NPR Ombudsman

Friday, November 13, 2009

NPR Ombudsman Alicia Shepard talks about the network's coverage of the Acorn story; new ethics guidelines for social media; and their coverage of natural gas drilling and other current news.


Alicia Shepard
News, weather, Radiolab, Brian Lehrer and more.
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Comments [80]


" Are these Jewish-only settlements driven by an ideological agenda of the land belonging to the Jews, because God gave it to them, and that Arabs need to be removed from the land? "
No, only Jews need to be removed from the land, as it was done again and again and again. Why don't you check where the original territory of Arabs was and HOW they ended on "disputed" lands?

Nov. 15 2009 07:56 AM

Mehmet Kucukozer #70
God or not, Jews lived there long before Arabs.
Check also the etymology of the word "Palestine."

Nov. 14 2009 11:17 PM

Actually in my experience it's a bit more complicated. The first to sign -- and for the lowest amounts -- were the poorest in the areas, who plainly admit they think of the land as their source of income. The richer folks moved their to enjoy the clean water and off the radar beauty. What I have observed is the poorer folks pressuring -- sometimes ominously -- the richer ones. This is no doubt cultivated by the gas man going door to door every month reporting who signed and who hasn't (they drill by blocks so all must sign). Eventually, most rationalize the drilling b/c of the large sums of $$ promised. But the argument is that their water will be shot anyway even if that property isn't exploited, so might as well profit. This experience is what I am familiar with w the weekenders, many of whom moved their precisely to preserve their property, pass it on, and in fact interred relatives there.

"adsf, you're right--some landowners will benefit greatly, but they are less "second home owners" from nyc, inasmuch as they are landowners with large enough tracts such that handing over a few acres to the the gas drillers is worth the exchange. they call themselves "farmers", but they're far better at cultivating horrible living conditions for those around them.

these neighbors cannot benefit from the largesse. The situation in Dimock,PA, where many residents are subject to a gag order by agreement with gas cos, is a great example. these are hardly second home owners. now they have to drink bottled water, report sickness and have watch their animals fail to reproduce.

where are the NPR or WNYC reports about this??"

Nov. 14 2009 07:47 PM

@70 "Are Arab Israelis part of the settler movement?"

uh, talk about a sentence that speaks for itself...

Nov. 14 2009 07:14 PM

"I'd rather listen to Ivanka Trump than Leonard's sychophantic interviews with Allen Greenspan where he didn't even attempt to address all the trouble that Ayn-Rand-ophile had caused this country with his cronies."#56
Well, I actually listened to Ivanka Trump. What a joy it was. Privileged barbarian blamed the unemployed for ... being unemployed and praised herself for being employed (she knows how to dress for an interview and how to behave during the interview). No, she didn't mention her primitive father and his billions.
I didn't listen to Greenspan.

Nov. 13 2009 10:29 PM

Eater (#74)
Your post is comical.
- I've been living in New York for over two decades, and I haven't met a single left yet. let alone extreme left. Check your understanding of the left.
- if I understand it correctly, reporting is done by humans. Now can you explain to me how it can be absolutely objective?
- "Can you name one main stream news agency that both the extreme right and extreme left consider to be 100% credible and accurate" And the reason I should care what the extreme right "considers" ... is? And the reason such an agreement should be a goal ... is? How do you see it's possible? etc.
Nonsense, more nonsense, and even more nonsense.

Nov. 13 2009 09:12 PM
Grocery store porduce eater from The Garden State


You’re missing my point. I apologize if I clouded my post with to much sarcasm. Truth be told news is not reported anymore, it’s diced up and packaged in only two ways, to appease to the right or left. It’s really not hard to understand why so many people go down the road of being a political zombie when all they hear are barking extreme left and extreme right without something in-between. Just about all news and especially blogs choose sides and then just preach to their choir. This is far more dangerous then “pissing both sides off”. Where does the independent reporting and thinking go? Can you name one main stream news agency that both the extreme right and extreme left consider to be 100% credible and accurate? Is there such a thing as unbiased news? WNYC and NPR are not unbiased. But pissing both extreme sides off says a lot more then catering to just one side. If I wanted to listen to news that has a one sided all approving audience, I’d listen to likes of Fox News or NSNBC. The fact that WNYC “pisses both sides off" tells me WNYC probably has a more diverse audience and less bias then the likes of Fox News or NSNBC.

