On Tuesday's Fresh Air on NPR stations from coast to coast, host Terry Gross interviewed author Stephen King on his new book  "Joyland," which features a young man in a wheelchair with muscular dystrophy and his grandfather, a radio evangelist named Buddy Ross, who insists the disease is divine punishment.

King might have surprised the secular-left devotees of public radio -- not with the usual talk of how organized religion seems like a "theological insurance scam," but by proclaiming he believes in God: "Everything is sort of built in a way that to me suggests intelligent design." He had to talk more about his inconsistency and doubts to get back in NPR's secular sweet spot.



The new Natalie Maines record is continuing to spur music writers to slam the "cowardice" of the country-music industry and the stuffiness of the country-music audience in the aftermath of Maines trashing President Bush at a London concert on the eve of the Iraq war. 

On the NPR show "Fresh Air" on Wednesday, music critic Ken Tucker insisted Maines was just ahead of where the majority would arrive on Bush's wrong-headedness:



In a cozy radical-to-radical interview on NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross on Wednesday, incoming MSNBC primetime host Chris Hayes announced he’s watched Bill O’Reilly “very, very, very little...I’m positive I have never watched an hour of the O’Reilly show.”

Hayes is going to pretend that Fox News and MSNBC aren’t really competitors at all: “I genuinely don’t think of myself as in competition with Bill O’Reilly.” They don’t have the same “pool of viewers.” Hayes sounded like he meant “gene pool.” He can’t “hate-watch” conservative programs like some liberals do:



Pardon the age of this item, but it's on an issue of campaign history. On March 13, NPR Fresh Air host Terry Gross interviewed new CNN host Jake Tapper about politics and journalism, and whether there was blowback from presidents and candidates over tough questions. But Gross felt compelled to bring up the "lies" told about John Kerry during the 2004 presidential campaign -- without expressing anything specific.

Tapper said he was assigned as a Swift Boat Veteran fact checker by ABC. Gross said, "So you were fact-checking some of the Swift Boat attacks against presidential candidate John Kerry. There were so many lies in those attacks. What was the fact-checking like, and how effective do you think it was in trying to counteract the lies?"



MRC president Brent Bozell ripped The New York Times and the Washington Post in his November 17 column for their positive reviews of Colm Toibin's short novel "The Testament of Mary," which distorts the biblical Virgin Mary into an angry woman bitter at her son Jesus' crucifixion and filled with contempt for His followers. But these left-leaning rags weren't the only media outlets boosting Toibin's iconoclastic re-purposing of the Mother of God.

NPR boosted the Irish writer in an interview on the November 13 episode of Morning Edition. Correspondent Lynn Neary could have been mistaken for a publicist for Toibin as she unquestioningly forwarded his talking points on the book. Neary acknowledged that Toibin's warped version of Mary is a "controversial figure," but barely touched on how Christians - especially Catholics and Orthodox Christians - might be offended by his novel.



Bill Maher likes to deride conservatives for living “inside a bubble” where they consume news from only those with whom they agree and so are unaware of the “facts,” but he could just as well be describing the insular world of himself or others in the liberal media.

Case in point: An NPR and Washington Post contributor who spends her days reading left-wing magazines and watching MSNBC, to the exclusion of any conservative news sources, so much so that she conceded: “My 14-year-old daughter can rattle off the entire MSNBC line-up, so that should tell you something about our household viewing habits.”



NPR's idea of Republican convention coverage is to expose Mitt Romney as a flip-flopping fraud flirting with the "extremist camp within the Republican Party." On the very liberal show Fresh Air on Tuesday, host Terry Gross brought on two Boston Globe reporters who've penned an expose called The Real Romney. They talked for 43 and a half minutes.

Veteran Globe editor Michael Kranish found “disaster” in the GOP platform “which takes a very hard line on abortion, and he's picked Paul Ryan, who in the past has voiced a very hard line on abortion....And it's a disaster on the left and certainly in the center because Mitt Romney wants to talk about the economy.” Gross also wanted the Boston authors to trash Romney for his birth-certificate joke, and expose Romney's polygamous Mexico-based ancestors:



NPR is the network that sought out Christopher Hitchens to trash Mother Teresa upon her death as a horrible fraud, and then when Hitchens died, they warmly remembered how he hated God and Mother Teresa. So it's not surprising that radical leftist and gay activist Gore Vidal was going to be honored without a second of dissent or disapproval of critics.

None of the glowing obituaries and appreciations carried an ideological label, and one -- on Wednesday night's All Things Considered -- contained a glaring falsehood -- that William F. Buckley called Vidal a "queer" on national TV in 1968 without being provoked. Vidal called him a "crypto-Nazi" first. NPR turned to the gay novelist Christopher Bram to do the honors, and he brazenly lied:

 



When NPR Fresh Air host Terry Gross conducted an "I feel your pain" interview with radical-feminist Sister Pat Farrell on July 17, she promised a rebuttal from Bishop Leonard Blair of Toledo. But Gross was much tougher in that interview on July 25. She laughably said "I don't mean to speak on their behalf here," but that's exactly what she did throughout the interview.

Gross said her "ultimate question" was why wouldn't the Catholic Church bend to changing times and liberalize on female priests, contraception, and homosexuality? "Churches change," so why won't the Catholics? Bishop Blair very calmly educated Gross that churches that have tried to obey Gross's dogmatism and follow "the spirit of the times" like the Episcopalians are having trouble retaining members:



New York Times welfare reporter Jason DeParle appeared on the NPR program "Fresh Air" hosted by Terry Gross, on Thursday to retell the horror stories that appeared in his lead story last Sunday: "I can't remember a time when I heard people talk so openly about desperate or even illegal things that they were doing in order to make ends meet. They were selling food stamps. They were selling blood. Women talked openly about shoplifting." Even committing "muggings of illegal immigrants." DeParle noted with laughable understatement that such "strategies" can "make them seem unsympathetic."

Asked by the sympathetic Gross about the 1996 welfare reform (which DeParle at the time said risked forcing mothers to "turn to prostitution or the drug trade....abandon their children....camp out on the streets and beg"), DeParle responded with tales of formidable state bureaucracy that won't cut much ice with anyone who has dealt with the DMV:



Brent Bozell mentioned that NPR "Fresh Air" host read from her own contributor John Powers for The American Prospect liberals on how many ways Rachel Maddow was fabulous. The long tribute is worth more attention.

Powers began: "I can’t say for sure when it happened—it was after Barack Obama’s swearing-in yet before Keith Olbermann got suspended for giving money to Democrats—but at some point it began dawning on people that the face of MSNBC was Rachel Maddow." That, Powers thinks, is excellent, and Maddow is the Obama era's "defining liberal newsman": 



Younger political junkies may not remember it, but watchers of the 1992 Clinton campaign can recall "The War Room," a documentary filmed inside the Clinton campaign. There's a new DVD of the film, out so National Public Radio just had to praise it.

On the program "Fresh Air" Wednesday,  film critic John Powers described George Stephanopoulos as "a sweet but overbearing altar boy" while James Carville is "a flat out movie-star" like...a wisecracking snake in a Pixar movie."