NPR Staffers Shocked, SHOCKED By Allegations Of Bias

Let’s take a quick look at NPR’s claim to be unbiased, one reporter at a time, shall we?

NPR editorial staffers had this to say in defense of that hallowed institution:

We, and our colleagues at NPR News, strive every day to bring you the highest quality news programs possible. So, like you, we were appalled by the offensive comments made recently by NPR’s now former Senior Vice President for Development. His words violated the basic principles by which we live and work: accuracy and open-mindedness, fairness and respect.

Those comments have done real damage to NPR. But we’re confident that the culture of professionalism we have built, and the journalistic values we have upheld for the past four decades, will prevail. We are determined to continue bringing you the daily journalism that you’ve come to expect and rely upon: fair, fact-based, in-depth reporting from at home and around the world.

A few days before, “NPR spokeswoman Dana Davis Rehm” released a statement that began:

The comments contained in the video released today are contrary to everything we stand for, and we completely disavow the views expressed. NPR is fair and open-minded about the people we cover. Our reporting reflects those values every single day – in the civility of our programming, the range of opinions we reflect and the diversity of stories we tell.

And Nina Totenberg, appearing on “Inside Washington,” disagreed with the host’s assertion that “the revelations played right into the stereotype that NPR is ‘a bunch of lefties.’ Totenberg denied that was the case. ‘I know it does, but it’s not true,’ she said.”

Regarding the aforementioned open letter from editorial staffers, two dozen signatories were listed–which provides an excellent opportunity to glean some specificity (most of it obtained from Newsbusters) regarding the purported objectivity of the signers, and by extention, the alleged unbiased nature of the institution that employs them.

Limit one quote per customer:

Robert Siegel: Robert Siegel, an anchor of NPR’s evening newscast All Things Considered, had an emotional response on Wednesday night as Pew pollster Andrew Kohut described how young adults voted heavily for Obama and call themselves liberals, are less “militaristic” and less religious: “Who raised these terrific kids, Andy?” The men laughed.

Michele Norris: Michele Norris, the host of National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered,” said on the Nov. 16 Chris Matthews Show that Republicans might oppose an auto bailout to hurt President-elect Barack Obama. “It’s why they’re passing a baton to him [Obama], hoping that it’s so heavy, that he’s got so much on his plate in that starting gate that he can’t help but stumble,” Norris said, “and they know that that sets the tone for the rest of the administration.”

Melissa Block: On…All Things Considered, anchor Melissa Block championed a forthcoming new documentary about communist screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, made by Peter Askin and Trumbo’s son Christopher and featuring big celebrities like Michael Douglas. Block made no mention of Trumbo’s actual Communist Party membership in the age of Stalin….

Renee Montagne: On NPR’s Morning Edition [in 2005], co-anchor Renee Montagne was interviewing David Wessel of the Wall Street Journal on the hurricane’s effects on the national economy. But she was a little over the top in her tone with her first question: “Is the hurricane the last straw for the economy?”….Last straw? Economic growth is strong, unemployment is low, and the liberal media is still pretending that Bush is presiding over the Great Depression. Unbelievable. Listening to NPR can really ruin a commute.

Scott Simon: Re the Tucson shootings: “People have observed over the past few years, for example, that, you know, this just didn’t happen when 63 million people watched Walter Cronkite every night.”

Liane Hansen: “An estimated half million immigrants and their supporters turned out yesterday to rally for immigration reform and against Arizona’s tough new immigration law.” (Be sure to leave out the word “illegal” to make it seem like conservatives are anti-immigrant.)

Guy Raz: 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….

Michel Martin: On the National Public Radio show Tell Me More, host Michel Martin welcomed in three liberals…but tried so very hard not to identify them or the march as “liberal” or “left-wing.” The issue of fringy endorsing organizations never came up.

Neal Conan: “There was a recent Gallup poll that suggested that opinion on abortion had actually shifted in this country toward the pro-life side, sort of, outside of the context of Kansas in — on the national level — there might be some concern that if the pro-life movement is associated with vigilante tactics like this, again, that could cut in to those gains.”

Susan Stamberg: “When this program went on the air in 1987, Dan Schorr was asked to provide commentaries. It was my first time to really observe this god of journalism in action.”

