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Author Topic: NPR: liberal bias or just realistic, thorough and informed  (Read 4658 times)

Miss P

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Re: NPR: liberal bias or just realistic, thorough and informed
« Reply #20 on: August 16, 2006, 12:56:11 PM »
::) ::) ::)

Come now, how many of the DC media corps voted for Bush? Not a perfect gauge, but it gives the general idea.

Until you show me how this is reflected in NPR's (or any other media outlet's) coverage, I don't find this particularly persuasive.  tkd720man is right: NPR bends over backwards to appease the conservatives who accuse it of bias (particularly the right wingers currently heading the CPB), and it interviews more conservative politicians than liberals, more Republicans than Democrats, more experts from right-leaning think tanks than from left-leaning ones.  

I know a bunch of people who work at the Wall Street Journal, and they are all Democrats or further left; no one is accusing the Journal of liberal bias (or are you?).  Perhaps the real issue is that most people who are engaged deeply with current events are critical of this administration, our intervention in Iraq, etc.  Well, you can't have it all.  You guys get to run things, and the spoils of that victory will endure for much longer than the minor pleasure that comes from knowing one was right all along.

It'd only be fair for you to prove this as well....

Well, I don't know that I can prove anything, but there's an interesting study that FAIR conducted in 2003. Scroll down to the section "Liberal Bias?" which indicates that, of partisan sources, Republicans make up more than 60% of those cited or interviewed on NPR.  (Of course, Republicans were in control of both partisan branches of the federal government and the majority of state legislatures and executives during this time.)  The next section, "Sidebar:The Right Stuff: NPR's Think Tank Sources," says that right-wing think tank sources outnumber left-wing think-tank sources by more than 4:1.

FAIR is a self-identified progressive/liberal organization.  I think there are some obvious flaws in the study's conclusions, and you may quibble about which think tanks are left-leaning and which are right-leaning, but the data are there.

Meanwhile, I never asked you to "prove" anything!  I accepted your hint of a factual premise (that most journalists covering national issues did not vote for Bush), and asked you to tell me why it is important.  So... :)
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Freak

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Re: NPR: liberal bias or just realistic, thorough and informed
« Reply #21 on: August 16, 2006, 01:05:31 PM »
Alright, fair enough. I could quote the media research center, but it has the same problem as FAIR.

The premise is important because:

While I think it is true that a lot of people who work at NPR are pretty liberal, I also think they are pretty balanced in terms of content. They give liberals a hard time just as much as conservatives in interviews, and they do make a real effort to get both sides of the story. Also if the hosts/interviewers have a bias they usually will say so and have a bit of a sense of humor about it.

I love NPR.

That says it all. If a liberal enjoys a program, it's centeralist in their opinion, and conservatives are the same. If one actually admits a show is slightly supportive of their position, it is substantially slanted.

Everybody wants to call their news source balanced and they equate that with truthful and fair.

That said, I'm conservative and I agree that NPR has much broader reporting than most sources, albeit with a liberal slant. Everybody filters what they learn through their beliefs, as most reporters vote democratic, they clearly filter from that prescription. I, of course, do the same. Further, I've known nobody able to be very objective and I've held 20 positions, since age 11, several in the service industry with exposed me to a broad range of perspectives. Perhaps I just can't objectively judge people.   :D
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Miss P

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Re: NPR: liberal bias or just realistic, thorough and informed
« Reply #22 on: August 16, 2006, 03:59:48 PM »
Alright, fair enough. I could quote the media research center, but it has the same problem as FAIR.

The premise is important because:

While I think it is true that a lot of people who work at NPR are pretty liberal, I also think they are pretty balanced in terms of content. They give liberals a hard time just as much as conservatives in interviews, and they do make a real effort to get both sides of the story. Also if the hosts/interviewers have a bias they usually will say so and have a bit of a sense of humor about it.

I love NPR.

That says it all. If a liberal enjoys a program, it's centeralist in their opinion, and conservatives are the same. If one actually admits a show is slightly supportive of their position, it is substantially slanted.

Everybody wants to call their news source balanced and they equate that with truthful and fair.

That said, I'm conservative and I agree that NPR has much broader reporting than most sources, albeit with a liberal slant. Everybody filters what they learn through their beliefs, as most reporters vote democratic, they clearly filter from that prescription. I, of course, do the same. Further, I've known nobody able to be very objective and I've held 20 positions, since age 11, several in the service industry with exposed me to a broad range of perspectives. Perhaps I just can't objectively judge people.   :D

