True But Non-Sequitur

In response to Twitter labeling NPR as “state-affiliated media,” NPR CEO John Lansing has said, “NPR stands for freedom of speech and holding the powerful accountable. It is unacceptable for Twitter to label us this way. A vigorous, vibrant free press is essential to the health of our democracy.”

While the last sentence in Lnasing’s statement is true, I don’t see how it follows from the first two sentences. Further, his words don’t seem to relate to how NPR has operated since roughly the turn of  the century.

Some Radio Ratings

I looked through the radio ratings posted for June, 2021, and pulled the ratings for the main NPR station in a dozen randomly selected markets. The monthly ratings are the stations’ market shares in percent.Their general ratings trend is downward. Indeed, in this sample only one station, WPLN in Nashville, is holding its own. The loss of listeners has been most pronounced in Minneapolis and Washington.

I still listen to the Washington classical music station WETA-FM in spite of the occasional interruptions from NPR newscasts, but it’s been years since I tuned in to WAMU-FM for anything other than their old time radio programming on Sunday nights.

Perhaps NPR should consider reexamining their business model rather than publishing stories expressing envy of Ben Shapiro’s.

A Genuine Person

Back in the early ’70’s, I was working in the music industry in Nashville. One of places I worked was small studio that a musician had set up in his garage. It was equipped with hand-me-down gear retired from other studios. The console was a pastiche of vacuum tube and early transistor modules in a rather tall wood enclosure. I sounded great, but I could just barely see over it when sitting down.

As I was setting up for a demo session one evening (A demo is a simple recording of a song used to pitch it to singers for them to record.), the songwriter walked into the control room. She wasn’t very tall, and seated at the console, all I could see of her was that she was a cute brunette with a short haircut. It wasn’t until she came around the console and stood next to me that I realized she was Dolly Parton.

I very much enjoyed that session. In an industry where too many stars and wannabe stars are legends in their own minds, Dolly Parton was a nice person, a pleasure to work with. And sensible.

I was reminded of her good sense when I read a post by Suzanne Venker titled Of Course Dolly’s Not a Feminist. She Loves Men. (The periods are in the title.). The post is based on an NPR podcast called Dolly Parton’s America, and the apparent inability of the podcast’s host to understand why Dolly Parton isn’t a feminist.

In Dolly Parton’s America, Parton proves in spades that there’s a much more positive and compassionate attitude to have toward men, women and relationships. But if you want to adopt it, you can’t simultaneously pay homage to a group that assumes the worst of half the population. And you can’t take life so seriously.

But you can work hard and use your talent. And be a pleasure to work with.

NPR and Defamation

Politico reports that a U. S. District Court in Texas has ruled that a defamation suit filed against a group of defendants including National Public Radio can proceed to discovery. Judge Amos Mazzant found the $57 million suit filed by Ed Butowsky makes plausible claims that the network may be liable for defamation for a series of online stories about Butowsky’s role in publicizing assertions that Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich was murdered as part of a broader political plot.

NPR argued that the reports by media correspondent David Folkenflik accurately described a prior lawsuit filed against Fox News and Butowsky for defamation, accusing Fox of fabricating quotations in a story about Rich’s murder. The judge did not agree.

“The statements made by Folkenflik were made as verifiable statements of fact,” the judge wrote. “The statements at issue were not merely expressing a subjective view. Looking at the context of the verifiable facts, nothing shows the statements expressed Folkenflik’s opinion or merely offer Folkenflik’s personal perspective on disputed facts.”

Butowsky has several other defamation suits pending against other news outfits, including CNN, Vox, and The New York Times.

Adam Lanza and the NRA

While I was getting dressed this morning, I heard the newsreader on NPR mention that among the items listed on the search warrant for the Lanza house was an “NRA certificate.”

Oh, horrors! The Sandy Hook Elementary School shooter had a certificate from the NRA.

Gimme a break.

The NRA teaches courses in firearm safety, and Connecticut recognizes them as adequate training in safe gun handling for an applicant for a concealed carry permit. While Adam Lanza was only 20 when he committed his infamous crime, he might have taken such a course if he intended to apply when he turned 21. Or maybe he did some rifle shooting at summer camp when he was a kid and achieved some Junior Marksmanship rating. There are numerous reasons why someone might have an “NRA certificate.”

I have one. It says “Life Member.” Neither Adam Lanza nor his mother were members of the NRA.

Ryan 1, MSM/Obama 0

I was favorably impressed by Paul Ryan’s convention speech. It was quite effective, so effective that Team Obama and the MSM began counterattacking immediately. They’ve picked the wrong point of attack.

