The ‘Wide-Ranging Discourse’ of All-White NPR

Finding it “more than ironic” and even “disturbing and more than a little sad,” Norman Solomon (Creators Syndicate, 1/17/09) points out that “at the same time that the United States is inaugurating a new presidency that marks the crashing of a racial barrier at the White House,” the African-American-centric News & Notes–a show “actually staffed by African-Americans”–is being canned by National Public Radio:

One of the ironies is that NPR, an outfit which many people regard as a bastion of wide-ranging discourse, has an internal atmosphere so corporate that many journalists there are afraid to talk publicly–to journalists!

Check this out from the Current article [on the cancellation] : “Several employees did not return phone calls requesting interviews or declined to discuss their situations out of fear that they would be fired or lose their severance packages.”

While admitting that News & Noteswasn’t the most adventurous program on the airwaves,” Solomon explains that “it did meaningfully expand the diversity of NPR programming on a daily basis”–and “now these attempts to diversify have been given pink slips.” To Solomon’s ears, “rhetoric aside, the priorities for programming can be heard loud and clear.”

See the FAIR magazine Extra!: “How Public Is Public Radio?: A Study of NPR’s Guest List” (5-6/04) by Steve Rendall & Daniel Butterworth