Why Does NPR Need to Lie?

Looking to talk about Bob's earlier career with NPR (National Public Radio) on <em>All Things Considered</em> and <em>Morning Edition,</em> his chats with Red Barber, or even his beginnings in radio? Here's the place!
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CharlieSummers
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Why Does NPR Need to Lie?

Post by CharlieSummers »

I posted the following article to the Nostalgic Rumblings blog earlier today:
The Sacramento Bee ran a column yesterday that was basically a puff piece, promoting an event with Renee Montagne and Ellen McDonnell this evening. Thing is, the article is so...well...<em>wrong</em> that it again begs the question, why can't NPR stop lying about this whole thing, and why is it that even the trench-workers now feel the need to get into the fray?

The article claims 1) when Bob Edwards left as host, <em>Morning Edition</em> had 10-million listeners per week, 2) the show added 800,000 listeners/week during the first year without Edwards, and 3) the show now has 13-milliion listeners per week, a three-million-per-week increase due directly to the outster of Edwards and the addition of the dual-host-dual-coast format.

The truth: 1) when Edwards was removed, <em>Morning Edition</em> had 13-million listeners per week ("NPR reassigns its longtime morning voice," The Boston Globe, March 24, 2004; "Bob Edwards & the Remains of the Day," Washington Post, April 29, 2004; other articles from the period), 2) while NPR touted that 800,000 additional listener per week figure a year after Edwards' departure, it apparently referenced Arbitron ratings for fourth quarter 2004, when there was that hotly-contested presidential election to create a "bump" in ratings, and 3) the show now has around 13-million listeners per week...<em>zero-growth</em> from the Edwards' era, and indeed according to projections there is an expected <em>decline</em> in ratings ("Has Success Spoiled NPR?" The Washintonian, March 1, 2007).

Ok, I understand the author of the column has his own bias (heck, I've made it clear I'm not a big fan of NPR after spending most of my lifetime supporting them), and that's fine. But to accept clearly-phony numbers from Mss. Montagne and McDonnell is irresponsible at best...and I honestly can't figure out why they would flat-out lie the way they have. This isn't some pin-stripe - you expect them to lie (search for the transcript of the "web-chat" with Jay Kernis to see what I mean about pin-stripes being full of it), but the co-host of a news show and that show's producer spouting numbers that are clear fabrications...good lord, how much faith can you have in <em>anything</em> on the show? Why in the world would these two, both of whom worked with and profess to respect Edwards, pull these phony figures out of thin air?

Oh, wait...you have a morning news program with solid increases in ratings for its first 24 years...you then change the program radically and three years later you have flat ratings and you're expecting a decline. Now you need to feel good about yourself and your decisions, since admitting you screwed up is unheard-of in today's business world and NPR has already shown itself to be no more concerned about the "public" than any other lumbering corporation.

(By the way, if you need more proof that NPR knows what a mess they've made of things, check out the new morning news program they're building to compete with <em>ME.</em> And if that isn't enough, even PRI smells blood - they, too are building a new morning news show to compete directly against <em>Morning Edition.</em>)

So what to do when you <em>know</em> things are slipping away, and you can't face the responsibility? Simple. Lie your ass off, and hope there's no one with the sense to point out the lie.

If anyone's going to be at the Mondavi Center in Davis tonight, I'd appreciate it if you'd ask them why they need to insult the public with lies to make themselves feel better. Oh, never mind...I doubt you'd get the truth from them, anyway.
Charlie Summers
The comments here are my personal opinion, and not the official opinion of www.bobedwards.info
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