NPR Bias Hits Movies: Loves Eco-Terror, Hates Capitalism, ‘Transphobic’ Rowling

April 15th, 2023 10:31 PM

National Public Radio’s ideological bias extends to its movie reviews. In an April 12 segment on Fresh Air, hosted by Terry Gross, the show’s “critic-at-large” John Powers praised a new movie about a band of eco-terrorists fighting the energy industry: "'How to Blow Up a Pipeline' review: An action-packed eco-heist movie."

Powers described it as a “fictional riff” on the book of the same name by radical writer Andreas Malm. So, does Powers shriek about this movie's valorization of domestic terrorism, given NPR’s constant fears of January 6-style “insurrection”? Of course not.

Back in 1975, Edward Abbey wrote The Monkey Wrench Gang, a groundbreaking novel about a group of outsiders who use sabotage to stop what they see as the environmental ruination of the American Southwest. At once rambunctious and deadly serious, this wonderful book achieved something hard to imagine today: It was embraced by both left and right for its story about citizens rebelling against a system that is wrecking the world.

Nearly half a century on, Abbey's concerns feel even more urgently prescient. More and more people are frustrated by society's inability, indeed unwillingness to even slow down ecological disasters like climate change.

We meet a collection of such folks in the hugely timely new political thriller How to Blow Up a Pipeline. A fictional riff on the manifesto by Andreas Malm -- the most compelling argument I've read for eco-sabotage -- Daniel Goldhaber's lean, sleekly made movie tells the story of a modern day monkey-wrench gang who target an oil pipeline.

Powers praised the “bold” movie for not making its terrorists (er, "eco-warriors") into villains:

It neither condemns Xochitl and company nor does it present eco-warriors as nutjobs like Jesse Eisenberg in the film Night Moves or Alexander Skarsgård in The East. On the contrary, the flashbacks make it clear that these are not mad ideologues or parody radicals, but ordinary people whose reasons we can sympathize with.

Contrast that with the ideological contempt NPR critic Aisha Harris displayed April 5 toward a feel-good movie about how the famous “Air Jordan” sneakers (as in future NBA legend Michael Jordan) came to be. Harris couldn’t stand this “soulless dramatization” and celebration of (gasp!) capitalism:

Air is a soulless dramatization of how a giant corporation convinced a promising NBA rookie to make its already wealthy and well-off board members, CEOs, and salespeople even wealthier and set for life….Air wants the audience to believe there's a deeper purpose here beyond an exercise in championing capitalism….let's not pretend as if more insanely wealthy Black people are some sort of "win" for all of us. Though at least when said pop star boasts about her riches, there's an engaging tension between her sheer artistry and the awareness of inequalities that exist in this country and everywhere else.

Harris’s politicized review goes against the grain of critics, who mostly like the movie.

And news that J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series of books is getting a decade-long TV series inspired this woke outburst from NPR’s Kaitlyn Radde on April 13:

Fans have reacted strongly to the news of a TV series, and many have taken to social media to criticize the decision and Rowling's involvement. Rowling has been embroiled in controversy in recent years for expressing transphobic views.

What “transphobic views” has the author expressed? Certainly Rowling has used Twitter to defend basic biology and women’s rights to feel safe in women’s spaces like restrooms, but none of Rowling’s accusers can come up with any actually “transphobic views,” and have even made embarrassing excuses for their failure to do so.