Public radio is awesome! December 23, 2008 4:04 PM   Subscribe

Today's Marketplace (skip to 22:30) from American Public Media made a special comment on the Givewell Holden Karnofsky astroturfing saga, almost certainly due to feedback by you people.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 to MetaFilter-Related at 4:04 PM (130 comments total)

My arm hurts from patting myself on the back for a year.
posted by nanojath at 4:13 PM on December 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


Since that page with the creepiest picture in existence is still the only place on marketplace.org that mentions Givewell, I assume that the mention of "more info on our website" refers to the comments section.
posted by koeselitz at 4:18 PM on December 23, 2008


I certainly hope poor Holden's managed to catch up on his sleep in the past year.
posted by scody at 4:20 PM on December 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


To this day, every time Givewell comes up, I laugh out loud when I think of this comment. It's probably my favorite thing written on Metafilter. Ever.
posted by iamkimiam at 4:27 PM on December 23, 2008


*considers starting company called Takewell, to alert theives and hustlers to the most gullible victims*
posted by jonmc at 4:29 PM on December 23, 2008


Can someone sum up what was said so I don't have to listen to any public radio?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:30 PM on December 23, 2008 [5 favorites]


I just heard the special comment while driving and was amazed. Did kai risdale read the comments and repent?
posted by eighth_excerpt at 4:35 PM on December 23, 2008


Jessamyn, they make a note that Givewell "publicly reprimanded Karnofsky for promoting ... inappropriately." They don't provide any details however.
posted by synaesthetichaze at 4:37 PM on December 23, 2008


Since that page with the creepiest picture in existence is still the only place on marketplace.org that mentions Givewell, I assume that the mention of "more info on our website" refers to the comments section.

I get that greasy look, too, when I've gone without sleep for a long time.
posted by jayder at 4:42 PM on December 23, 2008


At least GiveWell picked the right name; they are, after all, the gift that keeps on giving.
posted by Astro Zombie at 4:49 PM on December 23, 2008

"And finally, what you might call an Editor's Note.

In our philanthropyy series this month, we talked to Holden Karnofsky of the website Givewell.net about how to make sure your contributions are being used most effectively. Many of you wrote to point out that earlier this year, Givewell publicly reprimanded Karnofsky after he promoted the group inappropriately."
That announcer always sounds so smug.
posted by jamaro at 4:55 PM on December 23, 2008 [2 favorites]


I knew exactly the comment you were talking about, iamkimiam. It nailed it.
posted by Astro Zombie at 4:56 PM on December 23, 2008


"Inappropriately" is pretty much a weasel-word for "used a fake identity to pretend to an objective opinion about something in which he had a financial interest". "Fraudulently" seems more, uh, appropriate.
posted by orthogonality at 5:02 PM on December 23, 2008 [2 favorites]


orthogonality:

Don't forget the "... and then offered hush-money a donation to make amends" part.
posted by CKmtl at 5:13 PM on December 23, 2008


That announcer always sounds so smug.

Duh, it's NPR.
posted by languagehat at 5:24 PM on December 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


Yeah, but the MarketPlace guy sounds smug even for NPR.
posted by brundlefly at 5:30 PM on December 23, 2008


Smug2, as it were. It was Tess Vigeland, this time. Kai Ryssdal doesn't grate on me quite as much.
posted by jamaro at 5:36 PM on December 23, 2008


What the heck is up with these people's names? They sound like characters from Dune.
posted by brundlefly at 5:42 PM on December 23, 2008 [32 favorites]


The morning hosts are Scott Jagow and Steve Chiotakis. Mace Windu is away.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 5:48 PM on December 23, 2008 [5 favorites]


Wasn't Kai the name of the big sexy dead guy on Lexx?
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 5:50 PM on December 23, 2008 [2 favorites]


Ha! That's right!
posted by brundlefly at 5:55 PM on December 23, 2008


From now on I will imagine that it's him talking whenever I hear Marketplace.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 5:58 PM on December 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


Is it cool to hate public radio now? How come?
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 6:02 PM on December 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


Personally, I love public radio. I just can't stand MarketPlace.
posted by brundlefly at 6:03 PM on December 23, 2008


Gee, it just wouldn't be December without Holden Fucking Karnofsky out making the rounds like a demented meth-fueled elf, attention whoring media coverage and end-of-year donations for his tawdry enterprise. Glad to see he's still the same grossly ill-informed shit-spouting little pisher we knew and loved.
posted by FelliniBlank at 6:05 PM on December 23, 2008 [9 favorites]


Is it cool to hate public radio now? How come?

I think NPR creates culture almost as much as it reports on it. I don't hate it so much as dislike listening to it and dislike the cajoling that goes into the pledge drives. If pledge drives were honest and the news seemed.... newsy, I'd feel different.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:13 PM on December 23, 2008


NPR puts me to sleep. I listen to it while driving.
posted by not_on_display at 6:18 PM on December 23, 2008 [2 favorites]


They sound like characters from Dune.

"You're listening to The Sleeper Has Awakened Edition; I'm Steve Insseitch—

—and I'm Chani Montagne."
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:34 PM on December 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


Not to be pedantic (well, ok, yes, I am actually), but Marketplace is actually on American Public Media (formerly PRI), not NPR (National Public Radio). Different network, though same basic concept and audience. /pedant

If pledge drives were honest
What's dishonest about "we need your money...please give it to us"? It may be annoying, but it is honest.
posted by DiscourseMarker at 6:36 PM on December 23, 2008 [2 favorites]


Oh, also, Holden Karnofsky makes me vomit.
posted by DiscourseMarker at 6:36 PM on December 23, 2008


What's dishonest about "we need your money...please give it to us"? It may be annoying, but it is honest.

The things they say about

1. how badly they need the money, the sense of false urgency
2. your favorite whatever it was might GO AWAY if you don't give $20 right now
3. you owe them because you've been listening to it for free all this time

I'm aware that this is sort of the nature of public radio type endeavors but they make me feel like the "DON'T STEAL MOVIES" ads before my rental DVD starts to play, like if I don't give them money I'm ripping them off.

If they said "we need money, please give us some so we're not beholden to the $200 million that Joan Kroc left us" and if they did something like got rid of the "this show brought to you by [$corporation] where [$corporate_slogan] helps the world by [$corporate_lie]" bumpers that get longer and longer all the time, or if I felt that the bulk of their reporting wasn't just as mainstream as most of the rest of major media, I'd feel differently.

