NPR's TV Critic Reveals Year's Laments: 'Copaganda' Shows, Elon Musk, Stelter Firing

December 29th, 2022 2:55 PM

National Public Radio television critic Eric Deggans issued a left-wing-tinged, year-end lament on the state of the media: “Six ways media took a big step backward in 2022.” Deggans was particularly obsessed with Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter, but spared some sadness for (former) CNN media reporter Brian Stelter and (former) lefty late-night host Samantha Bee.

As 2022 winds down, it's obvious the past year has been, in many ways, a giant step backward for media.

So much has gone wrong: from fundamental shifts in the streaming business to widespread cutbacks at major media companies -- including NPR -- and, of course, Elon. And there's one word which sums up the dynamic at the heart of most of this heartache: transition.

Dismissing the “fun” end-of-year lists of his fellow media reporters, Deggans promised “to tackle something more serious: the six terrible media trends in 2022,” including how “Elon Musk dismantles Twitter before our eyes.”

Deggans apparently wants government to own social media platforms -- what could possibly go wrong?

Nothing this year brought home the dangers in private ownership of major social media platforms more than the capricious, often-destructive and regularly unpredictable actions of Musk after he overpaid for Twitter in October to the tune of $44 billion.

….He’s laid off more than half the staff, increased misinformation, unbanned abusive accounts, suspended journalists who covered him critically and then unsuspended at least some of them, acting in many ways like a petulant king who cannot tolerate contrary views....

Deggans defended pre-Musk, conservative-censoring Twitter as “an important meeting ground for journalists, academics, politicians, celebrities and average people with something substantive to say.”

How wonderful that “average people” get a say as well as those important journalists and celebrities!

No mention of the Twitter files, which showed the government pressuring the social media platform to deplatform conservative voices for inconvenient opinions on COVID or Hunter Biden's laptop.

Deggans let his ideology seep into his reviews:

As a critic, I felt vindicated by the cancellation of both COPS and Live PD in mid-2020. Both shows were an exercise in copaganda, lionizing officers answering calls in the field while showing the people policed in the worst light. Each show was canceled in the wake of the civil rights reckoning which followed George Floyd's death.

Then he was aggrieved because it turned out the programs he disapproved of had fans.

But both programs have returned.…Worse than any copycatting -- at least, from my point of view -- was the sense that the shows could come back because people had grown tired of keeping them off the air.

Deggans lamented layoffs among media companies, including NPR, and bid sad adieu to a list of liberal favorites, including two liberal CNN commentators.

The moves were jarring: canceling the streaming service CNN+ after just a few weeks; shelving the nearly completed film Batgirl; canceling Samantha Bee's show Full Frontal on TBS….canceling CNN's media analysis show Reliable Sources and laying off its host Brian Stelter….

Some changes at CNN, including the layoffs of Stelter and correspondent John Harwood, led to concerns that the company was muzzling analysts who had prominently criticized conservatives and former president Donald Trump in a bid to become more centrist -- an idea CNN Chairman and CEO Chris Licht has strenuously denied.