• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Belated Search for 'Broad Range of Views' Not Enough to Save NPR


    National Public Radio has come as close as it can possibly get to admitting that it’s a biased news organization and that it must take steps to remedy this situation. It’s a welcome acknowledgment, one we must charitably accept even if NPR made it under duress after coming under withering criticism for firing veteran journalist Juan Williams.

    Hopefully, NPR did not take this step to stave off congressional attempts to withdraw its public funding. Its mea culpa does not change one iota the need for Congress to defund this anachronism.

    The admission, such as it was, came in two decisions announced yesterday by the NPR Board of Directors after a long “review into the facts and circumstances leading to the termination of NPR’s contract with senior news analyst Juan Williams.”

    The first was the dismissal of Ellen Weiss, the Senior Vice President for News who fired Mr. Williams back in October—a woman Williams yesterday called NPR’s “enforcer of liberal orthodoxy.”

    The second, and more important one, was a Board recommendation that NPR “ensure that its practices encourage a broad range of viewpoints to assist its decision-making, support its mission, and reflect the diversity of its national audiences. The Human Resources Committee of the Board is working in conjunction with key members of NPR management on this issue.”

    Not exactly a mandate to hire at least one conservative journalist, but at least acceptance that “a broad range of viewpoints” is sorely lacking at NPR.

    Williams, you may remember, was let go last October after saying on FOX News’ Bill O’Reilly show that he felt unease when he saw people in Muslim garb at airports. The firing was not just abrupt but especially unceremonious for a journalist of a decade’s standing at NPR—and despite the fact that Williams (a well-known liberal) went on to say that his misgivings were wrong. The firing kicked off a groundswell of disgust at the leftist bias of NPR reporters and commentators and at the network’s mind-numbing political correctness.

    Of course, the Board’s call for including a “broad range of viewpoints” was buried amid a handful of other handwringing over whether NPR journalists should be able to express their views on opinion shows. These proposals miss the mark. The solution to NPR’s stultifying uniformity of liberal opinions is not to make these less transparent. It’s the opposite—to identify them as liberal views and, as the recommendation above makes clear, to make sure that conservative voices are also included in the news room.

    For how and why NPR got this way, we have no less an authority than Williams himself, who said last night on FOX:

    “The institution has been there since the early 70’s and the people that came were from college campuses, and they thought they were alternative radio and all that, and they’ve grown into a mainstream media operation, 30 plus million listeners. And yet, they think that somehow they don’t have to operate by the rules of the world. They don’t have to hear everybody’s opinion, because you’re not in the club.”

    Williams does not exactly hold out hope that Weiss’ dismissal (she officially resigned) will fix much at NPR. He went on:

    “My fear is that they just bring someone else in from what was an inbred incestuous culture to again perpetuate what’s been there because they have this mistaken idea that that’s what NPR is.”

    And indeed, only yesterday NPR’s health policy journalist had an unbelievably biased piece once again on ObamaCare, which was then praised by one of her colleagues for its “accuracy.” This was followed only a few minutes later by praise for another liberal piece of legislation, the Frank-Dodd financial “reform” bill.

    But how (and if) it remodels itself is NPR’s problem. The American people’s problem is that they are forced to pay for a percentage of this public radio network through their taxes. This is especially frustrating to the millions of Americans who disagree with the liberal/progressive views of NPR’s reporters. More importantly, however, it galls the many more who think that it is dangerous for government to fund journalism.

    So while NPR’s admission that it lacks “a broad range of viewpoints” is welcome, it does nothing to alter the fundamental issue of its funding. A nation looking for savings can start here.

    You can follow Mike Gonzalez on Twitter @Gundisalvus

    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    12 Responses to Belated Search for 'Broad Range of Views' Not Enough to Save NPR

    1. George Colgrove, VA says:

      End funding – can no longer afford to use scarce tax dollars to prop up. Force them to seek private sector funding (i.e. commercials) like their competitors need to do.

      We are in a dangerous level of debt. Luxuries such as this should not be consuming tax dollars that need to go towards decreasing our debt and funding a minimum sized federal government.

      If states want to make up the void, then let the state level elections take care of this expenditure. The feds have partied enough and wasted far too much of our country’s future – time to take out the fat and get to the absolute necessities.

    2. Daniel says:

      Yea, that darn media. You can’t find anything conservative in the media. It’s SUCH a shame, right guys?……….

