Yeah, So?

I watched the “Operation Veritas” film of the guy and woman at NPR talking to supposed members of the Muslim Brotherhood and I kept waiting for the horrible part. It’s about a 10 minute film and the guy from NPR has his opinions.  There is one part where he talks about the “Jewish media” and that’s out of left field, but he clarifies himself well by saying some Jewish organizations, like some Muslim organization don’t want fair opinions — they want their own opinion out there.

I know it infuriates some people that they’re talking to supposed members of the Muslim Brotherhood at all, but that makes those people the very xenophobic people Mr. NPR said they were. They don’t like being called “xenophobic” because it hits too close to the truth.

Next, he talks about America and the Tea Party claiming Christianity, but not really being so — more like a section of supposed Christians. I have said this numerous times in this blog.

Next, he portrays America as “anti-intellectual”. Well, no duh!  I wuld bet that in America, far more people watch “The Jerry Springer Show” than listen to NPR.  Besides that, more people in America want to be on the Jerry Springer Show than being interviewed on NPR.

Next, he says that NPR could actually be better (more independent, for instance) if it weren’t funded by the government. Isn’t that what conservatives say all the time? Maybe he’s right. Maybe they could survive, but it makes our government looks more democratic to have free expression on the radio, supported by the same government that they criticize. Republicans are probably saying that NPR is ungrateful for the money the government gives them, but it’s not the press’ job to be grateful or ungrateful. It’s the press’ job to tell the truth. Let the other radio stations have to Kowtow to their advertisers. That’s capitalism and they have the right to complain if they don’t feel like they’re getting “bang for their buck”. But couldn’t we have some honesty or objectivity in our news, so that we could make up our own minds.

For my NPR-supporting friends: don’t get upset here, but the reason that NPR is so boooooring is that they do a lot of fact-giving, and balanced opinions and that kind of thing takes time. Years ago, when Reagan was President, NPR apparently covered his entire speech, not just the cool “sound bites” that his people wanted to be heard. Friends who listened to NPR’s unedited version of the speech said he sounded dumb or out-of -it or something. The Great Man who played to the sound bites didn’t sound so great when you actually heard everything he said.  I didn’t like (didn’t agree with) the sound bites I heard, so I “wasn’t surprised” but was basing my opinion on not-the-whole-truth.  NPR didn’t criticize him and make him look bad, as every other pundit does. It let him make a fool of himself — or be the Great Man that so many think he was– all on his own. That’s the mark of great press and the Man from NPR on the video is saying just that here in the video that caused his “downfall”.

So NPR would take $5 milli0n dollars from the Muslim Brotherhood? As scary as that sounds, I don’t know anything about the Muslim Brotherhood. Maybe they’re like the Islamic Nation’s YMCA. Given that, I’d like to hear what they have to say, so I can make up my own mind.

If they’re terrorists, I can figure it out for myself. If there’s a shred of decency in them, I can figure that out, too. And if they are followers of Gandhi, I can figure that out, too.  That same stance goes for the Tea Party, the Republicans, Democrats, and Hamas.

I’m not a big fan of NPR, just because it’s not how I grew up. I like Car Talk and Garrison Keilor is OK, but I only listen if we’re in the car and it’s on. I know lots of people who stay home on Saturday nights to listen to A Prairie Home Companion.  “Fresh Air” is good. But the news on NPR is a quiet, un-opinionated, lengthy story after story, with a few opinion pieces thrown in. That they play Marketplace and talk about economics as capitalists should, doesn’t make me like them any better, so there it is — even I’m not happy with everything on NPR.  I, more often than not, find it drags on and on.

On the other hand, they are the classiest news organization out there, precisely because they don’t try to be showy. Facts are, frankly, boring.  But if you need to know something, they are exactly the thing you need. It’s what makes the New York Times a “real” newspaper. Not only do the write formally, and I agree with their opinions most of the time (yes, they are liberal often), but often they simply print the text of a speech or a press conference without ellipses or brackets or quotation marks. It is then that there is no arguing with the Times. It’s not a liberal paper or a conservative paper. It’s a newspaper.

CNN at one time filled the need for facts — and it’s good for lengthy trials of Congressional hearings or whatever. They’re on TV. The Times is in print. NPR fills that need on the radio.

