Do you think there’s a political bias in public radio programming?

In recent weeks, various critics have suggested that they see a political bias in public radio. Today’s Question: Do you think there’s a political bias in public radio programming?

  • Duane

    Yes, but I listen to them anyway, as well as MSMBC, Fox, CNN, and S-PAN. I don’t pay much attention to the networks, since they have to ration their time allowed to many stories and therefore do not give a balanced report. Although there is public funding involved, I listen to them anyway. It is difficult to get a complete picture of the liberal point of view from MSMC since they are more extreme, and being a conservative I want to hear both sides of many positions. I do feel the firing of Mr. Williams was badly handled and reflected poorly on the image of Public Radio.

  • Hiram

    Yes, that’s why I listen to it.

  • Duane

    That is C-SPAN instead of S-PAN, my spell check must have been asleep. Sorry!!

  • Alison

    That depends on what you listen to. Some shows seem to lean left, however I don’t think the news shows lean either way. The news shows go out of their way to avoid bias, and really do a pretty good job. (Unless you are talking about the of issue LGBT equality and acceptance, which shouldn’t really be a left or right issue anyway.)

    Of course, the awful way the removal of Juan Williams was handled (whether you agree with the decision or not) destroyed much of the credibility that most public radio journalists have spent years trying to establish. After doing that much damage to credibility of an otherwise outstanding news organization, is it time for a change in the NPR leadership?

  • Diana

    No, it is balanced. It’s the only place we can get the facts and make our own decisions.

  • Tim

    No. NPR presents at least two points of view in depth. I call that fair and balanced.

  • Clark

    Yes. I assumed all the far left democrats that respond to these questions would not see bias becasue they themselves are biased. I do see bias. Kerri Miller at times has trouble witholding her distain for conservative guests. I don’t mind listening to the liberal bias as I always want to know what my enemy is thinking. In the end, its always the same, punish success and reward failure.

  • Steve the Cynic

    The myth of the “liberal media” notwithstanding, there hasn’t been a liberal bias in for-profit news networks since the early nineties. Between deregulation of broadcast news, which made the profit motive more important for news media, and an apparently deliberate effort to avoid seeming too liberal, they’ve been tilting increasingly rightward. Even the supposedly far-left New York Times kow-towed to Bush in the run-up to the Iraq invasion and failed to ask the hard questions that might have helped America avoid being led into that quagmire. By contrast, public radio is more free to speak the truth, being free of the fear of losing ad revenue from big business.

  • Steve the Cynic

    And about the firing of Juan Williams, what really happened? NPR fired a “news analyst” for serving as a liberal commentator on Faux News, in violation of his contract. (The gaffe about his fear of muslims was merely the straw that broke the camel’s back.) If NPR was really pushing a liberal agenda, wouldn’t they want him expounding his views on that ultra-conservative newtwork?

  • Duke Powell

    I don’t watch much television. The vast majority of information I consume comes from the written word and radio.

    National Public Radio is a publicly funded liberal radio network. Any claim to the contrary is not to be taken seriously. That is why many think that public dollars should be with held from the Corporation of Public Broadcasting. I support that move.

    On the other hand, Minnesota Public Radio has changed over the past 6-8 years. With the obvious exception of Kerri Miller, who drips venom when speaking with Republicans, I seldom see any obvious instances of liberal bias – and it is something I look for.

  • Anna

    While there has been accusations of a liberal bias of Public Radio I’ve found the opposite. Time and again on the morning news there will be a 1-minute piece the Obama’s Administration’s new policy proposal, followed by at least 5 minutes or more of the negative response by the Republican opposition. My stop-watch shows more time devoted to John Boehner and Mitch McConnell than to Presient Obama.

  • Gary F

    Sure there is. It’s always had a left balance.

    Which is fine if they get enough members and advertisers. But the time is come for them to wean themselves of public financing.

    Which is also fine if they just would admit it and quit trying to portray the myth that they aren’t.

    Taking a boatload of money from George Soros doesn’t help their case also.

  • Absolutely. It’s intense and pervasive.

    Now, I think Minnesota Public Radio’s *news* department does a decent – not perfect – job of remaining detached from politics, certianly better than the Strib.

    But as far as the programming department, or NPR’s offerings? No question about it. Listening to everything from Keri Miller to Nina Totenberg, from “On the Media” to “Prairie Home Companion”, it’s impossible to miss the bias.

    NPR’s board is entirely composed of people who’ve donated to liberals and/or been involved in liberal politics.

    And “Anna?” The fact that the news discusses both sides of an Obama Administration policy is what lets us discuss NPR being “biased”, and not merely “propaganda”.

  • Steve

    Everyone will always think there is a bias. If the balance point isn’t either directly below where a person stands or further to the extremes of where they stand on a subject they will always see a bias.

    I think that there is a definite goal of MPR to go straight down the middle. They make it a point to have members of both sides of arguments on their shows. Either at the same time, or on consecutive days. To those that feel that Kerri Miller is biased, just because she doesn’t throw softballs to members of your party, have you listened to her interviews with the other side? I believe she is just as hard on both sides. As far as I can tell, when she asks a question, she does all she can to get a straight answer.

    As for NPR, sure, there could be a bit of a bias, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s good programing, and does it’s job of presenting the news, and the goings on of the county.

  • Chris

    No, I feel it is very level headed. Everyone listens and are polite to each other. They give you the facts and let you decide for yourself what it means. Even the partisan contributes like David Brooks are very interesting to listen to, and are given plenty of time to say what they think.

    Also, I think you can tell a lot from Talk of the Nation on Wednesday’s when the political Junkie is on. No one can honestly say there is a bias in that program.

    During debates on MPR, my wife and I are always trying to figure out who the moderator is going to vote for based on how they ask questions and how they let the candidates respond. I can honestly say I have no idea who Gary or Kari voted for. That is the true test folks, try getting that on CNN, MSNBC, or FoxNews.

  • Matt A

    I listen to MPR quite often as part of my mix of news sources and do not sense any systemic bias in either direction.

    If there is any bias at all, I find it seems to be on a personal level from the host, and only a slight one at that, and also only on certain topics.

  • Sue de Nim

    It depends on what you mean by “bias.” If being unbiased means echoing back to America its own prevailing opinions, then maybe public radio is biased. If being unbiased means regarding every opinion as equally valid, no matter how ill-founded, then maybe it’s biased. I would argue that presenting inconvenient truths that might challenge popular opinion, and asking hard questions of folks with opinions based on spurious information (e.g., climate-change deniers) is what’s unbiased.

    Popular opinion itself is biased. In America it’s biased to the right. In some other countries it’s biased to the left. Truly unbiased media should challenge the biases of popular opinion, not reflect them.

  • David

    It makes sense that there would be a liberal bias to public radio, being created by and for a more educated segment of the population that traditionally tends to swing more progressive. As a conservative patron I’ve been aware of it for years and listen with that in mind, but it has never gotten in the way, and in fact probably makes me more informed for doing so. I also don’t watch television, so radio is my primary news source, and the level of reporting and production that’s presented here is simply second to none. Of all media, public radio is the most fair and balanced news source out there today.

