To the Great Surprise of Many…

… It turned out that there was one genuine, for real, professional old-line journalist still working at National Public Radio. Was being the operative word, as business reporter Uri Berliner quit, after spectacularly blowing up any lingering pretense of the publicly financed institution being an impartial and unbiased news-gathering organization, reporting on news without fear, favor or partisanship. Frankly, anyone claiming to be the teeniest bit rightish of center and believes that load of codswallop is likely too innocent to be let out in public without a dedicated keeper. They probably believe every word in the NY Times, as well – although as Agent K of Men in Black observed – that publication stumbles into the truth on rare occasions.

Uri Berliner’s final report may yet blow apart NPR federal funding, both that which is direct, and that which is paid to them by local affiliates for the rights to air their various news, information and entertainment features. The new CEO for NPR, one Katherine Maher, appears to be a singularly unappealing progressive apparatchik, a neurotic child of ruling-class privilege without a single shred of a background or experience in journalism … but all the right progressive opinions. (I swear, I’d be a better fit for that job based on a DINFOS shake-n-bake course for print and broadcast journalism, followed by twenty years as a military public affairs specialist!) I’d also swear that Katherine Maher was another generated parody like Titania McGrath, but alas – she’s all too horribly real.

I do wonder if this might be the final straw that breaks NPR. For all their many awards, organizational self-regard, and incestuously close connections to the Washington power structure, they have also been hemorrhaging ordinary listeners in Flyoverlandia for years now. I’m one of those once-listeners myself. Heck, I even worked for years at the local affiliate here in San Antonio on a part-time – on the classical music side, though. Every time I mentioned how I came to quit listening to NPR – a fair number of commenters chimed in with similar tales of disenchantment and outright disgust. NPR used to make at least a pretense at being even-handed, the presence of that lugubrious old talking prune, Daniel Schorr notwithstanding – or Cokie Roberts, the daughter of two (count ’em!) longtime career Democrat Party politicians, Lindy and Hale Boggs. NPR did more than the immediate sensational bleeding and leading coverage of news, and extended features … and then … and then, they seemed to have less and less to say to anyone who wasn’t a bicoastal progressive. For me, the point came sometime between 9-11 then the election of Obama; definitely by the time of the rise of the Tea Party. NPR looked at the Tea Party with the horrified interest of someone discovering a dead worm in their expensive mushroom vol-au-vent appetizer, before thumbing through their golden Rolodex of experts and demanding an explanation … instead of, you know – calling up any of the local Tea Party organizations and asking them.

Ah, well – sic transit all things considered. Will this spell the end of NPR being financed out of the public purse? Or is the organization too close to the hearts of the soi-disant ruling class, as well as employing too many of their otherwise unemployable spouses and spawn? Discuss as you have insight into the matter.

23 thoughts on “To the Great Surprise of Many…”

  1. I admit that I would love to see some reality therapy applied to PBS and no taxpayer money [and the government label] applied. And they are in the worst shape they have been as long as I have been alive and they were doing elementary French and Spanish language lessons on a TV in elementary school. This, by the way, long predates Sesame Street or Children’s Television Workshop.

    Do they deserve to lose taxpayer money and depend on all those donors they list after every program? Bloody right they do. However, societally and culturally I have a feeling that we are in for a lot of hard knocks soon, and they will be among the protected because they are under the umbrella of the State. We are at the point where the political Left in the Senate, with the help of the Vichy Right can ignore the provisions of the Constitution about impeachment, purely because they want to, and rub something related to it in our face.

    I am speaking of course about the duly passed House impeachment of DHS Secretary Mayorkas for dereliction of basic duties, and the refusal of the Democrat-run Senate to process it at all. Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution does not have an “ignore it if we want to” option. They could have voted not to impeach and followed the rules, but they chose not to and apparently are getting away with it.

    If they can, and have, voided one of the main limits on the conduct of government officers [impeachment]; what basis to we have [or generationally recent evidence that they have in the past] to believe they listen to what the people want for either spending, or laws, or the conduct of government?

    NPR is small potatoes, but it shares in the immunity of those who rule us. And it flatters the egos of the Nomenklatura.

    Subotai Bahadur

  2. Ah, the “Vichy Right.” Love the expression, SB. Will begin using it, soonest. No, I think NPR is embedded in the Washington/Bicoastal establishment … rather like a tick. Too many otherwise unemployable junior members of the elite to pull the plug entirely.
    Still – will be interesting, watching them flounder.

