Both National Public Radio and Public Broadcasting serve corporate
and imperial interests. They're called public to conceal their
Critics ridicule NPR as National Pentagon or Petroleum Radio for
good reason. It's true as well for PBS. Calling it Propaganda Public
Broadcasting more accurately explains its mandate.
Listeners and viewers lose out. Those supporting both monetarily are
cheated. Each receives generous government and corporate funding. In
return, they know what's expected and don't disappoint.
Founded in 1970 as an independent, private, non-profit member
organization of US public radio stations, NPR promised to be an
alternative to commercial broadcasters by "promot(ing) personal
growth rather than corporate gain (and) speak with many voices, many
Those promises long ago were abandoned. NPR's indistinguishable from
other corporate media sources. It's corrupted like the rest.
Consider its former head, Kevin Klose, its current president
He was president from December 1998 - September 2008, then CEO from
1998 - January 2009. Earlier he was US propaganda director as head
of Voice of America (VOA), Radio Liberty, Radio Free Europe, Radio
Free Asia, Worldnet Television, and the anti-Castro Radio/TV Marti.
As a result, he fit seamlessly in his new role.
Corporate executive Gary Knell is current president and CEO. NPR's
anti-populist tradition continues, disserving its 34 million
Created by the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967, the Corporation for
Public Broadcasting (CPB) calls itself "a private, nonprofit
corporation created by Congress...and is the steward of the federal
government's investment in public broadcasting."
"It helps support the operations of more than 1,100 locally-owned
and-operated public television and radio stations nationwide, and is
the largest single source of funding for research, technology, and
program development for public radio, television and related online
Like NPR, it's heavily corporate and government funded, and provides
similar services in return. Under George Bush, former Voice of
America director Kenneth Tomlinson was chairman of CPB's Board of
Governors. He lasted until an internal 2005 investigation forced him
out for malfeasance.
Bush appointee Patricia Harrison now heads the Corporation for
Public Broadcasting. An insider like other PBS and NPR officials,
she earlier co-chaired the Republican National Committee. In 2001,
she served as Assistant Secretary of State for Education and
Cultural Affairs under Colin Powell.
On January 17, Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) headlined,
"PBS, NPR Try to Defend Iran Distortions," saying:
Just Foreign Policy's Robert Naiman pointed fingers at both
organizations for saying one thing, then doing another, as well as
suppressing and distorting truth. It's standard media scoundrel
On January 10, FAIR criticized PBS' NewsHour for deceptive Iran
reporting. Anchor Margaret Warner began, saying:
"The Iranian government insists that its nuclear activities are for
peaceful energy purposes only, an assertion disputed by the US and
She then quoted Panetta, saying:
"We know that they're trying to develop a nuclear capability, and
that's what concerns us. And our red line to Iran is, do not develop
a nuclear weapon."
Panetta also explained precisely the opposite, saying:
"Are they trying to develop a nuclear weapon? No."
PBS omitted it on air. Even ombudsman Michael Getler admitted:
"I think FAIR makes a good journalistic catch in calling attention
to the fuller quote by Panetta on CBS. It was a very brief and clear
statement by the Defense Secretary on an important point about
whether Iran is actually developing a nuclear weapon."
Also entirely omitted was the latest March 2011 US intelligence
assessment. It clearly said no evidence reveals an Iranian nuclear
weapons development program.
That news should have been highlighted. It was ignored. Incendiary
rhetoric substituted. Viewers were deceived. PBS betrayed them. The
NewsHour does it repeatedly on major issues. So does NPR.
Panetta's omitted comment broke from the usual anti-Iranian
propaganda. "That's precisely what made it newsworthy," said FAIR.
"PBS seems to think its viewers should have to read between the
lines in order to arrive at the accurate assessment about Iran's
nuclear program they left on the cutting room floor."
NewHour's foreign affairs and defense editor, Mike Mosettig agreed,
"It would have been better had we not lopped off the first part of
Nonetheless, Getler believes it's "dishonest" to call PBS unfair,
NewsHour viewers and others following the issue "would draw from the
portion of the Panetta quote (used) that Iran does not have a
nuclear weapon but they are developing a "nuclear capability"....
In fact, no evidence proves it. Claiming it is deceptively false. At
issue is maliciously vilifying Iran, stoking fear, and manipulating
viewers to think war, if planned, is justified.
Moreover, ombudsman apologies don't cut it. Neither does Mosettig's.
Firing the host and changing program policy's needed. Instead, one
deceptive report follows another. The more viewers watch, the less
they know. That's precisely the idea. Treat them like mushrooms -
well-watered, in the dark, scared, and willing to support imperial
It's standard NPR policy as well. For example, reporter Tom Gjelten
said "the goal for the US and its allies (is) to convince Iran to
give up a nuclear weapons program."
