Wednesday, March 9, 2011

NPR is Liberal? You Must be Kidding.

NPR Finds Right-Wing Crank to Spit on Zinn's Grave

When progressive historian Howard Zinn died on January 27, NPR's All Things Considered (1/28/10) marked his passing with something you don't often see in an obituary: a rebuttal.

After quoting Noam Chomsky and Julian Bond, NPR's Allison Keyes turned to far-right activist David Horowitz to symbolically spit on Zinn's grave. "There is absolutely nothing in Howard Zinn's intellectual output that is worthy of any kind of respect," Horowitz declared. "Zinn represents a fringe mentality which has unfortunately seduced millions of people at this point in time. So he did certainly alter the consciousness of millions of younger people for the worse."

Horowitz's substance-free attack contributed nothing to an understanding of Zinn's life or work, other than conveying that he's disliked by cranky right-wingers. (Horowitz has been best known in recent years for his race-baiting and Muslim-bashing--Extra!, 5-6/02; FAIR report, 10/1/08.) He seems to have been included merely to demonstrate that NPR will not allow praise for a leftist to go unaccompanied by conservative contempt.

Needless to say, it is not the case that NPR has a consistent principle that all its obituaries be thus "balanced." Take its coverage of the death of William F. Buckley, a figure as admired by the right as much as Zinn was on the left. Upon his death in February 2008, NPR aired six segments commemorating him, none of which included a non-admiring guest.
Tortured Justifications for Bad Journalism

NPR Baghdad correspondent Anne Garrels (Morning Edition, 10/26/07) presented listeners with an unusual exclusive: the results of an interrogation conducted by a Shiite militia.

Garrels described being escorted by Mahdi Army members to hear the accounts of three prisoners--supposedly renegade members of the militia. While Garrels acknowledged that “the three detainees had clearly been tortured,” she went on to describe the contents of their confessions as though they contained credible information:

They were trained in roadside bombs and car bombings in Iran. They say they worked for money and that their orders were to attack Americans and sow suspicion and violence between Shiites and Sunnis.

In case this dubious link to Iran wasn’t clear, Garrels later repeats: “Now, once again, they said they’re doing this for money on orders of Iranian agents.”

The lurid details of the prisoners’ accounts made up much of Garrels’ report, despite the circumstances: “There was blood all over their clothes,” she reported. “They were in such bad shape they couldn’t walk. They had to be dragged onto the chairs, and one of them was just sobbing.” Given this brutal treatment, there is no reason to put stock in any part of their statements. As Alfred McCoy noted in his book A Question of Torture, the U.S. Army prohibited torture in part because it produces "unreliable results...and can induce the source to say what he thinks the interrogator wants to hear."

Nonetheless, Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep asked questions, and Garrels provided answers, as though the confessions provided real evidence of Iran’s involvement in Iraq.
Iraq how has diplomatic and economic ties with Iran so tying them together is a moot point. Who made Iraq and Iran so close - Bush and Republicans.

How Public Is Public Radio? A study of NPR’s guest list

Despite the commonness of such claims, little evidence has ever been presented for a left bias at NPR, and FAIR’s latest study gives it no support. Looking at partisan sources—including government officials, party officials, campaign workers and consultants—Republicans outnumbered Democrats by more than 3 to 2 (61 percent to 38 percent). A majority of Republican sources when the GOP controls the White House and Congress may not be surprising, but Republicans held a similar though slightly smaller edge (57 percent to 42 percent) in 1993, when Clinton was president and Democrats controlled both houses of Congress. And a lively race for the Democratic presidential nomination was beginning to heat up at the time of the 2003 study.

Partisans from outside the two major parties were almost nowhere to be seen, with the exception of four Libertarian Party representatives who appeared in a single story (Morning Edition, 6/26/03).

Republicans not only had a substantial partisan edge, individual Republicans were NPR’s most popular sources overall, taking the top seven spots in frequency of appearance. George Bush led all sources for the month with 36 appearances, followed by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld (8) and Sen. Pat Roberts (6). Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, Secretary of State Colin Powell, White House press secretary Ari Fleischer and Iraq proconsul Paul Bremer all tied with five appearances each.

Senators Edward Kennedy, Jay Rockefeller and Max Baucus were the most frequently heard Democrats, each appearing four times. No nongovernmental source appeared more than three times. With the exception of Secretary of State Powell, all of the top 10 most frequently appearing sources were white male government officials.
Not that these facts matter. If any media outlet does not have 24/7 right-wing guests and points of view than it is too liberal.

Who Cares If James O'Keefe Is A Lying Creep With A Criminal History? He Hates ACORN And NPR, So What's Not To Like If You're Fox News?
What a coincidence that just as the House has voted to defund the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, including PBS and NPR and the Senate will soon vote on it, undercover ACORN “pimp” James O'Keefe shows up with a new sting video targeting NPR. Since the ACORN sting, O'Keefe has been arrested for allegedly trying to tamper with the phones of a U.S. Senator, the credibility of the ACORN videos have been seriously called into question and O'Keefe reportedly planned to seduce and humiliate a female CNN reporter. But there was almost no mention of O'Keefe's unsavory past and no questioning of the integrity of O'Keefe's latest project – even though Media Matters has already caught one suspicious bit of editing that Fox News either missed or ignored – on either The O'Reilly Factor, Hannity or On The Record, each of which devoted time to the story last night (3/8/11).