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?
The religion site Beliefnet – now owned by Fox Entertainment Group – has a variety of bloggers, including a few conservatives. Rod Dreher drew some network attention last year for attacking Sarah Palin as an unserious choice for vice president. On Sunday, Dreher started lobbing bombs at Rush Limbaugh and his fans. He titled his article "CPAC: White kids on dope," with the subheadline "Ah, to be an anthropologist at CPAC, where the kids was smokin' th' political crack." Dreher was very unhappy that a boisterous crowd cheered Limbaugh’s message to the conference, and saw some kind of creepy censorship emerging when Limbaugh warned: "beware of those different factions who seek as part of their attempt to redefine conservatism, as making sure the liberals like us, making sure that the media likes us. They never will, as long as we remain conservatives." Out of that, Dreher wildly swung at Limbaugh’s head:
Anybody who challenges Limbavian orthodoxy is, ipso facto, the Enemy. If you suggest reform, even from the Right, you are a useful idiot for the Media, which are the Enemy, and can never be anything but the Enemy. Limbaughism sounds a lot like Leninism.
Last week's issue of the Village Voice featured Roy Edroso's review of "10 conservative Web scribblers," described therein as "buffoons" and in the article's subhead as "a confederacy of dunces." (Actually, Edroso names twelve bloggers, arriving at his figure of ten by counting the Power Line trio as one person.)
Lefty snark aside, the piece is problematic in part because at least two of the bloggers Edroso scrutinizes, Ann Althouse and Megan McArdle, really aren't conservatives. Moreover, by emphasizing individual bloggers he almost completely ignores lively large-group sites such as the Corner (he examines only Jonah Goldberg's contributions to NRO) and, of course, NewsBusters.