Left-wingers like to imagine Rupert Murdoch as some sort of James Bond villain – a global media mogul who ruins the international socialist agenda with feisty tabloids and right-wing TV hacks.
No one imagines that more than National Public Radio, which fired Juan Williams for daring to associate with “The O’Reilly Factor.” NPR media correspondent David Folkenflik has obsessed over Murdoch for years and now has a new book out called “Murdoch’s World.” On Monday’s Morning Edition, NPR promoted its own reporter’s book, and his finding that “there’s a cruelty to his journalism,” that he’s “punitive” with political opponents.
President Obama granted a 24-minute interview to NPR Morning Edition anchor Steve Inskeep, the man who compared him to Abraham Lincoln in a softball 2012 interview with David Axelrod. On Tuesday's morning show, they spread the interview into three segments distributed throughout the show. The questions were mostly brief, neutral process questions about budget negotiations, but Inskeep did ask a tough question, from the Left, about rising income inequality on Obama's watch. (The full transcript is here.)
What really stood out was the part where Inskeep helpfully suggested to Obama that conservatives are scared that Obamacare will be implemented because it will become popular – which it certainly isn’t now – and then agreed it’s a deficit-shrinker:
The next time a public-radio station goes into pledge-drive mode and begs listeners to chip in $100 for those snazzy premiums like the Nina Totin'-Bag, it would be wonderful if, in the spirit of balance and fairness, they would read off some salary numbers for NPR stars. Do people on modest incomes really want to chip in $25 to make sure an anchor can take home $375,000?
Instead, pledge-drive announcers often plead that stations need donations to pay for program fees, not anchor salaries. Blogger and news-app developer Andy Boyle pored over a few IRS 990 forms and revealed some of the highest-paid public radio poobahs:
The Obama scandals started piling up on top of each other in the last few days. The civil servants who testified on Benghazi were heart-breaking. Then the IRS admitted a punitive agenda against tax exemptions for groups with “Tea Party” in the name, or groups which “educate about the Constitution.”
Then Eric Holder’s Justice Department was revealed to be wiretapping the Associated Press in April and May of 2012 to nail a leaker. President Obama is not a “victim” of a “second-term curse.” This is the corrupt first term beginning to smell, it is his administration, and even the media cannot deny the odor of malfeasance.
On Monday, NPR Morning Edition anchor Steve Inskeep expressed -- in the face of all the evidence of Fast and Furious, Solyndra, MF Global, and so on -- that the first term of Obama's presidency was "remarkably scandal-free." When I challenged him on the factual inaccuracy of this, he tweeted in reply , "Hm, did I say it was scandal-free or that it 'has been described' as such?"
However passively Inskeep expressed it, he certainly agreed with it. Inskeep asked Cokie Roberts, "This administration has been described -- I don't even know how many times- - as remarkably scandal-free. But when you get into the second term of an administration, there's often some dirty laundry that comes out. Is that what's happening now?" Roberts agreed:
MRC president Brent Bozell ripped The New York Times and the Washington Post in his November 17 column for their positive reviews of Colm Toibin's short novel "The Testament of Mary," which distorts the biblical Virgin Mary into an angry woman bitter at her son Jesus' crucifixion and filled with contempt for His followers. But these left-leaning rags weren't the only media outlets boosting Toibin's iconoclastic re-purposing of the Mother of God.
NPR boosted the Irish writer in an interview on the November 13 episode of Morning Edition. Correspondent Lynn Neary could have been mistaken for a publicist for Toibin as she unquestioningly forwarded his talking points on the book. Neary acknowledged that Toibin's warped version of Mary is a "controversial figure," but barely touched on how Christians - especially Catholics and Orthodox Christians - might be offended by his novel.
Jonah Goldberg was probably delighted with a more than six-minute interview on NPR’s Morning Edition on Wednesday to promote his book “The Tyranny of Cliches.” True to his book, Goldberg presented himself on NPR’s airwaves as a conservative. That’s not what happened on Monday’s Morning Edition, when liberals Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein pretended to stand only for facts and science and conventional wisdom. '
Anchor Steve Inskeep actually stuck to the book’s thesis, unlike CNN’s bizarre Piers Morgan performance. But when Goldberg underlined how there is no such conservative grouping as the social Darwinists, Inskeep claimed there’s “probably more evidence” Republicans are social Darwinists than there is for Obama being a socialist:
For the last two years, NPR has offered Newsweek/Daily Beast editor Tina Brown a monthly "Must Reads" feature on Morning Edition. Last week, she posed as the guardian of journalistic ideals as she trashed the late Andrew Breitbart (who "dropped dead," she sneered like a female Christopher Hitchens). So much for the sonorous civility of NPR, putting on this British-accented guttersnipe.
