At the root of the hubbub over the conservative activist sting on a pair of NPR fundraisers and NPR CEO Vivian Schiller’s subsequent resignation is a debate that is as old as public broadcasting itself: should the government fund media in the US? The most vocal opponents of public funding often cite what they see as a left-leaning political bias at NPR as an argument that it does not deserve taxpayer help.
In a recent column by The New York Times’s David Carr, NPR’s political slant is treated as a foregone conclusion. It’s “true to a point” that NPR is guilty of “squishy liberal ideology,” Carr wrote. “In terms of assignments and sensibility, NPR has always been more blue than red, but it’s not as if it has an overt political agenda.”
Okay, so it doesn’t have an “agenda.” But is even that so-called “liberal ideology” something we’re all willing to concede? It may be true that journalists who work for public radio personally lean left, but does that bias necessarily leak into their work? So we ask you, our readers: How could we go about measuring such a thing? Does NPR’s reporting have a left-wing bias? And can you provide specific examples of why you think so?The Editors are the staffers of Columbia Journalism Review.