AND, the amount of money that the Federal Government gives to NPR isn’t a significant portion of the money that NPR spends.
But it matters. It matters because the act of giving that money is an act of explicit approval. Approval for the way that NPR runs it’s business.
And many don’t agree.
I think that a reasonable Mission Statement for a communications outfit receiving federal money should be to present news that:
- Wouldn’t necessarily be covered by commercial news outlets.
- Covers topics that are of interest to most of American’s most of the time.
- Presents that news story in a neutral and unbiased way.
I don’t think that NPR does that. I don’t think they root out uncovered issues, I don’t think that they present compelling stories that most, if even many, of Americans feel interested in. I do, however, feel that they do a reasonable job of reporting those stories in a neutral manner. However, not very well.
For example, I think republicans are right on a lot of things. I think they’re wrong on a lot of things. If I only report on the things they’re right on, the impression I give is one of support for Republicans.* If, however, I only focus on the things that Republicans are wrong on, I give the impression of being anti-Republican. Even if I’m right.
On the other hand, I feel that NPR provides a valuable service. I think there should be an outlet that provides news in a “newsy” kinda way. And I don’t mind paying for it; especially if it provides a mechanism for the State to provide news updates to her citizens.
But it should be appealing, neutral and unbiased. And in that regard NPR certainly isn’t. One study researched a number of news outlets and found NPR to not only be biased, but biased to the Left. And not only were they Liberally biased, they were the 8th most biased outlet out of the 20. Fox News came in at 16th most biased.
Rank News Outlet ADA Score
1 Newshour with Jim Lehrer
2 CNN NewsNight with Aaron Brown
3 ABC Good Morning America
4 Drudge Report
5 Fox News’ Special Report with Brit Hume
6 ABC World News Tonight
7 NBC Nightly News
8 USA Today
9 NBC Today Show
10 Washington Times
11 Time Magazine
12 U.S. News and World Report
13 NPR Morning Edition
15 CBS Early Show
16 Washington Post
17 LA Times
18 CBS Evening News
19 New York Times
20 Wall Street Journal
And the funny thing is, you can’t get a liberal to admit that NPR is biased. On the other hand, I don’t know single conservative republican who won’t admit that Fox is biased. It trends right.
We have built an extraordinary franchise. It didn’t happen by accident. It happened because we used a very specific methodology to cultivate and build an audience. For years, in boardrooms, at conferences, with funders, we have talked about our highly educated, influential audience. We pursued David Giovannoni’s methodologies. We all participated. It was his research, his undaunted, clear strategy that we pursued to build the successful news journalism franchise we have today.
What happened as a result is that we unwittingly cultivated a core audience that is predominately white, liberal, highly educated, elite. “Super-serve the core” — that was the mantra, for many, many years. This focus has, in large part, brought us to our success today. It was never anyone’s intention to exclude anyone.
But we have to accept — unapologetically — that this is the franchise we’ve built.
There seem to be two options for NPR. One is to admit that they enjoy serving 11% of the population of America’s white, liberal, educated elite and NOT take federal money, which is fine-by the way, OR they have to acknowledge that they need to expand their target consumer.
They can pick.
*I am guilty of this very condition. I am not a reporter. I claim bias in my tag line. I don’t receive Federal money.