NPR just wants things to be nice

NPR has apologized for running an interview with Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN). It seems that NPR’s base audience of deracinated, hidebound suburbanite liberals were shocked, -- shocked, I tell you -- that Banks attacked both Adam Schiff and the impeachment effort within the hearing of decent people. It made them so mad they could spit, and reports have been heard that several ran out onto their lawns and kicked over a garden gnome or two before calling up NPR’s contact number to insist that somebody do something.

The comments by Banks (covered here on AT) were perfectly straightforward, well-grounded, and are becoming more obvious every day: that the “impeachment” is effectively a hoax based on bogus information and that the Democratic leadership made fools of themselves by jumping the gun. Perfectly factual and impossible to deny.

Not that NPR has actually denied them. No, in its customary fashion, NPR has instead slithered amoebalike between the points at issue, never addressing anything directly or stating anything forthrightly but instead insinuating here and hinting there, in a direct reflection of the attitudes and behavior of their audience.

According to their “public editor,” (a nice rustic name for “political officer”) Elizabeth Jensen, in a piece titled “Setting the Record Straight,” the problem lay in the fact that Banks was interviewed live, so that what he said couldn’t be controlled, and when you don’t have control, then things happen, and people get upset:

Live interviews have increased greatly on NPR’s newsmagazines in recent years. As readers of this column well know, listeners (and I) have raised many concerns about their execution.

When they work, live interviews are a valuable way to hear the point of view of a newsmaker in their own words. An interview runs into problems, however, when the guest says something that is provably inaccurate or seriously misleading. 

And what was so inaccurate, you ask? The fact that Banks called out Adam Schiff as a liar for having received the “whistleblower” report in August and keeping it secret for two months. This, insisted Jensen, was simply not the case, and Little Orphan Adam was truly as pure as the driven snow.

In fact, it has been well established that Schiff was in touch with the “whistleblower” exactly as Banks stated, and that his staff went so far as to assist him in manipulating his “testimony” for maximum impact. This has played a huge role in the ongoing collapse of the “impeachment” narrative.

So what does NPR do now? Apologize for their apology? No, pilgrim – this is NPR. What Jensen recommends instead is abandoning live interviews completely and instead going with pre-recorded interviews, in which the message can be properly controlled. Phrases and passages that might upset people can be eliminated. “Errors” made by the interviewees can be “corrected.” Comments can added where necessary. Why, you could even have the subjects comment on what’s being said about them. Wouldn’t it be nice to have something you could run past Nancy and Adam to get their opinions?

Needless to say, this is a procedure that will be applied only to Republican lawmakers and officials. The process for Dems, Black Lives Matter, and Antifa will remain exactly the way it was.

(To be non-NPRish here, I’ll mention that Jensen has run into plenty of flak from the newsroom on this – many veteran reporters want to retain the live interview format. But the very fact that the suggestion ever came up at all is an atrocity, and an indication of the way things are going.)

Jensen did point out that “Republicans have been ducking interviews with NPR.” Jeeze, I wonder why.

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