  3. he was their business reporter, so he was a little outside the hive, but we saw some of the insanity back during one of o’keefe’s exposes, matt taibbi, noted some of miss Maher’s wit and wisdom going back to 2019,

  4. Back in the days when there still was a pretend Swamp Republican Party, those RINOs had several opportunities to defund NPR … but they never did it. Now that it is obvious we get fascist government run by incompetents regardless of who we vote for, there is no chance that NPR will lose funding.

    NPR will, however, continue to lose listeners. But that does not matter, since those lost listeners who vote with their feet still have to pay for NPR anyway.

    The inevitable coming economic collapse is going to hurt all of us — but the knowledge that NPR will then be tossed into the dustbin might ease our pain.

  5. The whole NPR/Katherine Maher scandal is yet another reason why having Trump penned up in a courtroom is such a travesty,

    I agree with Gavin, the Right has been making a big deal about defunding NPR as well as PBS since well, forever. I think the effort in 1994 with Gingrich’s Contract With America” was sincere but really every effort since then was just cheap virtue signaling. We’re not going to stop funding them anytime soon, so why not have fun with them?

    One of the Left’s favorite tactics is to exploit issues that either play on fissures within the Right or deal with sacred cows that force the Right to defend them at risk of alienating the larger population. Take the issue of ‘election denialism” (aka electoral fraud) which they use to separate Trump and his supporters from various R’s. Or “common sense gun control” which the Left promotes after every mass shooting because they know the Right will fight to the end on principle any gun control measure.

    Katherine Maher is a gift, as the NY Post put it her life is a “woke-elite bingo card”. Her social media posts and public announcements spouting the most vile post-modern Wokey tripe, her denunciations of a cornerstone of the American nation (the First Amendment), and indeed her attacks on the validity of truth… all of this is stuff that vast swathes of the American public would find if not repellent, then incomprehensible; in termsof public funding. Yet we know the Left will fight to the end to protect NPR. I smell opportunity.

    Enter Donald Trump.

    Trump is perfect to exploit this because 1) he has no problem being an attack dog and 2) he personalizes everything. Indeed he gets the Left to defend the most destructive things just because he opposes it. If he wasn’t locked up in a courtroom he could go after Maher and the culture of NPR as the face of our future lords and masters and the Left would have to just sit and take it because anything left than full-throated support for Maher and NPR would be unacceptable. However the real target is not Maher or NPR but the larger Left information industrial complex in terms of discrediting it before the election, call it battlespace preparation. Do to them what they always do to the Right, divide and demoralize them

    Please Donald, do it. This is tailor made for you

  6. We are at the point where the political Left in the Senate, with the help of the Vichy Right can ignore the provisions of the Constitution

    I was suspended twice from Ricochet for using the term “Vichy Republicans.” The second time I quit, Haven’t been back.

  7. Sigh. NPR and local public radio has gone so far as to even lose me, listening to the classical music side of the house. See – a few years ago, they fired all the local part-time classical announcers (including me) and then went to a classical feed from Minnesota Public Radio. Which wouldn’t have been bad, really … but for the tendency in the last year or so to go all Woke in their music selections.
    Jeez … here we have almost five hundred years of classical music, mostly from Western Europe, a goodly amount from North and South America, a scattering from other places (including the Far East) … and the Minnesota Public Radio programmers went for pounding DEI/DIE into our heads by incessantly playing selections by … black composers. The Chevalier St. George. William Grant Still. And Florence Price. G*d, eternally Florence Price – a double ration for black and female. The music itself wasn’t that unendurable, it was the incessant, relentless commentary on them, in that bright, chipper voice of a kindergarten teacher telling a bored class something REALLY INTERESTING THAT THEY SIMPLY HAD TO KNOW … over, and over and over again. The same old factoids about THIS BLACK WOMAN COMPOSER UNFAIRLY NEGLECTED WHO… yeah. I got it the first couple of hundred times, thanks.
    And for the last few months, I turned the radio off, and don’t listen to them at all.
    NPR can die the death. Don’t care. I’ve got CDs I I can listen to – without the bright, chipper commentary.

  8. I despise NPR and all its works, so I never listened.

    But I do recall Mara Liasson lyingly claiming that NPR wasn’t funded by the government on a C-Span call in show in the early 90s and I am vaguely aware that the gop has made noises about defunding it since forever.

    It won’t happen with the present gop, because the present gop is an utterly worthless pretend sham of an opposition party that is intended to do nothing but fool rank-and-file Americans that they have a voice in the regime’s plans and schemes.

    Hence, NPR will be funded as long as the present regime survives, if only for the same reason Irish protestants long marched through Irish catholic neighborhoods and why we now have drag queen story hours at so many schools.

