A community of NPR critics monitoring NPR for its corporatist, Pentagon friendly, pro-US foreign policy coverage of the news.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Q Tips









NPR related comments welcomed.

28 comments:

Andy said...

Just a note to document that, during their bottom of the hour newsblock on ME, they played a sound bite from a GOP Congressman repeating lies about Health Care Reform without the least bit of caveating or fact checking... as though the lies were true...

Anonymous said...

NPR reveals its seriousness about covering "public option" demonstrations by using a file photo circa September 2009. I wonder if they have more recent footage of Tea Party protests?

By the way, if you type "teabagger" into the NPR comment block, the comment is stricken for "inappropriate" language.

Anonymous said...

The NPR "Newscast Unit" is the most, ripping-and-reading bunch of nonsense in the media business. Of course, the "objective" news readers would REFUSE to believe their wire service "story" selection is biased in any way, right? I wonder if the NPR's newscast editor has to opinion balance the content to the second or millisecond?

By the way, how much longer before NPR, like CNN, starts reading listener email messages or playing listener comments as "the news"? You know, to "make it to the post," as the Ombot says?

DonQP

Anonymous said...

Planet Monkey Business from Morning Edition, with honorary ape, Steve Inschimp. Dean Baker responds

DonQP

Anonymous said...

Union busting at NPR:

http://www.dclabor.org/ht/display/ArticleDetails/i/84007

Andy said...

So, it Terri Gross rumored to have any skills as an interviewer?

Last night I heard her interview this guy... didn't know who it was at first... a real asshole...

The discussion was about the rush to invade Iraq. When Gross stated that Bush and Cheney were pushing the lie of Iraqi WMD... this guy pointed out that "75 Democrats" inlcluding the Clintons and Gore also believe in Iraqi WMD.

When Gross suggested that Cheney/Bush cooked the intelligence... dude took the line that it was an honest intelligence failure...

"OSP!" I started yelling at the radio, "Remind him of Cheney's Office of Special Projects... the bureau created specifically to stovepipe/cook the intelligence needed to persuade the world of the rightness of the invasion.

But Gross didn't.

It was like some kabuki program, where the well meaning liberal allowed herself to be corrected.

Then followed a string of lies from the man... I started yelling "F**k you!" over and over to cover his 3 minute litanies of talking points.

The man's name?

Karl Rove...

NPR - National Pro Resslin'

Anonymous said...

Anyone else notice the way Obama has characterized those who vote against his health care bill?

"Make no mistake, those who vote FOR my bill are voting FOR healthcare reform and those who vote AGAINST my bill are voting AGAINST health care reform."

Sound familiar?

It should.

Bush used the same "model" for the "war on terror" [sic]

"You either support us or you support the terrorists"

I have no doubt that there are probably many who ARE voting against all reform when they vote against the bill currently under consideration in house and Senate.

But to characterize ALL who vote against the bill as AGAINST HEALTH CARE is not even close to being accurate.

In fact, it is DEEPLY DISHONEST.

I voted fro Obama, but it is becoming increasingly obvious that he will say and do anything to get what he wants.

And God only knows what he did to get the vote of Dennis Kucinich.

Anonymous said...

oops should have said to characterize ALL who vote against the bill as AGAINST HEALTH CARE REFORM is not even close to being accurate.

larry, dfh said...

Andy, I felt the same about the gross interview of rove. I had to shut it off before I broke my fist on the radio, doing what gross should have done.

Anonymous said...

Re: NPR Strike Edition

I had a talk a couple weeks back with a friend (and former public radio colleague) of mine who works at a large member station (network) as a news reader, reporter and talk show host. He said, "NPR is expanding with...blah, blah, blah, blah..." I told him that he had better stop listening to the "propaganda" (NPR news reports) about the economy and had better "start looking at his own company's audited financial statements and local and national audience trends."

His station/network, for example, has $13 million in long-term debt, and they have had to recently borrow, short term loans to pay interest on the mounting bond debt -- interest only. Their bond rating, arranged by Public Radio Capital (PRC), has fallen from somewhere in the "A ratings" from first issuance to BBB-/Negative (lowest investment grade) rating as of January 29, 2010.