It's only been recently that I've had money to be truly philanthropic with and I find the pledge drive method of fundraising so distasteful that I decided I'd rather stop listening than feel like I was incurring a debt to anyone for programming I don't feel particularly reflects or addresses my interests. The GiveWell thing is a symptom of this, to me it's not that all surprising.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:45 PM on December 23, 2008 [8 favorites]


NPR - Our on-air personalities speak so closely to the mic and the treble is turned up so high that you can actually tell what we had for lunch.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 6:46 PM on December 23, 2008


Metafilter: Oh, also, Holden Karnofsky makes me vomit.
posted by stet at 6:53 PM on December 23, 2008


Also intolerable: the smug little "hmm" that a couple of the interviewers for To The Best of Our Knowledge give after the interviewee says something, as though they are startled that this person has said something interesting and they have mull it over for half a second.

That said, I really ♥ To The Best of Our Knowledge.
posted by brundlefly at 6:58 PM on December 23, 2008


NPR - Our on-air personalities speak so closely to the mic and the treble is turned up so high that you can actually tell what we had for lunch.

Hee. I call it spit-nunciation, because you can hear the little bits of spit forming between syllables when certain on-air personalities speak. (Melissa Block, I'm looking at you.)
posted by scody at 7:04 PM on December 23, 2008


If they said "we need money, please give us some so we're not beholden to the $200 million that Joan Kroc left us" and if they did something like got rid of the "this show brought to you by [$corporation] where [$corporate_slogan] helps the world by [$corporate_lie]" bumpers that get longer and longer all the time, or if I felt that the bulk of their reporting wasn't just as mainstream as most of the rest of major media, I'd feel differently.

Jessamyn, I understand your frustration here, but it is in part at least stemming from a conflation of NPR, the network, and individual public radio stations. When you are listening to a pledge drive, it is that specific radio station that is raising funds, NOT NPR. The station does need someone's money, to pay NPR for the programming it airs. Some, maybe most (depending on the station) of those underwriting announcements were corporate donations to NPR. and I'm pretty sure (though I am ready to stand corrected if someone knows otherwise) that the Joan Kroc $$ went to NPR, the network, and I don't think stations saw any of that money.

I used to run a small public radio station in the middle of nowhere west Texas. I hated doing pledge drives. Really, begging people for 12 hours a day for a week is not my idea of fun. I eventually left for academia because I realized the fundraising situation was only going to get worse and make it harder and harder to provide a true public service, which was why I went into the field in the first place.

It is certainly possible that your local station is exaggerating their need, but many, many public radio stations do rely on listener donations for the bulk of their operating budgets. NPR does not give stations money, it send them a bill. If you want to direct frustration towards NPR, the network, I think there are many good arguments that can be made for them having left behind their public service mission. But please do remember that stations are not the network.
posted by DiscourseMarker at 7:10 PM on December 23, 2008 [9 favorites]


Is it cool to hate public radio now? How come?

Personally, I stopped listening when they started using stories extracted via torture.
posted by DU at 7:18 PM on December 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


(last paragraph)
posted by DU at 7:23 PM on December 23, 2008


Wasn't Kai the name of the big sexy dead guy on Lexx?

People are admitting to having watched Lexx?

umm ... so sad kai and xev never got it on
posted by needled at 7:24 PM on December 23, 2008


NPR can bite me, due to their ongoing oppression of low-power FM stations. Even to this day, an itsy station I like is still not allowed more than a 10-watt transmitter because *gasp* they're within .6 MHz of the local NPR affiliate. You stop being credible as the little indie guy when you start shoving others around.

That, and I am a little sick of Iraq Iraq Iraq Iraq Obama Iraq Clinton Iraq McCain Iraq Obama Clinton Obama Clinton Iraq McCain Iraq Obama Obama Obama McCain *sneer* Iraq Obama Obama Obama Obama Bush Sad Face Obama Obama Iraq Iraq.

Lexx, destroy that Michael Feldman program, "What Do You Know?"
posted by adipocere at 7:30 PM on December 23, 2008


Yeah DM that's a really good point. I'd even like it if they were like "oh hey we need to pay staff" but I feel that the "we need to provide quality programming" is sort of a cheat for "we need to pay NPR a lot of money for this programming" and people should get better information on how the radio dollars get spread around.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:30 PM on December 23, 2008


I agree with a lot of the points about NPR pledge drives, but in STL and KC at least the staff has been pretty good about announcing how much a program costs the local affiliate to provide as well as other costs to the station. Sure they don't break the numbers down on air in great detail, but they usually say, "Car Talk costs us X thousands of dollars a year". Is this not normal for other stations, or do you want more info? That's totally cool too, I think if you're donating money to an organization you should have access to all the info you want except that which would prevent the organization from operating effectively. Just saying what I've heard.
posted by Science! at 7:56 PM on December 23, 2008


I detest public radio- I've said it before, but I remember their reporter covering anti-globalization protests in quebec saying "The crunchy granola set seems to be here in full force". They might let dissenting voices on the air but they always let the industry bosses have the last word, and besides, with all their bumpers from IBM and AG Edwards their claims to independence don't bear much weight.

Besides, their programming comes across as so... horribly bland, probably because they're trying to appeal to the wealthy middle-aged people who make up most of their donor base. Young people, on the other hand, are generally broke- so no wonder that their programming seems so damn inane and irrelevant to me (Garrison Keillor, anyone?)
posted by dunkadunc at 8:00 PM on December 23, 2008


Haha suckers! Falling for another of my innocent questions asked for the purpose of creating an interesting discussion I want to have. I'm as disingenuous as NPR itself! But seriously, this is interesting.

I think NPR creates culture almost as much as it reports on it.

Is there an alternate functional model of media delivery that doesn't?

Personally, I stopped listening when they started using stories extracted via torture.


This I can think of alternatives to. Like, not.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 8:00 PM on December 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'd even like it if they were like "oh hey we need to pay staff" but I feel that the "we need to provide quality programming" is sort of a cheat for "we need to pay NPR a lot of money for this programming" and people should get better information on how the radio dollars get spread around.