Pundits are a dime a dozen. Opinions are like … well, you know… everybody’s got one. This is what the man from NPR said about Juan Williams. Journalists lose their credibility when they pretend their opinions are facts. Actual news coverage, based in facts is different — and a good thing. It  needs to be funded — and I would say, by the government, because it’s a tool required by a democracy.

But the fact that a man who works for NPR and is in it’s upper echelons has opinions doesn’t surprise me. He’s American. He’s entitled. The fact that he didn’t say anything I haven’t said in this column — and something that liberals around the world believe — leads me to think that, instead of an NPR “scandal” where people are “appalled” by his opinions, we should say “Yeah, so…?”.






6 thoughts on “Yeah, So?

  1. Am I allowed to agree here? From what I understand about this story, nobody did anything wrong. Is someone who works for a news organization NOT allowed to have an opinion/perspective? If so, we would have no members of the press. It’s not whether the people have opinions (and expressing those in private discussions is fine), but whether that opinion biases the news.

    For the record, though, I am against the government taking my hard-earned money to redistribute it and interfere with capitalism. And if you don’t think NPR is liberally biased, you are wrong – and if you don’t think they are anti-libertarian you are REALLY wrong, they are unbelievably pro-status-quo.

    • Bob;

      You are allowed to think whatever you like here– or at least that’s my premise. Whether I can actually DO it or not is another question, but I try.

      In any case, I agree with you agreeing with me . Since I agree with the guy from NPR and I’m pretty liberal, it is possible that NPR is liberal and I’m blind to it’s bias. On the other hand, maybe a radio version of CSPAN might be good. That’s boring enough (factually based enough) to meet our needs?



      • Honestly, one of the reasons I subscribe to satellite radio is because I spend SO much time in the car, that I like to take in the “whole story” and not just drive-by sound bites. There is the World Radio Network (where each country’s broadcasting service presents a 1/2 hour or hour of their own perspective on the world, like Radio China or RTE-Ireland or Radio Netherlands, etc.), there is the BBC, and a bunch of radio services like c-span and NPR.

        There is a marked difference between listening to Radio Korea, Radio China, and NPR- Although all of them are government funded, and present information with biases, at least when you listen to Radio China you KNOW it is government propaganda.

        By the way, if you were a dog (or a space alien or whatever) who listened to NPR, you might think that NPR had a pro-human bias in their news reporting (and therefore conclude that they were anti-dog or anti-alien). It’s just much easier for “outsiders” to see the bias.

        And for the record, the format that NPR uses is great – they allow time for a much deeper exploration of a topic. It’s just too bad that it is all from one side. But if they could fix that, I think they have a VERY viable (self-sustaining) business model that could easily compete in any major market.

        And Car Talk rocks, even though sometimes I sit at the radio shouting at their wrong answers. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t entertaining!

      • Bob:

        Thanks for the input. I love cars and Car Talk, but I — unlike you — don’t know enough often to think it’s bad advice. But, yes, it IS funny — and the have those great accents!

        Also I hear BBC world service is good, as well.

        Keep up the good citizenry!



  2. Ha! I always think that I * should* watch C-SPAN, but I don’t usually last more than 2 minutes.

    There was a report (well, it *was* on NPR) this morning that purported to show that the video of Schiller had been edited to leave out his saying that he was *quoting* someone else. (What they played was so distorted with background noise that I couldn’t really understand it.) If that’s so, well, then we didn’t even get the truth.

    • OK, Val, maybe there IS a limit to boring-is-good, in the same way that there’s a limit to how much oatmeal you can eat in the winter, even if it’s good for you. I know that’s hard to believe, but it’s true.
      Still, that’s the thing I like best about NPR. Yes, Garrison Keillor is a leftist (I hear his show’s undertones when I listen) but that’s generally funny and the music is good. I’m just so used to minute-news that actual radio news is a problem — but one I can get over. Ah, the good old days, when OJ’s court trial was on and people got to see “the justice system” in it’s daily grind. Or Senate hearings about almost anything interesting. At least Obama doesn’t talk as long as Clinton and makes more sense than Bush.

      Remember, though, you’re hearing this from a guy who never ate fresh vegetables until he was married and thought that Twinkies were real food. My intellectual diet is better than that, anyway, thanks to people like you and Newt. Now I know stories of the Bibeaus drowning in a swamp in Florida. (That wouldn’t happen if they were in Minnesota!). As always, thanks for reading and writing. your comments mean a lot to me.


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