Sunday, February 6, 2011

A Low Point for National Public Radio

I'm a little late on this, but I figured that I should talk about it. A friend of mine considered the story unreliable because it was originally published by a blog, and not an 'accredited news source'.

This email was supposedly sent out from one of the NPR show On Point's staffers' personal Gmail accounts (which is impossible to verify) and only sent to one blogger that subsequently posted about it. The reportedly legitimate email shows NPR shopping around for a specific opinion. As far as I can tell, it might be a fake story by the blogger, an over-zealous staffer at On Point, or simply a way for them to solicit opposing viewpoints. I believe that the blogger is an honest source, but it's understandable if you do not. That portion is he-said-she said, though the On-Point segment page is very defensive about the guesting and does not deny the well-publicized accusations. 'Not denying' is not the same as 'admitting', but you should take that into account.

They say that the proof is in the pudding, so let's examine the 'ingredients' in the pudding. Here are the guests that were selected to speak on the show:

Robert Levy, a pro-gun lawyer who was co-counsel on D.C. V Heller, which positively established the 2nd Amendment as an individual right.

Tracee Larson, an unknown 'pro-gun' blogger who had posted exactly twice before the segment and had worked on the advisory board for the purely Democrat supporting false flag American Hunters and Shooters Association (not long after the presidential election ended the AHSA's website went down and has not come back up). In her blog post after she did the NPR segment she stated "Why the average gun owner needs more than 10 bullets in a magazine is beyond me", so we can guess which side of the issue she started on. It was her opinion that was reportedly sought to help balance the piece.

Next, Carolyn McCarthy, the Senator who is introducing the magazine ban bill.

Lastly, Paul Helmke, the president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence (the primary anti-2nd Amendment organization in the nation)

Listen to the audio. Listen to the way the host phrases the questions. Listen to how much time Paul Helmke gets compared to Robert Levy. Listen to how angry the host gets when Mr. Levy asks for a chance to respond to Mr. Helmke's accusations. Listen to how the host uses questions in a way intended to keep Mr. Levy on the defensive.

So to recap we have a one pro-gun lawyer who is given very little time, one *pro-gun* newly minted blogger who supports this specific piece legislation, the senator who introduced the legislation, and the president of the Brady Campaign all interviewed by a host with an agenda.

I often enjoy NPR's programming, and I realize that this was only one segment on one day in a whole bevy of segments day in a day out all year round, but it really was a terribly one-sided setup presented as showing all sides of the issue. If their intent in sending out the email was to solicit a specific viewpoint for the show, they certainly did. You can be the judge of how balanced their guesting was.

This, in my opinion, was not a high point for journalistic integrity.

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