There was a time when NPR was known for responsible, objective (not just neutral) reporting. You could listen to NPR and hear stories that were not discussed in mainstream U.S. media. You could be confident that you would get real facts -- not "he said, she said" Wolf Blitzerisms.
But that time is now officially dead. This morning, NPR proudly announced that it won't call out the Trump Administration's lies.
That's right, like other timid news outlets, NPR plans to employ countless verbal gymnastics to avoid saying that Trump is "lying." And they're actually proud of it. Here's an excerpt from what they said:
That debate began during the presidential election campaign. For example, in 2015, candidate Trump claimed that when the World Trade Center was attacked on Sept. 11, "I watched in Jersey City, N.J., where thousands and thousands of people were cheering as that building was coming down."
The claim was never substantiated and NPR said so. But we didn't call him a liar.
Now many listeners want to know why Kelly didn't just call the president a liar.
On Morning Edition, Kelly explains why. She says she went to the Oxford English Dictionary seeking the definition of "lie."
"A false statement made with intent to deceive," says Kelly. "Intent being the key word there. Without the ability to peer into Donald Trump's head, I can't tell you what his intent was. I can tell you what he said and how that squares, or doesn't, with facts."
NPR's senior vice president for news, Michael Oreskes, says NPR has decided not to use the word "lie" and that Kelly got it right by avoiding that word.
Yes, it can be argued that by using the word "lie," you are making a judgment. However, by not using the word "lie," you are also making a judgment. Either way, you are injecting some analysis into your reporting. But when you refuse to use the word "lie," you are biasing the analysis in Trump's favor.
Imagine this same sort of reporting in any other situation: A terrorist shoots a dozen people in an airport. Under questioning, he says he didn't mean to shoot anyone -- he accidentally brought his loaded gun to the airport, accidentally took it out, accidentally fired it, accidentally reloaded it, and accidentally repeated the process 12 times.
According to NPR's logic, that's not a lie, since we can't be 100% sure that the terrorist meant to give the ludicrously false response.
Oreskes continued with this amazing statement:
"Our job as journalists is to report, to find facts, and establish their authenticity and share them with everybody...It's really important that people understand that these aren't our opinions. ... These are things we've established through our journalism, through our reporting ... and I think the minute you start branding things with a word like 'lie,' you push people away from you."
You are now worried about pushing people away? What about when you put on White Nationalist Richard Spencer to spout his hate-filled views?
Just like establishment Democrats, NPR has handled criticism from the right by turning into them. And that's not a winning strategy. The right wing will never listen to NPR, and with decisions like this, the left will stop listening too.
Until NPR returns to its roots as a journalism organization, I will not give them one more cent. And I hope some of you will as well.