Bob and Brooke read from a few of your letters and comments.
As nearly as I can figure out from these threads, NPR's defenders don't like it because it isn't tilted toward their own left-leaning sympathies - they like it because it does. I have yet to see a self-proclaimed stalwart Republican, someone who (let us say) sympathizes with the concerns of the Tea Party, voted for McCain, opposes unrestricted abortion rights and same-sex marriage, the whole nine yards - who trusts NPR's coverage on its face.
That's why NPR has become sensitive to charges of bias. The organization wants to be trusted by 'both sides', while its leaders have to know that the editorial staff is strongly pro-Democratic in its political leanings, and introduces reflexively 'liberal' framing and vocabulary in much of its coverage of domestic politics. (Bob Garfield denounced the outgoing Bush administration in emotional terms in 2008, and Brooke Gladstone has made no secret of her leftist sympathies, for starters.) Liberals who accept the concept of 'subtle' and 'unconscious' biases in race and gender seem to be oblivious to other kinds of prejudices - class and cultural, most obviously.
Ni Yen" 2 out of 3 listeners of NPR identify themselves as liberal. The market has spoken."
To whit Bush releection, mistakenly sending your kids to fight in iraq, coal miners/gas drillers fighting against environmental regulation -- my second favorite thing about liberals is that they are better listeners.
The comments about the perceived bias of NPR revealed much. As might be expected, the conservative respondents had no facts to support their claims, but continued to insist, "NPR's liberal. It just is! I know it, I say so, so you have to believe me." Unable to support their claim of bias, they resort to simply stating their talking point over and over, until it is taken as truth. When facts don't support their point, they won't be dissuaded - just start alleging bias.
One of the conservative defenders even went so far as to use the Lord's name in vain in her vitriolic response - which the hosts chose to repeat, word for word.
(2 out of 3 listeners liberal? So the other 1 out of 3 are simply wrong?)
It seemed like a bad joke, then, that the following segment repeated the toxic hate speech of the Westboro "church" by quoting selectively from their messages - choosing to highlight the most homophobic statements, out of the many groups they target - and effectively giving the church a free platform for their homophobic hate speech. This, from a liberal news source? I don't think so.
NPR and its supporters can repeat it any number of times - and point out numbers to back them up.
But they totally glossed over one important number that came up during their talk - 2 out of 3 listeners of NPR identify themselves as liberal. The market has spoken.
How come all of NPR's defenders turn out to be standard-issue Republican haters?
Great points Thomas, only I would say the gathering of around a hundred TP'ers WAS news worthy because so many high profile Republicans felt compelled to address them personally.
But THAT ANGLE should have been the story on all the national media which covered the tiny little gathering- why the TP'ers have Republicans so terrified that they go so far overboard to appease a gathering of a mere hundred.
It's laughable, and if any of the media were worth a damn, we'd hear that angle every time a Republican speaks these days.
The statement that the media is liberal leaning is a brilliant ploy by the right wing to manipulate the public and news outlets. It works in four significant ways. First off it creates an "us versus them" scenario where "they" have power that "we" don't have. Secondly it discounts everything said by unapproved media as false or catering to a "them" point of view. Thirdly it puts the unapproved media in a defensive position which has two major winning points. When marked with the moniker "liberal" a news organization will bend over backward to prove they are fair and balanced by (a) making sure that the right wing point of view is expressed and given "equal" time and (b) waste a lot of energy to make sure they can't be labeled liberal usually by making a story weaker. Lastly when a story emerges that negatively impacts the right wing agenda they can decry "media bias" and limit the reporting of the story.
To play in a liberal/conservative continuum is not where news should be. Every story can not and should not be placed on that scale. If that were the case the next time someone shouts that "Obama is a socialist" I would like to hear from a socialist explaining how and how not his policies fit into that definition. Of course the news organization would be labeled liberal but in the effort to be fair and balanced wouldn't that be called for?
Last week NPR spent 10 minutes during "All things considered" to report on a Tea Party gathering of a couple hundred people in Washington. That wasn't news unless every protest of a couple hundred people would garner that amount of press. Did that really warrant the time spent or was that to appease a right wing that calls them liberal anyway?
Conservatives think NPR is "biased" for no legitimate reason whatsoever.
Instead, conservatives perceive "liberal" bias simply because NPR does the occasional human interest segment about gay parents or Broadway show tunes, without utterly demonizing the topics as somehow having anti-American values.
Just start demonizing homosexuality, and replace the Broadway segments with the latest Megachurch production or a good gun story... then NPR will be swimming in conservative donations. Of course, most "liberals" aren't so narrow-minded or intolerant as to stop donating because of the changes, so there won't be much of a "lose" angle for public radio to worry about.
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