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 Saturday, Washington Post media reporter Paul Farhi found that NPR insiders are furious at the forced resignation of Ellen Weiss, the senior vice president for news who so controversially canned Juan Williams. The liberal arrogance of NPR was on full display, that they were the future of "democracy," and Fox News was clearly the enemy of democracy and an independent press:
"We have allowed Fox News to define the debate," wrote Peter Block, a member of the board of Cincinnati Public Radio, in a posting to an e-mail group consisting of public radio managers. He added, "I do not think this kind of capitulation [by NPR] assures the future of an independent press....Democracy is on the line and NPR is one of the last bastions of its possibility."
Farhi added that NPR's ombudsman, Alicia Shepard, also pointed to Fox (less harshly) in her column, that the Williams "incident has become a partisan issue in Washington's hothouse atmosphere, with Republicans (egged on by Fox News) using it as a rallying cry to demand that NPR be 'defunded' by the federal government." Do conservatives need to be "egged on" about NPR's shameless actions?
NPR media reporter David Folkenflik reported on NPR’s internal review of the Juan Williams firing and the coinciding resignation of senior vice president Ellen Weiss on both Thursday’s night’s All Things Considered and Friday’s Morning Edition. Both stories were strictly limited to soundbites from NPR officials and in each story, one soundbite from Williams reacting on Fox News.
Perhaps due to this sterile, defensive soundbite list, NPR was slapping themselves on the wrists. Folkenflik said Weiss’s depature was a “startling fall,” but on Morning Edition, evening anchor Robert Siegel said “the logic was clear.”
"It doesn't surprise me that somebody was going to go, after the incredibly sloppy, messy and often embarrassing severance of Juan Williams," Siegel said. “I don’t think Ellen’s leaving is a measure of her work over the years. It was this one, very poorly handled [move].”
Appearing on FNC's Fox & Friends on Friday, NewsBusters publisher and Media Research Center president Brent Bozell reacted to the resignation of National Public Radio executive Ellen Weiss and credited the incoming Republican Congress: "NPR is hearing footsteps, their hearing the footsteps of Republicans, who are saying...what in the world are we doing spending hundreds of millions of dollars a year on this network that is completely unnecessary."
As NewsBusters' Tim Graham earlier reported, an internal review of NPR's firing of news analyst and Fox News contributor Juan Williams led to Weiss being forced out.
In addition, Bozell predicted that despite the resignation of Weiss, NPR would soon returned to its biased coverage. He explained: "This is the face of the intolerant left today...these people are utterly intolerant of any position other than their radical agenda and they will kneecap you, including their own, Juan Williams, if you do anything such as appear on Fox News." [Audio available here]
"She took the admission of my visceral fear of people dressed in Muslim garb at the airport as evidence that I am a bigot. She said there are people who wear Muslim garb to work at NPR and they are offended by my comments. She never suggested that I had discriminated against anyone. Instead she continued to ask me what did I mean and I told her I said what I meant. Then she said she did not sense remorse from me. I said I made an honest statement. She informed me that I had violated NPR's values for editorial commentary and she was terminating my contract as a news analyst."
Williams chose not to participate in the review (perhaps knowing his view of the firing was already quite public.) The idea that Weiss's departure is coincidental doesn't come across in the Board's findings:
The Poynter Institute's Romenesko website published a memo (sent today, and leaked today) from Ellen Weiss, senior vice president for news at National Public Radio insisting to the staff that they cannot attend the liberal Jon Stewart/Stephen Colbert rallies on October 30.
NPR journalists may not participate in marches and rallies involving causes or issues that NPR covers, nor should they sign petitions or otherwise lend their name to such causes, or contribute money to them. This restriction applies to the upcoming John [sic] Stewart and Stephen Colbert rallies.
