Some on the right say National Public Radio has been on fair-and-balanced behavior since the GOP made its semi-annual kabuki run at NPR’s funding.
Funding still intact, of course. It’s a Republican ritual. The threat, not the cut.
As for NPR’s leftish bias, I’ll leave that up to the ether, where all such arguments begin and end, to the satisfaction of nobody.
Is too. Is not!
Two bookended stories on today’s All Things Considered show just how hard it is to quantify such bias.
The first was on an eco-sit-in [remember sit-ins? These folks sure do—or they learned about them in class]
outside the White House against the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry “dirty” tar sands petroleum products from Canada to refineries on the US’ Gulf Coast.
We learned [or rather, NPR told us] that the pipeline really won’t amount to much in curing our dependence on foreign oil.
OK, got it.
The next story considered was the GOP’s strategy for the fall: to highlight, cancel, and/or stall impending new government regulations on business and industry that might curtail the creation of more jobs. [There is a bit of an unemployment crisis currently in the US.]
We learned [that is, NPR told us] that curtailing these regulations probably won’t amount to much in job creation.
OK, roger, got that too.
Now without disputing the truth of what we learned [or were told], what we have here is that the house wins all ties, “the house” being NPR, and what we have here is a tie, a push. Minimize the effect of the pipeline or the forestalling of new regulations to near-zero effect, and it’s a wash, a non-issue, and protecting the environment—a self-evident good—wins by default.
And this is how it’s done rhetorically, without lying. In Blackjack, the house has a minimal advantage of a half-percent. If you change the rules so the house wins every push on 17, its advantage rises to almost 2 percent, and all of sudden it’s the death of 1000 cuts.
Did NPR ask anybody if the new regulations would amount to much? Did NPR interview anybody about the jobs that would be created by constructing the pipeline, during and after?
You already know the answer to those. That would be comparing apples to apples, oranges to oranges. That would have been all things considered, hence the rueful joke from the right about what “All” really means to NPR’s signature news show.
Next—hitting the trifecta here—ATC ran a story about the green jobs debacle at Solyndra, which is both apple and orange, and which appears to be a flushing of over a half-billion government dollars down the eco-wishing well.
By the time the story was over, you were left with the impression it was just one of those things. Could have been bad management, bad technology, whatever—other alternative energy companies are successful, afterall. No barometer of anything, really. Could have happened to anyone.
So how do I quantify–digitalize–all this mummery, and present clear stats to my empiricist friends on the left as evidence of NPR bias?
The answer is, I can’t. You had to be there. There was no Big Lie; there was no lying atall. Leftpersons probably heard the same thing I did, and detected only an even-handed review of the issues.
It’s not what you put in, it’s what you leave out. Not what you ask, but what you don’t ask. And in the case of honest people, what never occurs to you to ask in the first place. So it goes, and what’s at the genuine heart of our epistemological crisis.
LATE ADD: President Obama nixed the new environmental rules.