Good point, but I'd guess most listeners react to the bottom line: You like the shows, yes? You like to listen to the Radiolab, to the This American Life, yes? These shows, they are not free, yes? We don't make you listen to 10 straight minutes of ads, yes? So you like the shows, you cough up a measly 20, yes?

And just as a data point, my local station is pretty transparent about that kind of stuff, saying things like "It costs KUAR $X thousand to play On the Media, so if you enjoy that show, we'd appreciate your contribution to help keep it going."

I also personally know what shit pay public radio station employees make. They do it for love of the game -- you could make more busting your ass in a restaurant, so I'm generally inclined to give them a pass.

Also, Radiolab.
posted by middleclasstool at 8:05 PM on December 23, 2008 [2 favorites]


Is there an alternate functional model of media delivery that doesn't?

I listen to WDEV which seems to have news that's geared towards people who live where I live and has more of a "we're all in this together" mentality. If public radio (where I am, the VPR crowd) didn't seem so overeducated and homogenous, I might feel differently about them but actually, like dunkadunc, I was very turned off by their WTO coverage (and I have a good friend who works for NPR) and their approach to radical politics generally. So, I just decided to hunter-gather my own news rather than waiting for public radio to deliver it without a corresponding "and this is how all good people feel about this topic" tone.

Actually I hit a point living in the PacNW when I was in my early thirties where I realized that every social event I went to had people talking about fascinating topics that they only knew about to an NPR depth. That is, they knew what NPR had said about whatever it was, but not terribly much more. I hadn't heard the story on NPR, so they could tantalize me with something interesting-sounding, but then when I was like "wow really, what's that about?" that was all they knew. I decided I needed to be the person at the party who had something else to talk about and metaphorically and literally, that approach works for me.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:19 PM on December 23, 2008 [3 favorites]


Lexx, destroy that Michael Feldman program, "What Do You Know?"

God's own truth, when I was about eleven years old, Michael Feldman duct taped me to my chair.
posted by stet at 8:19 PM on December 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


God's own truth, when I was about eleven years old, Michael Feldman duct taped me to my chair.

details! we need details!

(And I enthusiastically second Lexx destroying that Michael Feldman program. Heck, Kai could do it, being a Divine Assassin and all.)
posted by needled at 8:22 PM on December 23, 2008


I used to listen to NPR back when i was enlightened and smoked a lot of pot. I listened to it religiously. There was a guy named Glenn Mitchell that was a regular host around here. He was tolerable most of the time, but I always hated the way that, when it came time to give money, he was so smugly insulting to his listeners.

Like "Well, Jim in North Dakota gave 50 dollars, I'm pretty sad those around here can't even do that." Or "Thanks, Benny in Oklahoma, I wish people around here would be so kind". I would have donated but I found his commentary so insulting that I never did. I listened to that shit for about 5 years.

Then he died unexpectedly. I won't say I was sad when that day came.
posted by dead cousin ted at 8:22 PM on December 23, 2008



I listen to WDEV which seems to have news that's geared towards people who live where I live and has more of a "we're all in this together" mentality.


So, your point about creating culture has more to do with the scale of the culture?
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 8:27 PM on December 23, 2008


I also find it delightful how Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me is the weekly comprehension test of the NPR talking points. Can you regurgitate what you were fed, little yuppies? Funniest comprehension test I ever took, anyway.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 8:29 PM on December 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


NPR's support for fraudulent "evidence" (presented with a straight face to the FCC) against granting low-power licenses to community stations is what did it for me. That disgusting garbage clearly showed that for NPR it really is all about the money, which meant killing any alternative to *their* alternative to commercial radio. It was one of the most despicable, anti-democratic media moves I've ever seen, and it came straight from National fucking Public Radio.

adipocere's link is a good summary of NPR's horrid involvement in killing small community radio stations that wouldn't need to whore up tons of corporate dollars to survive and serve local listeners.
posted by mediareport at 8:34 PM on December 23, 2008 [2 favorites]


Are we still talking about Holden? Because we talked about him in 2003.

I listen to NPR.
posted by rtha at 8:42 PM on December 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


So, your point about creating culture has more to do with the scale of the culture?

No, it has to do with the difference between holding up a mirror and reflecting people back to themselves versus saying "this interests me as an NPR reporter and I think it will interest my like-minded friends and it won't offend our advertisers, so I'll talk about this thing as if it's a nationwide trend when really it's only popular in a few places in Brooklyn [where many of our reporters live]"

I mean maybe I'm wrong and I'm so far off the mainstream I can't even identify a trend when I see it, but I know when they talk about computer stuff they usually have no idea what they're talking about and I'm sure people who are actually deeply knowledgeable about many fo the topics that get the surface NPR treatment feel the same way. It's a mainstream media critique, basically, I just think NPR positions themselves as some sort of alternative when I don't see it that way.

"News happens where the reporters are" is what they say, which is why we hear a lot about Vermont in the Fall, SFO/NYC a lot of the time, Martha's Vineyard over Labor Day and Africa pretty much never. Back to the topic at hand, it's a shame that when people do hear about impoverished people, it's by "edgy" New Yorkers like HK telling people to not volunteer to help them. Grah. Sorry to sort of continually blab on this topic, but it's one I feel strongly about.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:43 PM on December 23, 2008 [4 favorites]


I am a little sick of Iraq Iraq Iraq Iraq Obama Iraq Clinton Iraq McCain Iraq Obama Clinton Obama Clinton Iraq McCain Iraq Obama Obama Obama McCain *sneer* Iraq Obama Obama Obama Obama Bush Sad Face Obama Obama Iraq Iraq.

Flag it and move on.
posted by timeistight at 8:51 PM on December 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


...I know when they talk about computer stuff they usually have no idea what they're talking about and I'm sure people who are actually deeply knowledgeable about many fo the topics that get the surface NPR treatment feel the same way.

To be fair, most of the name journalists in public radio are old-school journalists, i.e., they do not get the internet at all, though God love 'em, they do try. On the Media is a weekly demonstration of this -- when they're reporting about traditional media, their coverage and analysis is unsurpassed, IMO. But ask them to do a piece about blog comments, and you can practically hear "Yackety Sax" in the background. Or, alternatively, Daniel Schorr talking about Watergate.

It's a mainstream media critique, basically, I just think NPR positions themselves as some sort of alternative when I don't see it that way.