  • Tyler

    I’ve listened to Morning Edition and ATC for as long as I can remember, and they are cherished parts of my day, but (National) public radio is shamelessly committed to liberal advocacy.

    They abandoned any pretense of covering gender issues fairly years ago, and regularly (daily?) advocate for GLBT pet projects. And, as an electric utility guy, I have always found their coverage of energy issues embarrassingly impoverished and politically slanted. There are a dozen important actors with a dozen perspectives on every event in energy news, but NPR editors routinely boil every news item down to “Environmentalists vs The Forces of Darkness.” Sometimes GLBT folks and environmentalists just aren’t the most relevant voices in a conversation, and I think listeners get tired of spin.

    It’s funny listening to Michelle or Bob try to contain their incredulity when interviewing anyone right-of-center-left, though. Even Terri Gross, for all her practice, is hopelessly incapable of having a natural conversation with anyone that isn’t a secular-progressive.

    Last thing: All of the emails I get from far-left advocacy organizations hoping that I might be emboldened to write my congressman to socialize NPR do not help.

  • Philip

    Without question there is bias, but isn’t overt. It has to do with the type of programs aired and the time in which they are broadcast, as well as the attention certain issues receive over others (e.g. gay rights). It has to do with the worldview public radio/TV journalists and personalities have and what is considered to be “normal” compared to the general population (e.g. Keillor, Moyers, Lanpher, etc.). It has to do with how, for example, Juan Williams was dismissed and the perception people had of that (elitist/leftest). Even Jeffrey Dvorkin (NPR official ombudsman) admitted a liberal bias in NPR’s talk programming (Fresh Air with Terry Gross – Nov 2003). I would like to consider myself a centrist and I do like many of the things that are broadcast, but it is clear that public broadcasting is leftist in its ideology.

  • jim e.


  • Ryan

    Yes, I think that there is a slight bias on MPR.

  • Ann Doberstein

    If there is bias, it leans towards revealing the truth.

  • John

    If you don’t see a bias you are clearly a liberal. They preach equal unbiased coverage, however all of the interviewers ask leading questions and clearly have an agenda.

  • William Loomis

    Although I enjoy listening to Public Radio,, it is clear to anyone paying attenthion that the news and coverage are about as slanted (to the left) as any coverage I ever hear. The only thing worse is the constant effort to pretend that there is not a strongly liberal bias.

  • bsimon

    The lack of a conservative bias is perceived as liberal bias.

  • Joy

    Yes I do believe there is extreme bias in public radio. I also believe that if you want to continue the liberal bias on the radio, you should not be receiving public funds.

  • Chris

    I give MPR the same credit they give themselves- they are a high caliber, informative resource. That’s why I have listened for twenty years.

    That said, their bias is extraordinary. MPR does not critically question the merits of our social programs, the damage done by taxation and regulation, or the wisdom underlying the ever increasing intervention of governmental agencies into people’s lives and businesses.

    Mostly this is acheived by simply not evaluating issues like these, sometimes by being dismissive of them. Carrie Miller is by far the most dismissive and openly prejudicial against issues like these.

    There seems to be a narrative on MPR that there are no reasonable people or issues on the right. For example, the Tea Party movement has been quantified as simply a racist and radical confederation on MPR for some time. However 40% of voters, most independents, identify with their agenda. Why? MPR doesn’t ask.

    There are hundreds of legitamite perspectives beyond what MPR seems willing to cover, that each warrant an occasional parsing. None of which, I believe, MPR would be quite so obligated to feature if it weren’t proporting itself to be a service to the “Public” and were it not receiving tax dollars.

    As I said, I listen, but until MPR tries harder, much harder to be fair, I will never contribute.

  • Sharon A.

    I believe there is bias in public radio. The bias however is in favor of the general publicand its right to obtain good qualify information which is presented in a non confrontational way. I do not believe public radio has bias in favor of any political or other special interests. The notion of balance is a “fools errand” because sometimes there is a clear truth or a clear falsity. Is the opinion of someone who says the earth is flat of equal value to someone who says the earth is spherical?

  • Tom

    Of course, those seeking to score political points scream “liberal bias”!

    But it depends on which program you’re hearing. Various programs come from different production teams at different stations and organizations.

    For instance, I find NPR News and other DC-based programs to have a conservative bias: The group Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR) found that NPR put on more conservative commentators than liberals. “The World,” which comes from PRI has segments which are obviously designed to influence public opinion in a conservative direction.

    So, it’s a little bit complicated.

    I’m more concerned about Public Radio being beholden to corporate donors, which does bring a conservative bias. “Who pays the piper, calls the tune.”

  • Rich

    It’s an indication of how far to the right the perceived “center” has moved that public radio is considered to have an “extreme” bias. But merely saying it doesn’t make it true. A more pertinent question might be to ask why this center shift has occurred.

  • Brad

    I don’t see a political bias in public radio, although it can appear that there is a bias. First, the free dissemination of information, I believe, is a liberal mind characteristic. Many media outlets based on a clear bias either withold information, or spin it to their meet their planned bias, as part of audience management. I think most would agree that, of those stations seen as biased, the vast majority are on the conservative side. So, by not showing bias, public radio becomes the opposite of those stations that are biased, and you are assumed to be liberal by many. It’s the subtle difference between being “liberal” and being “not conservative.” Public radio is then further pushed into the liberal boat by those looking to highlight the differences between them and NPR for marketing purposes.

    Second, public radio does not spin information, which is, unfortunately, a style aspect that cannot be said about many of the non-public media outlets. I believe that much of the non-public media falls into a bias routine simply because it captures audience members of the same ilk, reinforcing their perspective, which builds the audience and drives revenue.

    As a last check, I find the BBC to be unbiased, akin to NPR, albeit with a more formal style. But most Britons do not see bias with the BBC. It would be interesting for NPR to probe this difference further. Does the UK have fewer biased media opponents, making them appear unbiased in contrast? Do Britons just think about things differently? Are they less combative? No doubt there are many other factors.

  • Brian

    Overall I don’t think there is a political bias in public radio programming. However any news organization that takes investigative journalism seriously and strives to provide something as close to the truth as possible will be regarded as having a left-wing by people on the right. There are a lot of things that the folks on the right just don’t want to hear and don’t want others to hear. For example, a research study (I believe it was done by the PEW Research Center) found just three or four years ago that most of the people who got their news from FOX news believed that we had found WMDs in Iraq, whereas most people who got their news primarily from NPR knew that we never found WMDs. Having that kind of information available to the people can make life difficult for presidential administrations that make a habit of lying to the people.

  • TJSwift

    “In recent weeks, various critics have suggested that they see a political bias in public radio. ”

    That statement, in and of itself illustrates a leftist bias. Various critics have been making that point for years, not weeks.