Does anyone at NPR want to suggest what Newsweek has done under Tina Brown is a crusade against the "degradation of journalistic ideals"? This was the last cover story, complete with a naked lady in a blindfold on the cover: "The Fantasy Life of Working Women: Why Surrender Is a Feminist Dream." It was a cover story on career women with sexual fantasies of wanting to be spanked!
Julie Rovner, NPR's on-staff shill for ObamaCare, filed an unashamedly one-sided report on Friday's Morning Edition about the controversial Obama administration mandate that forces religious institutions to include coverage of abortion-inducing drugs, sterilizations, and birth control.
Rovner turned to only two individuals for her pro-mandate report: Peggy Mastroianni, general counsel at the federal government's own EEOC, an organization which recently got slapped down in a unanimous Supreme Court decision concerning the rights of houses of worship in hiring and personnel matters; and Sarah Lipton-Lubet, a lawyer for the notoriously far-left American Civil Liberties Union, who until May 2011, worked for the pro-abortion Center for Reproductive Rights.
Harvard professor Randall Kennedy claimed “Black people know that if Herman Cain had his way, their lives would be diminished.” Former Time reporter Jack E. White added “Herman Cain tells them what they want to hear about blacks, and in turn, they embrace him and say, see, that proves we aren't racist. He's even willing to be a minstrel for them.”
NPR brought on Shinseki to hail "the president stepping out and leading in this area, trying to provide incentives for hiring young veterans. And this is the jobs bill. This is his speech in August at the American Legion. We won't balance this budget on the backs of veterans. I mean all very, very strong statements." This may not be surprising, but there's no record of NPR going out to interview the veterans affairs secretary on Veterans Day in the Bush years.
Bill Clinton appeared on Tuesday morning on NBC and MSNBC to promote his latest book, and neither asked the man – who paid an $850,000 settlement to Paula Jones and surrendered his law license for false testimony – to comment. The same pattern happened on National Public Radio. Morning Edition anchor Steve Inskeep gave Clinton more than seven minutes of air time to his thoughts on Obama and the economy, but no harassment inquiries.
This question was jaw-dropping in its ignorance. “Your administration was known politically for seeking to reposition the Democratic Party, not get stuck as being defined as tax-and-spend liberals,” Inskeep proclaimed. “President Obama also was seen as trying to take the party in a new [moderate] direction, but ended telling an interviewer last year that he had been tagged as another tax-and-spend liberal. How'd that happen to him?”
On Thursday, NPR's Morning Edition used a Republican mayor to boost Obama's push for infrastructure spending. On Friday, the same show displayed a new Tea Party Republican House member representing tornado-ravaged Joplin, Missouri to gush over the effectiveness of the Obama disaster relief team, as if to say "No Katrinas here, America." Janet Napolitano told NPR Long would give them a "12" out of 10.
Liberals have this habit of thinking that disaster relief somehow rebuts "foes of Big Government," or that Tea Party members ran on the promise of abolishing disaster aid. NPR reporter Frank Morris pressed hard on the chastened-anti-statist angle:
On Tuesday's Morning Edition, NPR's Wade Goodwyn carried water for pro-abortion activists who are targeting Governor Rick Perry and the Texas legislature for cutting the state funding of "women's health clinics." Goodwyn didn't give an ideological label for the activists, referring to them merely as "family planning advocates," and highlighted their objection that some of the cut funds were now going to crisis pregnancy centers.
Hosts Steve Inskeep and David Greene pushed a liberal talking point against the Republican presidential contender in his introduction for the correspondent's report: "Texas has been attracting people who move there for jobs. At the same time, though, more than a quarter of the state's population has no health insurance, which is more than any other state. Hospital emergency rooms and dozens of women's health clinics have been filling the gap." Greene continued that "this year, Perry and the state legislature drastically cut funding for the clinics."
On Monday's Morning Edition, National Public Radio channeled the thrill of discovering an ancient Roman writer's "spookily modern" writings. Anchor Steve Inskeep touted a long-forgotten work championing atheism: "Some people wake up in the morning and thank God for granting them another day. Others get up, and thank their genes, their frontal cortex and their lipids. Secular thinking has a long, long history, longer than many of us knew."
