Dividing responses (an open letter to NPR)

Sent this morning to All Things Considered and the NPR Ombudsman.

Dear Sir/Madam,

As a regular listener to NPR’s many news programs I appreciate the depth with which you approach news stories, and the lack of partisan bias or corporate affiliation which distinguishes your coverage from many of your colleagues. I was, however, deeply disappointed by the coverage yesterday evening of President Bush’s speech, both as part of your regular coverage and during the regular news announcements.

Your coverage of responses to the speech drew exclusively from comments made by politicians from the Democratic party and at no point did I hear responses from the general public or foreign policy experts. Such coverage portrayed the issues covered by the speech as purely partisan, when in fact divisions over Iraq war policy follow different lines entirely. The issue is not whether President Bush’s political opponents disagree with his statements, but whether his assertions are backed up by the facts of the situation.

I note that Morning Edition today featured a report from Peter Kenyon providing more of the analysis we have come to expect from NPR but, while I recognise that such a report takes time to prepare, it does not seem too much to ask that non-partisan expert commentators be asked for responses more quickly.

NPR and its news coverage are essential vehicles for forwarding lively and informed public debate in the United States. Please refrain from reducing that debate to partisan squabbles, and draw your comments from those who will help us become more informed rather than simply reinforcing party talking points.

yours,

James Stewart

3 comments

  1. Nicely put James.

  2. Well said.

    (I’m sorry)

  3. Nice work.

    I couldn’t agree with you more.

    NPR should cover a subject from many angles without going into “Crossfire”-mode.