NPR’s Tea Party cartoon

In the last few days, some of my conservative online friends have sent me the link to a cartoon on the 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 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.

  • Phillip

    I feel like the history of the term article is more NPR-like than the cartoon because it is more informative/is a “step back and see what’s happening” article rather that just sitting there not engaging others.

    It’s funny, but not NPR style (see the civility point above/is there an (M)NPR style?).

  • Matt

    I think this has less to do with the cartoon and more to do with the mantra that NPR is a leftist propaganda rag. I really think Fox News has desensitized a large portion of America to the reality that airwaves and screen space can be used a) to inform and b) to provide the viewpoints of third parties. I don’t know whether it’s the CPB funding, the “Public,” or the difficult issues, but I really don’t understand this NPR=liberal mantra. Then again, I’m a college-educated urbanite liberal elitist.

  • BJ

    Come on.

    How about the poor sad fast food worker, come one NPR we need you to show them in a better light. Some people even like working for fast food companies.


  • Matt

    ^ I’d work for a fast food company if I was offered director or above in their corporate office. I’d even like it, I bet.

  • John P.

    I’ll put aside the irony of tea-baggers complaining about someone else’s objectivity and fairness.

    Isn’t this just an opinion piece? Arent; people allowed to present opinions on NPR?

  • Amy Bodnar

    What I am wondering is how many of the people who objected to this cartoon are the same people who are sending me cartoons and warnings about the use of “political correctness.” Just this past month I have received much correspondence about the use of the term “happy holidays'” from my conservative friends. Seems like they would like the filter of “political correctness” when they feel uncomfortable about being chided on their beliefs. I hope people remember that this is what all of us wish for. It is called respect for our differences.

  • kollla finn

    The TaliBush could not take a cartoon joke — so their true believers rallied against NPR and awaited a fatwah from those right wing pundits who slur their opponents everyday. Grow up tea baggers.