    That being said, count me among those that listen often and appreciate much of the programming. I’t not easy to find a source of leftist information that isn’t dripping with spittle, and NPR/MPR manages to keep it’s feet dry most of the time.

  • Jake

    I consider Public Radio to have the most comprehensive coverage of any media source available. Any media outlet that tries to offer a complete picture of an issue is inherently seen as “liberal” because part of the definition of “liberal” is that all views and facts are open to consideration. If it appears that Public Radio has a bias it is only because they choose to cover as much of the story as possible rather than choosing a particular viewpoint for their listeners.

  • Barbara

    Everyone’s perception is their reality. Bias is a human reality, and the different shows’ hosts cannot help but interject some of their own biases when reporting, no matter how hard they might try to remain unbiased. Some on these posts have pegged Keri Miller as being biased towards conservatives, but my reality says otherwise. She had Shelby Steele (who is black) on her show to assess the racial politics of the Obama Administration. Mr. Steele is every bit a conservative. NPR, my perception again, leans more towards the conservative side. Much more exposure in the amount of time is given to conservatives, and that which is given to liberals or progressives tends to be on the negative side, i.e., the “unbiased” news tends to spend more time talking about conservatives negative opinions of the Obama Administration in ways that I never heard regarding the Bush Administration by “liberals”.

    Many conservatives will say that MPR is “liberal” leaning, but, again, perception is reality. However, conservatives control the mainstream media as well as most of the cable “news”. As such, slants and propaganda result.

    I recall not only the mainstream media, but MPR, NPR discussing the snippet that went around the country of what Rev. Jeremiah Wright said in his pulpit, vilifying him, and in which Pres. Obama gave a speech and then repudiated Rev. Wright to satisfy the screaming public. However, MPR/NPR does not address in the same way the distortions and outright untruths told by Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann, Rush Limbaugh, Glen Beck, Sean Hannity and the like. They spew words of division and hatred, yet they are treated with kid gloves.

    So, yes, there is some bias in MPR–people are human and bring their experiences and bias to the forefront.

  • Jay

    It’s not so much the programming in which I perceive political bias. It is in the subtle reactions of program hosts as they are interviewing guests. For example, the way they seem to assume that national public health insurance is the obvious and only solution, or the slight chuckle they might give when counter-questioning a guest’s “conservative” statement as if to imply it was ridiculous. Journalism needs to question and examine conventional wisdom and popular opinion, not adopt it.

    Here is a lesson from the past for public radio when fielding accusations of “liberal bias”. This is a tool the far-right neoconservatives used to wedge their opinions into mainstream media in recent decades (homophobia, showy superficial patriotism, aggressive drug war, religion in politics, glorification of the military, etc.). They set themselves up as the right wing, claimed that the media were liberal for disagreeing with them, and accomplished an overall slight shift to the right by media outlets afraid of being stigmatized as liberal. So, my advice would be to stick to your principles and be very wary of this type of accusation, regardless of which region of the political spectrum it comes from. Overall, I see public radio as being mostly neutral politically.

    I do question the choice of syndicating BBC World News at night. They’re always focused on terrorism, foreign interventionism and nation-building, and generally seem to be beating the war drum. To me, this actually has a right-leaning political slant.

    I am concerned about public radio selling out to wealthy interests. The “brought to you by Corp XYZ [insert XYZ’s long promo tagline here]” ads from some large donors seem to become more prominent over time, and I’ve noticed more and longer well-produced ads on public TV, too, between programs. Once this bar is raised, it’s very difficult to lower. When you report on market conditions, don’t read emotion or opinion into the findings — just report the facts. For example, a “declining” housing market can actually be good for the first-time home buyers out there (in this and future generations) because their homes will be more affordable. We could also do with fewer stock market reports throughout the day; these represent money being funneled to large corporations that enjoy legal personhood and the kind of power to which journalism must always speak truth. Corporations, of course, do a lot of good, too, but when it’s time to expose their dark sides to sunlight there shouldn’t be any conflicts of interest blocking the truth. Listen to “Talking NPR Blues” by U. Utah Phillips for a songwriter’s take on this.

  • Sherry

    I definitely see a bias, however I have a strong conservative leaning so my radar goes up and I am more sensitve to it. MPR’s programing is so enjoyable and informative. However, it IS time for public funding to be removed and I will be the first to get out my checkbook.

  • Shane

    Of course it has a bias towards the left. First of all they receive direct funding from the government. Name me one person/company that gets tax dollars as part of their funding that isn’t a progressive. Second of all, just take a look at their underwriters. They all seem to be left wing groups. How do you think they would feel about supporting an organization that doesn’t help move their aganda forward? I don’t think they would. And finally, any person that pronounces the name “Michele”, “Mee-chele” is clearly a liberal.

  • Jim Shapiro

    As Stephen Colbert says, REALITY has a liberal bias. One could argue that reality is subjective, based on one’s personal perspective and all that that entails. But while we are all entitled to our own opinions, we aren’t entitled to our own facts. It is the primary task of the media to supply us with those facts. It is never possible to have all of the facts, but NPR/MPR/PBS do the best job of providing a large number of them.

  • Nancy

    MPR certainly show no political bias and I don’t see any political bias at NPR either. BUT..NPR certainly shows a continual East Coast bias and paranoia.

  • Vince

    In the past I thought MPR was liberally biased. I listened occasionally only to see how biased. In the recent past I thought MPR was taking seriously the idea of being “fair and balanced” to steal a phrase. The recent Juan Williams fiasco now causes me to re-think that. I trust MPR will strive to eliminate bias in its reporting as it is a favorite of mine.

  • “No slant, no rant.”

    No, MPR is much too subtle to rant… but the slant is very real and all pervasive. And, why wouldn’t it be liberal-leaning? Any individual or organization that receives public funding (welfare) is certainly going to serve the master that feeds it.

  • Jon

    You could honestly ask this—How many NPR employees do you know who voted for George Bush? I think it would be very telling as to what is the starting point for any bias.

  • Steve the Cynic

    About that corporate underwriting of NPR…. Am I the only one who has noticed a trend toward public radio sponsorship messages coming from corporations with public relations problems? ADM, when it was being investigated for price fixing a few years ago, for instance. Also, big pharma, the “clean” coal lobby, and others. What’s up with that?

  • Ted

    The truth appears biased to anyone whose partisan beliefs supersede their ability to reason, and that certainly applies to those who are crying foul about public radio.

    If anything, public radio news has been cowed by the howls of partisan rhetoric that have been constantly leveled at them over the years.

    I would like to pose this question: is it possible in this day and age for any commercially funded news organization to not be biased in favor of the commercial and political interests of those who fund them?

  • Todd

    There is a clear bias towards liberal causes and attitudes. It’s particularly keen when you are of conservative mind. As one of the earlier posters mentioned, it’s not so outright – but much more subtle. It’s the condescension the announcer’s voice as they talk about conservative ideas. Or a snide chuckle. It underscores to the listener that public radio is firmly entrenched to the left of the American center.