      The Rush Limbaugh show where they’ll say conservatives have no voice in the media.
      The Bill O’Reilly show where they’ll say conservatives have no voice in the media.
      The Sean Hannity show where they’ll say conservatives have no voice in the media.
      The Eva Von Zahn show where they’ll say conservatives have no voice in the media.
      The Belway Boys where they’ll say conservatives have no voice in the media.
      The Brit Hume show where they’ll say conservatives have no voice in the media.
      The Tony Snow show where they’ll say conservatives have no voice in the media.
      The Juan Williams show where they’ll say conservatives have no voice in the media.
      The Mara Liason show where they’ll say conservatives have no voice in the media.
      The McLaughlin Group where they’ll say conservatives have no voice in the media.
      The Chris the Screamer show where they’ll say conservatives have no voice in the media.
      The G. Gordon Liddy show where they’ll say conservatives have no voice in the media.
      The Laura Schlessinger show where they’ll say conservatives have no voice in the media.
      The Michael Medved show where they’ll say conservatives have no voice in the media.
      The Sam & Cokie show where they’ll say conservatives have no voice in the media.
      Meet the Press with Tim Russert where they’ll say conservatives have no voice in the media.
      Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer where they’ll say conservatives have no voice in the media.
      The John Hockenberry show where they’ll say conservatives have no voice in the media.
      The Ollie North show where they’ll say conservatives have no voice in the media.
      The Neil Bortz show where they’ll say conservatives have no voice in the media.
      The Robert Novak show where they’ll say conservatives have no voice in the media.
      The Paul Weyrich show where they’ll say conservatives have no voice in the media.
      The Brian Williams show where they’ll say conservatives have no voice in the media.
      The Wolf Blitzer show where they’ll say conservatives have no voice in the media.
      The Don Imus show where they’ll say conservatives have no voice in the media.
      The John Stossel show where they’ll say conservatives have no voice in the media.
      Reliable Sources with Howie Kurtz where they’ll say conservatives have no voice in the media.
      David Horowitz will write a column saying conservatives have no voice in the media.
      Maureen Dowd will write a column saying conservatives have no voice in the media.
      Ann Coulter will write a column saying conservatives have no voice in the media.
      Laura Ingraham will write a column saying conservatives have no voice in the media.
      Peggy Noonan will write a column saying conservatives have no voice in the media.
      William Safire will write a column saying conservatives have no voice in the media.
      Andrew (bareback) Sullivan will write a column saying conservatives have no voice in the media.
      David Limbaugh will write a column saying conservatives have no voice in the media.
      Jonah Goldberg will write a column saying conservatives have no voice in the media.
      Mona Charen will write a column saying conservatives have no voice in the media.
      Linda Chavez will write a column saying conservatives have no voice in the media.
      John Fund will write a column saying conservatives have no voice in the media.
      Paul Greenburg will write a column saying conservatives have no voice in the media.
      Jeff Jacoby will write a column saying conservatives have no voice in the media.
      Dick Morris will write a column saying conservatives have no voice in the media.
      Thomas Sowell will write a column saying conservatives have no voice in the media.
      Cal Thomas will write a column saying conservatives have no voice in the media.
      Walter Williams will write a column saying conservatives have no voice in the media.
      Mort Zuckerman will write a column saying conservatives have no voice in the media.
      Brent Bozell will write a column saying conservatives have no voice in the media.
      William F Buckley will write a column saying conservatives have no voice in the media.
      Neil Cavuto will write a column saying conservatives have no voice in the media.
      David Hackworth will write a column saying conservatives have no voice in the media.
      Charles Krauthammer will write a column saying conservatives have no voice in the media.
      William Raspberry will write a column saying conservatives have no voice in the media.
      Phyllis Schlafly will write a column saying conservatives have no voice in the media.
      George Will will write a column saying conservatives have no voice in the media.
      Matt Drudge will write a column saying conservatives have no voice in the media.
      Luci (The Bat) Goldberg will write a column saying conservatives have no voice in the media.
      Michael Barone will write a column saying conservatives have no voice in the media.
      Lawrence Kudlow will write a column saying conservatives have no voice in the media.
      Marlin Fitzwater will write a column saying conservatives have no voice in the media.
      Pat Buchanan will write a column saying conservatives have no voice in the media.
      Ari Fleisher will write a column saying conservatives have no voice in the media.
      Christopher Hitchens will write a column saying conservatives have no voice in the media.
      Rich Lowry will write a column saying conservatives have no voice in the media.
      Kate O’Beirne will write a column saying conservatives have no voice in the media.

