For more than 2 weeks I have been planning to write a post about my experiences listening to “National Public Radio (NPR) Talk” and “NPR Now” and the extreme bias in their programming. With NPR’s firing of veteran journalist Juan Williams, I am now compelled to author this post. More on Juan Williams later in this piece.
First, it is important to note that unlike Fox News, which is a commercial enterprise, NPR is heavily subsidized with our tax dollars. As such, we should expect unbiased programs, or a balanced number of programs which are liberal and conservative. Instead, what we get for our money is a mouthpiece for some of the most extreme liberal views expressed on the airwaves today, and almost zero content from the conservative side.
I have been a longtime listener of NPR, but Sirius Satellite Radio brought me 2 NPR talk channels 24×7, and so I have received heavy doses of their programming. Other than their news updates, which are occasional and only mildly biased, I don’t recall hearing a single substantive representation of a conservative point of view. Every program that I know of on NPR is hosted by a liberal, and has a liberal bias. These include the Diane Rehm Show (Diane Rehm), Fresh Air (Terry Gross), Tell Me More (Michel Martin), Brian Lehrer Show (Brian Lehrer), Talk of the Nation (Neal Conan), and Radio Times (Marty Moss-Coane). The best they get is neutral, with programs such as Car Talk, a fantastically entertaining program with no bias whatsoever, but they make up for it with the program “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me”, a truly funny show with hosts who could not hide their disdain for George W. Bush throughout his years in office.
Keep in mind there are two major differences between Fox News and NPR. One is what I have pointed out, which is that NPR is funded partially with tax dollars. Said another way, our tax dollars go to funding a network with a clear left-wing bias. The other major difference is that Fox, while it claims to be “fair and balanced”, is well known to be a right wing news outlet. NPR and its supporters have brainwashed themselves into believing– not just saying, but believing– that they are an unbiased network.
I called NPR a few days ago to speak with their ombudsman after listening to a program in which the host, Marty Moss-Coane, pretended to be neutral as she interviewed two House candidates from Pennsylvania, one a Republican and the other a Democrat. For 1 hour she launched softballs at the Democrat, and consistently challenged the Republican. I told the ombudsman, politely but citing nearly 10 different programs, that there was far too much bias towards liberal points of view. Her answer? That most of the programming comes from outside sources (NPR contracts with the producers of most programs to appear on the show, they aren’t produced by NPR) and that points of view are those of the producers. My statement, probably lost on the person I was speaking to as indicated by the “answer” she thought she gave me, was that they should therefore select an approximately equal number of programs from liberal and conservative sources, or select programming that is truly neutral, and to mix it all to provide a comprehensive set of opinions on the issues.
Needless to say I hung up from that call in despair. I guess this is what $1.8 million in donations from George Soros can buy.
As for Juan Williams, surely a key factor in his firing was his relationship with Fox News and his daily appearance on the “Fox News All Stars” in their Special Report program from 6-7pm. There is much to say about Juan, a man whom I often disagree with but who is a commentator not afraid to stray from the left-wing talking points. He clearly leans left, but he sometimes takes the opinion that is more conservative. I respect him and have found him to be an “independent thinker”, saying what he thinks is right regardless of a party platform.
Hopefully Juan will land on his feet, I expect he will. But more importantly, hopefully this NPR controversy brings to light the use of taxpayer funding to support a particular political agenda which I adamantly disagree with. If my tax dollars go to support a network, I want that network to be unbiased. Otherwise, please send me a refund check.
Unlike Fox News