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Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Bozell's Silly -- And Scary -- NPR Freakout
Topic: Media Research Center

Only in the wacky, bile-filled world of Brent Bozell can a non-NPR employee who has never expressed a political opinion on NPR serve as the reason for NPR to be stripped of federal funding.

An Oct. 20 Media Research Center press release quotes Bozell's ranting about Lisa Simeone, a host for an NPR-distributed show who popped up as a spokesperson for a group involved in an Occupy Wall Street-related protest in Washington, in a letter to House Republican Leader John Boehner demanding NPR lose its federal funding:

NPR is out of control, using taxpayer money to lend support to a sometimes violent and lawless mob set on crippling the financial backbone of our country.

NPR is not an objective, independent news broker. NPR is a shill for George Soros and other liberal funders, doing the bidding of these donors and acting in tandem with their political interests. And as you will see in the attached report, we have carefully documented such instances. NPR is a rogue operation which must be eliminated once and for all. It wasn’t necessary, we can’t afford it, and it continues to violate its own ethical standards of non-partisanship.

Never mind that Simeone is not an NPR employee -- she was a freelancer. Never mind that Bozell offered no evidence whatsoever that Simeone expressed any political opinion on the air -- highly unlikely given one of the shows she hosted is called "World of Opera."Never mind that Bozell offers no evidence whatsoever that Simeone's involvement with Occupy Wall Street-related protest constitutes NPR "using taxpayer money to lend support to a sometimes violent and lawless mob set on crippling the financial backbone of our country."

Forget all of that. Bozell is on a rant, and Simeone holds a politcal opinion he doesn't like.

Also, never mind that NPR cut ties with Simeone after her activism was exposed. Bozell sure doesn't care, even though he acknowledged that fact in his letter to Boehner.

It all boils down to one thing: Simeone holds a politcal opinion Bozell doesn't like. And he wants that opinion silenced. That he's willing to try and sic powerful politicians on NPR in order to shut down political opinion he doesn't like is scary.

Oh, and that  supposedly "carefully documented" report of public broadcasting's supposed liberalism? That's just the MRC's 20 cherry-picked instances of supposed liberal bias from tens of thousands of hours of public radio and TV broadcasting over 25 years, which it pretends is representative of all public broadcasting. It's not, and the MRC provides no evidence that it is.

The MRC is even turning on a normally friendly media critic to further its anti-NPR jihad. The Balitimore Sun's David Zurawik -- whom the MRC has fluffed when he took the side of its right-wing agenda -- made the mistake of pointing out the hypocrisy of "some of the folks on the right" who are bashing Simeone while "they slavishly take their marching orders from a certain cable TV channel chairman."

That incurred the wrath of the MRC's Tim Graham, who huffed in an Oct. 24 NewsBusters post: "This seems to ignore that liberals aren't watching the government turn a half-billion taxpayer dollars over to Rupert Murdoch every year." He continued:

Simeone has displayed all the arrogance you would expect from the leftists on NPR. She expected there was no reason to object to her both working on public radio shows and demanding on the sidewalks that "money that's being spent and wasted on slaughter come home here to spent in the U.S. on human needs." Apparently, those "human needs" are for more public radio, since no one ever suggests NPR be cut so we can fund food stamps.

Graham added: "So let's take two seconds to wonder if it was discovered that an NPR host was very publicly serving as a spokesperson for the Tea Party, how long would it take NPR to dump them, and for liberals to applaud that it was the only proper ethical course?" This is a presumed reference to Juan Williams. But Graham ignores the fact that, unlike Williams, Simeone was not a direct NPR employee, was not paid to express political opinions and apparently never expressed any political opinions on NPR's air.

Graham is just following the MRC's agenda -- like Bozell, he too wants to see opinion he doesn't agree with silenced.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:15 AM EDT

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