On top of that, they have 2 AM-radio stations they overpaid for and cannot sell, because there are no buyers. This station/network also invested heavily in HD radio technology, but then NEVER created or purchased any discrete programming content to include on the HD side channels.

Isn't it sad when NPR and member station employees actually BELIEVE all of the rosy economic news reported by NPR, and then have the audacity to expect that NPR and member stations will actually rehire laid off workers and reinstate pay and benefits? I guess this technical and broadcast workers' strike is just another indication of how NPR has finally achieved its "mainstreamness." Good show!

DonQP

biggerbox said...

So, let's just say you have been assigned a piece to fact-check the plague of TV ads on both sides of the health-care issue. You collect a bunch, and find two of them are actually accurate, and the others are full of distortions, lies or misleading statements. What do you do?

If you work for NPR, you air soundbites of all the misleading ones, (thereby furthering their propagandistic aims, even if corrected) then cram a quick mention that the accurate ones exist into the last sentence, and leave it to the listener to try and find them.

Arggh.

Andy said...

Biggerbox, you sure got that right!

NPR plays the sound bites with the lies right out front, then provides what few facts very quietly at the end...

Anonymous said...

Re: NPR Strike Edition

I've wondered about how these stations meet their quota at the regular beg-a-thons and then seem cash-short on workers' pay.

This reminded me of an April 2009 event at WHYY in Philly where 17 employees were unexpectedly laid off.

From a Philadelphia Inquirer article:
"Staffers reported that at the meeting, Danny Miller, executive producer of Fresh Air, WHYY-FM’s flagship program, asked Marrazzo if executive salary cuts were considered as a way to save jobs and that Miller himself volunteered to take a cut if it could save staff.

Marrazzo said that was not an option, people at the meeting said. The CEO told The Inquirer in February that a cut in his compensation would be on the table if the station had economic troubles."

The article also noted:
"WHYY president and chief executive officer William Marrazzo’s compensation, including $280,000 in deferred compensation he is scheduled to get this year if he meets performance goals, totaled $740,090 for the year ending June 30, 2007, the most recent tax filing to be made public – or 62 percent of the amount to be saved by the 17 layoffs."

Marrazzo said the lay-offs were “an employee restructuring plan” designed to keep the budget balanced while WHYY moves “in new directions.”

Directions like...

In May (2009) WHYY "announced the groundbreaking and the
start of construction of its new high tech facility, The Learning Lab at WHYY,""a unique facility, designed to teach the regional community
to express itself through digital technology, helping individuals learn to tell their own stories and
the stories of their communities through digital video, audio, and new media. In partnership with
WHYY's many community partners, The Learning Lab will be integrated with and expand
WHYY’s pre-existing 60,000 square foot Technology Center."

Community partners? Good community folks like...

Lincoln Financial, enabling "the 4,100 square foot Lincoln Financial Digital
Media Education Studio"

and

DRPA, the Delaware River Port Authority of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, "a regional transportation agency serving the people of Southeastern Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey. DRPA owns and operates the Benjamin Franklin, Walt Whitman, Commodore Barry, and Betsy Ross bridges. All four bridges are part of the E-ZPass Electronic Toll Collection network.

"Through a subsidiary, the Port Authority Transit Corp., DRPA runs PATCO(a passenger rail line), and also owns the RiverLink Ferry and the Philadelphia Cruise Terminal."

Guess DRPA haven't decided what part of the facilities they want their name on yet. The employee restrooms, perhaps?

--Al Hoover

Anonymous said...

All,

If you have time, take a look at Public Radio Capital. They help public radio (NPR, member stations, et al.) "expand: signal, facilities, programming, etc. Many small and large public radio (and TV) organizations have take on long-term bond debt to finance expansions, financed also with corporate dollars (see Al Hoover's comment) and big, individual donors -- including board members.

Is your member station or public radio service one of them? If you are curious, ask them. Also, go to GuideStar.Org, sign up for a free membership, and review the last 3 years of financial information available regarding each of these non-profit organizations. Some of this information is astonishing.