As a lover and supporter and paid member of public radio, I'd say that's spot on. Though I compare them to other broadcast news media, namely AM talk radio and TV, and compared to those others, you're listening to the resurrected ghost of Edward R. Murrow. Sad, but true.
posted by middleclasstool at 8:54 PM on December 23, 2008


I think NPR creates culture almost as much as it reports on it.

I totally agree with this.

I am really sick of their reportage with the very crisp recording of on-the-scene sounds, such as reporting from a diner where you are treated to a cinematic-quality recording of the clatter of dishes. You can just tell us you're at a diner, you don't have to stick the mic in the sink to prove it.
posted by jayder at 9:20 PM on December 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


Yes, and what's up with those newspapers and TV crews showing us photos and video footage of the scene. You could just tell us you were there, you don't have to take shots of the scene to prove it.
posted by middleclasstool at 9:29 PM on December 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


Besides, their programming comes across as so... horribly bland, probably because they're trying to appeal to the wealthy middle-aged people who make up most of their donor base.

This is exactly their base. In fact, over the last decade or so NPR programming has moved increasingly towards a news/talk/information package that has very strong appeal (demonstrated in ratings and in donations) among the educated, middle/upper-middle class, center and left-pf center professionals that are now the core audience for the NPR brand.

NPR wasn't always this way, and some of the old-timers (read Linda Wertheimer's book) have publicly lamented the loss of the radical, progressive, and experimental NPR of the 1970s. But they are where they are largely because of financial reasons--public radio (and TV) in the US were charged with a mission of serving "unserved and underserved audiences" but never given the proper funding structure to allow them to really carry out that mission.

Local non commercial community radio stations are sometimes able to carry this out, but they are often beset by a whole host of other problems.

There is, however, no excuse for NPR's jumping on the bandwagon with the commercial broadcasters against LPFM. That was just bad form all around
posted by DiscourseMarker at 9:33 PM on December 23, 2008


It hate it when they put traffic sounds in the stories. I'm driving here; quit playing car horns and sirens! Are you trying to cause an accident?
posted by mimo at 9:38 PM on December 23, 2008 [6 favorites]


In the country of terrifyingly bad corporate-owned whore-media, the merely execrable is king.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:54 PM on December 23, 2008 [2 favorites]


It's also of interest how many FPPs arrive from the NPR tipoff, and how few elaborate on the stories as heard on NPR. Or, at least, seems few to me.

Grah. Sorry to sort of continually blab on this topic

ooh don't apologize, I asked!! It's good reading.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:21 PM on December 23, 2008


"Can someone sum up what was said so I don't have to listen to any public radio?"

I need this on a t-shirt. I will wear it while listening to Harvey Danger songs about how annoying pretentious people are.
posted by Eideteker at 11:43 PM on December 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


'rather than waiting for public radio to deliver it without a corresponding "and this is how all good people feel about this topic" tone.'

Bingo! I can't stand the smug groupthink circlejerk mentality. It's the same shit about MeFi that drives me so fucking nuts. If you're listening to NPR for social reasons, you're doing it wrong. Your conversations should be about your life, not the other way 'round.

Thank you, Jessamyn. Have a cookie on me!
posted by Eideteker at 11:52 PM on December 23, 2008


One local public radio station canceled music and substituted talk, as if there were a crying need for more talk radio. So I quit contributing to it and changed my support to another public station that plays classical music 24/7.
posted by Cranberry at 12:13 AM on December 24, 2008


"It hate it when they put traffic sounds in the stories. I'm driving here; quit playing car horns and sirens! Are you trying to cause an accident?
posted by mimo at 9:38 PM"
I also dislike doorbells and telephone signals on TV when I am trying to relax. In ads, that is cheap, unimaginative attention-getting and I think I resent the insult.
posted by Cranberry at 12:28 AM on December 24, 2008


I am really sick of their reportage with the very crisp recording of on-the-scene sounds, such as reporting from a diner where you are treated to a cinematic-quality recording of the clatter of dishes.

Guess I'll pile on here. The sound effects that kill me are: "Faisal's family has been tending sheep in these Afghan mountains for generations CUT TO *baa baa, bell tinkling, baa baa*" and the "ethnic market" sounds whenever they are in the Middle East or Africa.

Oh yeah, and the combination of Melissa Block (sounds like she's talking to a bunch of six year olds) and MEEchelle Norris makes me want to cram rusty staples in my ears.

I've been listening to The Who more and more lately.
posted by marxchivist at 2:17 AM on December 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


I've been listening to The Who more and more lately.

I've been listening to audiobooks. If you get non-fiction, you eventually learn the difference between being educated (learning actually stuff) and being up-to-date (listening to yesterday's news every morning).
posted by DU at 3:04 AM on December 24, 2008


Your conversations should be about your life

I had a bagel with a couple of sausages this morning.
posted by languagehat at 5:40 AM on December 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


I had a bagel with a couple of sausages this morning.

Oat cereal with chocolate soymilk over here.

Local NPR annoys me sometimes. Those sometimes are less frequent than any other radio station, including the low-power community ones. Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Also, Talk of the Nation reminds me how stupid the nation is, including NPR listeners.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 6:14 AM on December 24, 2008


Coffee and a cigarette here.

I've hated NPR for years (their saving grace is that they like to interview Richard price a lot on Fresh Air) so I'd like to congratulate myself on being ahead of the curve for once. Oddly my Dad, who used to like fighty talk radio and the oldies stations has become an NPR fan of late. I'm taking it as a sign of the onset of senility.
posted by jonmc at 6:20 AM on December 24, 2008


if they did something like got rid of the "this show brought to you by [$corporation] where [$corporate_slogan] helps the world by [$corporate_lie]" bumpers that get longer and longer all the time, or if I felt that the bulk of their reporting wasn't just as mainstream as most of the rest of major media, I'd feel differently.

As someone who's donated to local NPR carriers before, this has become increasingly frustrating for me because it's happening at the very same time that they tout their lack of advertisement. Apparently this is not an ad:

"...brought to you by $MPAA_member, producer of $hollywood_crap, $plot_summary, coming to you on Christmas Day!"