Glynnis McNicol at Mediaite quipped: "No word on whether NPR issued a similar memo prior to Glenn Beck's rally in August…I’m going to hazard a guess it probably wasn’t needed." Uh, yes. It could be argued NPR already gave Stewart an extremely positive promotion on Fresh Air with Terry Gross on October 4. (It was a Gross-out.) Weiss also said it would be wrong to advocate for political issues -- that "you could not" advocate, ahem, in your day job at NPR:
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:
Last week, NPR president Vivian Schiller took questions briefly on washingtonpost.com about the taxpayer-funded radio network. When the liberal-bias question came up, she claimed "NPR tilts left! NPR tilts right! Frankly, we hear it equally from both sides -- or should I say from ALL since most issues are not that linear. The fact is, NPR takes NO sides."
When someone discussed the regular commentaries of NPR Senior News Analyst Daniel Schorr, she claimed: "Dan Schor [sic] is a liberal commentator. I will not deny that is true. So what do we do about that? We balance his views with those of conservative guest commentators who frequently appear on our airwaves."
But what if those conservative guests just happen to take a stand NPR likes? Case in point: on Tuesday night’s All Things Considered, NPR touted a Sarah Palin book review by "conservative columnist" Rod Dreher, who concluded: "She quotes her father's line upon her resignation this summer as Alaska's governor: Sarah's not retreating, she's reloading. On evidence of this book, Sarah Palin is charging toward 2012 shooting blanks."
Speaking of blanks, did Dreher really read the whole book? On his Beliefnet blog yesterday, Dreher blogged at 12:35 pm that he was 100 pages in. All Things Considered starts airing locally at 4 pm. Did he really finish the book and write a script before the taping?
NPR ombudsman Alicia Shepard has focused again on what NPR reporters say on Fox News. Reporter Mara Liasson infuriated the liberal listeners of the taxpayer-funded network when she proclaimed on Tuesday's Special Report that "Cash for Clunkers is like a mini-Katrina here," Liasson said. "It's not good to start a government program and not be able to execute it."
Liasson quickly acknowledged she "crossed a line" in comparing Bush's hurricane response to Obama's eco-friendly initiatives:
"I said something really stupid, which I regret," Liasson told me. "I should have merely said anytime time the government does something less than competent, it makes it harder to get people to trust them with other programs. People died in Katrina because of government incompetence. I should not have used that as an analogy. I was thinking of an example of government incompetence and I picked one that was too big and egregious. I was over the top in my choice of a metaphor. It was a mistake."
News broke Thursday that Ellen Weiss, senior vice president for news at National Public Radio, insisted that Juan Williams must tell Fox News that his NPR affiliation should not be mentioned or pictured on The O’Reilly Factor. (Weiss also banished a Williams interview with President Bush from the airwaves of NPR in 2007, so it just aired on Fox News.) But what about Ellen Weiss’s potential conflict of interest?
In a brief phone interview with me Friday, Weiss insisted that if news came up "that had anything to do with that advisory board, I’d recuse myself, as anybody would." She added "I have on other things, including how we were going to cover our budget crisis." NPR laid off 64 employees and canceled two programs in December. (Weiss refused to discuss her decision to tell Juan Williams that his NPR affiliation should not be raised on O’Reilly's show.)
Weiss told me that she saw her husband’s appointment as "a non-political advisory council, it’s not paid," and added: "I don’t see his participation as challenging my ability to oversee the independent news coverage of NPR."
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."
Does National Public Radio have a nose for news? Or a nose that's offended by the scent of President Bush? NPR news boss Ellen Weiss has snubbed an exclusive interview opportunity with President Bush. Washington Post media reporter Howard Kurtz reported Wednesday that the White House offered NPR’s Juan Williams an interview on race relations, but NPR didn’t want it on its airwaves. So it aired instead on the Fox News Channel.
Williams told Kurtz he was "stunned" by NPR's decision. "It makes no sense to me. President Bush has never given an interview in which he focused on race. . . . I was stunned by the decision to turn their backs on him and to turn their backs on me." Fox was even sharper. "NPR's lack of news judgment is astonishing, and their treatment of a respected journalist like Juan Williams is appalling," said Fox spokeswoman Irena Briganti.