Nov. 13 2009 03:22 PM

" NPR and WNYC seem to be pissing both sides off so they must doing something right!!! "
This nonsense is so dangerous because it promotes ignorance. One doesn't have to know anything, one doesn't have to be able to analyze anything, etc.

Nov. 13 2009 02:12 PM

"I just love the conspiracy theories mentioned here about NPR and WNYC that seem to be on both sides of the right and the left audience…. NPR and WNYC seem to be pissing both sides off so they must doing something right!!! "
This is the level of education in this country.
- there is no left in this country. There is the Halloween half body politic ranging from some some center (moved to the right) to some far, far, far right.
- "pissing both sides off ..." is a cliche and is a wrong cliche. There can more than two sides (why would anyone thing about it), all sides can wrong or right to a degree? in some respects? etc.

Nov. 13 2009 01:44 PM
thatgirlinnewyork from manhattan

adsf, you're right--some landowners will benefit greatly, but they are less "second home owners" from nyc, inasmuch as they are landowners with large enough tracts such that handing over a few acres to the the gas drillers is worth the exchange. they call themselves "farmers", but they're far better at cultivating horrible living conditions for those around them.

these neighbors cannot benefit from the largesse. The situation in Dimock,PA, where many residents are subject to a gag order by agreement with gas cos, is a great example. these are hardly second home owners. now they have to drink bottled water, report sickness and have watch their animals fail to reproduce.

where are the NPR or WNYC reports about this??

Nov. 13 2009 12:47 PM
Mehmet Kucukozer from Bayside, NY

Are Arab Israelis part of the settler movement? Are these Jewish-only settlements driven by an ideological agenda of the land belonging to the Jews, because God gave it to them, and that Arabs need to be removed from the land?

Nov. 13 2009 12:40 PM
Not habitually connected from The Garden State

I just love the conspiracy theories mentioned here about NPR and WNYC that seem to be on both sides of the right and the left audience…. NPR and WNYC seem to be pissing both sides off so they must doing something right!!! You won’t find that type of balanced criticism on FOX News or MSNBC!!! Remember folks, if you don’t like what you hear on the radio, do your blood pressure a favor and change the channel!!!

Nov. 13 2009 12:39 PM
adsf from

that girl -- like your comments -- sadly most people gaining serious $$ (they exist) from drilling will move far from the area and make sure to not make the same mistakes/roll over so easily again. unfortunately those places are not very easy to find.

Nov. 13 2009 12:32 PM
MOUSEd from

58 -- just THANK YOU for articulating that.
now that you mention it, how grossly racist sounding when you actually listen to the phrase.

Re -- Takeaway -- one or two more years and it should be fairly good.

Nov. 13 2009 12:25 PM

I recently met the description of NPR as National Palestinian Radio and I think this is an apt one.
- When someone repeats and repeats and repeats a program about a Palestinian woman who lost a house 70 years ago and is in such a pain, such a pain, such a pain because of the loss of the house, and forgets to mention countless Jews murdered 70 years ago in Israel and 800 thousands Jews, including Babylonian (!!!) Jews expelled from Arab countries 70 years ago who lost everything ... there is a problem.
- When innocent civilians, including children, are bombarded and there is a silence, there is a problem. This problem is even more severe when silence is suddenly interrupted when the victims dared to respond
- When there are some 200 countries in the world and in many of them people are boiled, cooked, fried, children and women are sold into slavery, etc, but someone is reporting about only one group living in better conditions (and forgetting about the context, such as political use of the group ... by their own brethren) there is a problem. I can help here - look up such vocabulary as double standards, singling out, prejudices, bigotry, and yes, antisemitism.
I find Sheppard cheap remark dismissing criticism in this area highly insulting "some criticized us for this, some criticize us for that - we must be right." No, not at all - there can be (and is legitimate criticism) and gimmicky dismissal won't do it.
It's a fact that NPR is biased in favor of Palestinians - dismissing criticism because a caller accused NPR of bias in favor of Israel is a gimmick. How do you know that this caller is not a neo-Nazi trying to eliminate any fair discussion and Israel itself?