While listening to WETA-FM this morning (a classic music station, my iPod goes from Bach to Wagner), I heard the NPR newsreader at the 7:30 break mention that Rep. Ryan had blamed the President for the plant closing even though the plant had closed while George Bush was in office.

Wrong. The plant closed in June, 2009, as part of the GM restructuring. NPR isn’t the only MSM outlet spreading the Obama campaign’s false claim. Twitchy has a good collection of Democrat and MSM tweets and the conservative pushback.

They’ve lost control of the narrative. They’re panicking.

Is it November yet?

UPDATE–The ad almost writes itself. “We had good jobs until Obama and Government Motors shut down the plant here in Janesville …”


UPDATE 3–Prof. Jacobson fact checks the fact checker. It isn’t pretty.

UPDATE 4–After checking my iPod, I find that it goes from Albinoni to Zappa. Yes, Frank Zappa was a serious composer who did some interesting work with Pierre Boulez.

UPDATE 5–Stacy McCain:

They are a disgrace to the profession to which they claim to belong. Truth matters. Truth is precious and powerful. Liars are a dime a dozen.

Don’t Know Much About Science

Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein were on NPR’s Morning Edition promoting their new book, It’s Even Worse Than It Looks. Their thesis is that the problems in government, and especially the Congress, are caused by the Republicans.

One of the two major parties, the Republican Party, has become an insurgent outlier – ideologically extreme; contemptuous of the inherited social and economic policy regime; scornful of compromise; unpersuaded by conventional understanding of facts, evidence, and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition.

Karl over at Hot Air has been debunking the political side of Mann and Ornstein’s argument. I’d like to have a go at the science.

Most of the “green” technology/jobs legislation/spending has been pushed by the Democrats. Their ecological dreams are now running smack into the wall of the Laws of Thermodynamics–There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch! Photovoltaic arrays are made up of semiconductors that are doped with heavy metals such as arsenic and cadmium. The hazardous waste left behind by Solyndra is just financial. Large wind farms not only kill huge numbers of birds, they may remove enough energy from the environment to cause local climate change. Liquid hydrocarbon fuels provide superior energy density to electric batteries, and burning gasoline or diesel fuel in the vehicle being moved has fewer losses than burning coal in a power plant hundreds of miles away, transmitting the energy, charging a battery, and then turning the motor to move the vehicle.

The science behind all that is settled. It’s the sort of stuff that had made it into the undergraduate curriculum by the time I was studying engineering in the ’60s. Wishful thinking by a former VP who made a D in Natural Science won’t change these principles.

All this doesn’t mean that the Republicans aren’t part of the problem. They are just as apt to try to legislate without regard to the Laws of Nature. But Mann and Ornstein are off base when they lay the problem mostly at the Republican’s feet

Qui Custodiet Ipsos Custodes

On the way to work this morning, I heard an NPR news report that the “good government” group Common Cause was complaining to the IRS about American Legislative Exchange Council’s tax-exempt status. The report and the top- and bottom-of the-hour newscasts tied ALEC to stand-your-ground laws and to the Zimmerman case. I shrugged and put it down to sloppy advocacy masquerading as a news report.

Breitbart reports that Peter Overby, the reporter on the piece, is a former employee of Common Cause. Oh, and the tax expert quoted in the report is with a firm that recently represented Common Cause.


In the interest of full disclosure: I did some contract work for NPR about 30 years ago.

Gun Reporting @ NPR!

NPR has a report about the new AK-12 assault rifle. (H/T, Shall Not Be Questioned) In it they correctly point out that the AK family of weapons is to Russian exporting what Coca-Cola is America’s.

But, of course, the got something wrong.

Designed in 1945 by former Russian tank gunner Mikhail Kalashnikov, the AK-47 was the first gun to bridge the gap between submachine guns and long, heavy rifles.

Nope, not hardly. The first assault rifle was the German StG44 from WWII. Here’s a picture of a German soldier using one during the Battle of the Bulge.


NPR has a post by Frank James (H/T Hot Air), which seems to compare the President’s plea for support for his “Jobs Bill” with Jesus’ instructions to Peter regarding his work as an apostle.

If you love me, you got to help me pass this bill.

Compare this with

When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter,”Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”

“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”

I’d be offended if the comparison weren’t so absurd.

Those of us who are Christians can probably all agree that God has a special place in His heart for the poor. We can surely agree that we have an obligation to help the poor. Where we would differ would be on how best to help them.

There are some among us who really do believe that the President’s jobs proposal will benefit the poor. There are others (myself included) who believe that the adverse effects of the proposed bill would outweigh any benefits. I oppose the “Jobs Bill” not out of greed but out of concern for the harm it would do to the poor.