LETTER TO THE EDITOR - Criticism of NPR is unfounded

Mar 30, 2011


The conservative journalist and Fox News commentator started by describing the recent forced resignations at NPR and questioning further government support. I think both topics are legitimate and worthy of debate. However, the majority of his column portrayed NPR as a liberal-biased news organization masquerading as “fair and balanced.”

Consequently, when Thomas complained that NPR supporters were quick to condemn Fox News and conservative talk radio, but blind to the liberal-bias of NPR, I looked forward to hearing his damning evidence.

His first example was really a rhetorical question: If NPR wasn’t biased, then why is liberal George Soros contributing so much mone? But what does he say about conservative Rupert Murdoch investing far more in Fox News, his network? I have yet to hear Thomas complain of Mr. Murdoch’s money, so I see his criticism as beyond bias; it’s hypocritical.

In another example, Thomas accused reporter John Ydstie of selectively picking his unnamed sources so that he could say that liberal and conservative economists disagreed with Republican Paul Ryan’s assessment of the stimulus’ effect. I agree that Ydstie’s statement lacked needed specificity. Nevertheless, Thomas failed to show any evidence that Ydstie ignored a large group of economists from the left and right who agreed with Rep. Ryan. In other words, the correctness of Ydstie’s piece was not refuted.

The NPR comedy game show “Wait! Wait! Don’t Tell Me!” performed a skit that presented President Bush as a drunk. Poor taste, maybe, but biased only if conservative politicians were made fun of and liberal politicians were not. Yet the WWDTM website had transcripts of past shows that mocked both Presidents Obama and Clinton.

His last example presented Nina Totenberg, an NPR legal correspondent, describing liberal Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan “as a modern-day Superman.” The statement was clearly complimentary. Yet, when checking earlier transcripts, I found she also described conservative nominee John Roberts in very positive — some would say glowing — terms. What do you know; she complemented both the left and right.

These are all of Cal Thomas’ examples of NPR bias.

I doubt that Mr. Thomas and I will agree on solutions for many of our national problems because we will probably disagree about their causes, and more importantly, what our goals should be. But, this is different. Mr. Thomas is confusing the term bias with any reporting where conservatives are blamed or liberals are praised. Bias cannot be measured by picking a few reports as examples; bias occurs when, over time, there is unequal treatment for similar acts. Surely

Thomas knows this. For my part, I can’t tell the difference between the articles written by Mr. Thomas and those he condemns as part of the partisan wars that are destroying America.

— Richard Kamischke, Grand Haven


The Voice

I like Sesame Street and Mr. Rodgers neighberhood!

King Ding

I like Electric Company! Grooooooovy


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