Left-wingers like to imagine Rupert Murdoch as some sort of James Bond villain – a global media mogul who ruins the international socialist agenda with feisty tabloids and right-wing TV hacks.
No one imagines that more than National Public Radio, which fired Juan Williams for daring to associate with “The O’Reilly Factor.” NPR media correspondent David Folkenflik has obsessed over Murdoch for years and now has a new book out called “Murdoch’s World.” On Monday’s Morning Edition, NPR promoted its own reporter’s book, and his finding that “there’s a cruelty to his journalism,” that he’s “punitive” with political opponents.
As NewsBusters reported several times last week, CNN's Piers Morgan refused to retract his repeated claim Monday that Aaron Alexis, the shooter at the Washington Navy Yard, used an AR-15 during the massacre.
On CNN's Reliable Sources Sunday, guest host David Folkenflik of NPR did a six-minute segment addressing the mistake several in the media made concerning this issue without once mentioning that the person probably most guilty of this error was Morgan (video follows with transcript and commentary):
When Gary Knell became the chief executive officer of National Public Radio in December of 2011, his goal was to “calm the waters” after the publicly funded network had endured two high-profile scandals: the firing of Juan Williams and the video of a fund-raising executive slamming the Republican Party as “seriously racist, racist people” while accepting donations from a group that was purportedly aligned with the Muslim Brotherhood.
But on Monday, 20 months later, Knell announced his decision to join the National Geographic Society as its president and CEO, even though that meant leaving NPR, which he said "is and will always be a beacon of journalistic integrity, commitment, and courage,” a claim NewsBusters has repeatedly demonstrated as false.
NPR media reporter David Folkenflik filed a fond and light remembrance of liberal Baltimore Sun reporter Jack Germond on Wednesday night’s All Things Considered: “He lived life large and didn't suffer phonies. But here's the thing about Germond, and you don't find much among reporters today, he liked politicians.” He was "a lover of horse races, and horses." Nobody remembered Germond comparing Jerry Falwell to Nicaraguan communist dictator Daniel Ortega. (Correction: The original article cited Pat Robertson instead of Falwell.)
Folkenflik didn’t exactly offer the same treatment to Germond’s seatmate on “The McLaughlin Group,” Robert Novak. On August 18, 2009, after some fond remembrances from colleagues, Folkenflik brought in leftist David Corn to announce Novak’s reputation was damaged by the Valerie Plame leak case:
The Washington Post is a legend in the minds of the Washington elite, so its financial decline has caused quiet panic. As NPR media reporter David Folkenflik put it, “You think of stories like the Pentagon Papers, Watergate, these are all stories where The Washington Post led the nation's understanding, the world's understanding of some major issues.”
Outside the liberal media, you wonder how long Post fans can wallow in their Nixon-crumbling polyester “glory days” in the early 1970s. But nostalgia ruled as the Graham family sold the Post to Jeff Bezos, the billionaire founder of Amazon.com. “Now he is being credited as a white knight with deep pockets helping to save one of this country's great newspapers,” oozed NBC reporter Tom Costello.
In 2007, when The New York Times granted MoveOn.org a special discount it wasn't entitled to so they could slam David Petraeus in a full-page ad as "General Betray Us," NPR reported on the ad, but never on the Times cut-rate controversy.
But NPR is sometimes very sensitive about the "independence" of media outlets -- when it seems compromised by Republicans. On Tuesday's All Things Considered, they granted air time to KUOW reporter Sara Lerner in Washington state to discuss how the Seattle Times outrageously used their own free ad space for an favoring the Republican running for governor, and how 100 of the paper's journalists were protesting:
The ombudsman at a media outlet is supposed to be an advocate for the audience, a watchdog to keep the media outlet honest. But several new ombudsmen are following a more comfortable rut: kissing the hand that feeds them, and defending the media outlet from "baseless" public criticism. Patrick Pexton is doing that at The Washington Post, and Edward Schumacher-Matos is doing the same at NPR.
