Monday, January 22, 2007

NPR Effect

[posted by Callimachus]

When Andrew Olmsted wrote about the Fairness Doctrine, he tossed off this line:

Conservatives read conservative web sites and listen to conservative radio. Liberals read liberal web sites and listen to NPR (just kidding).

But I don't think it need be kidding. Certainly there's not an equivalency between Limbaugh and NPR. But Ginny seems to me to get it right here:

As I’ve become more political, I’ve got to admit, NPR irritates me more than it used to and I listen less often. But I suspect that I stayed with a much more leftish take on current affairs for years because I liked the rest of what they did; thus, that was where I got much of my information. And I thought, well, they are a little slanted but surely this is the truth. I have more doubts, but suspect most of the time, it is still the truth. It’s just that there is so much out there & they select truths that fit their patterns - patterns I no longer see as quite so valid (about politics, the war, childraising, religion, etc.).

My wife, at home with the baby, has it on all day, though she's good enough to turn it off when I come home. It's been her main source of news for the past few weeks. I get mine off the unfiltered wires and the Internet. Yet when we talk about "what's in the news" it's interesting to me to see what didn't get through on NPR. Like Cindy Sheehan commandeering the microphone from the Democrats and haranguing them about Iraq after their electoral victory. Which seems not to have made the NPR broadcasts. Yet one can imagine what would have been reported there, and in what tut-tutting tones, had the GOP been coming to power and Pat Robertson or someone like him stolen the show to rant about abortion and evil.

Journalism is not the business of reporting reality. It's the business of choosing what to leave out.

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