Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Why I listen to NPR

… during the pledge drive.

I am a news junkie (surprise, surprise) and all day I listen to the radio. A variety of stations, News (weather on the 8s), AM talk, FM talk, and NPR. They are all great at keeping my brain engaged while I sit alone in my office doing some very boring accounting.

One really great feature to living in a major media market is the wide choice of radio that can help to keep me up to date on the news and opinions of the day. Granted the variety is not as great as what can be found on blogs but… my boss might fire me if I spend all day reading blogs! Listening to the radio is acceptable behavior.

I even enjoy listening to the pledge drive. It amuses me to hear the desperation in the voices of the presenters as they come this close to offering their virginity for a ‘dollar a day’ pledge. So now you know my secret. I am amused by the desperation that pours out of my speakers during pledge week. One year they even got to me and I contributed to my local NPR station. A mistake I will not be repeating.

The annoying part of pledge week is when they get all ‘if we didn’t do it nobody would’. If NPR disappeared tomorrow and no commercial radio station grew to replace it that would be a sign that nobody should. The self satisfied ‘look at how pure and good we are’ vibe is more than a little off putting.

This year the annoyance level hit a new high and has actually led me to call the pledge number and lodge a complaint. On Tuesday afternoon during the pledge break just before 5pm the presenters told (part of) the story about Bill O’Reilly’s interview with Terry Gross of Fresh Air. They did not include the fact that even NPR’s own ombudsman has called the interview “Unfair” and stated that Terry Gross used unethical techniquest that are not acceptable at NPR.

From there perspective Bill O’Reilly was at turns a bully who tried to shout down Terry, and a crybaby for walking out of the interview and complaining about the tone. In the end my local NPR rep stated “just because Bill O’Reilly wanted to use his appearance on NPR for his own EVIL purposes (did I say Evil? That is what I meant because we all know it is true.) Terry Gross would not let him.” paraphrased

Perhaps I am missing something but… I don’t see what this has to do with raising money to support the local stations subscription to “All Things Considered”. I would imagine that many of the listeners during the rush hour do not listen to Terry Gross mid-day.

I could not resist next time they gave the pledge number so I called the pledge line to lodge a complaint. I was shocked that an organization that refuses to call the murderer of a 2 year old in their be a ‘terrorist’ (always militant, always) would so casually call a conservative ‘evil’. The pledge volunteer was very nice and took down my information promising to pass it on to the the ‘listener services representative’. I can’t wait to see if they get back to me – that is sure to be a fun conversation.

When the workers have no script some interesting biases come peeking through. I know it is not a surprise but it is fun to catch them at it regardless of their protestations that NPR is completely ‘unbiased’. Because of that I would recommend that you listen to the NPR pledge drive too.


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February 2, 2009 at 2:34 AM  

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