Saturday, December 10, 2005

NPR Left Bias, Senator Eugene McCarthy [RIP] and President Ronald Reagan

Revised at 7:40 pm on Sunday evening, and link added to Conan quote.

[Senator Eugene] McCarthy ran again in 1972 [for President] but his moment had passed and subsequent presidential campaigns became increasingly marginal. He even endorsed candidate Ronald Reagan in 1980. Still, 1968 had profound effects. McCarthy’s [1968 Presidential] Campaign transformed the nominating process, which now centers on binding primaries and it helped change the character of the Democratic Party, bringing in the Peace and Civil Rights movements, though alienating many conservatives, especially in the South. [Emphasis Supplied].

NPR’s All Things Considered, December 10, 2005. As reported by NPR's Neal Conan, in a segment reflecting on Senator Eugene McCarthy, who died today at 89. [Go here to listen to the Conan segment].

Senator McCarthy [getting 42% of the New Hampshire Democrat presidential primary vote in 1968] and the Vietnam war protests he so vigorously supported were instrumental in causing President Johnson [LBJ] not to seek re-election in 1968 [See here], which cleared the way for his VP, Hubert Humphrey, to get the Democrat Nomination in 1968 and, in turn, Richard Nixon to win the Presidency in 1968.

Clearly, as NPR’s host would agree, Senator McCarthy [D-MN] was far from a marginal political force in 1968. Moreover, although McCarthy's presidential campaigns in later years became increasingly marginal, as NPR's Conan states, that is hardly demonstrated by Senator McCarthy’s endorsement of Ronald Reagan in 1980, as Conan suggests.

And the people at NPR wonder why many actual and would be regular listeners think there is left leaning bias at the Public Radio station? Gee, I can’t imagine. Could it be comments, such as Conan's, which seem to permeate NPR's "reporting," of the news.

Indeed, if NPR would like to avoid being marginalized itself, it should make an effort to identify and remove its left leaning bias. Not only would that be good journalism, but also it would expand its audience significantly and therefore would be good for the bottom line. Good journalism is good business.
Jeff Berkowitz, Host and Producer of Public Affairs and an Executive Recruiter doing Legal Search, can be reached at