Nov. 13 2009 12:24 PM
Ralph from UWS,Manhattan

Yes, by all means, TAKE AWAY "The TakeAway." It's much too sonically jarring for such an early hour. Alexander Pope once said "A little knowledge is a dangerous thing." That seems to be the problem with the current hosts.

They constantly interrupt their guests, run the show at a breakneck pace and be sure to get their opinions in, often at the expense of the guest.

Nov. 13 2009 12:15 PM
CJ from NY

Suzanne, I do not think Ivanka paid for anything personally. I am sure it was made quite clear to someone who matters that the Trump Dynasty is a major contributor to the station or public radio at large and therefore should be given "priority" consideration when Ivanka's PR rep requested that she be on the show.

Nov. 13 2009 12:14 PM
Thomas from New Brunswick, NJ

Re: pay-to-play perception. I worked as a reporter for a weekly statewide business paper for three years. Yes, there was a so-called firewall between editorial and sales but sales people were constantly sniffing around reporters to see what stories we were working on and who we were interviewing. While we rarely complied with direct requests, they would inevitably get some information. The question is, how did they use it? Did they compromise our integrity by implying that more or favorable coverage would be possible if the company bought an ad? There was no follow-up or regulation so it’s hard to say. Perhaps it was a function of working in a small office in which everyone is on the same floor but one thing was clear—the firewall was not impenetrable.

Nov. 13 2009 12:01 PM
JLS from Uptown

But the Geneva Conventions' definition of torture is the whole point! If NPR can describe the interrogation methods and read the Geneva Conventions, which is to say that NPR can put multiple pieces of information together so that they make sense together (i.e. report news), then NPR can and should report that waterboarding is torture. Or at least put together an investigation into alternative international armed combat conventions that the US is signed to, with their alternative definitions of torture.

Nov. 13 2009 11:58 AM
thatgirlinnewyork from manhattan

there will be no financial reward for those affected by the drilling. contrary to what the gas cos have said, it will result in higher water rates, taxes, lowered air quality, and a scorched-earth landscape upstate and in PA.

Nov. 13 2009 11:55 AM
SuzanneNYC from Upper West Side

CJ from New York: Do you honestly think Ivanka Trump is personally paying for ad time on NPR to sell her book???? It's her publisher's advertising department that purchases ads. These day, most publishers have limited budgets to market their books, so they go for where they can get the most bang for the buck. And, in case you hadn't noticed, they publish books by people who have media appeal and who will easily get lots of interviews (aka free advertising). Naturally the marketing department talks their PR department to find out where interviews have been booked -- and purchases ads accordingly.

Nov. 13 2009 11:55 AM
Voter from Brooklyn

Glad to see I’m not the only one who has serious issues with The Takeaway. Constantly cutting off guests, non sequiturs, and attempting to cover complex subjects in far too little time aside, the constant jump-to-a-clearly-predetermined-personal-opinion “So the takeaway is…” wrap up with stories is too much.

As for NPR being biased against Israel, if anything, they bend over backwards to treat Israel with kid gloves while still covering news stories involving the country. So I agree with both sides above… Refer to the Palestinians as terrorist for the rockets and the Israelis as concentration camp (Palestinians are being held in concentration within defined and restricted borders) running war criminals (white phosphorus).

Nov. 13 2009 11:54 AM
Ralph Berliner from UWS,Manhattan

Why does NPR (as well as the BBC) always refer to "Jewish" settlers, instead of by their political designation as Israeli? This practice is consistent with almost all mention of groups of Israelis.

