Thank goodness for NPR. The entire outside world (which doesn’t include Fox) is publishing polls that President Obama is surging ahead of Mitt Romney, yet in the closed-in universe of NPR News Romney is running neck-and-neck and could win the whole thing. To prove its point, NPR goes out of its way to research and dig and scour to find Republicans who believe to their core that Romney’s business acumen is the remedy for Obama’s failed economic plans, and that Paul Ryan is not a wealthy as some, and lives in modest house in a real American small town (these are statements from an actual Republican woman as heard on Morning Edition today), and is a budget guru (as the corporate media describes him). That Republiwoman also waxed rhapsodically over the prospect of voting in Ryan as president after eight years of President Romney. She is most definitely a resident of NPR’s closed-in universe.
Are these people part of the 47% that Romney painted as “victims” and non-income tax payers and thus by being for Romney they are totally ignoring his contempt for them? Are they comfortable with the inept way Romney went off half-cocked with misunderstood information and turned the murders of four Americans in Benghazi into a political commercial himself? There’s no way to know because NPR doesn’t research and dig and scour THAT deep for the little details. Instead of “we report, you decide”, NPR’s motto should be “We decide what we report.”
Almost every story NPR reports on the Romney/Ryan smacks of a paid political announcement. If the FEC was on the job, every NPR story about Romney should include the audio message: I’m Mitt Romney and I approved this message.”
Just to be “fair and balanced” NPR allows one reporter , White House correspondent Scott Horsley, to somewhat report both sides of the story by including criticisms of and trouble with the Romney/Ryan and campaign and positive stories on the Obama presidency and campaign. But he’s about it. Andrea Seabrook, a reporter with NPR for 14 years, just quit so she could return to the world of real journalism.
“I realized that there is a part of covering Congress, if you’re doing daily coverage, that is actually sort of colluding with the politicians themselves because so much of what I was doing was actually recording and playing what they say or repeating what they say,” said Seabrook to Politico, “And I feel like the real story of Congress right now is very much removed from any of that, from the sort of theater of the policy debate in Congress, and it has become such a complete theater that none of it is real. … I feel like I am, as a reporter in the Capitol, lied to every day, all day. There is so little genuine discussion going on with the reporters. … To me, as a reporter, everything is spin.”
And with NPR these days, EVERYTHING is spin, but it’s spun towards the Republican Party. In almost every political story reporters will interview Republican politicians, Republican campaign officials, and Republican voters. Even if the story is ostensibly about Democrats or Obama, no one but Republicans will be interviewed for their opinions on Democrats or Obama. The stories write themselves. If there is a Democrat interviewed, that person is the ONLY Democrat interviewed among the group of Republicans who precede and follow that person so the Democrat gets lost in the Republican crowd.
Another trick NPR employs is evident in almost all Obama/Romney stories. The story is presented from the Romney/Republican point of view. This personalizes the Romney and aligns the listener with him. It also serves to present Obama as the distant President who is separate and remote from the listener. Cool trick, huh? The newsreader, for example, will report that Obama and Romney are campaigning in the swing state of Ohio, and will then describe the charges Romney made against Obama at a campaign stop and then play a sound bite. You see, a sound bite lends credibility to what is being said because if what is being said isn’t important, why play a sound bite? Then, to present “both sides” the newsreader will then describe what Obama said—but without the sound bite, inferring that it was just regular stump speech rhetoric of no importance.
By the same token, when there is a story about a bad weekly jobs report, the story is again presented from the Republican point of view. There will be a sound bite of John Boehner criticizing Obama’s job creation performance and why it isn’t working as he then segues into how the Republicans have a plan to create new jobs. This is the same talking point he’s been giving for almost four years but NPR still dutifully plays it because if they go to the trouble of playing the audio clip, it HAS to be true, right? And the listener tends to identify with who they hear speaking. When NPR feels like it wants to appear fair and balanced for this story, the newsreader will add a comment that the Democrats disagree with the Republican approach. No audio clip which means that it was just more political rhetoric, and it also serves to position the Democrats as distant, weaker, and objects of ridicule.
With Romney writing off 47% of the electorate, Obama being the one ahead in the polls 49%-50% to Romney’s 41%-47% ( I know, Romney’s characterization of the electorate doesn’t make mathematical sense) you’d think that NPR could unearth at least ONE disgruntled Republican voter. But there are none within NPR World, which more and more seems like it is being supported by listeners like YOU, if YOU contribute heavily to a Romney Super PAC.
Maybe NPR is suffering from Stockholm Syndrome by Proxy. The Republicans have been holding its federal funding hostage for years and perhaps NPR has grown to identify and align itself with the political party that is seeking the demise of it all publicly-funded broadcasting. Or perhaps if NPR has adopted the concentration camp mentality of“if we just do what we’re told, maybe they’ll let us live”.
NPR used to stand for actual, truly fair and balanced reporting (as opposed to the Fox version) of the news. So what does NPR stand for these days? Now Promoting Republicans.