On Tuesday's Fresh Air on NPR stations from coast to coast, host Terry Gross interviewed author Stephen King on his new book "Joyland," which features a young man in a wheelchair with muscular dystrophy and his grandfather, a radio evangelist named Buddy Ross, who insists the disease is divine punishment.
King might have surprised the secular-left devotees of public radio -- not with the usual talk of how organized religion seems like a "theological insurance scam," but by proclaiming he believes in God: "Everything is sort of built in a way that to me suggests intelligent design." He had to talk more about his inconsistency and doubts to get back in NPR's secular sweet spot.
In a cozy radical-to-radical interview on NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross on Wednesday, incoming MSNBC primetime host Chris Hayes announced he’s watched Bill O’Reilly “very, very, very little...I’m positive I have never watched an hour of the O’Reilly show.”
Hayes is going to pretend that Fox News and MSNBC aren’t really competitors at all: “I genuinely don’t think of myself as in competition with Bill O’Reilly.” They don’t have the same “pool of viewers.” Hayes sounded like he meant “gene pool.” He can’t “hate-watch” conservative programs like some liberals do:
Pardon the age of this item, but it's on an issue of campaign history. On March 13, NPR Fresh Air host Terry Gross interviewed new CNN host Jake Tapper about politics and journalism, and whether there was blowback from presidents and candidates over tough questions. But Gross felt compelled to bring up the "lies" told about John Kerry during the 2004 presidential campaign -- without expressing anything specific.
Tapper said he was assigned as a Swift Boat Veteran fact checker by ABC. Gross said, "So you were fact-checking some of the Swift Boat attacks against presidential candidate John Kerry. There were so many lies in those attacks. What was the fact-checking like, and how effective do you think it was in trying to counteract the lies?"
As if a puffy seven-minute-plus story on Morning Edition wasn't enough publicity for Irish novelist Colm Toibin's abrasive takedown of the Virgin Mary, NPR's Terry Gross offered another promotional 45 minutes on Monday's Fresh Air. There's nothing NPR likes better than taking this humble, devout disciple and transforming her into some sort of bitter Real Housewife of Nazareth.
Toibin was encouraged to read passages from this vicious little Bible-shredding screed, about how Mary couldn't stand the sound of her own son's preaching: "my son would insist on silence and begin to address them as though they were a crowd, his voice all false and his tone all stilted, and I could not bear to hear him." Gross asked the obvious softball. Ahem, you know this sounds like you want to push Christianity down and steal its lunch money?
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.
NPR’s Terry Gross brought on CNN judicial analyst Jeffrey Toobin on Monday to discuss his new book on the Supreme Court (called The Oath) for 44 minutes of her program Fresh Air. Toobin proclaimed that Barack Obama is the conservative when it comes to the Supreme Court, and John Roberts is the radical revolutionary. This is the same Toobin who complained overturning ObamaCare would be "judicial activism."
Toobin also claimed with a straight face (or at least an ungiggly voice) that Roberts voted to uphold ObamaCare to pave the way for more conservative decisions, to insulate the court from being found as political in the future -- as if liberals won't denounce every conservative decision as political. Toobin also continued his tradition of bashing Clarence Thomas as "way out there" on the right-wing fringes.
NPR's idea of Republican convention coverage is to expose Mitt Romney as a flip-flopping fraud flirting with the "extremist camp within the Republican Party." On the very liberal show Fresh Air on Tuesday, host Terry Gross brought on two Boston Globe reporters who've penned an expose called The Real Romney. They talked for 43 and a half minutes.
Veteran Globe editor Michael Kranish found “disaster” in the GOP platform “which takes a very hard line on abortion, and he's picked Paul Ryan, who in the past has voiced a very hard line on abortion....And it's a disaster on the left and certainly in the center because Mitt Romney wants to talk about the economy.” Gross also wanted the Boston authors to trash Romney for his birth-certificate joke, and expose Romney's polygamous Mexico-based ancestors:
NPR is the network that sought out Christopher Hitchens to trash Mother Teresa upon her death as a horrible fraud, and then when Hitchens died, they warmly remembered how he hated God and Mother Teresa. So it's not surprising that radical leftist and gay activist Gore Vidal was going to be honored without a second of dissent or disapproval of critics.
