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NPR really blew an election story this morning and it makes me mad.  And it really makes me mad when it's in my own back yard!  Now don't get me wrong, NPR is still one of the best news sources on the air waves, and I listen to them and support them.  But I expect their typical high quality, and when I think they screwed up, I let them know.

This morning they did a story about Fort Collins Colorado, which I've lived in or near for several decades.  Politically, Fort Collins has moved from purple toward blue, and Larimer county has moved from red to purple.  In many ways, Larimer County is very representative of the nation as a whole.

But President Obama carried the county by 10% in 2008 and the city of Fort Collins by even more.  So if you're going to do an election story this close to an election, I assume you're going to do the typical interview of a couple Democrats and then a couple Republicans and give a little background about the area's political leanings.  But that's not what we got this morning.

Here's how the NPR story played this morning.

First they start off with part of a stump speech from Paul Ryan who happened to be in the area.

Enthusiastic supporters cheered as Ryan called for a wide-ranging energy policy.

"We have lots of energy in this country," he said. "Let's use that energy in this country and put people back to work! You've got it all right here — oil, gas, to coal to renewables. Colorado's got it all!"

He went on to say that President Obama is standing in the way of a more comprehensive energy policy, that there are too many federal regulations on drilling for domestic oil and gas. It's a sentiment that many at the rally seemed to share — people like Gary Albers, a strong supporter of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

Ok, I get it that if you've got a chance to catch a candidate giving a stump speech you certainly want to get a part of it.  And now you go into the crowd and interview one of the supporters, fine.
Albers believes that those federal restrictions are keeping the U.S. overly reliant on foreign oil. Additionally, he says, gas is expensive, which is making a tough economic time even tougher. But Albers also agrees with Ryan about renewables.

"I think we have to invest in our natural resources, as well as in natural energies such as wind and solar," he says.

So now I'm thinking they're going to go into town and interview a couple of Democrats.  We've heard from a Republican candidate and some fairly harsh criticism of the President.  Instead, they interview another Republican who happens to be on the City council.
Another Republican, Wade Troxell, also believes in those natural energies. Troxell is an elected member on the nonpartisan City Council of Fort Collins and an associate dean at the College of Engineering at Colorado State University. He is openly passionate about the technology and the policy behind renewable energy, specifically the smart grid.
Now I'm thinking this is going to have to be a long story if they're going to balance this out with some equivalent criticism of Romney from several Democrats.  At lest this last guy comes across as a moderate Republican.

Off to a Brew Pub in Fort Collins to interview the director of sustainability.  And what would you expect the director of sustainability to talk about?  How about sustainability.

"We capture the methane in two large balloons on the property and pipe that methane back into the plant to use in two engines, which create electricity on-site," she explains. That system can provide up to 15 percent of New Belgium's electrical needs. The brewery also uses energy from solar panels — an investment it was able to make because of the federal stimulus, which offered grants for renewable energy projects.
Great!  I'm a crazy ALT-E person and the more we talk about it, especially when we can talk about good beer at the same time, I'm all for it!  But isn't this supposed to be a political piece, with maybe an energy edge?  Where's the criticism of Romney/Ryan, or the glowing support of Obama.  At the end of the interview, they report she is concerned about environmental issues and will vote for Obama and the Democrats.

A nice interview, but for a political campaign story, it's pretty weak.  So I guess the reporter will go to the local Democratic headquarters, or maybe the Obama campaign office to get the hard political point of view.  Wrong!  It's back to a comment from the Republican city councilman.

As for Troxell? He, too, is committed to renewable resources and sustainability, and while he has yet to make a final decision, he says he believes in a lot of things about the Romney campaign. He doesn't think much has been accomplished in the past four years but — like many of the people we met in Fort Collins — seems to take a balanced view of the current political scene.
End of story!  WTF!  NPR interviews 2 Romney supporters, with multiple quotes, plays a part of Paul Ryans stump speech, and balances this political story with an Obama supporter talking about renewable energy in a brew pub.  And to top it off, these Republicans aren't even very representative of the Tea Party "drill baby drill" crowd that dominate the rural part of the county.

Like I said, I'm a big renewable energy supporter, and if you want to do a story on small businesses using their ingenuity to produce energy, that's great.  And I also like micro-brews, so if you want to do a story about quality beer, that's great too.  But if you're doing a political story in a town that leans Democratic, how about letting at least one Democrat talk about politics after you've played part of a Republican stump speech and interviewed 2 Republicans?!