I mean maybe I'm wrong and I'm so far off the mainstream I can't even identify a trend when I see it, but I know when they talk about computer stuff they usually have no idea what they're talking about and I'm sure people who are actually deeply knowledgeable about many fo the topics that get the surface NPR treatment feel the same way. It's a mainstream media critique, basically, I just think NPR positions themselves as some sort of alternative when I don't see it that way.

I notice this all the time. It's especially grating when the piece cannot be reasonably distinguished from industry advertisement, such as the case with Real's DVD ripping software. It got a full 20 minute "news" treatment on NPR without even a nod to existing free DVD ripping alternatives that are just as questionable on a legal front, only not from an industry player.

All that having been said, every radio button in my car is programmed to the local NPR affiliate because... I mean... have you listened to what's on the rest of the dial lately? At least NPR doesn't make my eyes bleed. I'd probably have a few more options if I lived near a large university or college with their own radio, as I did a few years ago.

Eventually widespread broadband will allow me to ignore terrestrial radio entirely.
posted by odinsdream at 6:33 AM on December 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


It's also of interest how many FPPs arrive from the NPR tipoff, and how few elaborate on the stories as heard on NPR. Or, at least, seems few to me.

I've noticed almost the exact opposite. Plenty of times I'll read something online, often on MeFi, before it's mentioned on NPR. Online coverage has always been more thorough.
posted by odinsdream at 6:38 AM on December 24, 2008


Is it cool to hate public radio now? How come?

I don't understand the "culture creation" response -- every product you consume defines your cultural membership -- but by the sweat of their brow, even in the Reagan and Bush II years, they raised the bar for the quality of radio in the United States to impossibly high levels, and fail that promise every time that they squeeze in one more ad for yet another commercial product, while wearing the "public" moniker with a straight face.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:25 AM on December 24, 2008


..the surface NPR treatment...

(As you pointed out, this isn't just NPR. All mainstream media seem to do this. But NPR pretends to not be mainstream, so it's especially annoying.)

Anyway, the worst part of the "surface treament" problem is that it isn't that they don't have the time to do it right. They actually do spend many minutes on a topic...but 80% of the time is spent on filler. Stupid jokes, "human interest" which is just background noise (sometimes literally) and other non-information.
posted by DU at 7:32 AM on December 24, 2008


Wow, what an NPR hatefest.

I do understand because I've never lived in the US NPR stuff may still be a bit more, for lack of a better word, fresh to me than it is to some of you guys; and the pledge drive thing would bug me, too.

But this:

[...] Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me is the weekly comprehension test of the NPR talking points. Can you regurgitate what you were fed, little yuppies?

Wow. I have actually just gotten into Wait, Wait since my last podcast hunt, and just today it had me cackling out loud on a train like a lonely maniac. Apart from that, I still like All Songs (and love TAL, if you can count it as an NPR show), and have for years.

I'm thinking out loud here, but maybe it's also in part because I grew in a country with such a history of pillarisation broadcasters wearing their political colours like that just doesn't bother me so much. That's highly speculative, though.

I don't know. It's like, sure, sometimes something comes out of there that you don't like, but on the whole it's basically harmless and occasionally entertaining. (So it's a bit like hating a cloud, really.)

But, you know, thanks for ruining Wait, Wait for me though, guys.

I KID AND LOVE
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 8:18 AM on December 24, 2008


I listen to NPR. I sometimes vociferously disagree with its content and tone. I hate pledge drives and find much of their approach to be diengenuous.

I also find it to be often similar to MetaFilter.

Much of both is quite annoying and hell, I'm one of the annoying people around here. Both are smug and liberally bent. Both are prone to self-interest and hyperbole, but at the same time both are full of good information that is not readily available elsewhere.

most of the time I just turn off the radio during pledge time, just like I don't weigh in productively to programming language or typographic font threads.

God knows NPR is better than commercial radio, just as MeFi is better than Fark.
posted by Pollomacho at 8:35 AM on December 24, 2008


Diane Rehm has not only has the name of a Dune character, but also the voice.


However I do find her spineful and smart, and therefore tolerable.
posted by exogenous at 8:39 AM on December 24, 2008


NPR pretends to not be mainstream

That right there is the crux of the problem. Even TAL partakes in this (and I say that as a longtime regular listener). If you genuinely are square-peggish and quirky, you just are -- you don't have to try to sell it so very, very hard the whole time. There's plenty of entertaining and useful stuff on NPR, and god knows it's the bearable station in this airwave wasteland, but its pathetic efforts to market itself as either the hipster cool kids' table or, worse yet, the Woody Guthrie of newsradio makes me tired.

Also, NPR needs to fire either John Ydstie or Steve Inskeep because for about five years, I thought they were one person whose name I kept mishearing.

Finally, if you gave me my own radio variety show, I would not sing on it. Why? Because, while I carry a tune well enough around the house, I don't have a decent singing voice by national broadcast standards. Someone should try to get Garrison Keillor to grasp this concept. The fact that someone sticks a microphone in front of you does not give you carte blanche to moan into it like an intestinally-distended rhino.
posted by FelliniBlank at 9:28 AM on December 24, 2008


Honestly, This American Life was better when it was hosted by The Beast Rabban.
posted by shmegegge at 9:28 AM on December 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


Both are prone to self-interest and hyperbole, but at the same time both are full of good information that is not readily available elsewhere.

That last clause isn't true anymore, I found. When I finally decided to get off NPR, I found a world of audiobooks and podcasts that were 10x better than what I had been getting.
posted by DU at 9:29 AM on December 24, 2008


DU; would you mind sharing your links and sources as a result of that question?
posted by odinsdream at 9:37 AM on December 24, 2008


You know, I understand and even agree with many of the complaints against NPR, I really do.

But I still don't understand the hatefest. "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good." is an apt reminder here.
posted by grouse at 9:43 AM on December 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


I don't personally break any copyrights, you understand, but MY FRIEND told me that he or she can find tons of audiobooks via some kind of pirates? In a bay or something? I don't know anything about tha*moves in close*"TTC" stands for "The Teaching Company" and they have a bunch of good non-fiction. According to my friend.

