Saturday, October 11, 2008

Q Tips

NPR related comments are always welcomed.

17 comments:

RepubLiecan said...

I offer this on the state of NPR's high standards in journalism. On Friday Renee Montagne did a piece on the effort of both campaigns to win New Mexico. The piece originally titled "Obama Sees New Mexico As Must Win State" has now been changed on the web site to "Obama Puts Major Focus On New Mexico". NPR must have gotten some feedback on the inaccuracy of the original title or maybe they bothered to look at the polling in other battleground states.

In that same piece Montagne compares the number of field offices for each campaign as "a record number" for the Obama campaign with "only a few" for McCain. This is her attempt to clarify the picture for us, instead for giving us the numbers when half the work has already been done for her. Earlier in the report 40 field offices are declared for Obama and "just a handful" and the one she visited was not open. I know math is hard for many people, but couldn't she let us judge the importance of 40 versus 5 or 4 or 3? Ten thousand showed up for an Obama rally in rural Espanola versus a few hundred for McCain in Albuquerque, but the Republicans feel it's still a close race since 14 percent are undecided. In the interest of balance, Montagne mentions that McCain's strengths in NM are his military background and his stance on abortion. She did an excellent job of demonstrating what a tight horse race this still in in New Mexico.

RepubLiecan said...

On Weekend Edition Saturday, Scott during is Simonizing essay, chastised both presidential candidates for railing against the 700 billion dollar bailout, after they both voted for it? I've heard McCain rail against it, but not so much Obama. I believe Obama has talked about making improvements in the Bush/Paulson plan, but isn't running so hard against it as McCain is. Have I missed something from the Obama camp? I oppose the bailout, so I'm disappointed in both for voting for it. The point is the false equivalence the Simonizer sets up to criticize both sides equally.

If NPR can't get rid of Scott Simon, they should at least spare us from his silly essays.

Anonymous said...

"If NPR can't get rid of Scott Simon, they should at least spare us from his silly essays."

But, gee, then they would have nothing to air.

NPR's announcers (Simon, Inskeep, Norris, Liason, Schorr, Gonyea, Block) bring a whole new meaning to the term "airhead".

If these people had any more air between their ears, the IPCC would have to take it into account in their global climate models (used to project future global warming).

larry, dfh said...

FWIW, this (Sunday) morning's local (Philadelphia) NPR station had some guy with very poor radio skills mentioning that sarah palin received a few boos, which transformed into polite quiet...something like that, when she showed up at a Flyers' game. Here's what the NYT (via Atrios) had to say about the same event:

The biggest problem: when Palin came out onto the Wachovia Center ice Saturday night — greeted by resounding (almost deafening) boos from the Flyers crowd — the two hockey players who had no choice but to appear with her in that photo op were turned into props in a political campaign.

Maybe the npr mouthpiece had better seats than the Times' reporter.

War On War Off said...

Loved LiL Scotty's overly-defensive reaction to being reamed in reader's emails for his cutting off Barney Frank the week before. LiL Scotty says Frank went off for 4 minutes on one question! Ooooh! LiL Scotty want ez SOUNDBITE! No likey complex answers!

RepubLiecan said...

From anonymous at

"NPR's announcers (Simon, Inskeep, Norris, Liason, Schorr, Gonyea, Block) bring a whole new meaning to the term "airhead"."

I used to listen attentively to Daniel Schorr until I heard him repeatedly spout the conventional wisdom take on events. At one time he offered a unique outlook on things, due I presume to his long experience. Now he must be tired or lazy, content to repeat what the wise and serious pundits are saying.

Cokie Roberts is one of the worst at doing this. She used to offer analysis, at least I thought so, but now all she does is regurgitate establishment talking points. Her performance today on Morning Edition was typical. Her take is that Obama's lead in the polls is TOTALLY due to the economic downturn. Renee Montagne tried to help her out, suggesting there might be some other factors, but Cokie was having none of that. Obama's success could only be due to one thing, the economy, since, of course, the Republicans must be right on everything else, what else could explain it?

Analyst, smanalyst, my foot.

RepubLiecan said...

Scott the Simonizer should stick to what he does best, reading children's books with Daniel Pinkwater.

Anonymous said...

She used to offer analysis, at least I thought so, but now all she does is regurgitate establishment talking points.