None of the glowing obituaries and appreciations carried an ideological label, and one -- on Wednesday night's All Things Considered -- contained a glaring falsehood -- that William F. Buckley called Vidal a "queer" on national TV in 1968 without being provoked. Vidal called him a "crypto-Nazi" first. NPR turned to the gay novelist Christopher Bram to do the honors, and he brazenly lied:
When NPR Fresh Air host Terry Gross conducted an "I feel your pain" interview with radical-feminist Sister Pat Farrell on July 17, she promised a rebuttal from Bishop Leonard Blair of Toledo. But Gross was much tougher in that interview on July 25. She laughably said "I don't mean to speak on their behalf here," but that's exactly what she did throughout the interview.
Gross said her "ultimate question" was why wouldn't the Catholic Church bend to changing times and liberalize on female priests, contraception, and homosexuality? "Churches change," so why won't the Catholics? Bishop Blair very calmly educated Gross that churches that have tried to obey Gross's dogmatism and follow "the spirit of the times" like the Episcopalians are having trouble retaining members:
New York Times welfare reporter Jason DeParle appeared on the NPR program "Fresh Air" hosted by Terry Gross, on Thursday to retell the horror stories that appeared in his lead story last Sunday: "I can't remember a time when I heard people talk so openly about desperate or even illegal things that they were doing in order to make ends meet. They were selling food stamps. They were selling blood. Women talked openly about shoplifting." Even committing "muggings of illegal immigrants." DeParle noted with laughable understatement that such "strategies" can "make them seem unsympathetic."
Asked by the sympathetic Gross about the 1996 welfare reform (which DeParle at the time said risked forcing mothers to "turn to prostitution or the drug trade....abandon their children....camp out on the streets and beg"), DeParle responded with tales of formidable state bureaucracy that won't cut much ice with anyone who has dealt with the DMV:
George W. Bush spoke out repeatedly during his term for the spread of democracy throughout the Middle East. He said it was insulting to assume that Arabs or Muslims were incapable of democratic reforms. Bush overthrew dictators in Iraq and Afghanistan and allowed elections to proceed. But NBC's chief foreign correspondent, Richard Engel, was adamant on National Public Radio on Friday: You cannot credit Bush policies for the "Arab Spring."
NPR Fresh Air host Terry Gross seemed to be hoping Engel would help her out and denounce Bush:
NPR Fresh Air host Terry Gross is never more favorable toward a guest than when she’s hosting a conservative-bashing comedian. (See her cooing over Jon Stewart.) On Tuesday, Gross interviewed Stewart’s partner in satire Stephen Colbert for 40 adoring minutes. She fawned over his moonlighting on Broadway and boosted him as brave for going to Iraq (and Colbert mocked both attempts to fawn).
When they discussed how Colbert took his fake O'Reilly-mocking character to a House hearing chaired by liberal Democrat Zoe Lofrgren last fall to advocate for migrant farm workers, Gross found it "like, so amazing" and Colbert said that after Rep. John Conyers asked him to leave, he recanted and they had a great time talking jazz and listening to records in Conyers' office. How cozy, Colbert and the Democrats and NPR:
Perhaps the people at National Public Radio are worried that a new Republican Congress could threaten the lavishness of its federal subsidies again. Or maybe NPR is just a sandbox for the Left. But on Wednesday, the show Fresh Air spent most of its hour suggesting the Republican Party was dangerously infested with extremists. The guest was socialist Princeton professor Sean Wilentz, who has written that George W. Bush practiced "a radicalized version of Reaganism." Host Terry Gross was promoting Wilentz's article in The New Yorker on Glenn Beck and the Tea Party:
GROSS: Can you think of another time in American history when there have been as many people running for Congress who seem to be on the extreme?
WILENTZ: Not running for Congress, no. I mean even back in the '50s.