    What could you expect from an organization that depends on government subsidies? Are they going to be in favor or against more government spending? Of course they’ll be in favor of more. And the editorial tone reflects that economic reality.

    For example – look at the Board of Directors at NPR. Of the approximately 50 members, is there any conservative? Nope. All their contributions, all their affiliations are with hard left-wing groups.

    So call a spade a spade. NPR, MSNBC, MPR, New York Times – it’s the DNC echo chamber. Once you realize that and accept it, it’s just fine.

  • I don’t think NPR / MPR news is biased, although I do believe there is not sufficient depth to the news – reading headlines and hearing the repetition is frustrating, though I guess this saves ‘the company’ from actually researching and reporting detail.

    I do hope that the recent election doesn’t skew NPR /MPR slant more to the right, n extreme that has nudged the center to the right.

    I have only recently come to the conclusion that there does not need to be a national left vs right ‘argument.’ I do believe that left and right have a common enemy – corporate influence.

    If NPR / MPR were to make a significant contribution to improving the quality of discourse in this country, it would interview more legal experts who can bring awareness to – and help reverse – the Citizen’s United decision. Similarly, more reporting / outing of who the lobbyists are, who / what entity is paying them, how much is being paid and how that trickles down into what is being referred to as a ‘grass roots movement.’

    Honestly, both the left and the right are angry about the bailout, the only argument FOR the bailout it is if it truly saved us from a more severe depression. But we need to be honest with ourselves. If we do not question the status quo when things are ‘good,’ then we can’t complain about ‘not being prepared when the bottom drops out.’

    My apologies for the length, I could obviously go on…

    eddie ciletti

  • Leslie

    Yes, the bias is clear. I disagree with that more “liberal” bias. However, I really appreciate the conversation. Even though the programming and some interviews may show bias, there is also clear respect. I don’t feel it would be good for me to surround myself with only voices I agree with. I understand more clearly the opinions of others and become more informed about my own by listening to MPR.

  • Steve the Cynic

    “Any individual or organization that receives public funding (welfare) is certainly going to serve the master that feeds it”

    And what would that say about news outlets owned by mega-businesses and and the uber-wealthy, that depend entirely on ad revenue for their existence?

  • cbearg

    Let’s deal in facts.

    First, let’s deal in facts. NPR receives only about one to three percent of its funding from the federal government. I looked at NPR’s budget statements for the last few years(, which supports this.

    Two, many conservative organizations that receive federal funding.

    Third, if you listen to MPR (such as Midday), then you know that MPR is scrupulous about including representatives who are both Dems and Republicans, liberals and conservatives, on the same show to discuss issues.

    Fourth, Juan Williams broke his contract with NPR by making a racist comment. I think it is probably that simple.

    My overall sense is that:

    – The news programs on NPR and MPR bend over backwards to be fair. Even Talk of the Nation consistently has a wide range of guests and opinions.

    – Conservatives seem to have an “If your not with us, your against us” attitude. So if NPR reports or analysts don’t overtly agree with conservatives (because they are trying to be unbias) then conservatives see this as being against them.

    – I do agree that some of the non-news shows, like Fresh Air (and even Prairie Home) have a liberal point of view. But they are also more than willing to criticize Democrats (and frequently do).

  • Joel Mpls

    Absolutely – the incentive for the bias is due to the fact that Public Radio depends partly on tax dollars. The clear example of this bias are the pre-election polls for the MN Governor’s race. How was the gap of 11-12% points drawn up so quickly to a recount? Answer: selective polling.

    Response to Steve the Cynic on Juan Williams: Juan was fired because he expressed a non-politically correct view and in our hyper-sensitive media/culture today, that doesn’t fly.

  • Lydia

    A great example of how MPR/NPR has shifted to the right is that they shamelessly refer to President Obama as “Mr. Obama.” I don’t remember this happening during the Bush administration. Even now, they refer to Bush as “Former President Bush.”

    Keri Miller has become so focused on that “shiny object” that she will show disdain for ANY guest that tries to talk about an issue in a way that doesn’t create controversy.

    Everyone here has a point of view, and that influences how you hear each story. Just remember that OPINIONS are not facts. MPR should challenge speakers or issues that attempt to present their opinions as facts. A great example is the constant reporting of Healthcare Reform as a “government takeover.” Any reasonable thinker knows that what was passed was very conservative, especially compared to what the liberals wanted. This eventually influences the way that many people think of the issue.

  • Michelle

    As Stephen Colbert once said, “Reality has a strong Liberal bias”.

    Reality isn’t decided by majority opinion; if it were the earth would have been flat in the 16th century, but regardless of what people felt or thought or believed- the earth always was spherical.

    I’ve seen MPR/NPR bending over backwards in recent years to include “both sides” even when that means broadcasting the ravings of a flat-earther, metaphorically speaking.

    Stay strong, NPR/MPR- put a picture of Gallileo on the walls in your studio and stick to the facts, even when they are unpopular!

  • Russ from St. Paul

    Yes, indirectly in its coverage of social issue in so far as it is more likely to covers topic that are high on the Liberal agenda and cast the liberal take on the issue more favorably.

  • cbearg

    If Fox is clearly conservative…

    … and MSNBC or Young Turks are clearly liberal…

    … then it seems to me that NPR and MPR are right in the middle.

  • Steve the Cynic

    “Response to Steve the Cynic on Juan Williams: Juan was fired because he expressed a non-politically correct view and in our hyper-sensitive media/culture today, that doesn’t fly.”

    That’s the way it’s been spun by Faux News, conservative pundits, and Williams himself. His firing was handled badly, but he was indeed in violation of his contract. (Whether NPR should have had such provisions in his contract is another matter, though.) The fact is, Williams’ moonlighting as a spokesperson for liberal views was giving the impression that he was also acting as a partisan advocate, rather than a news analyst, in his work at NPR.

  • Lawrence

    There isn’t any political bias in public radio. Conservatives often confuse class bias with political bias. MPR’s book series and some of the non-pop culture artists, for example, appeal to middle and upper class American culture. The political guests on MPR, for example, are frequently nonpartisan. NPR has a segment on Fridays in which EJ Dionne, a liberal political observer, and David Brooks (a conservative observer) discuss political issues together, thereby creating a centrist stance for public radio. At night, public radio often features World News stories, some from the BBC, others from elsewhere, and again, this information generally caters to somebody that has far more knowledge of worldly events than your average conservative or liberal.

  • Greg and Heidi Chester

    We enjoy Minnesota Public Radio as one of our primary sources of news and information. We have noticed that newer sources such as Fox have entered the picture that are so far to the right that they have one wheel in the ditch.

    We have noticed that MPR in order to find the center has drifted farther to what is described as the “right.” I consider myself to the right being an environmental conservative,

    I expect you to describe what is happening in the real world as it is happening. Just as important you need to point out the potential risks of that behavior or bring in people who have that ability or interest. There are consequences to our decisions and actions and there are even greater consequences to ignoring those consequences or to lie about them.

    By not presenting an alternate view and even challenging the misinformation and even disinformation of certain leaders and media we allow the message to drift into the direction of the loudest and too often most deceptive voice.