That statement could be applied to many individuals on NPR.

In fact, it might be considered as a kind of overall description for what has happened to NPR since its hay day as a truly alternative news source.

If you look at the time frame over which this "transition" from "analysis" and real news to "regurgitation" has occurred, it is pretty clear who is behind it.

Hint: it has largely taken place since 1998 (specifically, the end of 1998)

So, ask yourself: what happened in 1998 at NPR that would have had a literally transforming (from news to propaganda) impact on the approach to reporting?

Steve Byan said...

Ooh, ooh, was it "Kevin Klose named NPR president"?

Quote from the article:

Klose, who starts work at NPR Dec. 8, is now director of the U.S. International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB), the government's nonmilitary overseas broadcaster and parent of Voice of America. He ascended to that position after serving as president of RFE/RL from 1994 to 1997. RFE/RL, known to its insiders as the "Radios," is a nonprofit service for Central Europe and the former Soviet republics. It now shares technical infrastructure with IBB operations and receives federal support through IBB's overseer, the Broadcasting Board of Governors.

One of the matters the NPR Board discussed before hiring Klose: how NPR's news staff would react to a boss who had worked in government radio and for the Radios, which were CIA-financed until the early 1970s. "There was a question as to how the NPR newsroom would receive Kevin Klose," says board member Chase Untermeyer, who headed Voice of America during the Bush years. But those questions were "put aside" because of Klose's leadership abilities and other assets, he said. Untermeyer argues that operations like the Radios are congressionally mandated to be even-handed and so operate "under far more desirable standards of journalism" than privately owned news outlets.

Veteran NPR political correspondent Daniel Schorr was nonplussed. "It did not occur to me that was a problem," he said. "I've known [Klose] for many years as a Washington Post professional, and he is a professional. It's always great when an organization whose primary mission in life is news is headed by a journalist."



If Public Radio were still publicly financed, now would be the time to condition our pledge money on the replacement of Klose (he serves at the pleasure of the NPR board, composed of executives from NPR member stationsand a few members appointed by the CPB). Alas, corporate financing now renders NPR immune from public influence. It'll literally take an act of congress to clean up this mess.

larry, dfh said...

I think
this guy had something to do with it, a little earlier. I've listened to npr since the early '70s,. I heard about the Watergate Bread-in on NPR. I heard the Watergate Hearings on NPR. npr has become a job clearing house for D.C. functionaires.

Anonymous said...

If Public Radio were still publicly financed, now would be the time to condition our pledge money on the replacement of Klose

NPR loves to claim that they are no longer publicly funded, but that is only a partial truth, if not an outright lie.

A large fraction of their operating expenses comes from primarily publicly funded NPR member stations around the country who pay NPR big bucks for news and other programs.

If public funding (ie, from Congress) for these member stations dried up tomorrow, NPR would probably cease to exist
1) because NPR would have no one to sell their news(peak) to, and
2) because NPR would have no one to sell their news(peak) to

The fact that NPR depends to a very large extent on money coming from these publicly funded member stations is precisely why NPR goes into heavy duty 24/7 lobbying mode on their programs every time Congress threatens to cut funds for NPR and/or CPB -- blanketing the public air waves with appeals to the public to ask Congress to keep the public funds for member stations flowing.

This happened just a few short years ago. Of course, they word their appeals in such a way that they appear "balanced":

For example, they don't just say "call up your Congress and tell them not to cut Congressional funding for public radio" but instead say "If you value what NPR has to offer call up Congress and tell them not to cut Congressional funding for public radio."

Ask yourself: if NPR really did not depend on public funds, why would they do that ever time Congress threatens to cut funding?

Incidentally,
Wikipedia has a short article about Kevin Klose, wherein it mentions his tenure as head of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) (From 1994 to 1997)

"Some criticize the choice of Kevin Klose to be the head of NPR because he "used to be the director of all major worldwide US government propaganda dissemination broadcast media including VOA, Radio Liberty, Radio Free Europe, Radio Free Asia, Worldnet Television and the anti-Castro Radio/TV Marti." [1]."

So, Klose used to be* president of an organization whose business it is to disseminate US government propaganda.

*Some might say he still is and that only the target audience has changed.

Anonymous said...

Ron Elving's bias is showing in his piece Why Is McCain Campaigning Like This?