I'm actually a little podcast poor. I think I subscribe to 3 or 4, which I can memail to you if you are interested. All but one of them are just a few minutes per cast. I have yet to uncover a cache of really, really great podcasts, mainly because I'mMY FRIEND is inundated with books and hasn't searched enough.
posted by DU at 9:46 AM on December 24, 2008


Man, I'm glad you people don't know where I live. This morning, I listened to an NPR podcast in my BMW while sipping a latte from Starbucks.
posted by desjardins at 10:02 AM on December 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


All I have to say on this topic is - can someone PLEASE get Daniel Schorr's dentures refitted? Please? Or take the mic out of his mouth? I beg you.
posted by tristeza at 10:07 AM on December 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Wow, what a hatefest.

Oh wait, it's Metafilter.
posted by every_one_needs_a_hug_sometimes at 10:45 AM on December 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


It must be noted that there is NPR and there is the Other Public Radio, which I like to call Wobegon Public Radio since it has changed its name a couple times but is still primarily dependent on Garrison Keillor for its existence. Marketplace is produced by Wobegon Public Radio West, in the Not-Quite World Financial Center of Yes-We-Really-Have-a-Downtown L.A., not to be confused with Wobegon Public Radio West North in Pasadena, where KPCC hangs out in the long shadow of KCRW with Sandra Tsing Loh as its personal Keillor. This is to point out that despite the regrettably monolithic structure of NPR News, it is not responsible for every bit of inanity passing itself off as Serious News on Your Local Public Radio Station. Disclaimer: I enjoy Michael Feldman more than Click & Clack. Sorry.
posted by wendell at 10:51 AM on December 24, 2008


I actually was lucky enough to grow up with 102.7 WNEW back when it was the last of the original rock stations and WCBS-FM when it was a great oldies station. They did huge amounts for my musical education, without college radio's cliquey oscurantism and without NPR's arid middlebrow atmosphere, which makes the ghost of Wolfman Jack cry.

(and yes, I could do better, give me a transmitter, a microphone and access to a few of my friends and I'd save radio from the blahs personally)
posted by jonmc at 10:57 AM on December 24, 2008


I LOVE NPR!! And like desjardins, I listen to it in my car, all the time, while drinking Starbucks. And sometimes I put my NPR podcasts in the same playlist as the Best of Metafilter podcasts. Oh the mingling horror!!

Sidenote, I had to explain NPR to my 60+ y/o parents the other day. They'd never heard of it, ever. Kids these days. I tried to make sure I was outside, standing on their lawn when I told them all about it. True story.
posted by iamkimiam at 10:58 AM on December 24, 2008


the Woody Guthrie of newsradio

This pledge drive kills fascists
posted by scody at 11:15 AM on December 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


Man, I'm glad you people don't know where I live. This morning, I listened to an NPR podcast in my BMW while sipping a latte from Starbucks.

desjardins, that's fine, as long as you felt guilty while doing it.
posted by odinsdream at 11:15 AM on December 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Man, I'm glad you people don't know where I live. This morning, I listened to an NPR podcast in my BMW while sipping a latte from Starbucks.

That's OK. I listened to Kiss on the subway while guzzling an extra-large from Dunkin Donuts. Balance has been restored.
posted by jonmc at 11:18 AM on December 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Kiss is like the Coors Light of rock. I know people buy it, I just can't imagine who or why.
posted by middleclasstool at 11:33 AM on December 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


Oh, now you've done it.
posted by scody at 11:34 AM on December 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


I also dislike doorbells and telephone signals on TV when I am trying to relax. In ads, that is cheap, unimaginative attention-getting and I think I resent the insult.

My dog barks his head off and runs to the window whenever there is a doorbell on TV.

Despite the fact we don't have, nor have we ever had, a doorbell. I suspect he is the product of centuries of selective breeding for lying on doormats.

picture of said dog, just for comparative purposes, and cute overload, and christmas and everything.
posted by Rumple at 11:40 AM on December 24, 2008


So, the suggested public radio alternative's so far are steal audiobooks, listen to 1 minute long podcasts, and gloat while listenning to 70's music instead? Thanks metafilter!
posted by garlic at 11:42 AM on December 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


middleclasstool: for our first anniversary as a couple back in '96, pips bought us tickets to see the reunited Kiss in full makeup at Madison Square Garden (rabid hometown crowd!). Maybe you have to be around my age (38, so I was a kid in the mid-70's heyday) to appreciate it, but the most jaded person in the world would've left that show going "OK, that was pretty cool, I gotta admit." Plus they got the tunes "Beth" is the first and best power ballad, "Rock & Roll All Nite" is one of the great party anthems, "Detroit Rock City" has a killer bassline and "God Of Thunder" and "I Love It Loud" are both surprisingly heavy for what at the end of the day was a (I mean, the) pop-metal band. Plus, if you like the Ramones and don't like Kiss, you may have missed something important*.

*On the Ramones tribute album after Joey's death, Kiss covered "Do You Remember Rock & Roll Radio" which was entirely appropriate since Handsome Dick told me that Kiss sometimes shared stages with the Ramones and the Dics back in the day, and unlike the latter-day alt.rockers that were on the rest of that disc, they can actually remember Murray the K and Hullabaloo...
posted by jonmc at 11:42 AM on December 24, 2008


(alos, all you indie-rock kids: Kurt Cobain was a card carrying member of the Kiss Army)
posted by jonmc at 11:43 AM on December 24, 2008


also...
posted by jonmc at 11:45 AM on December 24, 2008


I have actually just gotten into Wait, Wait since my last podcast hunt, and just today it had me cackling out loud on a train like a lonely maniac.

You're not alone. Wait Wait is one of the few public-radio shows I actually enjoy. Ignore the haters!

give me a transmitter, a microphone and access to a few of my friends and I'd save radio from the blahs personally


Now, that's a radio show I'd give money to!
posted by languagehat at 11:46 AM on December 24, 2008


You people. Always looking for reasons to not like stuff.
posted by electroboy at 11:49 AM on December 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm listening to NPR in a hoopty old Buick in the drive-thru of In-N-Out and on an iPhone. Data point? Yeah I love NPR for what it is, commute entertainment that doesn't require me to continually operate software in preparation or spend money. Yeah, junk.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:55 AM on December 24, 2008


James Bernard(editor and co-owner of hip-hop magazine The Source)'s Lists 10 Reasons To Like Kiss:

1. Because the kids at school believed that Gene Simmons was actually a demon.
2. Because there was always some bass player in the school orchestra who could figure out the bass solo in "She."
3. Because they were fun to draw in seventh-grade art class (before they were unmasked of course**)
4. Because their live albums were so much better than their studio albums.
5. Because you could actually dance to "Firehouse" or "Christine Sixteen."
6. Because they were the P-Funk of white rock.
7. because in Queens in the late 70's fights would break out between the Kiss fans and the Led Zeppelin fans over who was the better guitarist, Ace Frehley or Jimmy Page. Nobody in school got into fights over Jeff Beck.
8. Because even though he is an ex-teacher like Sting, Gene Simmons never became an overwrought tortured intellectual.
9. Because "Beth" was the original power ballad, before such songs became de rigeur.
10. Because, at twentysomething*, it's fun to rub the fact that you still like themin the faces of all those people who, for fifteen years, told you that you'd outgrow them.

