Accuracy in Media

On Wednesday, Joe Biden announced Pete Buttigieg as his pick for secretary of transportation. 

Mainstream media outlets immediately fawned over the choice, despite that Buttigieg has no experience in the field of transportation. 

 NPR tweeted that Buttigieg has “a personal love of transportation” and talked about how the former small-town mayor used to ride Amtrak in college and even proposed to his husband, Chasten, in an airport terminal. 

In its glowing article, NPR failed to mention that while it’s true that Buttigieg has ridden on trains and airplanes before, he actually has no experience implementing transportation policy. In fact, when he was Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Buttigieg oversaw what many residents believed to be the “worst pothole situation in the state.”

In 2017, when Trump selected Betsy DeVos as his secretary of education, NPR jumped at the opportunity to point out DeVos’s lack of experience. 

At the time, NPR reported that DeVos was “lacking in background knowledge or qualifications to run a major federal bureaucracy.”

In that same article, NPR also criticized the selection of Ben Carson for a Cabinet position. One can only assume that Carson does, in fact, live in a house – so by NPR’s own standards, he should have been well qualified to serve as secretary of Housing and Urban Development. 

In their article about Buttigieg, NPR also noted that, if confirmed by the Senate, “Buttigieg would be the first confirmed openly gay Cabinet secretary.” 

There is no mention anywhere in the article of Richard Grenell, who is openly gay and served in Trump’s Cabinet as acting Director of National Intelligence earlier this year, from February to May.

While it’s true that Grenell did not need to be confirmed by the Senate, NPR omitting any mention of him is at best splitting hairs, and at worst an effort to imply that Buttigieg would be the first openly gay Cabinet member. 

NPR was not the only media outlet to gloss over Grenell in an effort to boast about the diversity of Biden’s Cabinet selections. CNN also failed to mention Grenell in its article covering Buttigieg’s nomination. The New York Times dismissed Grenell entirely by reporting that Buttigieg would be the “first openly gay [Cabinet] member.”

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