Come on NPR, you should be better than this!

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Comment Preferences

  •  NPR (8+ / 0-)

    Nice Polite Republicans.....

    Do something...marinedefenders.com

    by profewalt on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 07:33:14 AM PDT

  •  Gave up on NPR awhile back (9+ / 0-)

    maybe 2006.

    And even that was too long to be giving them $ when all we get back for our $ is false equivalency. Guess they've given up on the equivalency part & now and go straight to the false and misleading.

    Hardly even listen to them anymore. Waste of time if what I actually want is in-depth news.

    WE NEVER FORGET Our Labor Martyrs: a project to honor the men, women and children who lost their lives in Freedom's Cause. For Sept: Viola Liuzzo Voting Rights Martyr

    by JayRaye on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 07:42:13 AM PDT

  •  NPR has been (11+ / 0-)

    doing this for some time now. Their guest panels consist of two far right Republicans, one moderate Republican, and a Blue Dog, and that's on a good day. Republican boilerplate is often accepted as the starting point for any discussion. It's the new fair and balanced.

    "A lie is not the other side of a story; it's just a lie."

    by happy camper on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 07:49:31 AM PDT

  •  NPR listeners (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pollwatcher

    I find it hard to get too upset about NPR stories these days when their listener base is, conservatively, 75+% Obama.

    (-2.38, -3.28) Independent thinker

    by TrueBlueDem on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 07:49:42 AM PDT

  •  NPR is totally in the tank for Mitt. (5+ / 0-)

    I started noticing it, and collecting examples, back during the Repub primaries. They're just as pro-corporate as the rest of the MSM.

    The GOP ... Government of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%

    by Azazello on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 08:08:57 AM PDT

  •  Defund NPR (4+ / 0-)

    As long as there is a Republican House, and/or threat of a Republican House or Senate, NPR will be lickspittle toadies for a manufactured David Brooksian point of view that they'll brand as Republican, and cite to protect their government funding.

    Cut off public funding, and NPR will still survive just fine - and maybe become a real news organization once again.

    Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore

    by Minerva on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 08:16:41 AM PDT

    •  I agree with defunding them. (0+ / 0-)

      I think the only substantive change, though, will be in the realized cost savings.  They'll continue down the same path they've been on for over a decade now:  completely beholden to their corporate sponsors.  At least we won't have to pay for it.


      Time travel opportunity. Must bring your own weapons. Your safety is not guaranteed, I've only done this once before. Call 866.555.1212.

      by IndieGuy on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 10:08:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I've said it before and I'll say it again (4+ / 0-)

    Listening to NPR news is a waste of your time, unless you want news "analysis" that's no different from what you'd get on ABC or NBC. It's entirely Villager-driven drivel filled with vapid platitudes, conventional D.C. insidery "wisdom," and an obsessive devotion to false equivalence.

    NPR's other programming is fine, but their news and political coverage is nothing more than a monument to High Broderism.

    I stopped listening entirely in 2008 during the primary season when I found myself shouting at my car radio about the incredible laziness and ignorance of an NPR report right before the South Carolina GOP primary. Their focus was on the well-oiled machine that Fred Thompson had put together, complete with a report from some local field reporter that might as well have been written by the Thompson campaign. This was after TPM (just to name one online source committing actual journalism) had already been carrying an extensive string of stories on what a complete train wreck the Thompson campaign was in terms of anemic fundraising, staff infighting and disorganization, and above all how thoroughly Thompson was laying an egg himself on the campaign trail. This was information that was freely available to anybody with a real interest in the facts, but the NPR reporters covering the SC primary were pig-ignorant about what was really going on, and instead mindlessly reported the convential wisdom that Fred Thompson was a dynamic yet folksy politician who was a real threat to get the nomination.

    Spend your time here, or at TP, TPM, Andrew Sullivan, Slate, Salon, The New Republic, American Prospect, Washington Monthly, Maddowblog, Crooks & Liars, Mother Jones... you'll get a far better picture of what's really going on, and some well-reasoned opinions, regardless of whether you agree with everything that you read.

  •  They did a piece last week on their impartiality. (5+ / 0-)

    They spoke with republicans who thought they were liberal biased. The part I heard had no liberals on. They asked  them to track specific comments that were biased and report back. So, they concluded that they were totally unbiased and that percieved bias was in the ear of the beholder.