*I will never forget Dee Snider's comment about Kiss' unmasking-"Gene looked very...ethnic. L'chaim, Gene!"
**Ok, thirty-something
posted by jonmc at 12:03 PM on December 24, 2008


(and my beloved Reppacements did a straight-faced cover of "Black Diamond" on their best album. Game. Set. Match.)
posted by jonmc at 12:07 PM on December 24, 2008


Replacements, dammit.
posted by jonmc at 12:08 PM on December 24, 2008


steal audiobooks

No, that was not the suggested alternative. The suggested alternative was just audiobooks. MY FRIEND happens to steal them, but he or she could just as well buy them, if she or he wasn't so cheap, or get them from the extensive collection at the library. Even his or her podunk library has a huge wall full, plus some kind of online subscription thing that seems pretty cool, except that it doesn't work with my friend's OS.

1 minute long podcasts

As mentioned, the Nth podcast was an hour long.
posted by DU at 12:24 PM on December 24, 2008


In a few minutes, I'm going to get into my rusty pickup truck and drive to the liquor store (I'd ride my bike, but, well, frankly, I'm going to buy more booze than I can carry on a bike), and I'll listen to NPR. Unless they're playing something stupid or there's a pledge drive going on, in which case I'll listen to KABF, a real community radio station with real local content, which is currently playing a lovers' rock song with sound effects that sound a little bit like the Mac quack.

(Hey, it beats talking about fucking KISS.)
posted by box at 12:41 PM on December 24, 2008


And sometimes I put my NPR podcasts in the same playlist as the Best of Metafilter podcasts. Oh the mingling horror!!

OMG so do I!! my BMW has an iPod interface
posted by desjardins at 12:49 PM on December 24, 2008


Kiss is probably the only band whose merch was more popular than their music. Case in point, I had a Kiss lunchbox in elementary school, but never listened to Kiss until I was like 13. And was sorely disappointed when I did.

Now if Maiden had dressed like Kiss, that would've been cool...
posted by electroboy at 12:59 PM on December 24, 2008


My favorite thing about KISS is when people aren't talking about them at all, ever.

My second favorite thing about KISS is intentionally conflating Gene & Richard Simmons.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:09 PM on December 24, 2008 [9 favorites]


MY FRIEND happens to steal them, but he or she could just as well buy them, if she or he wasn't so cheap, or get them from the extensive collection at the library.

It's sad that I didn't think of this until like an hour later, but there's also plenty of free, legit sources of audiobooks for some topics.
posted by DU at 2:55 PM on December 24, 2008


I've tried--I've really tried--to learn to like A Prairie Home Companion, but I just can't. I think PHC is a lot like the Grateful Dead--it's either the best thing you've ever heard, or it's people with mediocre talent making twiddling noises to an audience who thinks it's the best thing they've ever heard.

Joe Frank is the best thing that's ever happened to public radio.
posted by mattdidthat at 5:51 PM on December 24, 2008


IIRC from my radio production classes, the little car sounds/goat sounds/etc. are called "natural sound" or "nat sot (sound on tape)." The point of it is because it's supposed to give the listeners the sense that they are where ever the story is taking place.

Personally, I find it incredibly grating.
posted by drezdn at 5:55 PM on December 24, 2008


Also, here's full thread convergence: Terry Gross interviews Gene Simmons on Fresh Air.
posted by mattdidthat at 6:11 PM on December 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Witnessing thread convergence like that gives me an amazing feeling like seeing a rare comet or something.
posted by grouse at 6:22 PM on December 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Maybe you have to be around my age (38, so I was a kid in the mid-70's heyday) to appreciate it, but the most jaded person in the world would've left that show going "OK, that was pretty cool, I gotta admit."

I was mostly fucking with you. We haven't interacted online a whole lot, but I've read enough MeFi and MeCha to know you're down with the Kiss army, so I took a friendly poke. It's the reason for the season!

I'm only five years younger than you, but that may be enough of a difference. I said I was "mostly" fucking with you -- I really don't get it, but I have plenty of friends who do.
posted by middleclasstool at 8:36 PM on December 24, 2008


I'm pretty late to this, but I'd like to respond to jessamyn anyway, if you'll humor me.

Actually I hit a point living in the PacNW when I was in my early thirties where I realized that every social event I went to had people talking about fascinating topics that they only knew about to an NPR depth. That is, they knew what NPR had said about whatever it was, but not terribly much more. I hadn't heard the story on NPR, so they could tantalize me with something interesting-sounding, but then when I was like "wow really, what's that about?" that was all they knew. I decided I needed to be the person at the party who had something else to talk about and metaphorically and literally, that approach works for me.

It is not NPR's fault that most people are so shallow that they can't comprehend what it would mean to not be shallow. Even people at PacNW cocktail parties. You seem to think that with no NPR, all of those people would be all like here are my fascinating intellectual ideas, but really they would be stupid and boring about some other thing.

I mean maybe I'm wrong and I'm so far off the mainstream I can't even identify a trend when I see it, but I know when they talk about computer stuff they usually have no idea what they're talking about. I'm sure people who are actually deeply knowledgeable about many fo the topics that get the surface NPR treatment feel the same way. It's a mainstream media critique, basically, I just think NPR positions themselves as some sort of alternative when I don't see it that way.

