Commentary

NPR Defines Hunter Biden News as a Waste of Time

By Tim Graham | October 23, 2020 | 10:22am EDT
Former Vice President Joe Biden stands with his son, Hunter Biden. (Photo credit: Teresa Kroeger/Getty Images)
Former Vice President Joe Biden stands with his son, Hunter Biden. (Photo credit: Teresa Kroeger/Getty Images)

"Public broadcasting" is a comical phrase.

Its audience is not the public. It is the left. PBS and NPR don't care one iota what everyone else thinks...even if everyone else pays a chunk of their budget through taxes. 

On the morning before the last presidential debate, Kelly McBride, NPR's "public editor" -- the person who is supposed to bring outside perspectives from the public into the NPR bubble -- tweeted "why haven't you seen any stories from NPR about the NY Post's Hunter Biden story?"

Below a link to her newsletter was a quote in bold type from Terence Samuel, NPR's Managing Editor for News. “We don't want to waste our time on stories that are not really stories, and we don't want to waste the listeners’ and readers’ time on stories that are just pure distractions.”

In her newsletter, Samuel added: "And quite frankly, that's where we ended up, this was…a politically driven event and we decided to treat it that way.”

This is beyond sick coming from NPR. Nina Totenberg made Anita Hill a legend with sexual harassment allegations against Clarence Thomas that were never proven. It was the very definition of a "politically driven event," a story leaked to Totenberg by Senate Democrats to sabotage the Thomas nomination. No one at NPR said that was an unvetted waste of time, a "pure distraction." 

Every allegation of sexual assault made against Brett Kavanaugh was a "politically driven event" and Christine Blasey Ford, the most acclaimed accuser, couldn't even define a time or a place to her supposed meeting with Kavanaugh. This is why NPR's declarations about "pure distractions" look extremely partisan. 

The essence of McBride's argument is simply "consider the source." If it came from a Rupert Murdoch-owned newspaper and two Trump backers, then it has to be garbage. "Intelligence officials warn that Russia has been working overtime to keep the story of Hunter Biden in the spotlight. Even if Russia can’t be positively connected to this information, the story of how Trump associates Steve Bannon and Rudy Giuliani came into a copy of this computer hard drive has not been verified and seems suspect." 

They put NPR's media correspondent David Folkenflik on the case -- a man who routinely rains fire on Fox News and who wrote an entire book ripping into Rupert Murdoch. This was a promotional blurb for his book, from Booklist: "One cannot, even facetiously, describe this account...as 'fair and balanced.' It is neither." Folkenflik said the New York Post was "suspect" and the main reporter worked for Sean Hannity. Folkenflik scorned it as "speculative partisan advocacy. "

When she became NPR's "Public Editor" in April, McBride promised "As I watch NPR, I promise to do so through the eyes of you, the audience — the core audience, and also those of you dipping your toes in around the edges of NPR." She asked how NPR could broaden its audience. "Although I'm the advocate for the audience that NPR has right now, I'll be mindful of NPR's mission to broaden it. Through encouragement and accountability, I hope to hold the door open for new and diverse communities to connect with public radio."

That's obviously baloney. NPR is catering every day to its "core audience" of left-wing partisans, and its dismissal of any kind of Biden family scandal reeks of a disdain for "holding the door open" to all the taxpayers who pay some of NPR's bills. Just like Folkenflik's book, it's easy to proclaim that one cannot, even facetiously, describe NPR as fair and balanced. It is neither. 

Tim Graham is the executive editor of NewsBusters and the director of media analysis for the Media Research Center.

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