Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Bend It Like Beck - Ahem


"I've said it before, and I will reiterate it. NPR is a mainstream news outlet." - Alicia Shepard, Nov. 2, 2009

I have to hand it to NPR's ombudsman, Alicia Shepard, when she posts on her blog, she really knows how to put ugly out there. This was manifest in her June21, 2009 defense of not calling torture torture and her similarly enhanced defense of the same on June 30, 2009. If you've not read Glenn Greenwald's critique of Shepard on this matter, it is well worth the read.

On her Monday, Nov. 2 post, Shepard's back with a doozy, distorting her critics' positions and selectively misquoting herself in order to defend her stated desire to have MORE conservative voices on NPR news.

Shepard is writing about a complaint she received regarding comments she made on the Kojo Nmadi show on the Washington, DC public radio affiliate, WAMU. A caller had just hung up after noting - with examples - that NPR's usual range of experts/pundits ranged from the hard right to slightly left of center at best. Shepard's response (starting at about the 42 minute mark) was telling:
"Public radio listeners are very passionate about what they hear...people hear things selectively....people hear groups that they think shouldn't be on NPR and then they latch on to that and I think that's just how we're wired as human beings..."
and then comes
"...do I think NPR could do a better job? I think of having more conservative voices on NPR ah, you know rather than saying that they pander to conservatives, I just think some of the conservative names Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck. I mean when Glenn Beck is on NPR I can be assured that there will be a lot of emails about that, and I feel like, 'Hey you should hear what Glenn Beck has to say. You know, like it or not, he is influential.' "
It's crucial to note that there is absolutely nothing in Shepard's on-air comment indicating that she thinks it's important to report on the views of people like Beck and Limbaugh - to hold their statements up to facts and to explore the phenomenon of the popularity of hate and misinformation news-opinion shows. Is there any other way to interpret Shepard's remarks, except to conclude that she believes more conservative voices such as Beck and Limbaugh should be on NPR?

And so she received an angry email from a listener who wrote,
"I was outraged by your comment today on the Kojo Nnamdi program that NPR should have more people like Glenn Beck who represent a certain point of view not heard on NPR."
Seems like a pretty open and shut case of Ombudsman says something stupid and unethical, gets caught, and should issue an apology/retraction. Not in Shepard's "Beck and Me" land. First she whines,
"Usually I am the one examining those on air, and now I know how it feels to be on the other side of the mic, where it is perceived that I did something wrong."
Then she selectively edits her statement from the WAMU show,
"When Glenn Beck is on NPR I can be assured that there will be a lot of emails about that, and I feel like, 'Hey you should hear what Glenn Beck has to say. You know, like it or not he is influential.' " [Notice how she removes the damning opening to her statement "...I think of having more conservative voices on NPR ah, you know rather than saying that they pander to conservatives, I just think some of the conservative names Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck.]
And finally she distorts her critic's opinion so that it is easier to dismiss,
"That quote does not indicate that I think Beck should be on NPR every day..."
It's worth re-reading the complaint she's referring to: "I was outraged by your comment today on the Kojo Nnamdi program that NPR should have more people like Glenn Beck who represent a certain point of view not heard on NPR." Is there anything in that quote alleging that Shepard wants Beck on NPR every day?

I can't think of a column that makes a stronger case for what I've been attempting to show in this blog - NPR news is indistinguishable from the pandering-to-power corporate/mainstream media news outlets in this country. Alicia Shepard - with her thirty years of journalism experience! - says it better than me:
"I've said it before, and I will reiterate it. NPR is a mainstream news outlet. Its duty is to inform the public of all that is going on - and that means airing voices and stories that many listeners might not like or agree with."
This begs the question of just what unique perspective or qualities NPR contributors are getting for their donations that they can't get on CNN, FOX, etc.

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

I've said it before, and I will reiterate it. NPR is a mainstream news outlet." - Alicia Shepard, Nov. 2, 2009

hey, Shepard is honest (about that one thing, at least).

At least we won't have to hear (from NPR management and announcers) that NPR is "alternative" or "offers a unique perspective" any more, right?

It's kind of fitting in a way.

Shepard marks the official "end of an era" for NPR.

It's kind of like advanced Alzheimers, which completely wipes out the person's former personality.

Or like when rabies, which completely takes over an animal and makes it turn even on its own young.

Or like driving a stake into the heart of a vampire.

There is no turning back now.

NPR has been officially Foxified.

Anonymous said...

Shorter Alicia Shepard:

"NPR's duty is to inform the public about every new twist in the balloon boy saga".

Amen to that ... and pass the potatoes please.

GRUMPY DEMO said...

Good job MTW, also reminds me: Never mess with a librarian.

My favorite piece of delusion:

"But listeners deserve exposure to all sorts of voices discussing a wide range of perspectives on NPR -- not just those that are palatable to them."

"wide range of perspectives"?

So that's why NPR's sole two Washington Analysts both are career FOX News employees, Juan and Mara have more that a decade as Rupert's sock puppets.

Here's NPR's idea of a variety of viewpoints: Center Right, Right, Hard Right, GOP Congressman, GOP Senators, Retire GOP Congressman, GOP Lobbyists, GOP Think Tanks, FOX, American Enterprise Institutes, Tea Baggers, National Review, Weekly Standard, Washington Times, Wall Street Journal.

Yeah love the diversity.

