Thursday, May 14, 2009

It's not worth the anger, if no follow-through

North Country Public Radio and Vermont Public Radio, the two NPR affiliates in my area, offer some excellent local (and award-winning) programs, but I get extremely frazzled when I listen to - usually when on the road and rarely on my home radio - the NPR news and pundit programs. An interview with a smug, smart-ass Adam Davidson of NPR's Planet Money and "bailout" monitor and Harvard law professor Elizabeth Warren happened over a week ago. TalkLeft calls it "infuriating," which indeed it is. (The comments at TL are also worth a read.) Corrente has a transcript of the ugly parts. I'd never listened to Planet Money or this interview until today. Actually, I admire Warren and think she's a breath of fresh air and definitely spot on in the thankless work she's doing now. I first heard her on Terri Gross's Fresh Air talking about the credit card industry (2007) and the rising costs of credit card debt (2008), and right away, I knew she was worth listening to.

Have you seen NPRCheck? It's a "watch-dog" blog full of gotcha comments by "liberals" and "progressive" listeners people - pissed off by the regular NPR correspondents and news analysts. It's true that NPR has earned the sobriquet "Nice Polite Republicans." I've read NPRCheck occasionally, just for fun, but never really take their rants seriously, because they love to complain, and that's all. I just wish these fuckin' arm-chair liberal types - whingers all - would take the advice of a commenter in the TL discussion on the Warren interview, it's [n]ot worth the anger, if no follow-through
Do what I did -- file a formal complaint with NPR. It does no good to blow our own gaskets merely amongst ourselves; you might as well just shrug your shoulders and move on, for all the good it does.

Rather, we should harness that anger for righteous purpose. If more liberal / progressive listeners complained consistently about the wasted airspace taken up by the biased likes of Adam Davidson, Mara Liasson and Cokie Roberts, I guarantee that it would eventually get NPR's attention.
I've commented on programs and have written the (useless, but well-paid) NPR Ombudsman, who rarely responds (with the usual excuses and formula letters). I'm even on some NPR Listen's panel and receive periodic questionnaires via email. I don't hesitate to complain about their biases when I have a chance. NCPR and VPR are always asking for money, but donations cannot be earmarked to local programming. So, next time they ask for a hand-out, I'll tell 'em, don't expect any dosh from me until they - as an affiliate - tell NPR to clean up its act.

(Cross-posted at Antemedius.)

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