An old journalistic saw about what's newsworthy goes a little something like this: "When a dog bites man, that's not a new story. Now a man bites a dog, that's a story." The idea is simple: News is something that is unusual, out of the ordinary, has a twist that makes it unexpected and shocking.
Gay "American Idol" runner-up Adam Lambert (touted by fans as "Glambert") knows he'll have a sympathetic ear at National Public Radio. On Sunday night's All Things Considered newscast, anchor Guy Raz promoted Lambert's latest album as a "great record."
As the interview drew to an end, Raz must have tried his hardest to craft the softest, slightly stupid-sounding question about the lyrics, which protest the Bible's condemnation of homosexuality. "I wonder whether you're addressing that issue"?
On Sunday night’s All Things Considered, NPR weekend anchor Guy Raz brought on regular guest James Fallows (the former Jimmy Carter speechwriter and editor of U.S. News & World Report) for “a look behind the headlines” to put Obama’s gay-marriage proclamation in “context.”
“I know you've been thinking a lot about this in a historical context. So take us back to some comparable moments,” Raz suggested. Fallows predictably compared the gay-marriage interview to desegregation and black opera singer Marian Anderson being allowed to sing at Constitution Hall:
If it’s an important Christian occasion, you can predict National Public Radio will seek out an atheist expert. In 2008, NPR marked Good Friday by interviewing John Dominic Crossan, who believed the body of Jesus was not resurrected, but was perhaps eaten by wild dogs.
On Palm Sunday, NPR found it was the perfect day for atheist scholar Bart Ehrman, who has a new book out titled "Did Jesus Exist?" NPR weekend All Things Considered anchor Guy Raz was a big fan: “There are probably few people in the world who know more about the life of Jesus than Bart Ehrman. He's a New Testament scholar at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, where his lectures are among the most popular on campus.” Raz was such a fan he even told Ehrman later that he had bought his lectures on tape:
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?
On Sunday night's All Things Considered newscast, NPR anchor Guy Raz celebrated “Protestant royalty” coming out of the closet. Bishop Jim Swilley of a megachurch appropriately called The Church in the Now decided to reveal his sexual orientation because of the burst of gay-bullying publicity. Former CNN reporter Raz welcomed the change and how it must have been “incredibly liberating” to be openly gay.
NPR lavished 12 minutes of air time on the interview -- currently a hot and very recommended item on NPR.org -- and they also offered a more extended interview online, complete with the minister's coming-out speech to his church. Raz wondered:
RAZ: You come from a long and distinguished line of famous southern preachers. One of your kids said “Protestant royalty,” that's where you come from. Did you feel like - when you were growing up, did you feel like you were a sinner most of your life? I mean, as a kid, when you had certain thoughts, did you feel like, you know, this isn't what you were being taught?
National Public Radio is strongly urging America to get over its apparently rabid case of Islamophobia. On Sunday night's All Things Considered newscast, anchor Guy Raz played audio clips of Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin opposing the Ground Zero Mosque, and then launched into how much this resembles historic anti-Semitism:
In his column today, New York Times writer Nicholas Kristof points out that in 1940, 17 percent of the population considered Jews to be a menace to America. Almost every ethnic group in this country has gone through a period of transition when they had to fight to prove that, indeed, they were Americans.
Rabiah Ahmed and a group of Muslim leaders thought their community had to do the same today. So this week, they launched an online video campaign called "My Faith, My Voice."
On Sunday, I mentioned that the Saturday night version of NPR’s All Things Considered was a pacifist’s dream. It was also a Bush-basher’s delight. Leftist actor John Cusack explained his new anti-war comedy (read: the next box office flop) this way: "The ideology behind this war is so radical and it's so destroying the country that I think a somber serious take on it would just add to the sense of depression and inevitable doom that this administration has unleashed on the country."
Cusack added War Inc. was Bush-inspired: "And the argument of the Bush administration is that there's nothing, no function of state, there's no national interest that is not a corporate interest. Everything is to be privatized, everything is to be -- the core function of government is to create the optimal conditions for a feeding frenzy."
It’s probably a good thing Cusack didn’t try to argue the Bush administration lied its way into war, since Cusack charmed and tickled his NPR interviewer by explaining how they basically lied to major companies seeking to use their corporate logos for mockery by filing innocuous requests, not telling the Financial Times, for example, that their logo was going to be put on the side of a tank for laughs.
Saturday night’s All Things Considered on National Public Radio came to an overtly pacifist conclusion. Substitute host Guy Raz (an NPR Defense Department correspondent) conducted a seven-minute interview with John Cusack on his satirical anti-war, anti-Bush film "War Inc.", and Cusack predictably denounced the war and Bush as absurd. Then came a six-minute interview with a smitten John Lennon fan who’s hoping to make a half-million dollars auctioning the original hand-written lyrics to "Give Peace a Chance," since she was there in Montreal for the original "bed-in" protest that produced the anthem. Then, as the music continued, Raz unloaded a little editorial.
Raz decided to read from Dwight Eisenhower, a "man who knew war better than most," on the need for peace: "I like to believe that people in the long run are going to do more to promote peace than our governments. Indeed, I think that people want peace so much that one of these days governments had better get out of their way and let them have it."