This is par for the course, since Gross promoted a New Yorker piece by Jane Mayer just a few weeks ago (on August 26) on how the Koch brothers were funding the Tea Party as part of a "war" on that secular saint, President Obama. What stuck out in this interview was the use of "extreme" labels for the conservative movement and the GOP -- twelve of them. In Sesame Street lingo, the hour was brought to you by the letter E for Extreme. Most of them came in Gross's restate-the-thesis (or in this case, restate-the-attack-ad) "if you're just joining us" reintroductions.
Nationally distributed NPR talk show host Terry Gross was putting her feelings on her sleeve and on the air Monday in an interview with liberal comedian Jon Stewart. The episode was taped at an event at the 92nd Street Y in Manhattan with a live audience. Gross began by proclaiming "I just want to say thank you before I ask you the first question.....Thank you for the last thing I see every night, in addition to my husband and my cat, is your show. And I'm able to go to bed with a sense that there is sanity someplace in the world."
Stewart joked constantly through the hour, but it was also clear he had serious anger with how the Democrats haven't been leftist enough, and about a media that hasn't been biased enough. He expressed frustration near the show's end when he asserted that the media's too timid because of the talk of a "liberal media conspiracy." When asked about liberals being concerned that his October 30 "million moderates" march will hurt Democrats, he actually said "Tough [expletive]."
GROSS: Now, some people are worried. There's a big AFL-CIO liberal march, there's the FFL, the NAACP, a whole bunch of groups. Some people worry that your march is going to take away from their, like, serious political march.
The secular-left stronghold of National Public Radio dumped on conservative Christians again last week. On the August 25 edition of the nationally distributed talk show Fresh Air with Terry Gross, the topic was Christianity vs. Islam in northern Africa. Gross's guest was author Eliza Griswold, who Gross explained was the daughter of Frank Griswold, "the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church in America in 2003, when Gene Robinson became the first openly gay person ordained as a bishop in the church."
With those PC credentials established, Gross asked about Griswold accompanying Rev. Franklin Graham to Sudan in the Bush years, when Graham asked the Muslim dictator there for the right to preach the Christian gospel, and he was refused. But NPR's Gross was most worried that "very extreme" Graham was ruining America's reputation in the Third World:
GROSS: I guess, you know, I'm wondering, when Franklin Graham, who was perceived in the United States by a lot of people as very extreme, when he goes to a place like Sudan, establishes hospitals there, meets with the president, is he seen as representative of what Americans believe?
The idea that Washington Post writer David Weigel was supposed to be a conservative -- and not merely someone reporting on the conservative movement -- was clearly not based on a review of Weigel's output. Weigel didn't just deconstruct conservatives for the Post, but was also presented twice recently by National Public Radio as a wise man assessing the fringiness of conservatives. Last October, they wanted to know how strange Fox News was, and whether they could be blamed for Tea Party protests. Weigel called their influence "massive." Weigel typically suggested Fox and Glenn Beck were not "realistic" in painting President Obama as connected to ACORN and the SEIU.
On NPR's Fresh Air on February 23, before he joined the Post, Weigel reported on CPAC and the Tea Party and embraced host Terry Gross's idea that conservatives shouldn't be big fans of government-enhancing Dick Cheney:
GROSS: So if the conservative movement is glad that Bush isn't around anymore, and if they think that he embraced big government, why was Dick Cheney such a rock star at CPAC? I mean, if anything, Cheney is the person most responsible for the expansion of the powers of the executive branch.
This is a little old, but it fits a pattern: Comedy Central's hostility to Christianity (and Catholics in particular). Daily Show joke-correspondent Samantha Bee was interviewed on NPR's Fresh Air with Terry Gross on June 2, as she and Gross giggled over The Daily Show's pro-abortion joke at the last GOP convention, what Gross said was "interviewing people, trying to get them to say the word 'choice,' which you thought had basically been eradicated from their vocabulary." Then, after discussing Bee's teenage habit of stealing cars and selling them and having wild parties, they turned to how it is "pure pleasure" to mock the Catholic Church:
GROSS: You've done a sketch or two satirizing the Catholic church and the pope. And you went to Catholic school...
