NewsBusters Podcast: A Fun Day on Capitol Hill Truth-Telling About NPR

May 8th, 2024 9:39 PM

The House Republicans on the Energy & Commerce Committee invited me to testify on Wednesday about allegations of bias at National Public Radio. The expose by former NPR business editor Uri Berliner galvanized the Republicans to introduce several bills about defunding NPR after more than 50 years of taxpayer support. Is there any hope that NPR will change its biased ways? Don't be wildly optimistic.

However, I told them they should hold more hearings and press new NPR CEO Katharine Maher to explain how their content serves all the public, and not just the Democrat fraction. Maher declined this invitation, insisting she had an previously schedule all-day board meeting. We'll hope this committee can find a date to ask her to justify all the tilt we've been exposing. 

I reminded Congress that supposedly civil NPR has in the last few years endorsed the book In Defense of Looting, called a book "excellent" that claimed anti-police riots should be called "rebellions," and hailed a movie called How to Blow Up a Pipeline. Then there is their attack on Republicans. 

On January 18, 2023, the NPR interview show Fresh Air headlined their show, “How will the hard-right Republicans in Congress wield their newfound power?” Gross began: “Now that Kevin McCarthy has assumed his new role as speaker of the House, a position he won after making concessions to the far right of his party, what can we expect?” Between host Terry Gross and her guest, New York Times reporter Catie Edmondson, they labeled the House Republicans as “far right” or “hard right” 32 times. Democrats apparently don’t have an extreme.

Nine days later, on Morning Edition, host Steve Inskeep laid out the red carpet for House Democrat leader Hakeem Jeffries to announce on the debt-ceiling debate, “We are not going to pay a ransom note to extremists in the other party." Republicans were suicidal in their opposition, Inskeep suggested: “You'd say to Republicans, "Drive the car off the cliff. We are not going to grab the wheel." Jeffries replied: "We're not going to let the car go off the cliff even though there are people who are willing to do it."

On the PBS NewsHour, NPR White House reporter Tamara Keith said last October “what's happening in the House is a reflection of a broader divide in the Republican Party, where there's maybe like 20 percent or 30 percent of Republicans who don't want to burn it all down.”

Enjoy the podcast below, or wherever you listen to podcasts.