Yejp just as "diverse" as NPR's discussion of Obama's economic rescue package, 6 Republicans for every 1 Democrat:

http://nprcheck.blogspot.com/2009/02/are-we-stimulated-yet.html

Anonymous said...

"wide range of perspectives"?

Rush Limbaugh is pretty "wide", all right.

But putting wideness aside (if that's possible), I think it's really important for viewers to get perspectives like Beck's (on Obama)

because it just adds so much to the national conversation, you know.

Ya know, any REAL journalist at NPR would DEMAND Shepard's ouster or resign (and Shiller's, since she is almost certainly behind Shepard's pandering to the right wing on the torture issue and everything else)

GRUMPY DEMO said...

On Morning Edition we listeners got a good example of Shepard's "wide range of perspectives"on NPR:


Two back-to-back interview with FOX News employees (Juan & Mara) interpretation of the election this morning.

Surprise! They think its good news for the GOP and bad news for Obama. (I guess a Democratic sweep of the only Federal elections yesterday, two Congressional special elections, is also bad for Obama?)

Working for Rupert for more than a decade here's their FOX bios: Mara Liasson, a full time FOX News employee (link), and Juan Williams, a full time FOX News employee, (link), this must be the "wide range of perspectives" that the Ombudsman thinks NPR promotes.

Yum, now that's some tasty wide range of perspectives for breakfast.

Juan "Toss" Ensalada said...

Nice job, MM.

If you have time, maybe you can mock up a new logo for NPR; one that looks like FoxNews.

NprNews

-JET

WarOnWarOff said...

Alicia just loves herself some ignorant, manipulative, well-financed frauds such as Glen "Lonesome Rhodes" Beck.

But real truthtellers? Not so much.

Anonymous said...

Shepard is a character right out of an Orwell book.

fell free to pick the book and the character.

Juan "Toss" Ensalada said...

Not specifically related to NprNews, but you can see how the ANGA and the API are working the public relations regarding energy.

Fortunately, Talking Points Memo is finally picking up on this issue. NPR, WaPo and Newsweek? Mainstream media indeed! Show me the money!

Anonymous said...

When Kevin Klose was running NPR, I didn't think it was possible that it could get any worse.

How wrong I was.

Schiller (with her sidekick, Shepard running interference) has put Klose to shame in the propaganda department.

Shown him how it's done.

Must be all that experience she gained as a "tour guide" in Russia.

Anonymous said...

The resemblance between Shepard and beck is striking.

I wonder, are they brothers?

gopolganger said...

Shepard and Beck are soulmates in that each is a puppet to puppetmasters - as we all are, in some sense, but these are people who've "sold their soul" in very specific, probably contractual ways to sell the product that is USG a la CIA/DIA/DEA/HUD/NSA as controlled by Goldman/Sachs vis-a-vid their employment by/of Kellogg/Brown/Root - Halliburton, which the Brown/Root part was very much alive in November of 1963.

Anonymous said...

Shepard and Beck are soulmates in that each is a puppet to puppetmasters"

and given that the "puppetmaster' is the same in both cases (Corporate America), that would make them sock puppets, would it not?

I actually think Shepard is FAR worse than Beck, for her (sorry) role in the Gary Webb saga

She really is disgusting and so is anyone who would employ her as an "neutral ombudsman" (what a joke).

One recent event in the news (not covered by NPR, of course) that lends credibility to Gary Webb's claims is the fact that the CIA has been funding Ahmed Karzai -- Hamid Karzai's brother -- who, as the NY Times says, " is [a] suspected player in nation's illegal opium trade".

Some things apparently never change.

Barbara said...

I've now bookmarked you as one of my primary sources. NPR's slobbering over the GOP is disgusting! Does NPR know that Beck had a skit in which he pretended to poison Nancy Pelosi? Does NPR want to feature that sort of character assassination?

Anonymous said...

Barbara asks: Does NPR want to feature that sort of character assassination?

For the answer to your question,

Click on the link to the Counterpunch article about Gary Webb and search on Alicia Shepard (NPR's ombudsman)

bog!ponk!fazzy!banny! said...

The lead quote sez it all, fer sure fer sure. That's why "listeners" should cut the supporting and let their (obvious) advertisers pay their cushy salaries. Thanks for the money-saving tip, Lishy! (as if I was even on the verge of have any change-of-heart epiphanies ~nasal drone tone here~ anytime soon)

b-p-f-ps said...

Drat, wanted to also add:

Frighteningly brill facial mash-up there, by the way! Now I'm not gonna be able to sleep tonight. And if I do, there'll be nightmares.

Anonymous said...

During fundraising scams local stations constantly and consistently paint the "average" listener/supporter as (not explicit but certainly implicit)the "not Fox" person. I had a go round on Ombudsman thread with conservative listener. This was my observation: NPR "brands" itself as the non-Fox during fundraising but shows its' true foxiness by being slightly to the left of FOX (and by slightly I mean SLIGHTLY) on trivial matters (movies, pop culture,jazz) but on torture, illegal wars, domestic spying etc) they are right there.

edk

Anonymous said...

interesting read. I would love to follow you on twitter. By the way, did anyone hear that some chinese hacker had busted twitter yesterday again.

Anonymous said...

You have really great taste on catch article titles, even when you are not interested in this topic you push to read it

Methuselah said...

It's very interesting to see politics over your side of the pond. Man, I thought I was right-wing, turns out I'm a Marxist by US standards! You say tomato, I say, er, football...

http://methuselahsdiary.blogspot.com/2010/05/bend-it-like-hamid-karzai.html