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Comments

Jodi Jacobson

thanks for sharing this, Jeff! My only comment is that I think the far right is far less upset in reality about any "liberal" bias in NPR than they are the fact that there even exists an objective source of news and analysis. I think the "liberal bias" piece is a complete smokescreen. If you could get rid of NPR, you'd have fewer and fewer avenues through which non-biased sources of information could be found. That would give ever-greater power to the right wing.

Jeff Weintraub

Jodi, perfectly said.I agree 100%

Beth Sperber Richie

I agree with Jodi as well and wanted to highlight the "elitist, smarty pants" comment. I remain perplexed as to why someone being smart is considered a negative thing and why presenting actual facts is considered disconnected from "the people". I for one want the smartest people running our country.

Peggy Aulino

Nice job as usual, Jeff. I agree that NPR may have overreacted a bit, but I think the issue goes beyond a few stray comments. My problem is with this "news analysis" label, which seems to give reporters license to insert their opinions. It's a slippery slope. Williams may have slipped, but NPR contributed to the slippery conditions.

Jeff Weintraub

Yeah, "News Analyst" has always been a vague term to me, though I know that the news organizations that engage in "analysis" (e.g. Washington Post, NYTimes) seem to understand for themselves. But from the outside, much of what is labeled "analysis" is only a fine line away from being commentary.

Jon Levine

I am a long-time listener to NPR as well, so forgive me for saying so, but NPR's coverage of the Middle East consistently fails to offer the kind of context to its stories that one would expect (and that it does for most other areas of reporting). If this were any other outfit you could chalk it up to ignorance. I'm not sure what to attribute it to in this case.

Moshe Avram

Thanks Jeff.

I don't know Williams but I do have a friend (a former high-ranking WaPo staff member) who has known Williams for many years. While my friend and I have not discussed this subject since the NPR flap, I do recall my friend telling me a long time ago (in the mid-90s) of several very disturbing incidents involving Williams at the WaPo. Mostly involving very inappropriate comments to and behavior toward women in the office.

So, this could be a stretch, but my point is that maybe there were some other things going on at NPR with Williams that we don't know about and that contributed to the firing decision.

As for the "liberal bias" on NPR, well of course the right wing will accuse any news organization of that (let's include the NYT of course)if the org provides actual news coverage and thoughtful commentary and let's the listener/reader/watcher do his/her own thinking.

The far right wing of this country, which quickly is becoming the mainstream, is afraid of thoughtful, informed discussion. It has always been anti-intellectual; this characteristic gives the right its fascist tinge (compare U.S. right wing anti-intellectual attitudes with the Nazis' attitude toward "degenerate art, " book burning, or the SA Apartheid government's persecution of intellectuals).

The Williams issue is, ultimately, a sideshow but a useful one for the right to again attack public broadcasting and the "liberal media" which, in turn, is part of the alleged larger "socialist" takeover of America.

As I write, I'm in Florida witnessing a political spectacle that is breathtaking for its expenditures of campaign cash and corresponding lack of substantive debate in this economically devastated and depressed state.

I'm afraid we are on the cusp of a very bad time for our society -- much worse than it is now.

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