To quote you on this, K-Lo, “sigh.” Liberal media outlets have a strange habit of accepting lame studies from Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR), so lame that they’re trying to argue that National Public Radio is a haven for conservative Republicans. My colleague down the hall suggests the lunacy of this assertion requires no comment. Or we could begin with the old comment, “FAIR are the people who tried to put over the hoax that Super Bowl Sunday is the greatest day in America for domestic violence.” See Christina Hoff Sommers and “Who Stole Feminism?” on that one.
But I can’t help it. FAIR’s studies never analyze media content. They count guests or soundbites. Studying the journalists is not consider relevant, or journalist-friendly. In other words, the anchor can say “Today, the fanatical weasels of the military-industrial complex continued their campaign of vicious lies against innocent, misunderstood Iraqi insurgents” and be considered irrelevant to the question of whether NPR is ideological.
The key phrase in this piece of work is “frequency of appearance.” In an entire month, on four separate programs, they found President Bush soundbites on 36 occasions. (Doesn’t that seem low?) Rumsfeld was second with eight. This is cited as proof that conservative voices dominate NPR? So we’re running a war, and quoting the president and the secretary of defense shows a Republican bias?
The think-tank comparison is also lame. They say conservative tanks beat liberals, four to one. But they put largely Democratic Brookings in the center, and the largely Democratic Council on Foreign Relations in the center. Do we all put the Center for Strategic and International Studies uniformly on the right these days?
In short, don’t bite on the notion that NPR’s shifted right. Try to take a listen any morning or afternoon and hear for yourself. Or peek at npr.org/politics.