Of course, since the economy is in the crapper, many of these organizations are overly extended. Stocks, bonds and other donations of financial instruments to fund public broadcasting are not returning what stations and networks thought these donations would garner. And, paying back the debt is crippling these non-profit media organizations throughout the country.

That said, the most financially expedient way for these entities stay in the black is to cut costs (employees, employee benefits, programming acquisition and production, etc.) and fundraise more, relying upon individual donors much more that corporations and large donors.

The next phase of reorganization in the public broadcasting world, which is already underway, is the merger of separate public broadcasting entities (radio station competitors joining forces to cut costs further and radio-television partnership) and moves to more efficient programming choices (the all-news format replacing other, less lucrative ones like mixed and music formats).

Of course, all of these moves are justified as financially prudent, but the sum results in (a) fewer jobs in public media, (b) lower pay and benefits for fewer public broadcasting employees, (c) less diverse programming for the listening and viewing audiences, and (d) more "mainstreamness" across a narrower spectrum of public media.

Just follow the money to find out how NPR and member stations swirling toward irrelevancy.

DonQP

goopDoggy said...

Thanks, Don, that's an excellent analysis. So what you've got are hugely bloated salaries for station managers like Marrazzo which, coupled with a declining revenue base, cause layoffs of the nuts and bolts employees who make the system work. This can only lead to system failure/collapse, perhaps preceeded by consolidation and corporate usurpation.

GuideStar.org looks to be an interesting tool.

larry, dfh said...

And on the way out the door, look for them to try and auction off their frequencies.

Anonymous said...

@goopDoggy,

Exactly!

For example, the network I worked for paid the President and CEO about $225K in salary and benefits. The Vice Presidents (7 or eight of them) received around $125K in salary and benefits (2007 numbers). Together, the President and VPs got paid $650K/year, for about an $8-10 million/year organization. And, this it an affiliate -- NOT NPR. Tell me, why does an organization of about 50-60 people need that many VPs?

Also, the major costs for most member stations include: personnel and programming. Does anyone really believe NPR will cut costs to member stations for Morning Edition, All Things Considered? Will PRI reduce show costs? Will American Public Media? Of course not!

So, stations will continue to do what NPR is doing: reduce people, salary and benefits. But you can bet that as a percentage of total, that the spread between the highest and lowest paid employees will continue to grow, because management never takes pay cuts to the degree workers do -- even if the salary and benefits are deferred. Because for management to "make its goal" it has to reduce the labor.

Anonymous said...

This can only lead to system failure/collapse, perhaps preceeded by consolidation and corporate usurpation."

More likely "station automation", as with Clear Channel.

The sooner that happens, the better, IMHO.

Actually, I'd like to hasten the process by taxing NPR today -- as a business.

That's clearly what it has become: big business.

That would hasten its demise like nothing else, of course, which i would not miss one iota.

then maybe we can think about replacing it with something that really serves the public.

Until then, NPR is just strangling everything in its path that is perceived as a threat to its monopoly.

Anonymous said...

All,

Go to ColbertNation.Com and watch Stephen Colbert mop the floor with Mary Matlin. Then watch The Daily Show's Jon Stewart's imitation of Glenn Beck. Both ran last night.

http://www.colbertnation.com/home
http://www.thedailyshow.com/

Journalist could learn a lot from these satirists. But of course, they won't.

DonQP

Anonymous said...

WHYY has taken on quite a number of former Daily News and inquirer former employees and one is "News Director" Chris Satullo. He has railed against people that DON"T watch TV, SEPTA workers striking to protect their dwindling benefits, and atheists.

I was listening to a "report" about a demonstration at a local Congressional Representatives office concerning health care reform. The drone that was 'reporting called the opposition "Tea Party Patriots" while those for reform were described as "pickaters". I don't think it was a co-incidence seeing who runs the "news" department at WHYY* (* a wholly owned Fox subsidary).

Terry Gross gets her "rewards" at the annual circle J--k these people hold each year to boost their egos,show the world they are serious people and that they are smart, witty, concerned and committed individuals who are making a huge sacrifice to carry on despite all the BS in the media today.

edk

Big Guy said...