Nina Totenberg: “I think [Jesse Helms] ought to be worried about what’s going on in the Good Lord’s mind, because if there is retributive justice, he’ll get AIDS from a transfusion, or one of his grandchildren will get it.”

Linda Wertheimer: “A purge is a purge, and even if it’s Boris Yeltsin conducting the purge and the coup plotters who are purged, I think that’s a setback for the Soviet Union because in a country where people can’t walk out of office and into their own homes and expect not to be shot or arrested, that’s not a country that’s really free.”

Daniel Zwerdling: Cursory research leads me to believe Zwerling may be the token moderate at NPR. Please correct me if I missed something.

John Ydstie: “And there’s no doubt that President Obama has presided over massive increases in spending, in order to stimulate the economy and keep it from slipping back into recession. Whether that’s a failed stimulus or not is arguable, certainly. The economy is growing now. And I think economists of both persuasions agree that the stimulus spending played a big role in keeping the economy from sliding back into recession.”

Richard Harris: “As people start to feel overwhelmed by the scope of the [anthropocentric global warming/climate change] problem, they simply turn away from the topic. It’s denial, plain and simple,” Harris suggested.

Tom Gjelten: “Speaking in Brazil [in 2008], Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez says the United States’ new willingness to abandon free-market principles shows the ‘Washington consensus’ has collapsed. But the man who came up with that term, John Williamson, says what’s been discredited is the extreme version of that ideology – he calls it ‘market fundamentalism’…David Rothkopf, author of Superclass: The Global Power Elite and the World They Are Making, says the global financial crisis may mark a ‘watershed’ in economic philosophy: the end of 25 years of ‘Reagan-Thatcherism’ – the idea that governments should just stay out of economic affairs.”

Howard Berkes: “Some of the resistance — from both the religious right and the secular left — stems from concern that, if elected, Romney would promote the Mormon Gospel and do the bidding of the Mormon prophet.”

Mike Shuster: “In an environment where you do have a self-proclaimed news organization that spews lies day in and day out and doesn’t usually get called on it by the rest of the media, I mean maybe this is some escape that some people have, to be able to say OK, enough of the serious stuff. I want to take a break. I just want to be entertained for ten minutes and hear the latest about Charlie Sheen’s travails.”

Laura Sullivan: NPR’s account says that if SB 1070 is upheld by the courts, it “requires police to lock up anyone they stop” who cannot show proof they entered the country legally. The text of SB 1070 permits, but does not require, a law-enforcement officer to transport a person who does not have proof of legal status to a federal facility. It requires officers to inquire about a person’s status when practicable, and it requires them to determine an arrested individual’s status before releasing that person.

Lynn Neary: On January 12 [2000], reporter Lynn Neary acted as a press agent [the writer is being sarcastic] for the leftist Industrial Areas Foundation, which assembled religious leaders to announce that faith without statism is “empty piety.” Bishop David Benke of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod declared that if a candidate “is going to lead through a faith statement, then it’d better be a leading through action. That’s authentic piety.”

Jacki Lyden: NPR’S Jacki Lyden, reporting from Washington, D.C., interviewed Arabs at an anti-Israel rally. They warn Jews, “not to transmit (sic) your suffering into torture and harassment and oppression for others.” Lyden asked one demonstrator what she would tell Jews on Yom Kippur. She responded: “I tell them to have conscience and to leave the Arab people in peace in their own homes and not to give them hard time and kick them and kill them, kill the innocent people.” No Israeli or Jewish voice was included.

Mara Liasson: “Nancy Pelosi did two things for which she will go down in history…I think she’s kind of like Winston Churchill. I mean, she accomplished historic things for the Democrats, and they should be sending her off in a blaze of glory and adjusting for this new regime.”

Cokie Roberts: “In fact, when the Mark Sanford thing broke, I went tearing into my husband’s office and said, ‘Okay, that’s it. Women just are better. Men are just lesser beings.’ He couldn’t argue at that point.”

John Burnett: “This is sickening to the reporters,” said John Burnett, Texas-based correspondent “I’ve given 25 years of my professional life to NPR, and I’ve tried to be careful when I speak in public or speak to people I don’t know, and now for Ron Schiller to carelessly bring this on our company at this super sensitive time, it’s enraging.”

Your tote bag, sir.

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