Should NPR Allow Cokie Roberts to Report on Labor-Related Issues, Given Her Publicly-Stated Bias?

I was really troubled by a recent op-ed coauthored by NPR reporter Cokie Roberts on trade and labor issues. What I found so troubling about this piece was that not only did Roberts - an NPR reporter who is closely identified with NPR - advocate a particular position on a controversial topic currently before Congress, she did so in a way that clearly demonstrated contempt for one side of the debate and an unwillingness to fairly consider the issues raised by that side of the debate.

The op-ed is here.

As an individual citizen, of course, it is Ms. Roberts' right to hold these views, and to advocate them. But as someone associated with NPR, it raises two troubling issues.

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Gingrich blames Iraq on federal bureaucracy

Gingrich's commentary on "Marketplace" NPR program 3/14/07

By giving Newt Gingrich airtime last night to complain that the trouble in Iraq lays at the feet of Washington bureaucracy, Marketplace allowed its program to be used as a platform for the worst kind of intellectual dishonesty. This kind of dishonesty seeks to mislead the American public about questions of war and peace, and to avoid accountability for the plundering of an entire society.

Mr. Gingrich has let it be known that he is interested in the Republican nomination for President. In an effort to distance himself from the fiasco that his party, led by President Bush, has created by invading Iraq, Gingrich would have us believe that he has studied the problem and understands what has gone wrong.

But, in reaching his conclusion he ignores some very plain facts: He ignores the Republican Party controlled pillaging of Iraq by Paul Bremer, the Bush/Cheney handpicked provisional ruler; he ignores the continuing no-bid contractor corruption schemes promoted and encouraged by handpicked Bush/Cheney operatives; he ignores the long list of voices calling for an end to such misappropriation and gross negligence; and most importantly, Gingrich ignores that all this was perpetrated as an intentional war of aggression by the leadership of his own party.

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NPR Poll: We're Winning Back Rural America

According to a new NPR poll, rural America is split almost 50-50 between Democrats and Republicans right now.  (PDF of detailed poll results.)

Rural voters in swing Senate states supported the GOP candidate by only a 47-43 margin in the poll (a statistical tie), and rural voters in swing House districts were split 45-45 between the two parties' candidates.  (In the poll questions, the two parties' candidates were identified by name in each state/district, rather than by generic party tag, which suggests that these results are pretty firm.)

The poll showed the three most important issues among rural voters to be Iraq, the economy, and the war on terror.  One dynamic that's apparently making a difference is that 73% of rural voters, according to the poll, have a family member, friend, or acquaintance who's served or is serving in Iraq. Whatever news the troops are sharing with their friends and family, it clearly isn't Administration happy talk.

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This American Life: Habeas Schmaebeas

(Cross posted on my blog,

Just finished listening to a very moving radio piece from This American Life— an amazing public radio show that every week brings the sort of stories to its audience that informs, moves and presents the world as if one were seeing it for the first time. This week This American Life brought us the stories of some Guantanamo prison detainees. These are men so dangerous, so monstrous that the US had to build prison camp 90 miles outside of the US, so that these men, err, terrorists, could not harm American citizens... well, at least that's what the Bush Administration tells us.

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Juan Williams: We’ve Become the United States of Wussies

Juan Williams, Fox News contributor and now ex-NPR reporter, was fired for saying he’s nervous when Muslims board his plane. As might be expected, conservatives are howling to yank NPR funding and liberals are saying NPR jumped the gun ala Shirley Sharrod. It’s nice to see we’ve finally achieved bipartisanship by rallying around the notion that NPR sucks – unless, of course, you’re a fan of opera.

When I first heard about this story, the idea that Williams had become some sort of overnight racial profiler didn’t even occur to me. After all, he has a long history of speaking out against racism in its many forms or at least as often as he can before Britt Hume or some other ass cake interrupts him. No, the first thing that jumped into my head was, “What a wuss!”

If Williams is guilty of anything, it’s not racism – it’s his irrational fear of a crackpot amateur videographer living in a Pakistani cave. And if that’s a crime, let’s lock up the rest of fear-crazed America too.

Setting Our Crotches on Fire
So big is our national obsession with fear, that we compliantly allow ourselves to be x-rayed, cavity searched, and deprived of our shoes and belts simply because some idiot mistook his shoe for a candle and another set his crotch on fire.

It seems everyone is terrified of something or someone today. AZ Governatrix Jan Brewer is tremble-kneed over Latinos attacking from Mexico, though curiously not afraid of French Canadians invading Vermont. Sharron Angle is afraid of Canadians so that fear seems to be covered. What a relief, I feared no one would step up for that one. Sharron may also be afraid of Latinos and Asians or someone. They all look alike to her and it’s a tough job so she has to do it.

Obama is afraid of failure, Bush is afraid someone will see he was a carbuncle on the ass of democracy – a hint to the Dub, that cat is already out of the bag. Whites are afraid of blacks. Otherwise brave soldiers are afraid someone might look at their armor-piercing peckers in the shower, but feel much safer if they don’t ask the lookie-loo what he’s looking at and said loo doesn’t tell them. And Sarah Palin pretty much scares the crap out of everyone – except CEOs, who fear no one, but are roundly feared by everyone.

Oh, and Christine O’Donnell is afraid of Bill Maher, though that didn’t stop her from appearing on his show like 357 times to say she was an anti-mastubatory witch.

All Fear, All the Time
Being afraid of Muslims is like saying you’re afraid of Oklahomans because of Timothy McVey or afraid of Coloradans because a zealot whack job killed an abortion doctor there.

To edit a phrase recently uttered on the Fox Fear Network, “Not all Muslims are terrorists, not all terrorists are Muslims, but all terrorists are terrorists” and they’re in the business of scaring the bejeebers out of people. When they’re successful – and in America they’re fabulously successful beyond their wildest incoherent dreams – they win. They get what they want. They want to say, “BOO!” and see 350 million people simultaneously piss their pants…over a poorly-filmed amateur videotape.

Americans really need to get a grip. There’s nothing wrong with prudent precautions, but building a Maginot Line across the southwest is NOT it. I can live with a stroll through a metal detector, though I still don’t like it nor think it does much. I mean when was the last time a turban-wearing Arab showed up for the 3:15 Delta to Sheboygan carrying one of those round Spy vs. Spy bombs?

So what say we all pull up our big girl, big boy, transgendered pants and act like reasonable adults instead of a pack of screaming Campfire Girls because that new Muslim kid down the block keeps trying to put worms down our backs.

Oh yeah, and hire Williams back…with a raise. It’s the least you could do, you pussies.

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!




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