Would any group of Americans, united by a common cause, be identified by their religion?

Nov. 13 2009 11:54 AM
thatgirlinnewyork from manhattan

adam, the drilling story is, for most people, far more than "NYC's parochial drinking water interests. most people who've worked on the issue (and report about it. propublica, for example) acknowledge that it is an environmental, public health, and economic issue for ALL new yorkers (throughout the state, if you misunderstand the term), as well as other states covered by the marcellus shale in the region (PA, OH, DE). this is why the late-to-the-game coverage by both NPR and WNYC is worth scrutiny.

Nov. 13 2009 11:53 AM
pp from brooklyn

I'd rather listen to Ivanka Trump than Leonard's sychophantic interviews with Allen Greenspan where he didn't even attempt to address all the trouble that Ayn-Rand-ophile had caused this country with his cronies.

Nov. 13 2009 11:51 AM
eru from

we are becoming benefiting financially the drilling process but lost our mind-blowingly clean well water.

this loss has caused endless soul searching in our family about, among other things, how fragile and limited our resources actually are. And how if you have unexploited, clean resources, one day there WILL be a knock at your door.

Nov. 13 2009 11:49 AM
Amy from Manhattan

On stories like the ACORN sting, where NPR wants to wait for investigation & confirmation, couldn't they say exactly that? That there have been reports about it, but they're investigating them & will have follow-up when they know whether it's a legitimate story? After all, NPR must realize that its listeners are hearing about the story from other sources.

Nov. 13 2009 11:48 AM
Hugh Sansom from Brooklyn NY

Kudos to Brian Lehrer for offering a pretty thorough interview. And my opinion of Alicia Shepard has moved up. Don't agree with her, but she sounds like she is thinking genuinely from a moderate position.

Nov. 13 2009 11:47 AM
Nicole Minichiello

Further question about underwriting - It seems that there is more time given to ads over the years, and because the ads are announced by someone at NPR, and include the companies' slogans, it is really a commercial. I have been quite uncomfortable donating to NPR / WNYC after hearing 'ads' by Monsanto, and other controversial companies.

Nov. 13 2009 11:47 AM
SuzanneNYC from Upper West Side

Rather than clarifying I think this disucssion is just muddying the waters. I don't see how anyone could come away with a clear idea of what is NPR (i.e. national) and what is local.

Nov. 13 2009 11:46 AM
thomas from manhattan

why does WNYC constantly run the same guest on the Lopate show and on Terry Gross. I realize terry is in Philly but honestly what kind of programming runs the same guest at 12 AND 3pm??

Nov. 13 2009 11:46 AM
CJ from NY

If I have to listen to crap like Ivanka Trump hawking her book, then I sdon't see why I have to donate. It's obvious you're getting Trump money.

Nov. 13 2009 11:46 AM
Erik Carlson from Brooklyn

My one criticism of NPR news coverage was during the election. With the exception of Brian's show, the majority of elections stories on the radio were about the campaign strategies of the two frontrunners and not detailed analysis of the issues and the candidates' stances on the them.

Nov. 13 2009 11:44 AM
pp from brooklyn

So you are saying you wouldn't interview "Paul Blart Mall Cop" played by Kevin James, cause as a listner I would like to hear that.

Nov. 13 2009 11:44 AM
David from Pawling

Wow! I wish Fox would do this kind of interview. I love NPR and often disagree with what I hear broadcast. There is no perfect, fair and balanced venue for news/information. NPR gets as close as I have experienced.

Nov. 13 2009 11:44 AM
Mehmet Kucukozer from Bayside, NY

Yesterday, Brian's tepid defense of MEMRI--established by former Israeli military men of strong right-wing persuasions--offended me considering that it's sole purpose is to demonize Muslims and Arabs.

Since we are attacking political correctness lately, as Brian has, maybe we need more varied voices on at WNYC rather than just Jewish ones. Maybe then I would financially support the station.

Nov. 13 2009 11:44 AM
not peter from sunset park

What a completely wrong analogy, aired from Peter from Sunset Park.

