On The Media
National Public Radio’s Steve Inskeep was back at it by scoring another interview with one of his favorite subjects in President Obama (with the transcript released on July 1) and included questions from the left on immigration reform, Donald Trump threatening to stand in Obama’s way of becoming a leftist Ronald Reagan, and white privilege being a centerpiece of the 2016 election.
National Public Radio sells itself as an oasis of civility on a radio dial polluted with harsh editorializing. In December, NPR CEO Jarl Mohn was asked by CNN’s Brian Stelter how they were covering Trump: “Our place in the food chain of information and journalism is to just be very rational, to be calm, to report the facts, not to stake out a position. We don’t take editorial positions of any sort.”
Someone should tell Mohn about Bob Garfield, the host of NPR-distributed On The Media, who compared Trump to a "raving meth head with a machete."
With its frequent overt bias, NPR’s weekend media show On the Media makes NPR’s news magazine shows like Morning Edition appear thoroughly objective by comparison. It is so hopelessly biased that shows to explore the question of whether NPR was biased were themselves overwhelmingly biased. More recently, it deemed the issue of media coverage of butcher Kermit Gosnell’s trial to be too insignificant for any of its nine one-hour shows that occurred after the trial began.
On this past weekend’s show, On the Media aired a segment on the Internal Revenue Service targeting conservative groups. While the segment primarily consisted of a Bob Garfield interview with Michael Calderone, Senior Media Reporter for the Huffington Post, it’s clear the shows’ two co-hosts used the segment as an excuse to ridicule conservatives and conservative websites—Glenn Beck / TheBlaze and Right Side News on this occasion.
As Newsbusters has detailed again and again, coverage by dominant news organizations of the Kermit Gosnell murder trial has been almost non-existent. Taxpayer-subsidized public radio is no exception, even after the issue of non-coverage gained widespread attention last week.
As the fifth week of the Gosnell trial continues (it opened March 18), NPR still has not devoted a single piece to the topic of the trial. It did briefly reference the trial once--in a story about Pennsylvania abortion clinic regulations that resulted from what authorities found in Gosnell's clinic during a raid. On March 28, NPR's afternoon news magazine All Things Considered gave only 19 seconds out of 4 1/2 minutes to reporting on the Gosnell trial. In sharp contrast, the piece's author, Jeff Brady, NPR's Philadelphia-based National Desk Correspondent, gave five times the amount to time to detailing the "expensive" hardships Pennsylvania abortion clinics now have to endure. The story left out entirely the details of the horrendous charges against Gosnell.
Even when they tackle the question of NPR's liberal bias, NPR can't help themselves. The NPR show On The Media on Saturday aired a segment on the question of bias lasting 18 minutes. NPR offered the largest chunk of time (eight minutes) to Tom Rosenstiel of the Pew Research Center, who asserted that data on story selection and tone do not demonstrate a liberal bias at NPR.
Another almost three minutes were granted to Steve Rendall of the radical-left group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting. He wouldn't say NPR was conservative, but complained "we've had four decades of formal campaigning by the right, by groups like Accuracy in Media, the Media Research Center, the Heritage Foundation to portray our media, corporate and public broadcasting, as being to the left of center. It's paid off. And I think the fact that we're having this discussion here [in which Rendall was allowed to speak, and MRC and AIM and Heritage were not], the fact that there's a debate in Congress shows how much it's paid off."
By contrast, NPR host Brooke Gladstone devoted 90 seconds to the findings of professors Tim Groseclose and Jeff Milyo, who found, she said, that NPR was "much less liberal than the New York Times." Conservatives were represented not by experts, but by two average NPR listeners, who were granted five minutes. That's about 35 percent of the time.
NPR's On The Media is a weekly show produced by WNYC in New York. When there's a NPR scandal, they are not fair and balanced. They are liberal warriors. They have stated repeatedly that liberal bias is a "canard" that causes "false balance." So it's not surprising they went into major Self-Defense Mode this weekend.
BOB GARFIELD, co-host: Joyce Slocum, NPR’s General Counsel and Senior Vice President of Legal Affairs, was named interim president and CEO. She says that the political fallout from the sting will not change NPR’s journalism.
JOYCE SLOCUM: Knowing our newsroom and our journalists as I do, I think that they are going to continue to do as they have done and that is to take great care to ensure that their coverage is balanced, that they’re bringing a variety of voices to any given issue…
In response to this week's shameful exposure of bias at NPR, a couple of its hosts on Friday had an on air discussion about whether or not the radio network does indeed have a political leaning.
Shortly after "On the Media" host Bob Garfield said, "If you were to somehow poll the political orientation of everybody in the NPR news organization and all of the member stations, you would find an overwhelmingly progressive, liberal crowd," Ira Glass of "The American Life" maintained the outlet had no left-wing bias whatsoever (audio follows with partial transcript and commentary):
On NPR's weekend show On The Media (produced by radio station WNYC), New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller reacted badly to NPR's Bob Garfield suggesting Julian Assange of WikiLeaks was a "looter" or a smasher of windows. Keller insisted the document dump has "more value" than that metaphor, that the dump is "absolutely fascinating...like a graduate seminar" on international relations. It's a "ridiculous standard" to insist these finds must be Earth-shattering to be a positive development:
BOB GARFIELD: Now, the stories so far have been revealing but unsurprising, it seems to me, and not especially indicting. It’s made me wonder whether WikiLeaks is a legitimate whistleblower in this case or just a looter. Has Julian Assange shed light here with the release of 253,000 cables or has he just smashed a very big store window?
BILL KELLER: I think that the documents have more value than your metaphor gives them credit for.
The public-radio show "On The Media" explored the debate over defunding public broadcasting on Saturday -- but utterly stepped around any evidence from certain conservative media watchdog groups that NPR or PBS have a liberal bias. Host Brooke Gladstone perfectly characterized how the NPR elite arrogantly conceive of their mission: some say they have a liberal bias, but they are merely seekly to build a better, more informed, more thoughtful democracy. As usual, liberalism and enlightenment are the same thing:
I guess fundamentally this all boils down to what you think of public broadcasting. If you think it’s a left-wing-inflected source of information, then there would be no reason to support it. But if you think – you know, going back to that old chestnut, that it actually leads to a more informed electorate that can make a better democracy, then you might have a different view.
Speaking up for defunding (and bashing conservative Republicans) was Nick Gillespie, the editor of Reason magazine. Later, co-host Bob Garfield brought on former Washington Post editor Steve Coll for the liberal-overdrive position of massively increasing federal support for taxpayer-funded media.
Over last weekend, the NPR show On The Media devoted a segment to co-host Bob Garfield remembering the legacy of William F. Buckley Jr. Garfield quoted George Will on the massive effect Buckley had on the history of conservatism and even ending the Cold War, but he turned it around to how conservatism is badly represented today by the Limbaughs and Coulters.
National Public Radio’s weekend show "On The Media" is often a liberal oasis inside of a liberal oasis. Last weekend, NPR host Brooke Gladstone invited on Paul Waldman of that Hillary Clinton-cloned media pressure group, who wrote a study claiming the religious left was underrepresented on TV. (It might be because you often can’t really tell the difference between the "religious" left and the secular left.
NPR's weekly show On The Media routinely tilts strongly to the left. On the January 26 version, it includes a segment with ex-Greenpeace researcher/Washington Post writer William Arkin denouncing the Iraq surge as a worthless political smokescreen, and an analysis of the Bush State of the Union address with former Clinton speechwriter Michael Waldman (exaggerating the negative reviews Clinton received for his annual yawnfests).