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On The Media: The Bias Bias

Mar 14, 2011
Ira writes:

"I was on On the Media this weekend, saying that public radio is mainstream news and that the charge of liberal bias is nonsense.

"Yes, NPR exec Ron Schiller said some things about the Tea Party that violated the core principles of our journalistic mission: accuracy and open-mindedness, fairness and respect. I crib those phrases, by the way, from the open letter our colleagues at NPR issued last week condemning his comments. But Ron Schiller is not a journalist, and what he said is very different from the reporting on the Tea Party and everything else you hear on our air every day.

"Since I said all this on On The Media, I've gotten a number of very thoughtful emails from conservative listeners saying they like public radio a lot, and listen all the time, but they hear a bias. I've asked for examples and I hope to get permission from them to post the emails they've sent in response.

"Does public radio have a left-wing bias? Am I wrong about all this? I think the best source of information on the subject is probably our own conservative listeners, who make up roughly a third of our audience (another third calls themselves middle of the road and a third is liberal). Conservatives: what do you hear that makes you wince? Can you think of specific examples of a public radio news story you found biased? On The Media is coming back to this next week, hoping to evaluate whether public radio is biased and if so, how biased, and they might find your comments useful.

"Please comment on our Facebook page, or join the conversation at On the Media, or, if you prefer a less public forum, send your thoughts to press@thislife.org."