Accuracy in Media

The New York Times has broken the story of how some wealthy liberals are starting a new national liberal radio network to support the Democratic Party. We’ve got news for them ? a liberal network already exists. Taxpayer-funded National Public Radio claims to “serve” nearly 20 million listeners weekly via more than 680 NPR member stations. Liberal Diane Rehm, based on WAMU in Washington, claims 77 affiliates around the country for her two-hour a day talk show.

NPR’s liberal bias can be seen in a correction that was aired on the network’s Morning Edition program on February 6. It corrected a charge made more than a year previously.

The correction said: “In a story broadcast on Morning Edition on Jan. 22, 2002, National Public Radio said it had called the Traditional Values Coalition to ask if that group had been contacted by the FBI, investigating the mailing of anthrax to Senate offices. This report violated NPR editorial principles. No one had told our reporter that the Traditional Values Coalition was a suspect in the anthrax mailing. No facts were available then or since then to suggest that the group had any role in the anthrax mailing. NPR deeply regrets this mistake and apologizes for any false impression that the coalition was involved in this investigation.

Traditional Values Coalition Executive Director Andrea Lafferty had described the NPR broadcast as a smear that, by implication, linked all Christians to domestic terrorist activities. Several members of Congress urged NPR to apologize. The NPR reporter who broadcast the smear suggested the Traditional Values Coalition may have been behind the anthrax attacks because it had been critical of Senators Tom Daschle and Patrick Leahy, who had received anthrax letters. It took NPR more than a year to admit that the charge was unfounded and a smear.

Compare the handling of that with how liberal Diane Rehm operates. During a discussion with journalist Martin Walker and others about the Democratic presidential candidates, Walker referred to them as the “seven dwarfs.” After a caller complained, Rehm said she wanted to take the discussion to “a high plane and not denigrate the people who are going to put themselves forward. They’re going to have enough trouble dealing with each other. ” When Walker said the phrase had been used by others and had entered the political lexicon, Rehm shot back, “Why don’t we get rid of it in the process?” Like her caller, Rehm didn’t want Walker belittling the Democratic candidates, and she made sure that the comment was nipped in the bud almost immediately. In addition to her 77 domestic affiliates, Rehm’s show is broadcast internationally on a service called “National Public Radio Worldwide” and American Forces Network. is reporting that a NPR station in Colorado has refused to run an ad for a dental practice that wanted to use the dentist’s motto, “Gently Restoring the Health God Created,” in the ad. The NPR affiliate told the dentist he couldn’t mention God in his radio ad.

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