the White House correspondent's first visit to a post-presidential debate spin room, and gave a hint of its overall mocking tone: "The spin room might be a good name for an amusement park ride or part of a fun house. That makes it a perfect fit for a presidential campaign, which can get a bit wacky even in these early days."
NPR's Ari Shapiro emphasized the possible political benefits for President Obama on Thursday's Morning Edition in the aftermath of the death of Osama bin Laden. Shapiro lined up sound bites from three pundits who touted the "big moment" for the "bold" President and how it amounted to a "fundamental shift in the way Americans perceive Mr. Obama."
Midway through his report, the correspondent introduced a clip from former Bill Clinton speechwriter Jeff Shesol: "He [Shesol] believes this week could mark a fundamental shift in the way Americans perceive Mr. Obama." The Clinton alum claimed that it would be "very hard after this moment to suggest that President Obama doesn't have the guts to make tough calls, to make bold and risky calls...and then to go ahead because he knows it to be the right thing to do."
NPR's Ari Shapiro leaned towards supporters of the Obama administration's new "voluntary principles" to limit junk food ads to kids on Thursday's All Things Considered. Shapiro played three sound bites from backers, versus only one from a critic who blasted the proposal: "If the federal government decided to issue voluntary guidelines about what newsmen should say to avoid inflaming the public, I think you guys would be pretty upset."
Host Melissa Block did acknowledge opponents' concerns about the proposed guidelines in her introduction for the correspondent's report: "The Obama administration wants to limit the amount of advertising kids see for junk food. It's part of a broader push to improve child nutrition, and, as NPR's Ari Shapiro reports, it's part of what critics see as a growing nanny state."
NPR's Ari Shapiro slanted towards President Obama and two of his Democratic allies in Congress on Thursday's Morning Edition on the continuing battle over the federal budget, playing seven sound bites from them versus only three from Republican House Speaker John Boehner.
Shapiro highlighted the late night negotiations over the budget on Wednesday during his report, playing three clips from the President and one from Senator Harry Reid before even getting to his first one from Speaker Boehner:
On Wednesday's All Things Considered, NPR's Ari Shapiro acted as a stenographer for the Obama administration's energy proposals. Shapiro played four clips from the President's recent speech on the issue, and another from a sympathetic environmentalist. Even the lone clip from an oil industry representative came from someone who "supports the move to invest in biofuels and clean energy."
At the beginning of his report, the correspondent noted that "the White House described this event as a pivot away from speeches about Libya and Japan. But President Obama acknowledged that those crises make it important to talk about energy now." After playing his first clip from the chief executive, who stated that "the situation in the Middle East implicates our energy security," Shapiro stayed within the perspective set by the Democrat: "America's past is strewn with moments when a global crisis has driven up the price of gas or scared people about the risks of nuclear energy."
Norman Ornstein is a long-time congressional expert (and favorite TV talking head) who works for the American Enterprise Institute. We've established that NBC anchor Brian Williams was citing him after the president's last press conference in support of how historic and wonderful and "productive" this Democrat-dominated Congress has been.
But the fact that AEI has long been a right-leaning think tank can cause reporters to use Ornstein to suggest "even" conservatives are hailing the accomplishments of liberals -- even if it's obvious from his sugary "sundae" quotes that Ornstein is no one's idea of a Limbaugh ditto-head. On Thursday's Morning Edition, NPR reporter David Welna played this trick on listeners:
DAVID WELNA: Congress has indeed outdone itself in the final days of big Democratic majorities controlling both the House and Senate.
NORM ORNSTEIN (American Enterprise Institute): To me, hands down, this is the most productive lame-duck session since we started to have serious lame-duck sessions in the 1940s.
WELNA: That's Norm Ornstein. He's a long-time congressional observer at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative Washington think-tank. Ornstein says this lame-duck session was a fitting climax for an amazingly productive 111th Congress.
From the home page and the Most Popular list at NPR.org: National Public Radio took up the cause of social-realist art in government buildings on Monday's Morning Edition, and its ameliorative effects at the Justice Department. "This building is a sermon, a hymn to justice, a tour guide is quoted as saying. NPR Justice Department correspondent Ari Shapiro introduces the art as hymn: "That hymn includes verses that are progressive, controversial and even radical."
The main subject of praise is a mural from the 1930s depicting a lynching attempt thwarted by a courageous judge. Opposing lynching is hardly controversial today. But oddly, Shapiro finds a liberal expert who says this exposes "us" in modern America, even if our youngest voters were born in 1990:
"This is art really doing its work," says [Roger] Kennedy. "And it tells us what our country is really like. It's inescapably us: not somebody else, not the founders, not the 19th century. Because what illuminates the scene are two things: the flame of hate in the back, and the car headlights in the front."