This is a fair argument, albeit a relativist one that would make Trollik and his buddies shudder.  But I don't really see how it plays out in terms of a strong liberal bias on NPR.  For one, the vast majority of news people at all news organizations are Democrats or more liberal, and I don't think that anyone could make a very good case that CNN, MSNBC, ABC, USNWR, Time, Newsweek, WaPost, USA Today, et al., swing left of the DNC.  But more important, I think NPR, more than most news organizations (similar to The News Hour on PBS), makes a concerted effort to present "balanced" news in accordance with its public mandate, and it seems to do a pretty good job.  Are there particular areas or stories that you feel are covered improperly on NPR?  Do you regularly hear stories where both sides are not presented?  (FWIW, I live in NYC, and the local NPR affiliate, WNYC, does have a pretty progressive bent, and I do hear local investigative reporting during the national news broadcasts and stories on the local news talk show that come off as advocacy, if not wildly liberal or leftist advocacy.)
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Re: NPR: liberal bias or just realistic, thorough and informed
« Reply #23 on: August 16, 2006, 04:12:06 PM »
Maybe I wasn't clear. I think NPR has a liberal slant, as does the DNC. I agree they are not horribly biased (notice the question didn't have that qualifier), but they are more liberal than conservative. The people that work there vote democrat much more often then republican. Ergo it must have a liberal slant because I know nobody able to be totally objective.

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Miss P

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Re: NPR: liberal bias or just realistic, thorough and informed
« Reply #24 on: August 16, 2006, 04:16:55 PM »
Maybe I wasn't clear. I think NPR has a liberal slant, as does the DNC. I agree they are not horribly biased (notice the question didn't have that qualifier), but they are more liberal than conservative. The people that work there vote democrat much more often then republican. Ergo it must have a liberal slant because I know nobody able to be totally objective.

No, I understood that you thought NPR was liberal.  But did you even read my post?  This doesn't seem responsive.

I don't believe people can be "objective" either, but they can make efforts to present differing viewpoints, can't they?  I also don't think voting for Democrats makes someone a liberal, but that's another matter altogether. 
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Re: NPR: liberal bias or just realistic, thorough and informed
« Reply #25 on: August 16, 2006, 04:30:56 PM »
Your previous post implied to me that I was wandering to the general media too much, so I narrowed my answer to NPR. Of course, the argument holds for all the programs you mentioned as well.

I can't give any current examples. Frankly I ceased listening to NPR years ago because I don't hear the analysis I want, from a news source, on NPR.

Viewpoints are not strictly news now are they?

I suspect the real issue is that I view the DNC as definetly liberal and you do not.
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Re: NPR: liberal bias or just realistic, thorough and informed
« Reply #26 on: August 16, 2006, 04:35:17 PM »
I suspect the real issue is that I view the DNC as definetly liberal and you do not.


Seems like the issues is this:

You claim that because an organization is staffed by liberals, that organization must be liberal.

Miss P claims the conclusion doesn't hold.

True Miss P? If so we'll never agree. It's simply human nature to support one's own viewpoint.
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Miss P

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Re: NPR: liberal bias or just realistic, thorough and informed
« Reply #27 on: August 16, 2006, 04:51:41 PM »
I suspect the real issue is that I view the DNC as definetly liberal and you do not.


Seems like the issues is this:

You claim that because an organization is staffed by liberals, that organization must be liberal.

Miss P claims the conclusion doesn't hold.

True Miss P? If so we'll never agree. It's simply human nature to support one's own viewpoint.

Yes, Andrew is correct.  But I'm not saying this to "support my own viewpoint," if by viewpoint you mean something beyond the opinion that the politics of a news organizations staffers are not necessarily the determining factor in the political tenor of the organization's programming.  I really believe that in terms of issue presentation and story selection, NPR is a fairly neutral news source.  If it appears liberal, it's probably because the truth hurts for conservatives these days (not that it's a salve for anyone else, either).

Your insistence that, you know, Linda Wertheimer's or Robert Siegel's voting records make the news on NPR liberal is a bit short-sighted, I think.  In order to appeal to its sponsors and appease government watchdogs, NPR has to give the appearance of objectivity/neutrality, and I believe it does so, despite the presumptive political leanings of the majority of its reporters, anchors, and producers.  Anyway, if it's one thing establishment liberals have on their side, it's a certain smugness that makes them confident that, even presenting all sides of the story, their view will come out on top.
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Re: NPR: liberal bias or just realistic, thorough and informed
« Reply #28 on: August 16, 2006, 04:57:15 PM »
Ok, I guess we'll agree to disagree. My experience says being totally objective is impossible and that means fairly portraying opposing viewpoints is also impossible in the long run.
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Miss P

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Re: NPR: liberal bias or just realistic, thorough and informed
« Reply #29 on: August 16, 2006, 05:22:02 PM »
Ok, I guess we'll agree to disagree. My experience says being totally objective is impossible and that means fairly portraying opposing viewpoints is also impossible in the long run.

I think this argument would be more persuasive if you first made the case that NPR news was biased and then used this as an explanation for its bias.  As it stands, I don't see any evidence of its bias (and I do see some evidence that it is not biased), so this would seem to undermine your argument.  Also, since we both seem to agree that news organizations like the ones I listed are not particularly liberal despite the liberal leanings of the majority of their news employees, I don't know why NPR (which has an explicit material interest, retaining its funding, in appearing balanced) should be any different.
That's cool how you referenced a case.

Quote from: archival
I'm so far from the end of my tether right now that I reckon I could knit myself some socks with the slack.