Like Gjelten, NPR ombudsman Edward Schumacher-Matos twisted truth,
"The story didn't say or imply that Iran has a nuclear weapons
program. As Bruce Auster, the senior editor for national security,
notes, 'The story was about how the sanctions are designed to
prevent Iran from having a nuclear weapons program, which
automatically suggests it may not have one.' "
False and Schumacher knows it.
Moreover, why are sanctions imposed, especially illegal ones
targeting a nonbelligerent nation pursuing a commercial nuclear
program like dozens of other countries in Europe, the Americas,
Asia, and Africa? In addition, Middle East nations Egypt and the
United Arab Emirates plan their own.
FAIR said the following:
"Does NPR really think that the best way to inform its listeners is
to assume that when people hear a report about forcing Iran to 'give
up a nuclear weapons program,' (they'll automatically) fill in the
blanks (and) arrive at an entirely different (conclusion)."
"That every time you hear something about Iran's 'nuclear weapons
program,' (it's) code for 'the-nuclear-weapons-program-that-may not
exist-since-there-is-no-evidence" proving it?
"For good measure," added FAIR, "the ombud throws in another defense
(saying) the 'quote carefully refers to 'a' program - using the
indefinite article - and not the definite 'its' or 'the' program.' "
In other words, NPR listeners should be astute enough to know the
word "a" refers to a possible non-existing program. They should also
know NPR obfuscates, deceives, lies, and represents the same
government and corporate interests as other major media scoundrels.
Ergo, they should tune out and choose other sources for real news
and information. The same goes for PBS. Both function as propaganda
services. Their mandate is suppressing truth and full disclosure. In
the process, they disgrace themselves.
Analysis of PBS NewsHour Guests
In October 2010, FAIR published a report titled, "Taking the Public
Out of Public TV," saying:
PBS' NewsHour "fail(s) to live up to its mission to provide an
alternative to commercial television, to give voice to those 'who
would otherwise go unheard,' and help viewers to 'see America whole,
in all its diversity..."
In fact, NewsHour's guests are 80% male and 82% white. Moreover,
government, military, corporate, and other elites are regularly
featured. Since 2006, women of color decreased by a third to 4% of
In fact, women and people of color most often appear through "people
on the street" soundbites, not authoritative analysts or
spokespeople interviewed live.
"Viewers were five times as likely to see guests representing
corporations (than) public interest groups," including labor,
consumers and environmental organizations.
Democrats outnumbered Republicans, but latter ones dominated longer
format segments. Of course, both parties represent America's
duopoly, depriving voters of alternatives.
During the 2010 Mexico Gulf oil spill disaster, industry
representatives outnumbered environmental ones over four to one.
On Afghan war segments, anti-war and human rights activists were
FAIR explained that Liberty Media Corporation owns "a controlling
stake in the NewsHour since 1994. CEO John Malone said "nobody wants
to go out and invent something and invest hundreds of millions of
dollars of risk capital for the public interest."
Yet viewers donate "public dollars." Moreover, former PBS president
Ervin Duggan declared NewsHour "ours and ours alone."
So-called "Public Broadcasting" very much is commercial. It also
sold its Nightly Business Report to a private company and has
various corporate sponsors. So does NPR.
Analysis of NPR Guests
In mid-2004, FAIR published a report titled, "How Public Is Public
Four news programs were studied - All Things Considered, Morning
Edition, Weekend Edition Saturday, and its counterpart Sunday
In June 2003, "every on-air source quoted" was recorded. "Each
source was classified by occupation, gender, nationality and
partisan affiliation. In total, 2,334 sources were reviewed in 804
FAIR also examined NPR's most frequently used think tanks and
commentators. Those appearing on the same programs from May through
August 2003 were included.
Elites "dominated NPR's guest-list." Those from government,
business, and similar professional categories accounted for nearly
two-thirds on air.
Current and former government officials comprised the largest group,
including current and former military ones. MSM journalists were
also featured from The New York Times, Washington Post and similar
Populist voices were heard but marginalized. Like PBS, most often
they appeared in soundbite "people on the street" appearances.
Moreover, public interest group spokespeople appeared only 7% of the
time. They ranged from conservative to liberal. Most often, they
appeared in "domestic policy stories." Workers and organized labor
were almost entirely shut out. Corporate representatives appeared
"23 times more often."
In addition, women were "dramatically underrepresented," especially
Accusations about NPR's alleged liberal bias are baseless. FAIR's
study proved it.
"For a public radio service intended to provide an independent
alternative to corporate-owned and commercially driven mainstream
media," NPR struck out. So did PBS. They still do.
Tune them out and go elsewhere for real news, information, and
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to
cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the
Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network
Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon.
All programs are archived for easy listening.