    They exonorated themselves.

    "There is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats ..." - Kenneth Grahame -

    by RonK on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 08:32:54 AM PDT

  •  I stopped giving to NPR after their coverage (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    IndieGuy

    of the Iraq War.  I stopped listening to them too.  I will only listen to them after we win the election.

    Alternative rock with something to say: http://www.myspace.com/globalshakedown

    by khyber900 on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 09:25:20 AM PDT

    •  They've gone the way of mainstream media (0+ / 0-)

      NPR news mostly joined the balancing act the rest have adopted, trying to calculate a center while using right-wing propaganda machines as one of the poles.  Result:  Now With Fifty Percent Bullshit, with segments like "Ask a paid shill to lie to your face!", "What would completely uninformed regular morons say on the subject?", and "Sometimes very serious people have to be cool with war crimes".

      I haven't listened to All Things Considered or Morning Edition in a few years, but it sounds like the same deal.

  •  I noticed bias leading up to the 2008 election (0+ / 0-)

    and I thought, no, not NPR! They've always been the fair ones, I thought.

    But I've heard too much evidence that they are NOT anymore, and I rarely tune in. (I do listen to "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me" if I'm out driving somewhere Saturday morning.)

    "To hunt a species to extinction is not logical."--Spock, in Star Trek IV.

    by Wildthumb on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 09:28:00 AM PDT

    •  This American Life is Exemplary (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PHScott, Wildthumb

      Our local NPR station is very local and all day is New York local liberal.  The national programming in the morning and early during the day on week-ends is DC Right wing  village babble.  We're very lucky.  

      Newt 2012. Sociopath, adulterer, hypocrite, Republican.

      by tikkun on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 10:54:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Good, if you got it. (0+ / 0-)

        The one thing that bugs me about "This American Life" may surprise you. It's Ira Glass himself. Stylistically, he's a terrible broadcaster. I'd listen more with a more compelling narrator.  

        "To hunt a species to extinction is not logical."--Spock, in Star Trek IV.

        by Wildthumb on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 12:09:08 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  living in the past (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    IndieGuy, tikkun, PHScott

    The days of NPR as a "liberal" institution, or even a balanced news source, are long, long gone.

    "Archaeological description is . . . an abandonment of the history of ideas, a systematic rejection of its postulates and procedures, an attempt to practice a quite different history of what men have said." --Michel Foucault

    by Adelard of Bath on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 09:47:20 AM PDT

  •  This is Pretty Much Par for the Course (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tikkun, PHScott

    with most of the mainstream media (although I do consider NPR marginally better than say, the three major network news outlets).  

    It never ceases to amaze me how folks like Ann Coulter (who, a few weeks ago, was even featured on ABC babbling on with her usual stupidity), Rush and even Sarah Palin are quoted or are featured as legitimate sources and at the same time, there is the b.s. narrative of "liberal bias" in the media.  Its astounding.

    Its not the I am even (necessarily) opposed to hear what the other side has to say, but I am not interested in spin, half baked conspiracy theories or b.s. that cannot withstand critical analysis...The facts are what they, irrespective on on which "side" of the aisle on which they fall.  Occasionally, I would love to see someone focus on facts and substance (as opposed to which candidate wld make a better baby sitter...which was an actual poll reported by ABC...That is irrelevant to me since I am not looking for a baby sitter).

  •  Mara Liasson ------ 'nuff said (0+ / 0-)

    Fox

    NPR

    Or as Firesign Theater said long ago: "how can you be in 2 places at once when you are not anywhere at all...."

    I love George Takei for being aware and honest and sharing. And "the best damn pilot in the universe."

    by PHScott on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 11:03:01 AM PDT

  •  NPR, Nearly Pure Republican now. (0+ / 0-)

    They've been sprinkling this stuff in their coffee instead of Coffeemate for quite a while (guess that's all mgmt provides in the breakroom):

    Remember most of the big NPR names salaries put them  fairly close to being 1%'ers.

    "Double, double, toile and trouble; Fire burne, and Cauldron bubble... By the pricking of my Thumbes, Something wicked this way comes": Republicans Willkommen auf das Vierte Reich! Sie Angelegenheit nicht mehr.

    by Bluefin on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 12:00:19 PM PDT

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