NPR’s Steve Inskeep — We Can’t Be Biased, Because We Have Conservative Listeners

Not true, Steve.  I know something about the issue, because I am a conservative NPR listener.  NPR is unquestionably biased in favor of the left.  So why do I listen?  Because it is high-quality news radio, albeit high quality biased news radio.

For example, Inskeep’s own Morning Edition is running an informal series focusing on concerns about the purported impacts of federal budget cuts on various programs.  You’ve all seen this kind of anecdote-based story before — they find a few sympathetic people of modest means and a troubled background to say how this or that program is the only thing keeping them from mugging listeners at gunpoint or having 14 kids out of wedlock while on welfare.

Missing from NPR’s coverage, however, is any discussion of whether running such programs is the proper role of the federal government, whether the programs being profiled actually achieve their goals in any demonstrable fashion (see Head Start), and whether they are cost-effective (see Department of Education).  Missing also is any discussion of the negative impacts that out of control spending will have on the economy, society as a whole, or the persons being profiled.  Missing also is any discussion of how the profiled persons ended up in their situation (unless it can be blamed on mean Republicans), such as through poor choices or unfortunate cultural issues that government cannot (and should not try to) control. 

The effect of these stories, whether intentional or not, is to undermine efforts at budgetary reform by trying to put a face on the people who claim to be (and might actually be) negatively impacted without providing the context to fully evaluate the issue.  While not every story can provide a complete picture, NPR’s pictures are generally incomplete in a way that reliably favors the left side of the debate. 

Assuming good faith on their part (which is likely far more than they do for the gang at FoxNews), it is because everyone producing and editing NPR’s stories comes from the same ideological background, and that ideology believes that government programs and spending are more often the solution to our ills than contributors to them.  NPR’s reporters and editors all wear the same blinders, so they have no idea they are wearing them.  This is reflected in their reporting.

But anyway, focusing on the bias issue begs the question of whether NPR and its brethren should be funded with (borrowed) taxpayer dollars.  Maybe, as Inskeep claims, the bias issue is overblown and NPR really is a neutral purveyor of facts and analysis (notwithstanding the fact that its entire board consists of Democratic supporters, and all of its anchors and analysts are left-leaning).  Or maybe, as I claim, NPR’s coverage is biased toward the ideology favored by its board and staff.  That doesn’t really matter.

The pertinent question is whether U.S. taxpayers should fund any news organization.  Inskeep and other NPR apologists should simply ask themselves whether they would support federal funding of a news organization that they felt was biased toward the right (whether such criticism were fair or not).  We know the answer.

UPDATE: At NRO’s The Corner, Veronique de Rugy makes a related point: If, as Inskeep says, “NPR attracts a politically diverse audience of 33.7 million weekly listeners to its member stations on-air,” then “this success means that the product NPR is selling is in demand” and a taxpayer subsidy is not needed.

That triggers a few more thoughts on my part.  If NPR can survive without the subsidy, what is the rationale for requiring taxpayers who have no desire to listen to NPR pay for it?  There is no reason.

Moreover, de Rugy links a story on The Hill noting that the Republican majority in the House voted overwhelmingly in favor of de-funding NPR, while every single Democrat — all 185 of them — opposed the bill.  If NPR is as reliably non-partisan, balanced, and conservative-favored as Inskeep contends, why would Republicans oppose its funding while all of the Democrats support it?  Again, we know the answer. 

The Democrats understand that NPR is a reliably liberal news outlet whose reporting favors liberal causes and Democrat politicians.  In standard liberal fashion, they therefore believe that everyone’s tax dollars should pay for it.

Published in: on March 24, 2011 at 9:50 am  Leave a Comment  

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