    The voices of the Green, Ecology Democracy, and other visionary and “gadfly” parties have been largely ignored in this election. We need gadflies to warn us and give us alternative choices and paths to resolve the ever more complex social, economic, and environmental problems we are facing.

  • Sue de Nim

    Let’s think about this some more. Public broadcasting is staffed mostly by people who are more interested in providing a valuable public service by putting out good information and thoughtful discussions than in becoming personally wealthy (or else they’d have gone into a more lucrative line of work). That’s a fundamentally liberal attitude. So, why would it surprise us if there are more Democrats than Republicans on the public broadcasting payrolls? Should NPR, PBS, etc., have a hiring quota to make sure they have enough conservatives to balance the liberals (as if that would make for balance)?

    The same dynamics explain the supposed “problem” of liberal bias on college university faculties. The radical right would have trouble getting traction for its message if it didn’t own the messengers.

  • Lawrence

    Conservatives confuse political bias with class bias. Public radio’s political shows always have both parties equally represented. The bulk of public radio’s programming is the arts, world news, and scientific research. Very highly educated listeners typically find these programs engaging and therefore, make up most of public radio’s audience. While public radio rarely features pop culture, pop culture appeals to most liberals as well as conservatives. Most Americans do not have a high financed education, and you don’t need that to understand pop culture, which is why most radio stations in America, play pop culture.

  • Linda

    No – refreshing honesty and a wide range of subject matter. MPR / NPR is not biased – just presents the truth as clearly and straightforward as possible. And there’s no shouting or guests talking over one another. If there’s any bias, it’s toward the truth – and the truth hurts sometimes.

  • Mark

    I believe that MPR is concerned about being perceived as a liberal leaning organization as demonstrated by this question and other discussions about this subject. More telling is the repeated assertions that MPR is “No Rant – No Slant” trying to shore up the perception that MPR only presents the truth without bias.

    The problem is that all people involved in news/media organizations have biases and that it is very difficult for them to recognize their own biases. If everyone involved with a story or program (reporter, editor, producer etc) has similar biases they are unable to see how each others biases have shaded the story that they present to listeners/readers.

    It often seems that many at MPR believe that they need to provide a “counter balance” to the conservative bias that other news media organizations have. This would be fine if MPR admitted that they are attempting to counter the bias of other organizations but is not appropriate if MPR claims to be free of any liberal or conservative bias.

    The fact that MPR seems unable to admit that its reporting “might” be biased indicates an unwillingness to put in the effort needed to limit the impact of the biases that individuals bring to the organization.

    Just as vigilance is said to be the price of freedom, the same kind of vigilance is necessary to report the news without bias. I’d like to see MPR be more honest about this process.

  • Scott


  • Julia

    No — unless it is considered liberal to attempt to listen to all sides of an argument.

  • Ian

    NO, it may seem like it to some because the right has become saturated by radical, loud pundits but I think that, especially with the governors race, they have been as well balanced as possible. I don’t think they gave any candidate more or less time, with the excpetion of some of the fringe radical candidates.

  • Charlie Black

    We live in a sort of neo-McCarthy era when neutrality and balance are percieved, especially from the right, to represent bias because the “other” point of view is presented. Deviations from ideologically determined positions seem to be less and less tolerated. Where is the room for reasoned, evidence-based debate? In my opinion MPR (and NPR) are just about the only sane voice that I hear these days.

  • Nikki

    As the old saw says, “Dance with the one that brung ya!” The increasing corporate PR pull exerted by lengthy “sponsorship” acknowledgements (Don’t dare call them “commercials”? Why not??) has obviously canted the tone and tenor of coverage to the right in the last few years. Leading up to the recent MN gubernatorial election – and since – the push for the (two) Republican candidates was – and is – plain as day. An acquaintance that seldom agrees with me recently stated emphatically that she was in complete accord with my perception on this topic. And despite the bean-counter data expounded by Public Radio management apologists, I do not believe that then-President Bush was referred to as “Mr. Bush” as frequently as President Obama is currently named as “Mr. Obama.” He is this nation’s elected leader; he deserves to be referred to as “PRESIDENT Obama.”

  • david mataya

    The problem lies with the shifting center. Who is accusing public radio of bias, and what is their benchmark for “balance”? I don’t think one can absorb very much of the pro-conservative analysis so abundant on commercial radio without losing the ability to recognize balanced, thoughtful coverage and analysis when one hears it. Indeed the very idea of “balanced, thoughtful and professional” coverage – news reporting that regularly recognizes and discloses its biases – smells “liberal” to an avid consumer of the ratings-crazed right-wing howling that pollutes so much of American political discourse.

  • Curt C.

    You can’t be neutral on a moving train.

    I just wish NPR realized how much they kowtow to corporate and government interests. You’re much more like the rest of the corporate media than you are different.

    P.S. Please start using the words “torture” and “gerrymandering” again.

  • Jeff

    Yes, there is political bias in public radio programming. Two key cases stick out in my mind, the first was when Science Friday was doing a show about global warming; a caller happened to question the idea of global warming and the host, Ira Flatow, got angry with the caller started yelling. I could hear the embarrassment in the guest’s voice when he had to speak after Ira stopped yelling. The other case was when Kerri Miller shouted down a man asking questions of the governor candidates during a debate this year. She was telling the audience that the Arizona bill allowed racial profiling and the man in the audience who asked the question about the AZ bill said that racial profiling was definitely not allowed. She was wrong, the man was right but she refused to allow him to speak anymore and finished by reiterating that the AZ immigration bill would allow racial profiling. The bill deliberately states that racial or ethnic profiling is not allowed.

  • Joe Conrad

    There is a bit of bias in everything. Simply choosing to cover one story over another would be a form of bias. That having been said, from what I see, MPR is certainly more in the middle than a “Fox” or “MSNBC” would be. Plus, public radio covers considerably more than simply politics. (Thank God for that.)

    But now that you got me thinking…

    “On Being” could be associated with the Religious Right. “The World” could be a part of the push for a one world government. “A Prairie Home Companion” could be a pro-Luddite agrarian conspiracy. “Wait, wait, don’t tell me” is obviously a pro-anarchist forum. “The Splendid Table” simply screams of bleeding-heart leftist politics. “Car Talk” is merely a front for the auto industry. “The Story” is a means for Canadians to sneak across our borders and steal our jobs. “The Current” is obviously a Libertarian front, because it promotes too much variety in music. “Marketplace” is a part of the massive corporate conspiracy to oppress us.

    And Gary Eichten? Well, don’t even get me started…

  • Lyle

    If attempting to attract intelligent listeners by asking intelligent questions represents a bias, then I am all for their bias.

  • Kristie

    Yes, definitely. It’s not to say that I don’t still listen to and appreciate the coverage but the bias definitely exists.

  • Ulu Jones

    Public radio, NPR in particular, is accused of having a liberal bias. This is laughable. NPR has a pro-corporate bias.