The U.S. is not exerting complete control over Mexico or Canada. The U.S. is not occupying or blockading all imports and exports to Mexico and Canada. Israel is in fact, doing that in the West Bank and Gaza.

There is no "double standard", hence there are also no rocket attacks coming from Mexico and Canada.

Nov. 13 2009 11:44 AM
SJB from NYC

Thank you for talking about the policy on using the term "terror."

Yet, it is not as subjective as your conversation seems to have described it. There are clear laws and conventions (Geneva) stating what torture is.

Please have the confidence to call it what it is (feel free to cite the official definitions).

Nov. 13 2009 11:43 AM
CJ from NY

How does Ivanka Trump get on?

Nov. 13 2009 11:42 AM
Hugh Sansom from Brooklyn NY

Alicia Shepard evades my point regarding torture. NPR DOES use the word "torture" when Iran or Egypt uses waterboarding but DOES NOT use the word "torture" when the US waterboards prisoners.

If it's torture in one case, it's torture in another.

The question remains why Alicia Shepard refused to discuss this issue with Glenn Greenwald (though Greenwald's key point was raised by Bob Garfield in an On the Media interview).

Nov. 13 2009 11:42 AM
Robert from NYC (formally Hell and previous to that NYC)

As horrendous the bombing of Israel is by the Palestinians in Gaza can we really REALLY say that the imbalance of the retribution is fair! No matter how bad the 3 same shots of moving elderly from their homes in Israel is can you really rationalize the unequal bombings and killings of the Gaza Strip by Israel? It's all horrendous and horrible but the Israeli response was and usually is way over the limit, WAAAAY over the bounds of civilized war.

Nov. 13 2009 11:41 AM
w45y from NJ

boy would i love to see bob hennelly in this job.

Nov. 13 2009 11:40 AM
Yosif from NYC

You're listener would be right about the Palestinian double-standard if Gaza wasn't a prison camp. NPR is my favorite news source. Fair and balanced for real.

Nov. 13 2009 11:39 AM
Mehmet Kucukozer from Bayside, NY

I also vote for taking away the Take Away. The hosts have on occasion made statements that are simply not true.

In the regular NPR news, one of the interviewers was laughing at the anti-American "conspiracy theories" held in Pakistan. I would like a little more seriousness and less arrogance from a news station that fail to challenge the WMD conspiracy theory in Iraq.

Nov. 13 2009 11:39 AM

Nov. 13 2009 11:38 AM
Adam from NYC

There is more to the environmental issue with hydrofracking than New York City's parochial drinking water interests.
On the economic side, I don't see anyone discussing how the average energy consumer in New York State is going to benefit from all of this gas. Will our energy rates be favorably affected? Or is this just a windfall for the energy industry and those who can lease the drilling easements?

Nov. 13 2009 11:38 AM
tom from qns

To Peter- from Sunset Park
If in the living present-- we occupied and took the land away from a native people, as we did to the Indians, what an uproar would ensue!

If you think that WNYC or NPR favors Palestinians -- give us a break! TIt is the subtle bias in the other direction on WNYC that alienates me as a listener.

Nov. 13 2009 11:38 AM
Mark Dery from Nyack

An earlier caller rehashed the done-to-death charge that NPR is a Vast Liberal Conspiracy. In fact, as FAIR as thoroughly documented, NPR shows, even at the local level (and yes, this means Brian Lehrer, too) consistently book conservative guests or "experts" from thinktanks funded by Richard Ollin Scaife or associated with conservative ideology (The Heritage Foundation, the Manhattan Institute, the American Enterprise Institute, etc. See NPR's strategy (and yes, this means Brian Lehrer, too) is to use the interviewer as the Voice of Balance. This is an epic fail, because the interviewer cannot by definition be as well-versed in the subject as the expert, and because NPR (and yes, this means Brian Lehrer, too) prides itself on a Times-ian, all-the-news-that's-FIT-to-print, "gentlemanly," "dialogue-not-diatribe" approach to debate, er, discussion. It's too indebted to the notion of Objectivity, widely rejected by most journalists. Why not foster DEBATE, rather than discussion OR diatribe? There IS a middle ground. And why not sharpen that debate by pitting a well-versed opposing voice against the conservative flack and having the host act as moderator? Dialectical exchanges, in which equally knowledgeable experts---NOT pundits, there is a difference---square off are the far more illuminating than the yawningly polite exchanges typical of NPR and, be it said, PBS (The Lehrer Newshour typifies this go-for-the-jugular-with-a-feather approach).

