National Public Radio
635 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001
Dear Mr. Schumacher-Matos:
Last October during the fundraising campaign for my local NPR station, WUSF, the host of NRP affiliated shows “World of Opera” and “Soundprint” was fired from those shows based largely on objections by Fox News personalities due to her involvement in the occupy movement. I spoke with people at the local station as I reconsidered my support of the station. I do not support Rupert Murdoch and his Fox News network, and if NPR was going to allow Murdoch’s organization to make programming decisions, then you were effectively acting as a Fox News affiliate. That would be something I could not tolerate.
I was encouraged to write NPR at the time, but elected to let that one pass without further comment. However, two recent stories aired on NPR raise far more serious concerns in my mind about reporting decisions at NPR.
Let me start by saying I have been a listener/member/supporter of NPR and local NPR affiliates for twenty-five years or more. I listen throughout the day, into the evenings, and most certainly on the weekends. The voices of NPR have been a comforting, stable presence in my life as I’ve moved from the Greensboro/Winston-Salem, NC area, to Tampa, FL, to Dayton, OH and back to Tampa. Through some good times and dark times in my life, I’ve been able to tune in to find outstanding reporting, thoughtful analysis and commentary, and wonderful music. As both the federal and state governments have moved to cut funding for public radio, I have always been a person who writes and calls my congressional representatives and legislative representatives insisting they support this very worthy cause.
Unfortunately, last Friday I heard a report on Morning Edition by Barbara Bradley Haggerty concerning the confab by religious conservatives in Texas. Ms. Bradley-Haggerty interviewed Brian Fischer of the American Family Association (AFA) for the story. The AFA has recently been designated a Hate Group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) due to some extremely vile and often violent language used against gays and lesbians, women, and Native Americans. Most of this language come directly from Mr. Fischer.
I called and talked with Ms. Bradley-Haggerty about the story. This conversation raised even more concerns about Ms. Bradley-Haggerty’s ability to report impartially on Christian-based stories.
First, I recognize she needs someone to interview. According to her account, she was on deadline, had put out about 20 calls and Fischer was the first to return her calls. This strikes me as a poor way to select interviewees. I went on to question her use of Mr. Fischer pointing out that the AFA was an SPLC designated hate group, and that she had never identified the AFA as such. She got rather prickly at this observation, and responded that it would be ridiculous because, “The SPLC names many organizations as hate groups.”
I know some of you will remember the show “Designing Women,” and especially the rants of one of the lead characters, Julia Sugarbaker. Someone has taken the time to hitch together a segment of Michele Bachman and one of Julia’s rants, and the results are pretty good. Boy how would love for someone like Julia Sugarbaker to actually call out some of these Republican candidates, especially Bachman. It’s as true today as it was back when the program was new, so enjoy this clip….
I’m back. I know I haven’t posted much this entire year. I was writing a lot for work, and frankly there hasn’t been much of interest going on in my life. I admit a lot of the aspects of life I’m not happy with are under my control, and I plan to work to make some changes this year.
Like most people, I’ve made some resolutions for the coming year, but this year they are critically important, and are made with a lot of thought.
Foremost is probably the most common one, to lose weight. I’ve got to drop a lot of weight this year, and exercise a lot more. I’ll start with walking, and I may try Weight Watchers.
I plan to write more personally. This includes getting back to posts here on a more regular basis, looking for opportunities to publish professionally, and keeping a personal journal. I’ve made a resolution to keep a journal before, and the results have always been mixed. When I do it, I enjoy it, and I have always found it interesting to go back to previous journals from years ago.
Expanding my personal network. Lay and me have stayed home and kept to ourselves for some reason on a personal basis, and this year I’m going to spend more time with friends. With work, I’ve been much less involved in the various professional networks that I used to be, and my professional network is not nearly as robust as it needs to be, so I’ll be working on that.
2011 was not a great year for a lot of people, and I know I am much more fortunate than many. But this hasn’t been a banner year in this household either. I don’t have a lot of confidence that things will improve much. I think as Americans we’ve allowed ourselves to be so divided and duped that we’ll never be able to recover and accomplish great feats as a nation.
It is clear our political system is completely broken, and I don’t see anyone on the horizon with the leadership abilities or a desire to change it. The system is based on corporate money.
I did have a nice Christmas. I was ready early with no last minute scrambling this year. We seemed to find gifts everyone wanted, and didn’t totally break the bank. Lay and me traveled to North Carolina the Friday before Christmas, and drove back on the 26th. The trip was short, but he doesn’t do well hanging out in Kings Mountain. I’ll be going back in February by myself to visit mom some more. That’s another I’ll be doing this more of this year…visiting mom.
I wish I could be more upbeat, but I’m just not sure we can find ourselves out of this mess.