      And against all of that, the reality-based community’s big-time legacy-media representation consists of Colbert and Stewart on Comedy Central, and Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow for two hours a day on MSNBC. (MSNBC is the same network that gives us three hours a day of conservative Joe Scarborough and which, shortly after its inception, had cancelled its highest-rated program because its host, Phil Donahue, dared to oppose Bush’s invasion of Iraq.)

      Whoop dee frickin’ dooooo.

    3. Daniel says:

      The only reason Heritage brought up NPR was because they fired Juan Williams. He broke the code of conduct and got fired, plain and simple. His comment was bigoted and racist, plain and simple. Public funding for NPR is less then 10%, plain and simple. Heritage is wasting time on this story.

    4. Bobbie says:

      Gosh, Daniel, the ones you named are privately owned. You know, they don't hold the hand of government and since they take care of their own expenses, they run their station any civil way they want. The ratings are a clear indicator of what interests the people. It's funny how NPR will send out mailings to donate to their radio station. Tells me their ratings aren't cutting the muster and they're not worth it.

      What broken code of conduct, an honest concern?

    5. Pingback: Tweets that mention The Foundry: Conservative Policy News. -- Topsy.com

    6. Pingback: Tweets that mention Belated Search for ‘Broad Range of Views’ Not Enough to Save NPR | The Foundry: Conservative Policy News. -- Topsy.com

    7. Pingback: World Spinner

    8. Daniel says:

      Bobbie,

      -You like following me don't you? I already know what Juan Williams said doesn't bother you. I know exactly why. Do Muslims make you "nervous" when you see them? Giving a RACIST comment is breaking the code of conduct but not for people that are RACIST.

      -Drop 10% of the government funding, who cares? I know at least 27 media outlets nationwide, that receive government funding that I could easily call out for having conservative bias. The difference is, i'm not whining and crying about it.

      -Why is it that the only people telling us that NPR is liberal, are conservatives? It's not working, nor is the entire "liberal media" lie.

      Such desperation from conservatives.

    9. Daniel says:

      I also think that NPR tends to have a Conservative bias too. I listen to NPR at least 3 times a week and each day they have a Conservative writer or contributer. Why am I not complaining or whining about this?

      Bobbie stated-

      "The ratings are a clear indicator of what interests the people"

      -this is very true. The more a media outlet lies, the better the ratings. Look at Fox News, perfect example!

      this is a great example of just how ignorant this "liberal media" claim is…

      "Republicans of all stripes have done quite well for themselves during the past five decades fulminating about the liberal cabal/progressive thought police who spin, supplant and sometimes suppress the news we all consume. (Indeed, it's not only conservatives who find this whipping boy to be an irresistible target. In late 1993 Bill Clinton whined to Rolling Stone that he did not get "one damn bit of credit from the knee-jerk liberal press.") But while some conservatives actually believe their own grumbles, the smart ones don't. They know mau-mauing the other side is just a good way to get their own ideas across–or perhaps prevent the other side from getting a fair hearing for theirs. On occasion, honest conservatives admit this. Rich Bond, then chair of the Republican Party, complained during the 1992 election, "I think we know who the media want to win this election–and I don't think it's George Bush." The very same Rich Bond, however, also noted during the very same election, "There is some strategy to it [bashing the 'liberal' media]…. If you watch any great coach, what they try to do is 'work the refs.' Maybe the ref will cut you a little slack on the next one."

      -I don't have a source to reference the writer but it's a perfect fit for this Heritage blog.

      -you guys are cry babies. get over it!

    10. Joseph, Virginia says:

      The issue is that NPR is a political tool for the Left using public funds. NPR is free to continue – it is just time to stop giving them tax dollars.

    11. kill the beast says:

      NPR has grown into a monster.

      It didn't use to be like this. NPR was founded to serve rural markets that were under-served by Corporate America, and for niche music in large metro markets.

      Now NPR is all about "shaping" the news

      DE-FUND NPR NOW !

    12. Devin, New Mexico says:

      Hey Daniel, didn't Tim Russert pass away a while back?! May he rest in peace.

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.

    ×