In the last few days, some of my conservative online friends have sent me the link to a cartoon on the npr.org Web site as proof of the anti-conservative nature of National Public Radio.
I don’t work for NPR, and I don’t spent much time reading the opinion/editorial sections of most online news sites, so I wasn’t aware of “Learn to Speak Teabag” and, having read it, didn’t think it was funny and reinforced my belief that most political discourse in America isn’t going to be mistaken for challenging intellectual endeavors.
Today, NPR ombudsman Alicia Shepard gave her colleagues the chance to explain how it got on the npr.org site, and then noted the obvious:
That said, there are problems with the Tea Bag animation. Chief among them is it doesn’t fit with NPR values, one of which is a belief in civility and civil discourse.
Fiore is talented, but this cartoon is just a mean-spirited attack on people who think differently than he does and doesn’t broaden the debate. It engages in the same kind of name-calling the cartoon supposedly mocks.
And why is NPR running a cartoon from just one perspective?
NPR is a lightning rod in the ongoing political struggle. But it’s a credit to that organization — and others — that in a time of big cutbacks, they employ someone to answer complaints from the audience and hold people accountable to explain editorial decisions to the people who matter most — the readers and listeners.