A Blatant Lie at The New York Times

Tibor R. Machan

Nearly every day I check out The New York Times on line and there is no doubt in my mind that the paper is firmly partisan in favor of egalitarian and other mostly Leftist causes, as well as, of course, the politicians who promote them. The paper just the other day editorialized about how fair and balanced are NPR and PBS. Poppycock!

I do not follow NPR–National Public Radio–except when I am on the road driving a rented car, which happens to be quite often. (I call these my masochistic hours because, well, NPR irritates me to no end.) First of all, the fact that it gets money from the government, money extorted from me and millions of other citizens, is an unforgivable vice of the outfit (as it is of any other that takes part in such a policy, such as PPS, various corporations and individuals on the dole, etc.). I would have no interest in any broadcasters using “public” funds to support what they do even if their reporting and other programming were impeccable other then for purposes of keeping my fingers on the pulse of the nation. (Some of the music on NPR stations is, actually, excellent!) But in addition to using extorted funds to support its programming, NPR’s various news and reportorial programs are about as partisan as The New York Times if not more so–say like what is found in The Nation.

Take their “Fresh Air” segment in which one of their highly polished interviewers finds a favored author or other public intellectual to toss softballs to–reminding me of the saying “throwing Christians to Christians” or something. Hardly any scrutiny is shown of those who champion yet another government program promoting some Left of Center or Left Wing program. The books “reviewed” are always friends to statism and on the few occasions that a book is examined with a free market theme, it is confronted with searching questions mostly about how awful it is that freedom makes it possible to neglect the poor and needy and noble causes like the greening of the globe.

NPR’s staff has absolutely no concern about the heavy hand of government except in cases where it is deployed against terrorist suspects or their defenders. NPR’s minimum support for individual liberty focuses mainly on the press, although given its own reliance on government subsidies it understandably doesn’t address the matter in great depth.

Now my exposure to NPR is not continuous, so I am not able to swear to it that the outfit is uniformly partisan in favor of more government, of statism. But my sample is a pretty good one, especially when you add to my exposure to NPR during my pre-iPod years–when, as I have already noted, I liked the classical music, jazz, and blues many of the stations offered, especially when their home was some university or college campus. This, by the way, is another insidious aspect of NPR, its intimate relationship with university and college radio programming where it is beaming propaganda to young people as if it were scientifically established truth.

In America’s mixed political economy NPR is no big surprise and if it were not a matter of corrupting news reporting and commentary, it would not amount to something especially hazardous to the country. After all, so many other institutions–think of virtually all public education, from elementary to post graduate varieties–are infected with the statist point of view! (Arguably the first item on the agenda to turn the country toward greater loyalty to its initial classical liberal politics and culture would be to eliminate its virtually fully socialized educational system.)

Yet contrary to the recent editorial lie in The New York Times, NPR is really quite a corrosive feature of the country. Not only is its nearly one-sided viewpoint statist to the core–more so that Fox TV news is right wing but which notably has plenty of competitors out there; there is also its annoying snootiness. Has anyone ever encountered someone with a Southern accent on an NPR station (apart from some special guest, a novelist or poet from a place such as New Orleans)? I certainly haven’t.

If I am not mistaken much of European journalism is unabashedly partisan and this futile effort to uphold the standard of neutrality in America’s media just makes little sense. People are always involved in taking sides on various topics and to attempt to purge the news medial of this is hopeless.

The one sound way to address the matter of balance is via competition and that is just what NPR opposes from its ideological stance but also has no way of practicing, what with its special advantage of receiving extorted funds from the government!