Nov. 13 2009 11:38 AM
MichaelB from Morningside Heights

I believe in commenting on how both sides perceive NPR Ms. Shepard said that conservatives complain that NPR is too liberal, whereas the left complains that NPR is not liberal enough?

Inherent in that statement is that the left feels that NPR OWES it to the left to represent them... that the left's expectation is ALSO that NPR is liberal.
In effect, both sides seem to agree and have that expectation of NPR.

Nov. 13 2009 11:37 AM

"tom from qns": I could not agree with you more! He is unbearable to listen to in the morning. Condescending; constantly cutting his guests off and then sucking up airtime with his too-long recaps; cracking innapropriate "wink-type" jokes. Ugh.

Nov. 13 2009 11:37 AM

best to bring the readers' insight in more (or hire fewer know it alls)

Nov. 13 2009 11:36 AM
john from office

I agree that the Takeaway is not up to the standards of this great station.

Nov. 13 2009 11:36 AM
Harvey Kravetz

The conservative complain about what is broadcast on NPR because they see objective information as liberal propaganda.

Conservatives tend to defend themselves against charges of wrong doing by saying, "it is not true" a defense that satisfies their base.

Nov. 13 2009 11:35 AM
Voter from Brooklyn

The question I would have is: Do calls to “never donate again” worry NPR?
I realize NPR cannot control the content from member stations, PRI, or APM, but objections to content carried by member stations, opinion shows, and local editorializing can negatively affect NPR.
Should NPR be clear that their content (for better or worse) is stand alone, albeit member supported, content?
Lastly, should NPR make a stronger distinction between its own news/journalism coverage and opinion and editorializing? (A Weekend Edition editorial about Obama being racist against McCain comes to mind)

Nov. 13 2009 11:35 AM
Robert from NYC (formally Hell and previous to that NYC)

The problem lately is that often, not always but often, straight reporting of a story is getting confused with a sometimes editorialization of the story. Often a reporter in "reporting" a story will throw out a personal or "judgmental" remark about the story at the very end of the report w/o realizing, or sometimes realizing it and it's taken by the listener/viewer as a whole. The distinction between the commentator type "news" and the reporting of a situation gets muddled. Frankly, I think it's often intentional to spark interest and hold an audience for the sake or ratings. This is what I call the CNN/Blitzer effect. It's what got me away from CNN and Blitzer in particular and now John King as well. But now I'm getting personal. See, it happens!!

Nov. 13 2009 11:35 AM
Rachel Newman from Queens

Here's my take on NPR and public radio stations: Although I lean toward a more conservative point of view, I only listen to NPR and WNYC (and read the New York Times and the New Yorker) because they appeal to the intellectual in me with the more in depth reporting the style of their shows. I find the some of the other media distateful and coarse.
However, I find it frustrating that NPR is so left leaning and that sometimes I really don't get a good picture of the situation in Israel, for example, because their reporting is so biased.

Nov. 13 2009 11:32 AM
SuzanneNYC from Upper West Side

When people lump anything they hear on WNYC as being NPR -- you should clarify. My understanding is that The Takeaway is not produced by NPR -- it's WNYC's alternative to NPR's morning show.

Nov. 13 2009 11:32 AM
maya from NYC

one BIG mistake I think the media has done regarding health care reform:

they never confront all the Reps and right-wingers who bemoan what a horror health care reform would be (it would take away "our freedoms" and all those totally irrational arguments): they NEVER ask them: what what YOU do to insure everyone? to ensure everyone has access to health care??