That's a strange opening. It's not very historical -- no one questioned theism in ancient Greece? But NPR's Robert Krulwich seemed thrilled at the story of "our book" of godlessness being saved for the ages. His guide was leftist literary theorist Steven Greenblatt, but NPR failed to mention the taxpayer-funded network was following the footsteps of The New Yorker. Greenblatt concluded by touting the "deep truth" and joy found in discovering there is no God:
On Thursday's Morning Edition, NPR's touted the Obama administration's "more aggressive legal approach" towards pro-life demonstrators with the stepped-up prosecution of alleged violations of the controversial FACE Act. Correspondent Carrie Johnson highlighted the prosecution of an elderly pro-lifer, and let an abortion lobbyist denigrate pro-lifers as possible terrorists.
Host Steve Inskeep introduced Johnson's report with slanted language about how "the fight over abortion rights continues in courtrooms and state houses all over this country. But a smaller-scale version of that conflict is on display almost every day between protesters and escorts at abortion clinics. And some of those tensions are on the rise, as the Obama administration takes a more aggressive legal approach against people who block access to clinics."
NPR pretended that there wasn't a single supporter of Pope Benedict XVI in Spain on Friday's Morning Edition, choosing to devote an entire report on the "many people are grumbling at the cost" of the upcoming papal visit to the country. Correspondent Lauren Frayer not only failed to mention the 428,000 people from around the world who are registered for the World Youth Day event with the Pope, but also omitted the leftist bent of the protesters who are organizing a boycott.
Host Steve Inskeep, after delivering the "grumbling" line, highlighted how "local priests, though, have issued a rare complaint. The Pope's visit will cost Spain millions, at a time when the government is also slashing public salaries and public services." Frayer then explained at the beginning of her report that "more than 100 priests from Madrid's poorest barrios posted a letter online, saying they disagree with the cost and style of Pope Benedict's visit. Father Julio Saavedra says it's unfair how the Spanish government is giving tax breaks to companies like Coca-Cola and Santander Bank for sponsoring the visit."
NPR tried to portray evangelical scientific and theological scholars who no longer believe in the Book of Genesis's account of Adam and Eve as "conservative" on Tuesday's Morning Edition. Host Steve Inskeep used this bizarre label, while correspondent Barbara Bradley Hagerty cited a theology teacher who denies the fall of man into sin as an example of one of these "conservatives" who "want their faith to come into the 21st century."
After Inskeep's introduction, which also noted how "for many evangelicals, a historical Adam and Eve is a critical part of their theology," Hagerty almost immediately turned to Dennis Venema of Trinity Western University in Canada and asked, "How likely is it that we all descended from Adam and Eve?" He replied, in part, "Not likely at all."
As the debt ceiling “compromise” progressed on August 1, NPR revealed its slant against the bill in interviews with Rep. David Dreier, R-Calif., and Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo.
But it was the phrasing of one particular question during Dreier’s interview that prompted more than 20 listener complaints that called it “hostile, “rude” and proof of “liberal bias,” according to the response by NPR ombudsman Edward Schumacher-Matos. Schumacher-Matos described the question as “a virtual sucker punch.” (Listen to the interview here)
The “leading question” (by NPR’s own admission) Steve Inskeep had asked Dreier was, “Given that your speaker, in his words, said months ago that it would be a serious problem not to raise the debt ceiling, why did House Republicans spend this summer threatening to torpedo the economy by defaulting?”
On Tuesday's Morning Edition, NPR's Julie Rovner spun the debate over a proposed mandate for private insurance companies to cover birth control without a copay as being between "women's health groups," which were not given an ideological label, and organizations such as the Family Research Council, which she clearly identified as "conservative." A representative from her example of a "women's health group," Planned Parenthood, labeled "unintended" pregnancies an "epidemic."
Anchor Steve Inskeep began the report with an admission about ObamaCare: "President Obama's health care overhaul law touches almost every aspect of health care, including birth control." Rovner first highlighted a woman from Tucson, Arizona who, despite having a "full-time job with health insurance [and] a husband," along with two kids, apparently couldn't afford the $25 a month copay for her birth control prescription. This led to her having a third child, and the woman declared that "while we're happy that she's here, it was not planned, and had we had some better finances, we probably could have made some better decisions."
On Monday and Tuesday, NPR played up how Osama Bin Laden's death might translate into a political win for President Obama. Mara Liasson trumpeted the "huge victory" for the President and spotlighted a scholar who gushed how Obama now looked "strong and competent and decisive." Cokie Roberts boasted how the military operation was a "score" for the Democrat and that it was a "game changer politically."
