National Public Radio is properly understood, even by the media, as radio by and for liberals, not the general public. As Washington Post media reporter Howard Kurtz puts it, the media landscape stretches "from those who cheer Fox to those who swear by NPR."
The only ones who seem not to know that the left has a massive, taxpayer-funded radio network of 700 affiliates are the liberals trying to sell investors on their own private-sector talk-radio network. A recent PBS "NewsHour" story on talk radio turned ridiculous when reporter Terence Smith allowed liberal-network booster Jon Sinton to proclaim: "Every day in America on the 45 top-rated talk radio stations, there are 310 hours of conservative talk. There is a total of five hours of talk that comes from the other side of the aisle."
Don't buy that for a minute. The key word in that sentence is "top-rated" stations. Sinton's upset that conservatives apparently dominate "top-rated" talk. That doesn't mean NPR doesn't have hundreds of hours of liberal talk shows, not to mention liberal "news" shows. It's just not "top-rated."
Last week, NPR's own official ombudsman, Jeffrey Dvorkin, admitted a liberal bias in NPR's talk programming. The daily program "Fresh Air with Terry Gross" -- a 60-minute talk show about the arts, literature and also politics -- airs on 378 public-radio stations across the fruited plain. Gross recently became a hot topic on journalism Web sites for first having a friendly, giggly interview with "satirist" Al Franken, promoting his obnoxious screed against conservatives on Sept. 3, and then on Oct. 8, unloading an accusatory, hostile interview on Bill O'Reilly's show. She pressed the Fox host to respond to the obnoxious attacks of Franken and other critics. Dvorkin ruled: "Unfortunately, the (O'Reilly) interview only served to confirm the belief, held by some, in NPR's liberal media bias ... 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."
The news reports on NPR should be cause for greater public concern. Under the guise of "objective news" reporting, the left is actively advancing its political agenda. On the Oct. 17 "Morning Edition," host Bob Edwards launched into a long "news" report on the flaws of the Bush foreign policy, observing: "Overall, the policies of the United States are still very unpopular around the world. The Bush Doctrine, a preference for unilateral military action and a disdain for multinational diplomacy, is under scrutiny more than ever." The Middle East "road map" was "in tatters," Iraq and Afghanistan were "highly unstable." NPR may as well have suggested it was time for a different president.