All Things Considered
The U.S. Catholic bishops' conference disappointed liberals this week by choosing a leader who agreed with the bishops' campaign this year against pro-abortion provisions in ObamaCare. On Tuesday night's All Things Considered, NPR religion reporter Barbara Bradley Hagerty reported the expected moderate winner was apparently smeared by “conservative Catholic bloggers” for being too close to the sex-abuse scandal. (This might be the first time reporters have felt bad about bishops over the sex-abuse scandal.) Hagerty reported:
It's not clear what tipped the election. But over the past few days, conservative Catholic bloggers and activists have waged a campaign against [Tucson Bishop Gerald] Kicanas, who's considered a moderate with a conciliatory style. His critics sent faxes and left voicemails telling bishops to vote against Kicanas, saying Kicanas had been tainted by the sex abuse scandal when he had recommended an abuser to be ordained as a priest.
Kicanas flatly denied knowing about any abuse of minors. But that did not save him. The bishops elected the media-savvy Timothy Dolan, who's considered one of the boldest and more orthodox bishops, and who's willing to speak loudly and publicly on issues like abortion, same-sex marriage and stem cell research.
On Sunday night's All Things Considered newscast, NPR anchor Guy Raz celebrated “Protestant royalty” coming out of the closet. Bishop Jim Swilley of a megachurch appropriately called The Church in the Now decided to reveal his sexual orientation because of the burst of gay-bullying publicity. Former CNN reporter Raz welcomed the change and how it must have been “incredibly liberating” to be openly gay.
NPR lavished 12 minutes of air time on the interview -- currently a hot and very recommended item on NPR.org -- and they also offered a more extended interview online, complete with the minister's coming-out speech to his church. Raz wondered:
RAZ: You come from a long and distinguished line of famous southern preachers. One of your kids said “Protestant royalty,” that's where you come from. Did you feel like - when you were growing up, did you feel like you were a sinner most of your life? I mean, as a kid, when you had certain thoughts, did you feel like, you know, this isn't what you were being taught?
Perhaps obviously, George W. Bush didn't grant an interview around his memoir Decision Points to National Public Radio, since they described his presidency daily as the Triumph of the Dark Side. But when they touched on the new book, the hostility was still there.On Tuesday's Morning Edition, Don Gonyea, who covered the White House for most of Bush's presidency offer a brief summary of Bush's interview with NBC's Matt Lauer. There was a little bit on Iraq, and then more time on the drinking problem:
GONYEA: Part of the book is personal, with stories it's awkward to hear him talk about. There's his history as a serious drinker. Again, from NBC. [NBC clip]
BUSH: So, I'm drunk at the dinner table at mother and dad's house in Maine, and my brothers and sister are there, Laura's there. And I'm sitting next to a beautiful woman - friend of mother and dad's - and I said to her, out loud: “What is sex like after 50?”
National Public Radio is strongly urging America to get over its apparently rabid case of Islamophobia. On Sunday night's All Things Considered newscast, anchor Guy Raz played audio clips of Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin opposing the Ground Zero Mosque, and then launched into how much this resembles historic anti-Semitism:
In his column today, New York Times writer Nicholas Kristof points out that in 1940, 17 percent of the population considered Jews to be a menace to America. Almost every ethnic group in this country has gone through a period of transition when they had to fight to prove that, indeed, they were Americans.
Rabiah Ahmed and a group of Muslim leaders thought their community had to do the same today. So this week, they launched an online video campaign called "My Faith, My Voice."
What Raz does not point out is that Rabiah Ahmed is a former publicist and prominent national spokesperson for the Council for Islamic-American Relations (CAIR), a group named as an un-indicted co-conspirator in a terrorist funding case. Raz didn't so much conduct a news interview with Rabiah Ahmed as much as he joined her in condemning the sad and bigoted state of America today:
In all of its Shirley Sherrod coverage this week, National Public Radio never managed to interview a conservative guest on the subject (other than a few tossed-in audio clips of Andrew Breitbart), although NPR never landed a Sherrod interview, either, despite her whirlwind tour. On Wednesday night's All Things Considered news program, anchor Michele Norris interviewed Newsweek columnist Jonathan Alter, who predictably scorned the right wing's "Fox obsessions" and "notorious smear artist" Andrew Breitbart. This judgment might be questioned, considering Alter wrote in 1996 it was a "weak case of media malfeasance" when his own magazine's sleuthing about the authenticity of medals spurred an admiral's suicide.
Norris offered Alter only softball liberal questions, allowing him a comfortable platform to promote his pro-Obama book The Promise while he disparaged the conservatives:
The producers of NPR's evening newscast All Things Considered deserve credit for reading listener mail on the air, often to make corrections in the broadcast. But there was really nothing but liberals in the mailbag on Thursday, all furious at NPR for not being strong enough in denouncing Fox News and Andrew Breitbart:
MICHELE NORRIS: Here's some of what you had to say about our coverage of the story. Frank Holk(ph) of Wytheville, Virginia, writes this: I found it distressing that you spent the entire time talking about the actions of the administration with barely a mention of Andrew Breitbart and Fox News. Holk continues: Wouldn't it have been more appropriate to discuss their role in the matter? How about a discussion of Fox's sleazy reporting and Breitbart's fraudulent video editing?
