April 23, 2024

NPR Leader Shows Her True Colors

The truth is non-negotiable, and if NPR is no longer in the truth business, they don’t get mine.

John Paul II once stated that “there can be no rule of law … unless citizens and especially leaders are convinced that there is no freedom without truth.”

Katherine Maher, the CEO of National Public Radio, has a slightly different take on the issue, noting recently that “Perhaps, for our most tricky disagreements, seeking the truth, and seeking to convince others of the truth, might not be the right place to start. In fact, our reverence for the truth might be a distraction that’s getting in the way of finding common ground and getting things done.”

She went on to note that there are “many different truths.”

Aside from the fact that John Paul II is now a saint, I tend to give significantly more weight to his opinion than that of a Silicon Valley girl who is worried about hurting the feelings of a diverse and increasingly touchy audience of listeners.

I do not hate NPR. I love their television programming like “Masterpiece” and the Saturday afternoon cooking shows, and the often-mocked but soothing cadence of the presenters is appealing when compared to the screaming amateurs on cable and many podcasts.

I’ve even been interviewed on the old “Radio Times” and “Here and Now” shows, and appreciate their range of topics.

But range is not depth, I can get just as many great British programs on BritBox, and if I need to know how to keep my pie crust flaky the Food Network can step in.

The truth is non-negotiable, and if NPR is no longer in the truth business, they don’t get mine. I emailed my local NPR affiliate, WHYY in Philadelphia, and let them know I would like to terminate my membership.

I doubt that this will be shattering news for the company, especially since they just saved a nice chunk of change when veteran editor Uri Berliner resigned this week after being chastised by management.

His crime?

Suggesting in an op-ed for another news organization that NPR was prioritizing identity over quality.

His critique was something that conservatives, moderates and even honest liberals have known for years: NPR takes sides, massages the message and places agendas over neutral reporting. Add to that an effort to replace unbiased journalism with “diverse voices” and you see why Berliner touched a nerve.

I know that diverse voices are important. I mean, of course they are, right?

We are a nation of immigrants, something I know a little bit about, and the crazy, beautiful quilt of our shared ethnicities and faiths is what sets us apart from every other nation on Earth where membership usually requires a DNA link, even attenuated.

Our DNA link is composed of intention, hope and a desire to belong.

Sadly though, NPR isn’t interested in the sort of diversity you cannot see and cannot fit into tidy slogans like “Black Lives Matter,” “MeToo” and “Trans Rights are Human Rights.”

It certainly isn’t interested in the type of diversity that fits into this slogan: “Make America Great Again.”

For all of its talk about diversity, NPR seems to want to limit that concept to epidermal things like, literally, skin color and “lived experience.”

It’s not interested in divergent viewpoints, as Berliner uncomfortably pointed out in his essay published at the Free Press. As CEO Maher clearly expressed, the company is now focused on “glorious chronicles of human experience and all forms of culture,” as long as those “glorious” things align with their liberal mindset.

To be honest, I have no real problem with any private person or organization setting up its own rules and metrics for operation.

While I strongly disagreed with Kellyanne Conway’s awkward suggestion about “alternative facts” — the Blueberry Princess of South Jersey had ingested too many berries — I had no problem with her saying it.

My tax dollars weren’t subsidizing her position, at least not directly. And if NPR were, say, Breitbart or the Daily Wire, I’d be fine.

The problem is that NPR is supported in large part by taxpayer funding in addition to their monthly panhandling from viewers and listeners.

I willingly gave them my subscription money. I didn’t agree to also supplement them with my taxes. And the thing is, I can cancel my subscription, as I’m doing.

I can’t, however, refuse to pay my taxes. Al Capone tried that, and it didn’t work out too well.

So I hope that those who agree with me and St. John Paul that the truth matters will send a message to NPR that, for the foreseeable future, they actually don’t.

Copyright 2024 Christine Flowers

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