  • PW

    It really should be a two part question, “Do you think there’s a political bias in public radio programming? Then prove it.”

    The people who claim liberal bias lack two key points. One, they don’t listen to public radio, and two, they have no facts to back up their allegations.

  • Gary Anderson

    NPR covers a broad spectrum of ideas. They question authority, challenge prejudice, and reject demagoguery. This isn’t bias. It’s good journalism!

  • Marcia

    Yes, it is biased. Guests and commentators don’t question statements and reports. For instance, my experience has been that the schools that spend the most money aren’t always the best schools. My experience was that the school that spent more money was much worse. Report on how schools in other countries spend their money.(Some don’ t spend it on sports.) Report on health insurance and whether companies could hire more people if they didn’t have to consider health insurance. Tax those benefits.Encourage market competition by doing this. When obesity trends are reported, remind people that the weight charts were changed in the past 20 years. Women who were 5’4″ and 145 pounds were suddenly labeled “obese.” Are global warming reports incomplete? Meteorologists report every night on record temps from 100 years ago. Could there be cycles in the weather? Talk about the benefits of a flat income tax and changing sales taxes to follow a spend more, pay more philosophy. (this would be a better way of “taxing the rich.”

  • Nancy Jo Hambleton

    Yes, but perhaps not in the way you and most of the other people who’ve commented so far might think. There seems to be an underlying assumption here that “political bias” is an “either/or”, “left/right” issue. That’s one layer of potential political bias. However increasingly, I’ve seen another kind of political bias that involves much more reporting on the strategizing of the two major political parties than reporting on the issues. Who’s ahead in the polls, who has to do what to get more votes, what are the implications to a Republican or Democratic party when this or that happens, seem to be taking up more and more air time. I’d like to see that sort of political naval-gazing confined to an hour show! Especially during an election, I want to know what every registered candidate thinks – the Green party candidate, the Libertarian, etc. not just the two major parties (with an occasional Independent thrown in for good measure). “Fair and balanced” reporting doesn’t just mean giving “equal time” to two mainstream parties or two political philosophies (liberal vs. conservative). To me, it means giving a voice to all parties on the political spectrum – especially when some of those parties do not have the monetary influence to muscle their way into other media that neglect them. It also means airing programming that sticks to the community and social issues for which our political institiutions were made to govern. I want to be an “informed and engaged citizen”. I need information that helps me vote intelligently, communicate with my government representatives (whether I voted for them or not), and decide what causes I might want to support. I need to know exactly what a politician thinks and/or is doing about a specific community/social issue. Reporters and show hosts need to make concerted efforts to keep their political guests focused on topics relevant to the guests’ entire constituencies, not just those in the guests’ political bases. Partisan comments and evasive responses by guests should be challenged and “factual” statements verified as soon as possible. When public radio gets sidetracked with entire shows on political maneuverings, opinion polls, and election strategies, I don’t get the information necessary to make meaningful contributions as a citizen. I get my news almost exclusively from the radio and greatly appreciate the efforts of MPR and NPR to try to be unbiased. You are the best sources out there. But even the best of anything always has room for improvement. Minimize the reporting on the “politics of politics” and get back to reporting on the issues and workings of government.

  • Me – “Any individual or organization that receives public funding (welfare) is certainly going to serve the master that feeds it”

    Steve – And what would that say about news outlets owned by mega-businesses and and the uber-wealthy, that depend entirely on ad revenue for their existence?

    Me – Good question, Steve! Of course they’re biased… but there not taking public money to serve an agenda (liberal)… and just as importantly, they’re not pretending to be unbiased.

    I have to say that I feel a bit duped to have even responded to this question. I don’t think anyone at MPR really gives a rip… this is just a very subtle way to try and convince the public that they do. Brilliant!

    Pass the tax dollars…

  • Henry

    The media covers sensational events and social issues. Liberal political agendas often emphasize social concerns. Therefore, many conservatives not as committed to social issues conclude the media has a liberal bias. Conversely, liberals may view media who limit coverage of certain social concerns as having a conservative bias. Since pure objectivity does not exist, these things must always be in the eye or mind of the beholder, no?

  • Jeff

    PW – “It really should be a two part question, “Do you think there’s a political bias in public radio programming? Then prove it.”

    The people who claim liberal bias lack two key points. One, they don’t listen to public radio, and two, they have no facts to back up their allegations. ”

    If you look at my post at 1:56 pm, you can see two specific examples of bias. I agree that NPR/MPR probably do the best job of attempting to be non-bias but once in a while the liberal bias does come out.

  • Mary

    Why am I not surprised this question has come up when the recent sponsors (Chamber of Commerce, Walmart, Fox) have been organizations with tremendous bias towards their serving their interests. Have they bought their positions on the Board yet?

    MPR is known Nationally for their integrity in reporting and covering issues. I have noticed less of that since you have had your recent sponsors.

    If MPR becomes even more pressured to give air space to “non-thinkers, political hacks and special interests of those who already own 90% of the air waves”, they will be nothing.

    I fear for what I am already seeing in your future.

  • Alan

    I agree with the comments that to be “in the middle” based the amount of money (speach!!!) expended is way to the corporate right. And, indeed, over the last several years, MPR has responded. Look who the corporate sponsors are. So long middle class.

  • Brad

    As I see more postings here, it occurs to me that there may be a way to actually measure a news source for bias, counting the frequency of significant instances in the report, such as the following.

    – Use of charged words or phrases, e.g. “radical.”

    – Lack of proper titles of respect, e.g. Mr. Obama instead of President Obama.

    – Righteous indignation replacing facts.

    – Omission of obvious news, e.g. putting on a freeway chase instead of a presidential announcement.

    – High levels of anger.

  • Marcie Andrews

    Yes – I listen to MPR for balanced news but have been extremely disappointed in the recent election coverage. Many Republicans were elected so someone must be satisfied with the results and yet MPR only covers how disapointed the Democrats are and only highlights how aparently awful everything will be going forward. What happened to balance at MPR? I miss those days but hope they return.

  • Brian

    Yes it is. Not to mention that MPR / NPR are shills for big business like Monsanto….bad bad…the companies drive the news agenda… which is unfortunate.

    It’s a lesser evil though of say a Fox News or Daily Show which too many Americans think is real news.

    Either way, I am smart enough to see through the biases of any media outlet.

  • Jay

    NPR/MPR is biased towards people who listen to news in the form of facts and analysis versus the sensationalized agenda driven muck so prevalent every where else. I think its great when someone gets in my car and is appalled at the long winded stories on NPR. People can’t the fact that this question is being asked shows how far the right the middle has gone. What will come under fire next? There are a great many utilitys and services and such that just make sense at the public scale.

  • Amy

    You just played a story by Brian Naylor in which he talked about how Republicans are going to make cuts in the budget, with information supplied by the Heritage Foundation, with no counter information whatsoever. And you’re wondering whether there is a bias in public radio. MPR features a mid-morning host who “hmms” and “uh-huh”s everything her conservative guests say, and let their comments about the “democrat party” go by without the slightest protest. And you’re wondering whether there is a bias in public radio.

