Taxpayer-funded National Public Radio canceled their annual July Fourth reading of the Declaration of Independence. NPR Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep announced they've been reading the Declaration since 1988, but "Today we are updating an NPR Independence Day tradition."
The surprise here is that NPR ever showed reverence for 1776 in the first place. They’re more marinated in the spirit of 1974, the liberal Democrats that moved to impeach Nixon and lose the war in Vietnam and enshrine abortion on demand.
Instead, their 11-minute segment was headlined: "On this July 4th, what does equality mean?" The Declaration wasn't the "whole.story," Inskeep said.
This July 4th we break with tradition. Instead of a reading of the Declaration of Independence @NPRinskeep examines what equality means and has meant in this document. Important segment about our past and future...produced by @marcarivers and @bgordemer https://t.co/MxlgNaWpC1— Leila Fadel (@LeilaFadel) July 4, 2022
For expertise, NPR typically turned to two liberal Harvard historians. Annette Gordon-Reed won a Pulitzer Prize for a book on Thomas Jefferson's complicated relationship with slavery (and a slave named Sally Hemings). Jill Lepore is also a writer for The New Yorker and just ripped Clarence Thomas there for the latest decision on gun control, one of her passions.
The meditation here -- on how Jefferson proclaimed "all men are created equal," and how that ideal has challenged America throughout history -- was fairly straightforward about slavery and women's rights and "Native Nations." Turning to more modern times, Inskeep ran a soundbite of actor Sean Penn playing San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk -- but inaccurately described him as "Mayor" when he was assassinated in 1978.
Without providing any context or explanation, Inskeep wrapped it all up with the notion that Republicans are seeking "unequal voting power" -- is this another attack on voter ID requirements? -- and connected that idea to the "global move toward authoritarian rule."
INSKEEP: And many of our debates on this July Fourth turn on what equality means. What voting rules really give equal access to the ballot? Do abortion laws give a woman equal control over her body? At what point is a fetus entitled to equal rights? For some people, equality is out of style. Some political progressives prefer the term equity. Some Republicans in Texas and Colorado have called for unequal voting power, giving more weight to conservative voters. The global move toward authoritarian rule opposes equality, asserting that some people are more equal than others.
On Monday night's All Things Considered, NPR marked Independence Day by having descendants of Frederick Douglass read from his 1852 speech "What to the Slave is the Fourth of July"? That's fine as history, but NPR anchor Ari Shapiro added "while the institution of slavery has been abolished, its consequences have endured through the generations."
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