Dare to Ask: Is NPR for rich, white, liberals only?
By Phillip Milano
Does anyone else think National Public Radio is the voice of all the white,
rich, liberals (mainly women) ... with nothing better to do than brag about
their most recent "knitting in Manhattan" idiocy or lame adventure in Europe?
Jerry R., 30, Indianapolis
Yes ... just as loads of others think other media outlets are run by and for
arrogant, narrow-minded rich Republican white men.
Julia, 32, white, St. Louis
If someone said the same thing about a station that catered primarily to
black Americans (which I suspect you are), you'd probably be first in line to
Rachel, 47, black, Australia
NPR makes no secret about its political leanings, and often offers a balanced
viewpoint on current issues.
Sheila, 30, white, Tampa
Recently I heard an NPR interview with a guy from Metallica - hardly fits
your whiny, pampered, female stereotype, eh?
Most of my "conscious" friends are people of color, consider themselves
radicals and listen to and respect National Public Radio.
Damon, 27, black, Inglewood, Calif.
NPR is a nice alternative for those of us tired of Neal Boortz, Rush
Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mike Savage, et al. ... who remain the real whiny radio
Sam, 23, white, Orlando
In between knitting and listening to pledge drives in the car, we found out:
Watchdog group Media Matters moaned in 2005 that NPR's own numbers showed it
used right-leaning experts 63 percent of the time. A 2005 UCLA-University of
Missouri study found NPR's political bent was close to "the average mainstream
news outlet" - about the same as Time and U.S. News & World Report. A 2009 Roper
poll found that U.S. adults surveyed felt 28 percent of NPR's content was
liberal - lower than any other media organization besides Fox News. In the poll,
23 percent of respondents self-identified as liberal, 34 percent conservative.
Jeffrey Dvorkin, former NPR ombudsman who left in 2006, agreed it was a "fair
knock" to say NPR programming doesn't cater to minorities and that its audience
is overwhelmingly white. However, he said it isn't as liberal as some think. One
survey put its audience at 52 percent liberal, 48 percent conservative, he said.
"As ombudsman I got as many complaints saying how conservative it was as how
left wing. ... I think their reporting was strongly leaning to the skeptical,
regardless of who was in power."
One problem was that beginning in the '80s, right-leaning think tanks made it
appear that much of the media was too liberal, he said.
"I remember asking one think-tanker if he really thought NPR was as left wing
as he and fellow think-tankers said it was. And he said, 'No, we only do that to
put you on the defensive.' And that's exactly what's happened: It's the
politicization of information in America."
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Phillip Milano, author of I Can't Believe You Asked That! (Perigee),
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