  • Shingo Mathieu

    I agree with the majority. Normally I’d say MPR has no equal in this country, but the lead up to the election was terrible. Reports on the Democrats not making the grade and not fully explaining that IN FACT the Republicans caused all this mess in the first place. I think MPR/NPR had a profound impact on the election outcome – frankly I’m surprised Dayton did as well as he did under the curcumstances. What happened to you guys??? Since when did FOXNews buy you out????

  • Kurt

    MPR is profoundly biased. They typically have two “experts” on a show such as mid-morning. One is liberal, the other is extremely liberal. You hear liberal political rants on Prairie Home Companion, Car Talk…….it doesn’t matter. My favorite was when they had the “ethicist” on who actually said a few years back that the “ethical thing to do was vote Democrat”.

  • Fred

    The majority of people who think public radio is biased are those who believe that any station that: doesn’t parrot back the daily Republican Party talking points is liberal. It’s the same crowd that gets the majority of their news from Glenn Beck and actually thinks that Fox News is “fair and balanced.”

  • Jeff

    Shingo Mathieu – ” I think MPR/NPR had a profound impact on the election outcome – frankly I’m surprised Dayton did as well as he did under the curcumstances. What happened to you guys??? Since when did FOXNews buy you out????”

    How can you get it so wrong, MPR is not a conservative station…..if anything they lean left. Just because MPR does not come out and declare socialism and communism as the best way to govern does not make them a right wing group. MPR did a poll about a week before the election and they were claiming that Dayton was ahead of Emmer by 12%, if that’s not liberal bias I don’t know what is. Right now that lead is down to ~0.4%; 11.6% is way outside the margin of error.

  • Richard Prince

    Obviously there can no longer be rational discussion anymore. Too much polarization. Too much political spin and hysteria. And lots and lots and lots of stupidity. It a shame. Political discussion is a waste of time. Americans are just too dumb and have no honor nor integrity.

  • Steve the Cynic

    “Political discussion is a waste of time.”

    Unfortunately, it’s not a waste of time. It’s worse than that. The current polarization of our political system has turned elections into liars’ contests. Whoever can get the most voters to believe their lies instead of their opponenents’ lies wins. And the most common lie told by both sides is the accusation that anyone who doesn’t completely agree is an extremist on the other side.

    On today’s topic, those who say NPR has a far left bias, and those who say it’s a mouthpiece for corporate America, are both wrong. It’s clearly in the center. But the loudest and most influential media outlets have drifted so far to the right that NPR seems liberal by comparison. (Anyone besides me remember that Richard Nixon, no leftist by any stretch of the imagination, thought nationalized health insurance was a good idea?)

  • Kelly

    Absolutely yes. I listen anyway to the news shows but there are several times throughout the day (and especially weekends) when I want to scream at the radio when hosts think they are funny making jokes about conservatives but never about liberals OR when hosts ask ‘innocent’ blatantly liberal bent questions to guests. The firing of Juan Williams was poorly handled and they should be punished. As a conservative, I handled it in the marketplace by canceling my first time ever subscription to NPR.

  • Tom

    Absolutely yes, NPR has a strong liberal bias. How many NPR employees voted for a conservative? The data would be quite telling.

    If NPR did not receive taxpayer funding the liberal bias would be OK, as is, it is forced propaganda.

  • Jack Goldman

    MPR is more educational. NPR is wildly and embarrassingly biased. NPR promotes liberal racism, liberal bias, liberal bigotry, and liberal agendas. These agendas are hateful, promoting hate towards Muslims and Christian white males. NPR is wildly pro Hebrew, pro African, pro Woman, pro Gay homosexual, pro Immigrant, and pro Minority.

    I refuse to join MPR because of the liberal hate and bias on NPR. I am sick of hearing about Israel, Jews, and holocaust. Get on with another subject. We are misinformed and uninformed because of the bias and liberal racism on NPR to promote Jews, Africans, and Women or put another way, exclude Christian White males.

    The coverage was wildly liberal before Bush was elected. MPR was quite balanced and changed after Bush was elected. Since Obama the bias has exploded, again.

    Why should I care if a politician is the first Hebrew, African, Woman, Gay Homosexual, Immigrant, or Minority? The qualifications are ignored to promote the race wars of hate. The hate is always directed at the bad things Muslims and Christian white males have done. Adolf Hitler, Holocaust, and other historical issues are brought up like slavery. Give me a break and stop agonizing about the past. It’s 2010, not 1942.

    NPR has the WORST coverage because they can not over come their agenda and bias. I wish NPR would lose their government funding because their bias is so bad.

    MPR and Gary Eichten are awesome and educational. NPR, Terry Gross, Speaking of Faith, and many other shows have too many Jews and are too sympathetic to the Jewish cause of ethnically cleansing Muslims and Christian White Males from all living wage jobs and power positions.

    PS, Why are Jews 2% of America and 33% of the US Supreme court? Why have the Democratic Supreme Court Appointees been 75% Jews, and 25% women and minorities for 40 years? The Democrats and Liberals are a hate group that hate Christian White males and Muslims.

    Where is the shame? End the liberal bias, liberal bigotry and liberal racism at NPR.

  • Jack Goldman

    Liberal bias and conservative bias are different. Liberal bias promotes border crossing and tearing down things. Conservative bias promotes conservative bias and preventing things from being torn down.

    Liberals promote women and minorities to pull down, ethnically cleanse, and exclude, Christian White males. Women and minorities is hate speech pure and simple.

    Conservatives and Liberals both have bias. They just disagree about who to bias. Liberals promote Affirmative Action which is bias for women and minorities.

    I don’t like being in a group that is legally attacked and legally ethnically cleansed from living wage jobs for having a white penis.

    The liberal bias is they want permanent change. My question for all at MPR and NPR is what is the right quota? Where are the goal posts?

    How many Jews, Hebrews, Zionists, Israelis are too many? How many Africans, Women, Gay homosexuals, Immigrants, and Minorities are too many? How many jobs should be set aside for Christian White males? Who will stop the liberal racism and liberal bias and liberal bigotry of the liberals? I don’t know.

    How much is enough bias and where are the goal posts so I will know when we get there?

  • joe musich

    So many comments have drifted away from the very simple basic yes or no question is the only aside comment I’ll make. My answesr is a simple no.

  • Khatti

    Yeah. Things have toned down at MPR since I first started listening in the ’90s but yeah: MPR has a liberal bias. What I find so maddening is that MPR often doesn’t seem to realise it has a liberal bias: this speaks to a truly parochial insularity or a certain amount of self-deception.

    Then again, I could be unfair. Bernard Goldberg once explained that the problem at CBS is that they didn’t see their liberal bias as liberal. They viewed their point of view as being humane, sensible, etc., etc.. MPR might not be seeing the big picture here because they are standing in the frame.