The leftist Southern Poverty Law Center is a National Public Radio staple in analyzing right-wing militia groups -- and then connecting them to the Tea Party movement and conservative talk-show hosts.
Imagine a conservative group connecting liberal talk-show hosts and protesters to radical leftists like...Bill Ayers. Would they get a baldly promotional interview on NPR? No. But NPR Fresh Air hostess Terry Gross both aided the SPLC with a 37-minute promotional interview on March 25 -- and aided Bill Ayers in trashing Sarah Palin days after the 2008 election.
NPR promoted SPLC's Mark Potok and his narrative of "astounding" growth of militias in the Obama era thanks to "ostensibly mainstream" conservatives on All Things Considered on Tuesday night.
Conservative authors rarely get interviewed on National Public Radio. (For example, there was no air time for Mark Levin's best-seller Liberty and Tyranny.) When they do, it can be like Bill O'Reilly's sour and hostile experience with Fresh Air interviewer Terry Gross. On Monday, Gross provided a much kinder 35-minute forum for someone apparently more respectable and noteworthy than conservative writers:
Melissa Febos' new memoir, Whip Smart, details the four years she spent working as a dominatrix. Febos enacted fantasy sequences, spanked grown men and verbally humiliated them for $75 an hour in a dungeon located somewhere in midtown Manhattan.
Febos, who writes that she got started in sex work to pay for a drug habit, tells Terry Gross that working in a dungeon felt like "being in a womb."
Many conservatives remember the myth of protesters yelling "Kill him!" at Obama during 2008 campaign rallies. The Secret Service couldn’t find any proof when a Pennsylvania reporter claimed to hear it. Well, last week on NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross, former Wall Street Journal reporter Jane Mayer (now with The New Yorker) was claiming there were "Hang Eric Holder" screams at a December protest against holding a Khalid Sheikh Muhammad trial in Manhattan.
A Nexis scan of December 5 and 6 news accounts of the protest by AP, Reuters, Agence France-Presse, the New York Post, the Times of Trenton, and several North Jersey newspapers found no trace of a suggestion of such a nasty call. Even Daphne Eviatar of the left-leaning Washington Independent didn’t report it.
Here’s what Mayer claimed on the Gross show, as she explained how Scott Brown exploited fears of terrorism in his Senate race:
Here’s how National Public Radio celebrates the week before Christmas, with cutesy ukelele songs about feminism. On Monday, the nationally distributed talk show Fresh Air with Terry Gross rebroadcast a 2007 interview with leftist singer Nellie McKay (pronounced to rhyme with rye), who has a new album out of Doris Day covers. McKay began the replayed segment by performing a song called "Mother of Pearl" that's sort of a cousin of "Mrs. Brown, You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter." The lines in parentheses were usually spoken, as the voice of sexist conservatives:
Feminists don't have a sense of humor (Tsk, tsk, tsk)
Feminists just want to be alone (Boo, hoo, hoo, hoo)
Feminists spread vicious lies and rumor
They have a tumor on their funny bone
So far, so good, but then the feminist satire kicks in:
They say child molestation isn't funny (Ha, ha, ha, ha)
Rape and degradation's just a crime (Lighten up, ladies.)
Rampant prostitution, sex for money (What's wrong with that?)
Can't these chicks do anything but whine? (Dance break!)
The folks at National Public Radio really don’t like Fox News. They don’t like NPR people on Fox News. When the NPR talk show Fresh Air with Terry Gross wanted to discuss Fox News and its role in nurturing tea-party protests, they gave 40 minutes to David Weigel of the left-wing site The Washington Independent. It had the usual tone of exploring the dark side of the moon. Gross led off the show discussing the new conservative protests:
It's a right-wing movement that has been interrupting town hall meetings, staging tea party protests, and challenging Obama's citizenship. The new influence of Fox News TV host Glenn Beck was demonstrated by the 9/12 March on Washington, which he promoted on his show.