Nov. 13 2009 11:31 AM
thatgirlinnewyork from manhattan

and i apologize for the atrocious use of that apostrophe. but agree with asdf--can't count how many story suggestions i'd sent with little to no interest--particularly locally. quite sad.

Nov. 13 2009 11:31 AM
Beverly from Somerville

Sometimes, I think the media ends up exacerbating the issue, by not really reporting information correctly and as much as journalism is supposed to be unbiased everyone's view has been changed by their life experiences. In reality the general public use media as a "cliff notes" to the world. If people don't like what they hear they can turn it off.

Nov. 13 2009 11:31 AM
john from office

Can she do anything about improving Radio Rookies. Maybe have positive images of Minority youth. Who are articulate, ambitious and hopeful.

Nov. 13 2009 11:30 AM
SuzanneNYC from Upper West Side

NPR couldn't be considred liberal with Juan Williams and Mara Liasson as commentators. They both appear regularly on FOX and recently were called out for making outrageously right wing statements in political discussions.

Nov. 13 2009 11:29 AM
john from office

NPR does a good job with the News. All organizations have some bias. That is the way it is. Liberal thought would go into a non profit organization, it is only natural.

Nov. 13 2009 11:29 AM
tom from qns


The most jarring -- and disappointing show on WNYC is the overgrown adolescent, reactionary HOCKENBERRY for TWO HOURS (UGH!) every morning. He is constantly bending the coverage of news to please own tastes. His views are interposed between the news and the listeners! It's unprofessional and cheap, far below the quality of Mr. Lehrer and Lopate!

Nov. 13 2009 11:27 AM
CJ from NY

Brian keeps saying "bad behaviour." It sounds like ACORN incident was employees being naughty rather giving advice in support of illegal activities.

I agree with the lawyer that you can't throw the baby out with the bathwater. ACORN shouldn't necessarily lose all their funding. IT is a story and they need to be investigated and overhauled.

Just like the financial instutions who waste taxpayer need to be revamped. Perhaps, many non-prof.s do as well.

Nov. 13 2009 11:26 AM
thatgirlinnewyork from manhattan

mind you, the NYT is guilty of the same sin. i used to expect NPR/WNYC to lead where the cumbersome NYT could not, but ironically, much of the NYT's content inform's NPR/WNYC, so...

Nov. 13 2009 11:25 AM
Merrill Clark from NYC

I think there is another explanation; people may not be interested in certain stories. NPR listeners may not be interested in certain Fox stories and vice-versa. We do not care about crop prices but in Iowa; however I would guess that is the talk of talk radio in Iowa.

Nov. 13 2009 11:24 AM
Robert from NYC (formally Hell and previous to that NYC)

Tell him to listen to FOX.

Nov. 13 2009 11:24 AM
thatgirlinnewyork from manhattan

we looked for better leadership from NPR and WNYC in covering the threat of gas drilling on the drinking water of millions of their listeners, both locally and nationally.

after several national stories that were pure shill pieces for the industry, it seems that ilya maritz has, at least, taken up a genuine effort to help people understand it in a more nuanced way. otherwise, see for the entire story.

Nov. 13 2009 11:24 AM
Where's The Beef

AS: "once it becomes news, and people are talking about it, that's our criteria for, obviously it's an NPR story."

There are so few big, hungry news organizations left w the ability to BREAK news, to UNCOVER news... how does breaking and uncovering news play into NPR's mission? Because that's all I value.

I love Daniel Schorr for analysis but couldn't care less about what any of the other voices have to opine. Just give us the fresh ideas you promise during those fund drives.

Nov. 13 2009 11:23 AM
Hugh Sansom from Brooklyn NY

Alicia Shepard's _job_ may not be to shill for NPR, but the fact is she shills for NPR.

