Where Is NPR Ombudsman Edward Schumacher-Matos?

June 5th, 2013 1:57 PM

Judging from the silence from the NPR ombudsman, it would appear that the taxpayer-funded radio network has solved the pervasive problems of bias and ideological monoculture that have plagued it for decades.

NPR's internal media critic, Edward Schumacher-Matos, has not written a blog post since May 6 and has not been seen on Twitter since May 3, despite being called out several times by various individuals on the microblogging service for being unresponsive.

The radio silence is enough to make one wonder if Schumacher-Matos is still employed by NPR. Whatever the reason for his online absence, it is worth pointing out that in March, he condemned the Washington Post for ending its own ombudsman position.

The Post "eliminated a position that builds audience trust precisely at a time that this fundamental and fickle quality — trust — in the Post and all American news media is declining," Schumacher-Matos wrote March 1.

Has NPR also decided to deliberately eliminate a position that builds audience trust? (Or at least is supposed to.)

For his part, over the years, Schumacher-Matos has done a rather poor job of trying to build listener trust and responding to complaints. As NewsBusters has chronicled, the NPR ombudsman claimed there was "certainly no liberal bias" in the network's elevation of a British newspaper scandal to massive significance purely because it involved a media property owned by entrepeneur Rupert Murdoch. Schumacher-Matos even invited leftist activist Ralph Nader to comment on the idea of NPR having a liberal bias.

Update: Schumacher-Matos has responded after being sent this article on Twitter. "Stay tuned. Working on a long report," he says.

We'll keep an eye out for it. I'm guessing it was the milk carton graphic that provoked him to respond.