By The Numbers: How Fervently Did NPR Avoid Covering the Merrick Garland Grilling?

March 2nd, 2023 4:14 PM

On Wednesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee held its first hearing of the new Congress with Attorney General Merrick Garland. It was a rock-em, sock-em grilling by Senate Republicans, but National Public Radio fervently sought to avoid doing a story on it. They found time for a four-minute story on a man setting a Guinness World Record for Disneyland visits, and eight minutes for an interview segment on "how curry took over the world."

So we thought it would be funny to list all of the 16 features NPR's All Things Considered aired instead on Wednesday night, and you can see it wasn't all crucial stuff! Check out the minutes and seconds, as some features lasted eight minutes.

These are their headlines

1. Eli Lilly CEO David Ricks comments on why it's cutting insulin prices now (4:51)

2. Eli Lilly cuts some older insulin prices and caps out-of-pocket costs (3:46)

3. In New England, surfers catch waves through the chilly winter (2:35)

4. The healing power of food — and how curry took over the world (8:16)

5, The quake in Turkey and Syria left at least 50,000 dead. What about the survivors? (4:20)

6. Nigeria has a new president-elect, but his opponents reject the results (3:30)

7. A man set a Guinness World Record for Disneyland visits: 2,995 in a row (3:53)

8. Look to the night sky for a dose of awe as Venus and Jupiter dance (2:18)

9. The theatrical curtain call is more than just bows (5:37)

10. U.S. Intelligence: foreign rivals didn't cause Havana Syndrome (3:42)

11. A powerful symbol in Iran's recent protests, the hijab has long been contentious (5:55)

12. A pioneering gender-affirming health institute opened in 1919 in Berlin (8:09)

13. It'll be a runoff for Chicago's mayoral race — and the incumbent is out (4:52)

14. NASA made history by knocking an asteroid off course. Now, it's publishing the data (3:12)

15. A reporter's indulgence no longer a secret — 'The NBA's Damian Lillard made me a fan' (3:57)

16. Author Kate Zernike dissects the years-long fight for gender equality at MIT (7:51)

This adds up to about 77 minutes of avoiding the Senate hearing with Garland (not counting local breaks and news briefs on the half-hour). In fact, this show seemed to be avoiding politics, except for the Chicago mayor's race. 

On Thursday's Morning Edition, NPR skipped the Garland hearing again, but they did find three minutes and 23 seconds for this: House Democrats come together to work on a messaging strategy to attract voters. Anchor Steve Inskeep and reporter Barbara Sprunt just recounted Biden's speech to a House Democrat retreat: 

INSKEEP: So we should note that President Biden spoke to the House Democrats. Here's a little bit of what he had to say

PRESIDENT BIDEN: If we did nothing, nothing but implement what we've already passed and let the people know who did it for them, we win.

INSKEEP: Interesting. Is that true, though?

SPRUNT: Well, it's hard to say at this point. 2024 remains a ways away. But it does give Democrats a strategy, a record to run on. Biden pointed to the bipartisan infrastructure bill, legislation to boost the domestic manufacturing of semiconductor chips. And he made the case to lawmakers last night that it's politically beneficial for them to go home to their districts and simply explain to voters what they've done.

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