Nov. 13 2009 11:20 AM
Hugh Sansom from Brooklyn NY

Alicia Shepard may claim to be independent but most of her propaganda comes out in defense of NPR language. The most revolting example is, again, NPR's refusal to use the word "torture" to describe, say, waterboarding when done by the US, but DOES use the word "torture" when other nations do the same.

Nov. 13 2009 11:19 AM
Robert from NYC (formally Hell and previous to that NYC)

You get complaints about NPR? LOL I don't see anything being done about it! What exactly do you do?

Nov. 13 2009 11:18 AM

so does wnyc have an ombud?

Nov. 13 2009 11:17 AM
eye roll,_2009

Nov. 13 2009 10:36 AM
eye roll

@2 agree completely but have given up on that one, peter.

Nov. 13 2009 10:34 AM
Dan from Sunset Park

On many occasions, NPR programs interview an actor, director or author regarding their new work. Then underwriting spots for that work are broadcast during the show and sometimes during other shows.

I am curious about how that works. Does the radio producer decide they want to interview someone and then ask the publisher of the work for a donation? Or do the publishers come to the radio producers saying, "Here's this current artist that you may want to interview. If you do, we'll give you an underwriting spot."? Or does it happen some other way?

Nov. 13 2009 10:17 AM

1. facts were a regurgitation of the gas men visiting PA's various burgs. We own land there so I am familiar with their pitch, as presented verbatim on your site and airwaves.

2. what you missed:
-neighbors intimidating neighbors hesitant to sign;
-The Cheney tie-in that in 2005 exempted Halliburton's frac juice from clean water laws;
-Any tips for folks who wanted to sign "right."(On their own our associates managed to sign a contract that bans drilling w/in a square mile from our property. Pipe only. Organized w neighbors.)
-the blog "astroturf" movement put together by big gas.
-Penn State Cooperative Extension promoting gas drilling rather than acting as a clearinghouse for neutral info.
-NOT including the fact that drilling booster Penn State Professor "Terry Engelder" (Or, as the Marcellus Shale facebook page calls him, "Penn State's Rock Star" personally owns property to be drilled, according to a cached version of his own blog from a few years ago.
-state, not fed, monitors drilling process and enforces related laws.
-Completely NOT sourcing or profiling -- so far as I could tell, anyway, the opposition group to drilling, Damascus Citizens for Sustainability.
-99% of lease profits going to rich second homers, the rest, who signed immediately, just covering their property tax.

This is a huge energy story, big as the "GDP story" that gets garbled daily on NPR. There was little reason for NPR to force itself to report the entire "story" in 3 segments. This is a beat.

Many of the above pnts I shared with NPR and ProPublica back in March, 08 and again this past summmer. 1 pompous, uninterested reply, no follow up.

Nov. 13 2009 10:10 AM
Peter from Sunset Park

Palestinian’s have fired thousands and thousands of rockets at Jewish civilians and NPR refers to these Palestinians as militants, not terrorists. If Mexicans, Native Americans or Canadians fired thousands and thousands of rockets at American civilians would NPR call these folks militants too? No, NPR would call them terrorists. Ms. Shepard, why the NPR double standard towards Jews?

ACORN leaders are basically sinking their own ship. Brian’s interview with Bertha Lewis was interesting because Brian really didn’t have to challenge Ms. Lewis at all. Ms. Lewis did her organization (ACORN) much damage just by Brian allowing her to speak her mind.

Nov. 13 2009 09:58 AM
Hugh Sansom from Brooklyn NY

To Listeners:

Why don't we all ask (1) Why NPR steadfastly refuses to call it torture when the US brutalizes captives but DOES call it torture when another nation does EXACTLY the same thing?

and more important, given the guest:

(2) Why does Alicia Shepard endorse NPR's use of the expression "enhanced interrogation techniques"?

(3) Why does Alicia Shepard dodge questions on the subject? NPR was inundated with questions challenging its blindly pro-American Newspeak. Shepard was evasive, refusing, for example, to talk with Salon's Glenn Greenwald.

(4) NPR's Bob Garfield, of On the Media, did manage to question her briefly:

Nov. 13 2009 09:16 AM

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