May 28, 2004
In a report published in the June issue of Extra!, FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting) says that "NPR’s guestlist shows the radio service relies on the same elite and influential sources that dominate mainstream commercial news, and falls short of reflecting the diversity of the American public." The report, titled How Public is Public Radio? says "elite sources" dominated NPR's guest-list, accounting for 64 percent of all sources. It's essentially the same critique Ben Bagdikian has been making of all the corporate media. And sometimes NPR seems to behave like corporate media. But I have trouble with the implied notion that NPR defines public radio. Kind of a slap in the face of all the work at local stations. I believe we have a body of work at WILL. To borrow from a movie title, analyze that! For his part, NPR ombudsman Jeffrey Dvorkin says "the FAIR study seems about right to me with a couple of exceptions." One of which is the FAIR study ignores sources other than professional pundits, which account for a minority of NPR interviews and commentators. One might point out that both FAIR and NPR have their own biases. Can anyone on this planet claim that they don't?
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