At the beginning of her report which lead Tuesday's Morning Edition, Liasson gushed that "every president benefits from moments of national unity, but none so much as Barack Obama, who ran for office promising to bridge partisan divides." Later, the journalist noted that, with the raid against Bin Laden, "he [Obama] made good on his repeated promise to act unilaterally if he had actionable intelligence."
Greedy, deep-pocketed Wal-Mart went to the Supreme Court yesterday to argue it's "too big to sue."
That's the sort of rhetoric one might expect from Brad Seligman, one of the attorneys representing Christine Kwapnowski and a handful of other women who are suing Wal-Mart on the claim of gender discrimination.
Appearing with Kwapnowski on Tuesday's CBS "Early Show," Seligman used those words to deride Wal-Mart's argument about why the Supreme Court should not let his and numerous other discrimination suits across the country to be consolidated into a single class action case.
[Update, 10:20 am Friday: The original version of this item stated that Brandon Smith worked for Indiana Public Radio. He is actually affiliated with Indiana Public Broadcasting Stations.]
NPR's Steve Inskeep, who used "deceitful sophistry" to contend that his network's audience leaned right in a Thursday WSJ column, also claimed in the same piece that "not much of the media pays attention to the middle of the country, but NPR and its local stations do." But an affiliate in his home state of Indiana touted the findings of a pro-ObamaCare organization on the first anniversary of its passage, while leaving out anything from opponents.
Brandon Smith of Indiana Public Broadcasting Stations led his Wednesday report on the one-year anniversary of the signing of the legislation by trumpeting how "Families USA, a non-partisan, national health care advocacy organization, released state-by-state data on the potential impact of the law." Despite running a sound bite from Ron Pollack, the executive director of the organization, and highlighting some of their data specific to Indiana, Smith didn't point out Families USA's liberal political leanings. NPR correspondent Julie Rovner also omitted the organization's ideological affiliation on Wednesday's Morning Edition, the very program which Inskeep hosts.
Newsweek worried this week that “What’s Killing NPR” is declining to let its journalists deny (ludicrously) that there’s any liberal bias on its airwaves. Morning Edition anchor Steve Inskeep is now taking on the lead lobbyist’s role with an op-ed in Thursday’s Wall Street Journal with the headline “Liberal Bias at NPR?” Inskeep’s claiming the answer is “No.”
The pull-quote in the paper is “Surveys show that millions of conservatives choose NPR, even with powerful conservative alternatives on the radio.” He also uses a GfK poll to argue "most [NPR] listeners consistently identify themselves as 'middle of the road' or 'conservative.'" The actual results from that poll: 28% conservative, 25% percent middle of the road, 37% percent liberal. Even NPR lovers accused Inskeep of using “fuzzy math” to fight the liberal-bias claim, like Jeff Bercovici at Forbes:
So, yes, it's accurate to say that 53 percent of NPR listeners - ie. "most" listeners - are either self-described conservatives of middle-of-the-roaders. But it's even more accurate to say that most listeners - 62 percent - are self-described liberals or middle-roaders.
On Thursday, National Public Radio's Morning Edition decided to revisit the censorship controversy over the National Portrait Gallery removing a video image of ants crawling on a crucifix in an ideological exhibit promoting homosexuality. (The show closes Sunday.) The irony or the outrage in this story is that the "villains" of this piece -- conservative Christians and Republican politicians -- were not allowed to speak. NPR reporter Neda Ulaby quoted only the two left-wing curators of the exhibit, a left-wing critic for the Village Voice, and a left-wing man protesting the apparently ruined exhibit.
The most outrageous part was this soundbite of co-curator Jonathan Katz: "It's no longer the same game that it was 15, 20 years ago, where you simply had to point out the homo and yell 'Kill it!'And the mob attacked. Now, you have to clothe your homophobia in something else."
A story this biased makes it worth pointing out that Neda Ulaby is a lesbian journalist and activist who found this NPR job through the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association. The Advocate celebrated a list of openly gay people with cool careers and explained:
On the morning before NPR announced its internal review of its leftist purge of Juan Williams for appearing on The O'Reilly Factor, media reporter David Folkenflik was "reporting" that the problem with the American news media is its painful lack of bias. Come again? "Mainstream news reporters don't tell you what they think enough of the time." That came from the star of the Folkenflik story, journalism professor Jay Rosen, a favorite of Bill Moyers. On the website, the story was headlined: "American Media's True Ideology? Avoiding One."