"What must be far more disturbing for McCain's longtime fans, and for the candidate himself, is the demagogic tone of his public campaign. The Arizonan may not care for Barack Obama personally, but he resents being reduced to attacking him personally. You can hear and see it in the way McCain bites off the bitter words he must say."

I hate to break it to poor Ronny, but John McCain and John McCain alone is responsible for the tone and direction of his campaign.

No amount of excuse-making (blaming it on "outside forces") by Ronny is going to change that.

Poor, poor Ronny. His frustration (and bias) is showing as much as his man McCain's.

I feel so sorry for both of them.

miranda said...

steve byan said:

"Veteran NPR political correspondent Daniel Schorr was nonplussed. "It did not occur to me that was a problem," he said. "I've known [Klose] for many years as a Washington Post professional, and he is a professional. It's always great when an organization whose primary mission in life is news is headed by a journalist."

Dan Schorr doesn't seem to be nonplussed by much of anything these days; he's kind of like the overrated gasbag David Broder. It's been a looong time since Watergate.

miranda said...

Another dispatch from the Land of False Equivalency: today's edition of the tiresome Talk of the Nation. The subject was something like, How Much is Too Much -- anger from both sides of the election.

As if the anger among Obama supporters were really comparable to the racist hatemongering, terrorist tarring and calls for assassination that have been stoked, and only lamely and latterly disavowed, by McPalin.

Host Conan the Barbarian allowed a woman caller who identified herself as a McCain supporter, to enumerate every false charge against Obama in the wingnutosphere, including a few I had never heard before: Obama isn't an American citizen, he and Ayers were trying to "indoctrinate" schoolchildren to make them into "little liberals," and on and on in that vein. Conan didn't bother to correct the woman on any of these blatantly false charges, just vaguely said some of those things were not factual and moved quickly to the next segment. AAARGH.

Then, near the end of the segment, he acknowledged that calls and emails were flooding in forcing him to address those unanswered charges. He acknowledged that yes, Obama is a citizen. Wow.

When are the MSM going to acknowledge that McCain is running a racist and criminally dangerous campaign? It bothers me that people rely on NPR as their source of information.

RepubLiecan said...

Mara Liasson previewed tonight's debate on Morning Edition today. Her claim was that this debate would not have much effect, just like the past two debates had no effect. I suppose the explanation is that it's entirely the economy that drives Obama's increasing leads in nearly all the polls. It's just too hard for her to admit that people prefer Obama and his policies in spite of the made up personality based issues the political media prefers to talk about.

RepubLiecan said...

Newt Gingrich and his Republiecan cohorts were successful in disemboweling public broadcasting with their attempt to zero out its funding. They were far more effective than we could have imagined. If it weren't for their arts and entertainment programming, I'd be content to see it go away.

Anonymous said...

If it weren't for their arts and entertainment programming, I'd be content to see it go away."

here's the thing.


I suspect that your local NPR member station actually provides arts and entertainment of its own as well as local news.

but there is no reason they MUST air NPR news (not that i am aware, at any rate, unless that has been written into theit public funding contract, somehow)

I used to live in Salt Lake and KRCL is a great one (or at least used to be).

not sure what KRCL is airing for news these days, but they used to air "pacifica news radio" which is far superior to NPR in my opinion, even htough their operating budget is dwarfed by NPR's.

Democracy now is another great news source.

There is no absolutely NO reason that local radio stations have to purchase news from NPR.

The fact is, NPR has acted as a monopoly (a publicly funded one at that), driving these real alternative news sources out of business.

here's what i would suggest.

if you like your local station (as i do) but can not stomach NPR, simply tell the local station as much.

I know some of these stations will actually allow you to donate to specific programs. KRCL used to be like that.

I suppose you might even DEMAND that none of your donation be used to buy NPR news programming.

if nothing else, the people at your local station will get a clue that not everyone is happy with the path that NPR has taken in recent years.

If enough people did this around the country -- made their donations contingent on no purchase of NPR news programs -- i suspect that, at the very least NPR would take note.

Money talks.

In my opinion, it is much easier to change NPR from the bottom up than it is from the top down.

If NPR loses enough market share (what Klose is big on), it will change. Even more importantly, i suspect that the real journalists at NPR (there are still some very good ones) will be more than willing to dump the captain overboard if they see the ship going down.