Peak Snobbery at NPR: We're 'Very Good at Educating the Overeducated'

April 23rd, 2020 1:19 PM

In her introductory article on Wednesday, new National Public Radio public editor Kelly McBride began with company pep talk: "the truth is, we really need NPR right now. [Italics hers.] We need its classic calm tone to inform and reassure us, to bear witness to our anxiety and our grief. We need NPR's sharp journalists to keep questioning authorities — from the local mayor to the governors to, yes, President Donald Trump."

If you think NPR is known for sharp questioning of authorities, we have a raft of Barack Obama NPR interviews to show you.  

A "classic calm tone"? It depends on how the NPR hosts are talking about. Lifezette pointed out his overheated take from overpaid NPR Saturday morning host Scott Simon to Gov. Mike DeWine of Ohio last weekend: "As I don't have to tell you, there were anti-stay-at-home protests in -- right there in Columbus this week. And I have to ask you, Governor DeWine, when President Trump calls on people in Michigan, Minnesota and Virginia - those are states with Democratic governors - to, quote, "liberate" themselves from lockdown, is that a call for insurrection?"

DeWine had to remind the agitated NPR host "Well, the people have every right to demonstrate." 

But McBride's NPR pep talk took a comedic turn toward the end, as longtime NPR executive Christopher Turpin overshared the arrogance of their newsroom: 

As I watch NPR, I promise to do so through the eyes of you, the audience — the core audience, and also those of you dipping your toes in around the edges of NPR....

"We are very good at educating the overeducated," Chris Turpin told me. He's a senior leader at NPR who helps support regional reporting hubs. "How do we broaden the audience? How do we help stations connect with communities that don't fit your average NPR profile?"

Although I'm the advocate for the audience that NPR has right now, I'll be mindful of NPR's mission to broaden it. Through encouragement and accountability, I hope to hold the door open for new and diverse communities to connect with public radio.

The longtime NPR audience is "overeducated," and they need to broaden the audience to....the undereducated, in undereducated communities that "don't fit your average NPR profile." 

Turpin is a Brit, so add the "overeducated" accent on top of it. Turpin learned to love America after spending college time at the University of California-Santa Cruz (a hotspot for the woke).