    That is, to make us know our place as subjugated losers who must tolerate everything the regime wants, no matter how stupid or vile.

    Or useless. Katherine Maher seems to a weird parody of a woke idiot- but no, she actually exists. She’s real. She gets to make decisions about what NPR says- and I bet her decisions about that will be every bit as crazy as she is.

    Each election cycle the regime’s grip on power has grown weaker, resulting in a ramp-up of the deranged reality-denying propaganda. One result is that people long embedded in the propaganda machine- like Uri Berliner but also Matt Taibbi and Bari Weiss- have become uncomfortable enough to bail on the endless nonsense.

    Taibbi and Weiss have since set up lucrative substacks and I bet Berliner soon will also.

    Reality will continue unabated, not that Katherine Maher will notice or understand.

  9. I have to believe that Berliner had made his peace with moving on from NPR before he uploaded his piece. He doesn’t strike me as someone naive enough to think he could put something like that out there and hang around to collect a pension. I expect that Maher is polishing up her resume too. Not that whoever presently replaces her will be better, more grounded in reality, less bitter but I guarantee a much lower profile on the WWW.

  10. To your ears Maher may sound like a flake and far lefty wokester, but examine her education and job history. She is deeply plugged in to the intelligence community, WEF, NGOs, and especially the internet security and misinformation/disinformation/censorship groups. Fascinating, really.

    If you are inclined, see further elaboration on X with postings by @JoshWalkos

  11. I gave up on Wisconsin Public Radio when they cancelled Old Time Radio on Saturday and Sunday nights, as Old Time Radio is racist.

  12. To Ed’s post regarding Maher’s deep imbedding in the intelligence and censorship state apparatus, one can predict her eventual professional demise. Or not.

    My read on her resume and bona fides is that she is being groomed for bigger things. Next stop – Information Czarina at Google, Apple or White House?

  13. “…it was the incessant, relentless commentary on them, in that bright, chipper voice of a kindergarten teacher telling a bored class something REALLY INTERESTING THAT THEY SIMPLY HAD TO KNOW … over, and over and over again.”

    Thanks, Sgt. Mom. That is so spot-on that I literally LOL’d.

  14. Their bias hasn’t changed, it’s just that they no longer care if the mask slips. I recall the election night reporting in 1994 of the Republican Congressional landslide. one of the on-air talent (Mara Liasson? Susan Stamberg?) literally howled “Aooooww! This is terrible!” as the results were read on-air.

  15. NPR’s constant propaganda about being mostly funded by donors is disinformation. Said donors get tax deductions for the contributions.

  16. Given that NPR claims that only 1% of their funding is from the federal government, I’m thinking that they can easily find that through yet another donor push. Surely if every current NPR donor ups his or her contribution by, say, $100, that would more than cover the gap. And the donors would probably get a nice umbrella or tote bag out of the deal.

  17. Last worthwhile feature of NPR was Baxter Black, and when he left, so did I. It’d be interesting to see them interview (and get skewered by) Victor Davis Hanson.

  18. Subotai Bahadur – I haven’t seen that name in a long while. I used to look forward to your comments on the Belmont Club. Glad to see you are still around and contributing to the Aeropagus.

  19. “NPR used to make at least a pretense at being even-handed, the presence of that lugubrious old talking prune, Daniel Schorr notwithstanding …”

    I used to listen to Daniel Schorr give measured, reflective opinions on current topics. His show would come on during my afternoon commute.

    I once heard him asked about a topic and he began to opine in his wise manner that it was bad. Surprisingly, it was opposite to the expected narrative. The questioner jumped in with a follow up question that was explicitly framed to lead Mr Schorr in the other direction. He got it instantly, flipped his position with as much as subtlety as he could, and went on to expound on the good things.

    It was obvious that:

    1. He wasn’t prepared.

    2. He could reel off soundbites that sounded profound without preparation.

    3. He could argue both sides with equal sincerity and “wisdom.”

    I see Daniel Schorr passed away in 2010. I don’t remember when this broadcast occurred, but I haven’t made that commute in 20 years. NPR’s bias goes back that far and farther.

  20. Sgt. Mom
    See – a few years ago, they fired all the local part-time classical announcers (including me) and then went to a classical feed from Minnesota Public Radio.

    That’s what turned me off. The local NPR station used to have a LOT of idiosyncratic local announcers/programs. I met one at the polling place one election- recognized his voice. Or calling up one at his program at 3 AM for a request. That one was both a DJ and a local musician. They got rid of the locals and replaced them with canned national programs. I am not going to contribute $ to a canned national program.

Comments are closed.