NPR: Age discrimination?

NPR: Age discrimination?
: NPR is ousting Bob Edwards as the host of its morning show. Time for a change and all that. New role. He’s 56 and has been there from the start and has done a good job from the start (no matter what you think of NPR’s politics, he’s a pro). In the Times story, he’s as politic as he can be and his colleagues don’t dar call this what it is: Killing the graybeard. I’d expect that from commercial networks (except, in fact, they do leave Andy Rooney Dan Rather in the job long past the time they became bores). But NPR? Tsk-tsk.

  • Arthur

    The Times also claims that Morning Edition is the highest rated morning show in the nation. Is that true? Does that beat Howard Stern nationally?

  • KMK
    Paul Farhi opened his live online station break with this. (Washington Post) He has some news and promises more to come on Bob. Oh, and he also defends Stern in one of his responses too.

  • Does this bode the end of the thirty minute Kerry campaign commercial during my morning commute?

  • Kurt

    I saw a picture of him in the Washington Post Express – I had no idea Adam West had changed his name and gone to work for NPR.

  • Insufficiently Sensitive

    30-minute Kerry commercial? Where you been, compadre? It’s 24/7 on that network.
    Agreed that slaying the greybeard looks bad. Greybeards needs jobs too. But some of us have been grinding our teeth at those unctuous tones for decades, so there ARE benefits. He spent years announcing the Dow-Jones to the hundredth of a point, while the reality of its second-by-second fluctuations rendered that precision laughable. He too liked that plummy baritone.

  • Even Less Sensitive

    Exactly. Tellwiddum. If his termination saves some money…

  • Katherine

    C’mon. NPR is not a 24/7 Kerry promotion machine. Yes, the place appears to be full of Democrats, just like the rest of the mainstream media, but I think they try harder than most media outlets to be fair. Plenty of their opinion pieces are two-day deals where you hear both sides of the issue, and the conservatives they air aren’t slouches, either.

  • Insufficiently Sensitive

    In my experience, their bias exceeds Katherine’s expectations. For instance, the most recent Bush public address from the White House was excluded from NPR, and only described to us by their announcers. And when they present ‘balanced’ coverage of points of disagreement between Bush and Kerry, it always appears that Kerry gets a significantly longer and more aggressive sound bite than the President, and the producer’s framing of the story isn’t favorable to Bush either.
    There’s no diversity on NPR. Disagree?

  • My wife was an on-air host for the NPR affiliate in Dallas, KERA 90.1. She discovered the truth behind the vaunted “NPR Image” when she was fired for being pregnant. That incident made it clear that the image of NPR as being somehow different from its broadcast competitors is totally false. Firing people for being pregnant, or old, is just the way it is, regardless of the what an organization’s backers would have us believe.

  • billg

    The NPR omsbudsman (go ask the commercial networks when they plan to hire some) acknowledges that NPR is perceived as leaning liberal, but says the majority of complaints he gets about bias and story slant complain about NPR being too conservative. Go figure.
    The best thing NPR has going for it is time. Their shows are long enough to allow for a bit of depth, and they aren’t forced to sandwich everything between commercials.
    As for “balanced coverage’, that’s impossible when you’re reporting the news. Some folks make news one day, and other folks make news the next. The only way to maintain an image of being “balanced” is to conjure up phony news. If Bush says something controversial today, it’s fine to report that without chasing down a reaction from Kerry.
    The worst way to achieve “balance” in news reporting is to drag two opposing “experts with agendas” into the studio and ask them loaded questions. NPR still does this sometimes, but the real masters of this tacky art is the BBC. NPR, at least, usually tells listeners about the agendas pushed by their “experts”, but BBC hardly bothers.
    It’s time that news consumers realized that the responsibility for consuming a balanced news diet is their’s. You wouldn’t expect to have a balanced food diet by eating just one kind of food. If you ate nothing but doughnuts, would you blame Krispy Kreme for your lack of nutrional balance? Likewise, why would you expect a balanced news diet to come from consuming only one news source?

  • Wow. It’s like Macy’s firing Santa Claus.