Anchor Steve Inskeep began: Yesterday on this program, we heard a story from London about the boisterous world of British newspapers and how they, unlike their American counterparts, openly embrace a point of view. Today, NPR media correspondent David Folkenflik brings us an influential media critic who argues that mainstream American journalists do cling to their own ideology. It's not exactly on the right, not exactly on the left. He calls it the voice from nowhere."
It's not hard to imagine that Jay Rosen is "influential" in liberal media circles when he tells them they're not being liberal enough for him. Folkenflik set up his theory and his hopes and dreams for more bias:
Curtis Wilkie is a former Boston Globe reporter who once wrote a book with Whitewater crook Jim McDougal, and once claimed Bill Clinton’s 43-percent victory in 1992 was some kind of “mandate.” His latest book is on currently imprisoned trial lawyer Dickie Scruggs. On NPR’s Morning Edition Wednesday, Wilkie didn’t talk about Dickie’s Democrat friends, only about how former Sen. Trent Lott and his “nefarious” political machine, also described for the NPR listener as “the dark side of the Force.”
There you have it, on your radio: Trent Lott in a Darth Vader suit. From his brother-in-law in jail, no less.
On Tuesday's Morning Edition, actor Ben Affleck was selling his new movie about corporate layoffs, Company Men, and anchorman Steve Inskeep carefully led the left-wing actor onto a soapbox to lecture about the immorality of American capitalism and financiers who do nothing but "move money back and forth":
INSKEEP: There's a line in Company Men that's staying with me. Tommy Lee Jones is at a corporate conference table. Someone else at the conference table is discussing their plans to lay off a bunch of workers. And nearly all the workers being laid off are older, which could be construed as being wrong or illegal. Someone at the table says: "Oh, no. This is going to pass legal scrutiny." And Jones responds: "I always thought we aimed for a little higher standard than that."
AFFLECK: That speaks so perfectly to people's feelings about our country. It's like it's just about getting by, or people can like let people go if they can get away with it, that there's no deeper sense of right or wrong. The banks shouldn't -- people shouldn't make such a giant profit off just moving money back and forth. And CEOs' pay shouldn't be 200 times the average worker. It used to be nine times.
The U.S. Catholic bishops' conference disappointed liberals this week by choosing a leader who agreed with the bishops' campaign this year against pro-abortion provisions in ObamaCare. On Tuesday night's All Things Considered, NPR religion reporter Barbara Bradley Hagerty reported the expected moderate winner was apparently smeared by “conservative Catholic bloggers” for being too close to the sex-abuse scandal. (This might be the first time reporters have felt bad about bishops over the sex-abuse scandal.) Hagerty reported:
It's not clear what tipped the election. But over the past few days, conservative Catholic bloggers and activists have waged a campaign against [Tucson Bishop Gerald] Kicanas, who's considered a moderate with a conciliatory style. His critics sent faxes and left voicemails telling bishops to vote against Kicanas, saying Kicanas had been tainted by the sex abuse scandal when he had recommended an abuser to be ordained as a priest.
Kicanas flatly denied knowing about any abuse of minors. But that did not save him. The bishops elected the media-savvy Timothy Dolan, who's considered one of the boldest and more orthodox bishops, and who's willing to speak loudly and publicly on issues like abortion, same-sex marriage and stem cell research.
On NPR's Morning Edition on Monday, anchor Steve Inskeep welcomed a regular guest, Wall Street Journal economics editor David Wessel (from the liberal news side, not the conservative opinion-page side). The new Congress is already too "shrill" and "ugly" with libertarian argument against Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke's printing money to buy government bonds:
INSKEEP: Rand Paul is a name that got a lot of attention in the election this past Tuesday. He won a Senate seat from Kentucky. But, of course, his father, Ron Paul, ran for president a couple of years back, is still in the House, and it looks like he's going to chair the committee that oversees Ben Bernanke's Fed.
WESSEL: That's right. Ron Paul, who wrote a book called "End the Fed" - so you know what he thinks ought to happen. He'll definitely give Mr. Bernanke a hard time, but he's really seen as something of an outlier. He's a Libertarian. He doesn't believe in paper money. And I don't think many of the other Republicans are quite comfortable with that view. But it will be interesting to have him in the House and his son, a senator from Kentucky, taking a seat that was vacated by another shrill critic of the Fed, Jim Bunning. So, it will be a lot of fireworks there, I'm sure.