NPR Ombudsman Jeffrey Dvorkin has come to an opinion on Terry Gross’s differing book-plugging NPR “Fresh Air” interviews of Bill O’Reilly and Al Franken, and the verdict is: “Unfortunately, the [O’Reilly] interview only served to confirm the belief, held by some, in NPR’s liberal media bias.”
He explained: “Although O’Reilly frequently resorts to bluster and bullying on his own show, he seemed unable to take her tough questions. He became angrier as the interview went along. But by coming across as a pro-Franken partisan rather than a neutral and curious journalist, Gross did almost nothing that might have allowed the interview to develop.
“By the time the interview was about halfway through, it felt as though Terry Gross was indeed ‘carrying Al Franken’s water,’ as some listeners say. It was not about O’Reilly’s ideas, or his attitudes or even about his book. It was about O’Reilly as political media phenomenon. That’s a legitimate subject for discussion, but in this case, it was an interview that was, in the end, unfair to O’Reilly.”