Late Monday, the NPR ombudsman slammed NewsBusters and National Review Online. The pull quote summarized: "I want to learn from the advocacy groups. But not much of their criticism holds up." He even suggested there was "certainly no liberal bias" as NPR flooded the zone of the London phone-hacking story that leftists thought could be Rupert Murdoch’s undoing:
In 2008, NPR's All Things Considered tried to take apart the "swift-booking" of Barack Obama by conservative author Jerome Corsi, insisting in several places "we know" Corsi's reporting wasn't factual. On Friday's All Things Considered, NPR media reporter David Folkenflik took a looser standard in publicizing the Palin-bashing book by liberal author Joe McGinniss. Folkenflik eventually found book experts who disdained the difference between a "warts and all" book and an "all warts" book. But none of the book's claims were held up individually as false. It just on the whole "felt unreliable."
This leads the listener to wonder what might be true: Palin's cocaine-snorting, the premarital sex with NBA stars, the neglect of her children? Which? Folkenflik brings up McGinniss's tawdry publicity stunt, renting right next to the Palin home in Wasilla, running some mini-soundbites of outrage from conservative talkers like Sean Hannity ("creepy") and Bill O'Reilly ("immoral"). But Folkenflik tweeted Friday "How rascally is the writer behind 'The Rogue'?" All in all, the stunt was a plus:
CNN's Fareed Zakaria made a bit of a Kinsley gaffe Friday.
On NPR's "Morning Edition," Zakaria said, "The people who watch Fox are not going to watch CNN...Our competitors should properly be The New York Times, the BBC, NPR" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
On Wednesday's All Things Considered, NPR's David Folkenflik erroneously claimed that NBC's Meredith Vieira "notably failed to contradict Donald Trump or others casting doubt on where Mr. Obama was born. Vieira...acknowledged those remarks passively." In reality, the Today show challenged the billionaire about the birth certificate issue, twice asking, "Do you believe he's [Obama's] lying?" [audio clips available here]
The media correspondent began his report by noting how "there comes a moment in almost every American presidency when the commander-in-chief turns media-critic-in-chief." After playing two clips from President Obama's press conference earlier in the day regarding the release of his birth certificate, he continued, "Mr. Obama said that for too long, the nation has been distracted by sideshows and carnival barkers. Notice, however, the President's words didn't criticize the carnival barker. He criticized those who get distracted, like the press corps sitting in front of him."
[View video clips from Vieira's April 7, 2011 interview of Trump below]
The $1.8 million grant George Soros gave to NPR was for local reporters in every state capital. But that doesn't mean NPR isn't also beginning to look like a Soros-pleaser on the national scene. Once again on Monday, NPR media reporter David Folkenflik went after Rupert Murdoch, and a voice-mail-hacking scandal at his U.K. tabloid News of the World. In England, the socialist newspaper The Guardian has been all over this story of disreputable media conduct, but The New York Times also filed a story on April 8.
Folkenflik found dramatic former Murdoch employees, like Andrew Neil, who made Watergate analogies. Folkenflik insisted the damage to Murdoch may not be contained, and then quoted Neil: "Who knew - the old Watergate question - who knew and when did you know it?" It began like this:
ROBERT SIEGEL: One of Britain's most popular newspapers has admitted that it hacked into the private voicemails of celebrities and politicians. NPR's David Folkenflik reports that the story underscores close ties between the authorities and Rupert Murdoch's media empire.
You would think after the Juan Williams debacle, NPR would keep away from bashing Fox News again. But even as NPR's liberal bias remains controversial in Congress, NPR is still waging war on Fox. It's apparently the only national news outlet worth questioning. On Thursday night's All Things Considered, NPR media reporter David Folkenflik profiled Bret Baier, but delighted liberals by announcing that he had studied six months of guest lists for Special Report with Bret Baier, and he insisted liberals were underrepresented:
FOLKENFLIK: I reviewed six months' worth of Baier's panels, and the same mix typically prevailed: two clear-cut conservatives and one other analyst, sometimes a Democrat or liberal but usually a journalist from a non-ideological news outlet. As I told Baier, that would seem to under-represent the left and also to cast reporters as though they're surrogate liberals.