Via the Politico:
Executives at National Public Radio recently asked the network’s top political correspondent, Mara Liasson, to reconsider her regular appearances on Fox News because of what they perceived as the network’s political bias, two sources familiar with the effort said.
According to a source, Liasson was summoned in early October by NPR’s executive editor for news, Dick Meyer, and the network’s supervising senior Washington editor, Ron Elving. The NPR executives said they had concerns that Fox’s programming had grown more partisan, and they asked Liasson to spend 30 days watching the network.
At a follow-up meeting last month, Liasson reported that she’d seen no significant change in Fox’s programming and planned to continue appearing on the network, the source said.
NPR’s focus on Liasson’s work as a commentator on Fox’s “Special Report” and “Fox News Sunday” came at about the same time as a White House campaign launched in September to delegitimize the network by painting it as an extension of the Republican Party.
One source said the White House’s criticism of Fox was raised during the discussions with Liasson. However, an NPR spokeswoman told POLITICO that the Obama administration’s attempts to discourage other news outlets from treating Fox as a peer had no impact on any internal discussions at NPR.
Of course it didn’t. / sarc
NPR’s Juan Williams has also taken heat for appearing regularly on Fox, but it’s unclear as to whether or not they have asked him to “reconsider” his appearances on the network. Even when they have defended him from criticism, they were still embarassed enough to insist that Fox not note that he was a news analyst for NPR when he is on certain Fox News programs:
Williams brings a valuable viewpoint to NPR. Sometimes it is that of an African-American, but it is also that of someone with a long track record of covering politics. Some think he is a conservative because he’s on Fox. Others think Fox uses him as a liberal voice because, whether true or not, a perception exists that NPR is liberal.
The assets that make Williams valuable to NPR are his knowledge, his perspective and that he is rarely predictable.
But in the end, NPR must decide — as it apparently already has — whether giving its listeners the benefit of Williams’ voice is worth the cost of annoying some listeners for his work on Fox.
As a result of this latest flap, NPR’s Vice President of News, Ellen Weiss, has asked Williams to ask that Fox remove his NPR identification whenever he is on O’Reilly.
Joe Scarborough, during today’s Morning Joe program on MSDNC, suggested NPR look in a mirror when it came to the issue of “biased programming”:
JOE SCARBOROUGH: Well I just want to say, I love NPR and I listen to NPR, but I’ve been listening to reformed, pot-smoking hippies for the past thirty years on NPR with a very substantial left-wing bias – and I don’t care that they eat tree bark like Euell Gibbons, and I don’t care if they are still smoking pot in their sixties. They put on great radio. But for NPR – for NPR, the leadership at NPR to question the bias of Fox News is a joke. They have been biased – again, I still listen to them, because like “The New York Times” they are the best at what they do. But, please, that is a laugh. NPR –
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: It’s very soothing listening, too.
SCARBOROUGH: It is soothing, it is very soothing. Just put a mirror to your face, NPR.
“Best at what they do”? NPR? NYT? Sounds like the “pot-smoking hipppies” aren’t confined to NPR, Joe.