I just contacted the ombusman about Saturday's Weekend Edition.

Juan Williams in lieu of Daniel Schorr.

Daniel Schorr has been a front line reporter. He has no other broadcast employer but NPR. He is and has been in the center. He seems liberal because broadcast and print journalism has steadily shifted to the Right over the past 30 years.

Having Juan Williams sub for Dan Schorr ill serves your listeners. Juan Williams is clearly on the Right, not in the center. His primary employer is Fox News and not stating that when he speaks on NPR is dishonest to your listeners. Also, he has never been a front line reporter.

If Dan Schorr is uanavailable, ask Tom Brokaw or Dan Rather; either would be honored to substitute for Schorr out of respect, and would most likely request their compensation be donated to charity.

Asserting that Juan Williams is a worthy substitute to Dan Schorr is nearly as bad as the Right's assertion that Clarence Thomas is a worthy successor to Thurgood Marshall on the Supreme Court. Not quite.

larry, dfh said...

Sunday AM had a very misinforming slant regarding the 'healthcare reform' issue, with all the coverage focusing on 'fixing healthcare', as if that were the goal of this horrible legislation. We got to hear from chris satullo (an ideio non-savant) with his stupid dismissive descriptions of those who appose this bill, and his 'apples are really oranges' analogy with automobile insurance. There was not, nor has there ever been, any mention of the amount of $$ given to politicians by the
insurance industry
, let alone the amount given to npr by those same folks. Npr is so disgustingly dismissive of those questioning the status quo, and so defensive of their corporate sponsors.

larry, dfh said...

Sunday's atc gave a plug for Californial gubernatorial candidate meg whitman which was really over the top. Apparendtly, she mentioned hearing something on npr, while her opponent was depicted in a stuttering tone blurting out that he soesn't listen to npr. The stupid bit was a slam on the democratic candidate, in favor of the billionaire (and probable donor). Npr: knowing which side of the bread is buttered.

goopDoggy said...

Larry,

That segment followed "Hi Guy" Raz's ass-kicking of the concept of public employee's pension funds. Somebody ought to hone a poison quill against Raz's Chamber of Commerce funded advocacy against public employees and aim it straight at his juggler.

One small correction: Poizner (who purportedly will receive and NPR totebag as compensation for being their punching bag) is the Republican primary opponent of E-Meg. The likely Democrat in that race is Jerry Brown (as far as I know he has no real opposition among Dems.)

Poizner is garnering Republican support by going after the illegal immigrants who pick the grapes for his wine.

larry, dfh said...

Thanks for the correction. What are the polls for a Brown/whitman race?

goopDoggy said...

Larry,

A good source for cal pol blogging is http://www.calbuzz.com/ where you can read it and weep:

eMeg Proves Beatles Wrong; Money Buys Her Love

We don’t have the actual Field Poll in hand and Mark DiCamillo won’t talk to us until after the actual subscribers have published their stories, but if we have the data right, it’s clear that Whitman has picked up ground on Brown, especially among independents. While Brown leads 69-20% among Democrats and Whitman leads 77-13% among Republicans, eMeg also now leads among non-partisans 50-36%.

I guess the flap over eMeg calling a press conference and then calling security to usher out the reporters when they start asking questions to resonate with the public.

RepubLiecan said...

The Monday morning hourly news headlines featured a blurb on Clinton and Netanyahu addressing AIPAC this week. According to NPR, part of the current Israeli/Palestinian dispute is over territory in East Jerusalem the Palestinians claim is their territory. I guess that silly UN mandate for a Palestinian nation only allows them to claim it's their territory.

Juan Cole features some maps depicting the shrinking claim the Palestinians have on their own land.

goopDoggy said...

AIPAC, Powerful Lobby On Israeli Issues, Is Target Of Fake News Release

A bogus news release that claimed the American Israel Public Affairs Committee had called on Israel "to immediately freeze new settlement projects" led to a incorrect report on NPR's newscast this morning.

Ha ha!