Few seem to remember now, but throughout the 1970s, the advertised threat to society from global cooling was as prevalent as the current global warming alarmism. Publications including The New York Times, Time and Newsweek - the same ones hyping the dangers of a warming planet in 2010 - were warning about global cooling then.
A prominent global cooler from that era has recently passed away. Stephen Schneider, a Stanford University climatologist and United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change member died in London on July 19, as noticed on National Public Radio's "All Things Considered." (h/t Tim Graham)
In an interview with NPR's Michele Norris, White House Science Adviser John Holdren remembered Schneider, not for getting the science wrong at first but for inventing this field of science, with its acknowledgement that mankind could change the climate.
On Tuesday night's All Things Considered newscast, Michele Norris sadly relayed news of the Gore separation: "The Gores had a storybook romance: college sweethearts, four beautiful children. Their playful affection energized the campaign trail. The concession was you don't make that kind of stuff up. The Gores' union became a model of stability in a hard-charging town where partnerships, even romantic ones, are sometimes seen as a matter of convenience."
Norris discussed the matter with Rebecca Traister of the liberal website Salon.com, who said she felt "ashamed" and "sort of silly having an investment in a couple that you don't know," and that's when the inevitable secular-left analysis began: traditional, monogamous, heterosexual, reproducing marriage is an archaic social construct:
TRAISTER: And so it is a little bit like mom and dad breaking up out of the blue, except they're not really our mom and dad - and I am aware of that, I just want to make clear.(Laughter)
NORRIS: In some ways is the presidency and the requirements that presidents have solid marriages, is that a bit out of step with larger society, where almost half of all marriages end in divorce?
Ken Cuccinelli, the conservative Attorney General of Virginia, came under attack on Friday night's All Things Considered on National Public Radio. This is one angle of Climategate the national media have noticed. But they pitch the battle as Cuccinelli vs. Science or Cuccinelli vs. Academic Freedom.
What's most infuriating is the notion that it's Cuccinelli who's "politicizing" science, and not Michael Mann's openly politicized e-mails explaining his data manipulations and plotting to censor his political opponents. Somehow, the Union of Concerned Scientists is painted as non-political.
Host Michele Norris began: "The University of Virginia says it will fight a demand from the state's attorney general. He wants the school to turn over private e-mails and documents related to a former professor's climate research. The case has sparked a national debate over academic freedom."
NPR’s All Things Considered aired a long report on Thursday night on nasty Internet commenters – but reporter Laura Sydell’s examples centered on anti-Obama and anti-Muslim commenters (including one who wanted Obama shot), and no one from the left (like the Huffington Post people regretting Cheney wasn't shot in Afghanistan). She began with a sympathetic sick family that favored ObamaCare:
LAURA SYDELL: If you want to know what it's like to get attacked online, just ask Miki Hsu Leavey. She wrote a thankful letter to the editor of the local paper when the health care bill passed. She has lupus. Her 24-year-old son can't get health care because of a preexisting heart condition and her husband was diagnosed with liver cancer.
Ms. MIKI HSU LEAVEY: So my thank you note was really about the relief I had mentally.
SYDELL: When Leavey looked at the site the morning it was posted, she got comments like this one.
Ms. LEAVEY: Oh, my poor baby is sick. Only the great Obama can save him. Makes me sick just reading it.
SYDELL: Leavey was shocked by the vitriol.
NPR All Things Considered anchor Robert Siegel was helping liberal Washington Post columnist E. J. Dionne knock conservatives (even Democrats running as conservatives) on Friday. Siegel volunteered that the newest House Democrat, Mark Critz, was elected by being "anti-health care."
Sigh. Dionne tried to make the special elections sound like a great week for liberals:
DIONNE: I didn't know tea gave you a hangover, but I think Rand Paul's victory in Kentucky has already given Republicans --
SIEGEL: He won the Senate nomination.
DIONNE: -- he won the Senate nomination. And already, his rather pure strains of libertarianism is causing Republicans trouble. He seems to be against the public accommodations section of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that banned discrimination at lunch counters and hotels and the like. So, that's going to be an interesting race to watch.
Novelist Marc Acito offered a perfect elocution of National Public Radio snobbery on Thursday's All Things Considered. In defending the defensible cause of proper English, Acito equated Palinesque populism with a complete lack of respect for the intellect. Acito even sang (badly) from My Fair Lady to illustrate his point:
You see, My Fair Lady is based on George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion and both pieces explore the ramifications of learning how to speak properly at a time when elocution was valued as a symbol of education and upward mobility. Emphasis on the was.
Listen to Franklin Delano Roosevelt say the only thing we have to fear is fear itself, and it's almost inconceivable that ordinary Americans trusted someone who sounded like Thurston Howell III from Gilligan's Island. We are now in an age when Sarah Palin speaks to a quarter of the electorate even though she talks like she's translating into Korean and back again. Even the rhetorically gifted President Obama has felt compelled to drop his G's while trying to sell health care reform.