Feb
17
2009

NPR, Fox Collude to Hide Fake Lefty

Noting that "news organizations often encourage their journalists to appear on other platforms for promotional purposes," former TVNewser Brian Stelter reports (New York Times, 2/15/09) that, "when the National Public Radio analyst Juan Williams speaks on the Fox News Channel's highest-rated program, the radio network doesn't want any attention":

Mr. Williams, a longtime political analyst and author, is a paid contributor to both NPR and Fox News. His voice is a prominent one at Fox; he was a panelist for the network's coverage of election night and Inauguration Day. When he appears on the cable channel, he is regularly described as a "senior correspondent for NPR." While that title is accurate, NPR has asked Mr. Williams to ask Fox not to identify him that way when he appears on the O'Reilly Factor, the network's 8 p.m. opinion program.

The request was made after Mr. Williams said on the Factor that Michelle Obama has "got this Stokely-Carmichael-in-a-designer-dress thing going." The allusion to Mr. Carmichael, a leader of the black power movement of the 1960s, spurred dozens of angry e-mail messages to Alicia C. Shepard, the NPR ombudswoman, and resulted in conversations between Mr. Williams and the radio network's editors.

Shepard's response was one of concern that Williams "tends to speak one way on NPR and another on Fox"–while Fox itself took a condescending shot at NPR when announcing it would happily deceive its own viewers: "Fox swiftly said that it would drop the radio references–not only on the Factor, but on all the network's hours of programming. 'We were doing NPR a favor by even plugging them.'"

See the FAIR magazine Extra!: "Field Guide to TV's Lukewarm Liberals: How to Spot Centrist Pundits Served Up As the 'Left'" (7-8/98)