  • Dexter Westbrook

    NPR has plenty of folks who can read radio scripts without stumbling.
    Bob Edwards has a wonderful voice. He is also a terrible interviewer, even when his questions are put in front of him to read. The idea that he’s going to be some kind of senior correspondent now is a joke. They’re probably offering him a job they know he won’t want.
    NPR says Edwards did 20,000 interviews. Well, 18,000 of them were lousy, and 1,950 of them were with Red Barber, who is no longer with us.
    Often, Mr. Bob alternates between sounding sarcastic and bored. Plus, it seemed like the guy was frequently on vacation, or off doing something else. The four most frequently spoken words on Morning Edition were: Bob. Edwards. Is. Away.
    See ya, Colonel.

  • John

    Well, if NPR really wanted to shake things up, they could replace Edwards with the team of Tom and Ray Magliozzi. It would definitely be a change of pace, and they’re not doing anything Monday through Friday, anyway…

  • Insufficiently Sensitive

    If Tom and Ray would can about 90% of their haw-haw-haw, that might fly. Better yet, Mark Steyn or James Lileks.

  • Stan

    I agree with Dexter. It’s about time Bob Edwards got the boot. His interviews were painful: Slow, weirdly inflected, boring. Now if NPR can just please, please, please get rid of Susan Stamberg, I might consider donating again. Her reports on the ethics of stealing a grape from a supermarket, or on a photographer who only shoots people who are happy, or whatever else she sees in her leafy beltway suburb are way too precious for words.

  • RogerA

    Do away with Susan Stamberg? Gasp..and lose forever Mother Stamberg’s recipe for cranberry relish? Agree that Edward’s is a terrible interviewer–Even though her liberalism shows through from time to time, Terry Gross is my favorite interviewer—BUT–Tom and Ray for Morning Edition–could you see them doing a job on Nina Tottenberg? Priceless.

  • Aaron

    Bob Edwards has a letter at NPR saying he’s staying as a senior correspondent and for us to keep supporting them — must have received more than my complaint.
    I listen to American radio via so I guess my favorite radio voice will now be David Brown of Marketplace; wish the show was longer.
    Steve Inskeep will probably be the voice of ME now.

  • As for “balanced coverage’, that’s impossible when you’re reporting the news. Some folks make news one day, and other folks make news the next.
    Which is why the true test of media bias is which stories they choose not to cover. NPR’s inability to see newsworthiness in armed citizens defeating evil exceeds that of the commercial networks.

  • billg

    >>NPR’s inability to see newsworthiness in armed citizens defeating evil exceeds that of the commercial networks.
    Beats me what that means. Guess it depend on what you think is evil.
    In any case, why would anyone expect any single news outlet to be completely unbiased and impartial? So long as they’re honest — don’t take money to slant reports and don’t make stuff up — that’s all about we can expect. Creating the news is all about story selection and emphasis. It’s based on judgement, so it’s bound to reflect the opinions of editors and reporters.
    There’s no reason to expect any single news outlet to be impartial and unbiased. Even if that were possible, their product would be mindnumbingly boring.
    People who get their news from one source don’t know , literally, what they’re talking about.

  • hey

    why would one expect one outlet tobe impartial? cause thats what they claim to be…
    “we’re objective, you’re an idiot for being reactionary…”
    of course its insane… but hoisting one’s enemy by their own petard is so much fun! and makes them generally decend to incoherence.
    see richard clarke for best example recently

  • I’m not a liberal, but I think it’s a pity NPR doesn’t offer what it says it does: a compelling, authoratative liberal voice. Compared to real morning radio journalists (e.g. Johnahtan Humphries of the BBC) Bob Edwards is a joke.
    With NPR morning edition you almost think their background music (old style Yankee banjo picking or whatever) is more important to them than anything their journalists have to say.

  • Insufficiently Sensitive

    “In any case, why would anyone expect any single news outlet to be completely unbiased and impartial?”
    I would. This is NPR we’re talking about, supported by taxpayer dollars since 1965, in a country where political orientation is roughly balanced between R and D. So why in bloody hell should a cozy little cabal of urban liberals, ranging from center-left to hard-left, have a monopoly on the choosing and framing and reporting of news to the country at large?
    The taxes come from the whole spectrum, and the production and editorial and reporting staff should be likewise balanced. To the point that each half the NPR staff should be offended by the productions of the other half, 24/7.