    I have no idea how extreme Left MPR is. I tend to think of it more as a parochial Left. With MPR I often feel like I’ve accidentally walked into a private meeting of a fraternity or sorority, and while no one actually asks you to leave you can appreciate that you shouldn’t really be there. I’m very aware of this feeling when listening to Kerri Miller–even though I often enjoy Kerri Miller’s programs.

    A point I have seen mentioned several times is the quality of their news programs. I agree, MPR has some of the best quality news on the air–but there is still a left-of-center bias. This beast walks and chews gum at the same time.

    Which may bring us to the important question: how important is it that MPR is biased to the left? Biased or not, MPR provides a service that would be hard to replace. I’m frequently annoyed by MPR, but I would never want to see its funding cut, or see the service come to an end.

  • T`

    Does it really matter? Listen to Glenn Beck and NPR programming back-to-back and see who holds a bised.

    And to Jack Goldman; suck it up. The era of white-male dominance is changing. Either adjust or wither up in your self-serving anger. Life is too short to point fingers because you feel like your 4 again…GIVE ME BACK MY TOY!

  • D.M.Bryant

    Yes. Daniel Shore ? Juan?

  • It seems clear to me that most of the people who work at mpr are liberal. I don’t think conservatives would be nearly as concerned about the appearance of bias. Fox news used “Fair and Balanced” as a slogan, not an actual policy. Only liberals would ever actually make it their policy, because only liberals feel they need to prove themselves unbiased, rather than simply claim it as Fox News does. It’s difficult to listen to people who are clearly liberal and not believe the coverage to be biased. But when I listen to the coverage, rather than the people, I find it extremely unbiased (at least politically). Occasionally, an anchor, reporter or newsreader will slip and let their opinion of the news show through, but it is clear these are slips and mistakes, often by junior reporters, and mpr is by no means unique in this case. However, it is telling that these slips invariably reveal a liberal opinion.

    Separate from this, I do detect a bias in the coverage that is not political, but nevertheless there. It is a tendency to give coverage to official State of Minnesota sponsored events (both positive and negative) more than they necessarily deserve. For instance, although I like the state fair, I don’t think that it’s in general particularly newsworthy in and of itself, and yet mpr regularly moves a large portion of their staff to the fair and reports on the goings on there regardless of whether they’re particularly exceptional or newsworthy. Whenever the State does something even remotely controversial, you can be sure there will be an hour or two of coverage on it during the next week. Now of course, the people of Minnesota are concerned with evens IN minnesota, but things happen here that have NOTHING to do with the State Government. I think mpr covers it disproportionately because government events are easy to find out about via press releases and usually easy to research without leaving the mpr building in St. Paul, or by just going 1/2 mile down the road to the capital. It’s similar to the kind of laziness we find in other newsmedia these days, if not nearly as lazy, but nevertheless, I think mpr needs to send more reporters out to DISCOVER stories rather than to report the stories that they find out about in official press releases from the State.

  • Micah Todd

    If all news broadcasters presented ONLY facts, people could consider their own interpretations. However, not all people as that creative or even want to think that intensively over day-to-day news reports. Therefore, having multiple views in the media allows Americans to become exposed to multiple views of the new report, and Americans can sort through what information and opinions they feel, as individuals, relates most significantly to their beliefs.

    Keep in mind, News broadcasters do not participate in votes. They merely present facts, information, and opinions.

  • Elizabeth T

    sort of


    put the stories in print (or have a completely different person read them aloud), give them to a variety of people, and see if they can identify the political-leaning origin.

    i.e., see if people (esp. conservatives who claim this) can

    a) identify it as NPR, or

    b) identify it as coming from a “liberally biased” source

  • Jason

    I don’t know. I can barely figure out my own opinions and bias. I can say this, Public Radio is a heck of a lot better than the alternatives;)

  • mike

    For the US right wing now, anything relatively objective and factual is “biased,” be it news, history. That is part of their game and what makes their “heroes” like Limbaugh, Beck, Palin, etc. tick. Truth means nothing to them and never will; they are only interested in propaganda, to gain power and anyway are profoundly anti-intellectual. The more or less non-existent “left” does this some, but nothing even close to the right wing. It’s always been that way; it’s in the public record, plain to see throughout US history if you read. When MPR, NPR, and Americans forget that, and many seem to be, I think the US will lose its idealism, freedomes and greatness quickly. MPR?NPR shouldn’t give in but keep its relatively high standards.

  • Leonido – efhsjfha

  • Jason

    In a world with Glen Beck and Fox News, I think Ronald Reagan, comparatively, had a Liberal bias.

    My concern is not so much the occasional bias. Sometimes one side is correct and the other is wrong. A false equivalency can actually be harmful.

    My concern is independence, both financial and rhetorical. By rhetorical, I mean that NPR shouldn’t buy into the meme of the day, the talking points, the framing. They should think for themselves. They often do, but I sometimes see them buying into the frame of reference created by the news networks.

    Consider the tea party: it’s a sham, astroturf, promoted by a few wealthy Texans and made possible by Fox. (see the recent rolling stone article). Yet it was often referred to as a party, like most media resources did. Journalists of all stripes followed the lead of Fox news, who essentially launched the tea party with relentless promotion.

    That happens when the media becomes disconnected from the people.

    Noam Chomsky refers to “Manufacturing Consent”. He’s pretty liberal, but he’s also really smart, and has a point. Media and Industry have merged, and ultimately the Media is abused and cajoled until it tows the line, and brings the people along with it.

    Well, he puts it a lot better. I recommend reading his stuff, or watching documentaries that interview him. Bring a critical mind, be willing to challenge his ideas, I’m sure he’d want you to.

  • Michael O

    NPR has a liberal bias, and even more so, a snob bias. There is this smug intellectualism that pervades most programming, and it keeps me from ever becoming a member. There is also a bias against men -it’s just there in some of the morning programs, especially Kerri Miller. I am soooo tired of that.

    Why you can’t be intelligent but down to earth is something that they can’t seem to answer. Speaking of faith is an example, as is Science Friday.

    I love intelligence, but snobbery I can’t stand, whether the right or left.

  • Earl

    I try and try to listen to MPR, but I can’t get past the “experts” who have little more than the requisite college degree, nor can I handle the a) naive college students b) non-working intelligentsia c) narcissistic coffee house baristas who’s view of the world is so narrow that they can’t talk without judgment. To call it anything other than biased would be dishonest…and it’s OK if it is. Just be honest, people.

  • The truth is: I’ve been convinced by the global financial doom-and-gloomers regarding the market. Has anyone found a twinkling of optimism in this “down-turn”?

  • Basically… I have been swayed by the global financial tin-foil-hat-wearers concerning the economic climate. Has someone observed any glimmer of hope throughout this “downturn”?

  • I know what you suggest concerning the current economic climate. This rising cost of living is not good plus we figure it is going to worsen. sigh.

  • suesie

    I’ve noticed a change in the MPR story focus since the start of the Daily Circuit. I don’t know if Kerri Miller has some sort of social agenda to push, but the stories and their slant seem to be less even handed.