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Making a Case for NPR

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Posted on Mar 24, 2011

Granted, the person making the points about NPR’s virtues in this Wall Street Journal Op-Ed piece is Steve Inskeep, who is himself a host of NPR’s “Morning Edition.” But he brings in some data about who’s actually tuning in that might surprise longtime listeners as well as detractors.  —KA

Steve Inskeep in The Wall Street Journal:

With those values in mind, let’s consider the fundamental question: the accusation of “liberal bias” at NPR, which drives many critics calling to eliminate its federal funding. It’s not my job as a reporter to address the funding question. But I can point out that the recent tempests over “perceived bias” have nothing to do with what NPR puts on the air.

The facts show that NPR attracts a politically diverse audience of 33.7 million weekly listeners to its member stations on-air. In surveys by GfK MRI, most listeners consistently identify themselves as “middle of the road” or “conservative.” Millions of conservatives choose NPR, even with powerful conservative alternatives on the radio.

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By SteveL, March 25, 2011 at 11:14 pm Link to this comment

Congress is so schizophrenic when it comes to NPR that I think they might be
better off to take some advertizing and forget government support.  What is on the
radio is more of a function of the ownership of the station than the advertisers.

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By call me roy, March 25, 2011 at 10:18 pm Link to this comment

NPR National Pravda Radio

Bye Bye taxpayer money

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By Alan, March 25, 2011 at 4:46 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Borscht! The B.S. about BIAS at NPR is
180 degrees OUT OF PHASE.
It’s like the Reichstag fire deal!
sure! dump NPR , not because it’s “lefty”,
but because it’s an arm of the fascist media

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By NPR critic, March 25, 2011 at 10:35 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’m not surprised by Steve Inskeep’s assertion that
NPR attracts “a politically diverse audience of 33.7
million weekly listeners.”

It’s easy to find on the radio dial when driving
almost everywhere in the country, and partial
coverage of the news is sometimes more entertaining
than no coverage at all.

And I do value some of the work by some of the NPR
reporters, such as Bob Garfield or Nina Totenberg.
But most of the time the perky entertainment efforts
convince me that I’m better off listening to nothing.

NPR daily omits coverage of important news events,
and most of the analysis comes across as pandering to
the propaganda needs of their corporate backers.

Listen to Robert Siegel’s pathetic 1/18/2011
interview with Timothy Geithner, for instance. The
entire charade was a setup routine designed to
further promote corporate disenfranchisement in the
guise of “intellectual property,” a lump term for
various other disparate legal categories, such as
copyright, patent, trademark, trade secrets, and so
on. In any case, there are a lot of excellent
arguments out there for why we shouldn’t fall for
this IP nonsense, but what I notice over and over is
that NPR defaults on the side of the corporate
capital, and rarely supports workers, students,
antiwar causes, etc.

If I want real audio news, I stream Democracy Now,
Free Speech Radio News, Counterspin, Making Contact,
Alternative Radio, or Al Jazeera, among others.
Likewise, I read from a wide range of sources on the
internet - ProPublica, Truthdig, Counterpunch,
Commondreams, Reuters, Guardian, Independent, Der
Spiegel, and so on.

After scanning all this material, NPR sounds to me
like a huge waste of time, and although they salivate
over elections, their coverage scandalously serves to
speed the narrowing of the primary fields, again, by
omission, while the demonstrations outside the
conventions seem to never really happen.

As for morning news anchors, Steve Inskeep is simply annoying. His jokes are
lame and he comes across as a narcissist. He’s his
own favorite anchor, but all he’ll ever really do is
remind a lot of us how much better Bob Edwards was.

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By clearwaters, March 24, 2011 at 7:24 pm Link to this comment

If it isn’t wholly accountable to corporate funding, its bias just cant be trusted.

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By chip, March 24, 2011 at 5:53 pm Link to this comment

Chris Hedges is speaking hear in Kansas city tonight.
I called our local NPR station this morning and asked if they could announce it. I was told they don’t do plugs. 5 Minutes later they were saying “Lindsy Wagner would be in town and a comic book convention also”

I think NPR is dangerous because people still trust it.

How about that bias coverage of the nuke stuff today.
by the “council on foreign relations”

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rico, suave's avatar

By rico, suave, March 24, 2011 at 5:35 pm Link to this comment

Who cares what the listener demographic is? If NPR is so good and valuable, which I really believe it is, it will survive in the competitive commercial market. It already runs “commercials”, although it officially doesn’t.

But why is it that more listeners VOLUNTARILY tune in to Sean Hannity (and put up with all those nauseating “Goldline” and “Lifelock”  and mortgage reduction scam commercials) than to All Things Considered?

There’s no question that defunding is a cynical symbolic gesture by the Republicans. Still and all, there is no justification for spending a dime of public money on it.

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By TDoff, March 24, 2011 at 5:07 pm Link to this comment

Well, this sure puts a different slant on things. Mostly conservative listeners, huh?! Right this moment, the GOPers are negotiating with the Dems, to turn the ‘Dump NPR’ program over to Obama’s party.

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