I guess I don't know who the 'they' is or what 'computer stuff' is, but I haven't noticed this. I feel like if you think they have no idea what they are talking about, the only way for that to be right is if you are confused about the limited scope of radio that is trying to appeal to a wide audience. Like if some reporter is talking about DRM or whatever, I can tell that they don't really understand it often, but they sort of have most of it right in a shallow way. And that's ok because the audience is mostly composed of people who don't know or care to tell the difference between someone who gets it and someone who doesn't, and the rest know that they should go hang out on slashdot or whatever to get their in depth knowledge and not listen to talk of the nation. And I belong to this category on lots of topics; having a shallow understanding of say plant reproduction is better than none at all because there are only so many hours in the day and I'm no savant, and that is what public radio is good for. A lot of your frustration seems to boil down to wanting everything on the radio to be a graduate seminar, but the vast majority of listeners aren't capable and most of the rest don't have the time and focus. I'm pretty sure that I've got a good enough brain and wide enough interests that you can't pay the public radio bills by catering to people who are smarter than me on a broader array of issues, but that seems to be at least part of what you want.

Also, your characterization of NPR as mainstream media seems somewhat sheltered from American cultural reality. In vast swaths of the country, NPR is seen as a biased if not corrupt tool of leftist/liberal elites, and folks with that view far outnumber the sorts of folks who use "So I heard on NPR today..." as an Intellectual Genius Seal Of Approval Guaranteed Win Conversation. Of course, you and I know that all of these people have corn mush for brains, but I at least know and you should too that insofar as NPR has an agenda, that agenda is friendlier to the interests of people like you and me than any other media organization that might be anywhere in the neighborhood of mainstream. Thus it seems a bit like stubbornly refusing to take off one's radical leftist glasses when you say that you see no alternative between NPR and ABC/Disney or what have you.

I guess my point is that it isn't NPR's fault that too many people, even lots of those with expensive educations and lots of money, have the intellectual curiosity and brainpower of bulk mail, and NPR caters to those people and to me on those topics where I am not, shall we say, first class.
posted by Kwine at 10:53 PM on December 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Well this thread certainly took a turn I hadn't expected.
posted by obloquy at 11:03 PM on December 24, 2008


You people. Always looking for reasons to not like stuff.

Oh, I like stuff alright. Just not, well, stuff.
posted by krinklyfig at 11:23 PM on December 24, 2008


As if to prove me wrong, the minute I get in the car yesterday afternoon after commeting in this thread, and I'm treated to an awesome night-before-christmas poem written by one Desmond, a call-in who I was almost certain would have gotten cut off due to the length and social commentary in his piece. [Tune in at the 8:00 mark of Talk of the Nation's Wednesday Holiday section.]

It was fantastic.

Of course, then it was followed up by some inept Bu$h No Blood for Oil!! let-me-relate-this-visual-joke-for-you idiot, so maybe it balances it back out.
posted by odinsdream at 7:48 AM on December 25, 2008


And that's ok because the audience is mostly composed of people who don't know or care to tell the difference between someone who gets it and someone who doesn't, and the rest know that they should go hang out on slashdot or whatever to get their in depth knowledge and not listen to talk of the nation. And I belong to this category on lots of topics; having a shallow understanding of say plant reproduction is better than none at all because there are only so many hours in the day and I'm no savant, and that is what public radio is good for.

For the most part, it's often frustrating because when this occurs on the radio, it's obviously not because they're trying to make it simple, because making it simple or summarizing it would be easy, and yet they somehow don't do it.

Take the DRM for example. This is easy to explain, if you know what you're talking about. It's not so easy if you just take an industry line on it, because that line is purposefully convoluted. Specifically with the story I mentioned earlier, about Real.com's DVD ripping software, they failed this simple test when presenting the story.

Instead of mentioning that Real's software was not something new (given all of the existing open-source projects related to DVD ripping), and not different from the existing software on a legal front, they presented the view that Real is a rascally underdog with a cool new software sticking it to the DVD producers and giving consumers what they've really wanted all along and previously been unable to obtain. And here's the worst part, they presented it as some kind of legal loophole to make it palatable. Only the "loophole" is the backup-copy-thing that all DVD ripping software uses.

The frustrating consequence of this news story is that people will listen to it and come away with the thought that they can now morally rip their DVDs by purchasing this crap software instead of supporting any one of the open-source free alternatives. It's the moral license that bugs me the most.
posted by odinsdream at 7:59 AM on December 25, 2008


I had a bagel with a couple of sausages this morning.

Oat cereal with chocolate soymilk over here.

i had reindeer steaks
posted by pyramid termite at 8:30 AM on December 25, 2008


in Queens in the late 70's fights would break out between the Kiss fans and the Led Zeppelin fans over who was the better guitarist, Ace Frehley or Jimmy Page

obviously, none of those fighting kids were musicians
posted by pyramid termite at 8:33 AM on December 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


I want a reindeer steak, too.
posted by Stewriffic at 10:00 AM on December 25, 2008


Well, I'm sure we can all get behind how awesome The Sound of Young America is, right?

/wearing his TSoYA shirt
posted by brundlefly at 10:20 AM on December 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


I have assimilated everything in the thread up to this point, and achieved a smug distance from it all. You sorry batch of fucks.
posted by fleacircus at 4:42 AM on December 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


Oops, meant to copy/paste that everywhere.
posted by fleacircus at 4:50 AM on December 26, 2008


I love NPR just short of what would be required to pay to support it, but I'll agree it has its own flaws and idiosyncrasies. While I'm actually a big fan of their news coverage and discussion, and love All Things Considered and Talk of the Nation, most of the time their "personal interest" stories are just godawful. The Story, for example. I'm also an NPR commuter, and it seems like I can't pass a week without hearing a "Let's get this child's take on this story/situation/event they can't possibly grasp the nuance of" segment. Note to NPR: it gets really fucking old, really fucking fast.

That said, I actually really like the Ted Koppel and Daniel Schorr commentaries. I find them both to be endlessly enlightening. I agree that NPR has its flaws, but will nonetheless enthusiastically endorse them as the best broadcast journalism organization around. Some people may consider that akin to endorsing Behr as the best tasting brand of house paint, but still, you gotta keep in touch somehow.
posted by baphomet at 10:28 AM on December 26, 2008


Man, you guys are a bunch of haters!

I like What Do You Know, and Car Talk, and Fresh Air.

As for news, I don't expect to get a super in-depth explanation for everything they air, because it's a mainstream news program. That said, NPR does a hell of a better job than any cable news network.
posted by graventy at 1:25 PM on December 27, 2008


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