To NPR, apparently every Tea Party protester is a birther, and every conservative question at a town hall meeting was an "interruption." They discussed his article on the recent Values Voter Summit for Christian conservatives first, and then turned to the topic of Fox:
Terry Gross, the female Philadelphia-based host of the National Public Radio show Fresh Air, notoriously tangled with Bill O’Reilly in 2003 by asking O'Reilly to respond to Al Franken's attacks on him (two weeks after a giggly interview with Franken himself). A July 1 interview with Washington Post political reporter Dan Balz on the (apparently hopeless) state of the Republican Party caused her to pick up the left-wing bloggers’ attack on Rush Limbaugh as someone who says "extreme wild things" and damages the GOP:
GROSS: You know, I always wonder what Republicans -- and I know you can't really generalize here because every Republican is different -- but what Republicans think of right wing talk radio and TV. Take Rush Limbaugh, for instance. He says some pretty extreme wild things. He's not running for office. He's not taking responsibility for running the country. He's, I mean, he's a talk show host and what he needs is an audience and ratings and saying extreme things is very good for getting audience and ratings.
The Washington Post reported Friday that Richard Cizik resigned his position as spokesman and vice president for governmental affairs for the National Association of Evangelicals after he declared he was "shifting" toward supporting civil unions for homosexual couples in a December 2 National Public Radio interview.
On Wednesday, the NPR talk show Fresh Air with Terry Gross aired an interview about Sarah Palin with Michael Carey, columnist and former editorial page editor of the Anchorage Daily News and public broadcasting host (of a political talk show called Anchorage Edition). Gross aggressively went after Palin on every front, including her "extreme" religious views:
GROSS: Sarah Palin's religious views strike some people as extreme. For example, in 2005, she attended a service at her former church, the Wasilla Assembly of God, where a bishop from Kenya prayed over her, asking Jesus to keep her safe from every form of witchcraft, and he had claimed to have driven out a witch from his village in Kenya. In June, she told a group that his prayers helped her to become governor. Have her religious views been seen as extreme at all within Alaska?
"And as we're talking today, Terry, the death count in Myanmar from the cyclone that hit there yesterday has been rising from 15,000 to way on up there to much higher numbers now being speculated," Gore said. "And last year a catastrophic storm from last fall hit Bangladesh. The year before, the strongest cyclone in more than 50 years hit China - and we're seeing consequences that scientists have long predicted might be associated with continued global warming."
National Public Radio knows how to identify itself as the secular liberal media. On Good Friday, the show Fresh Air with Terry Gross recycled a 2004 interview with retired academic John Dominic Crossan, a co-founder of the Jesus Seminar, a man who believes the Gospels are largely mythology, someone's ahistorical hopes, and that the resurrection of Jesus never occurred, and that perhaps the body of Jesus was consumed by wild dogs. In this interview, Gross also asked him to comment on (disparage) the movie The Passion of the Christ, which he eagerly did. He suggested too much focus on the passion of Christ is "dangerously close to pathological." (Photo from NPR.org)
On Friday, the NPR chat show Fresh Air with Terry Gross (aired on over 400 stations from WHYY in Philadelphia) carried two interviews on science and religion. They might claim the discussion was balanced, but not when you consider the time allotted, as listed on the NPR web page:
Apparently, an almost three-to-one time difference is a fair fight on NPR.
In case that's not imbalanced enough, the Dawkins page also helpfully links to another 30-minute NPR interview with Dawkins about his book The God Delusion on the show Talk of the Nation. The interviews are repeats from last year, but NPR doesn't generally tell listeners about that when the show airs.
Philip Shenon, investigative reporter for the New York Times, has written a book on the 9-11 Commission and talked about it with Fresh Air host Terry Gross on National Public Radio Monday. Judging by Shenon's past willingness to heap all of the blame for 9-11 on the then eight-month old Bush administration (as opposed to the eight years of Clinton that preceded it), it's no surprise he praised Clinton's former National Security Advisor, the disgraced Sandy Berger, who got caught and convicted for shoving copies of classified documents into his socks.