Though many here claim NPR is far-left, the difference between, say, NPR and Fox News is that NPR doesn’t give opinion pieces in a channel that claims to be devoted to news. For instance, when I listen to Talk of the Nation, I hear a REPORT on the news, not an OPINION PIECE on what the news means, and I am left up to my own thoughts to determine my opinion. Though there may be some bias, the fact remains that NPR reports the news where others editorialize it.
Example, some transcripts from yesterday:
But first religious exemptions. Joining us now is John Witte, he’s a law professor and director of the Center for the Study of Law and Religion at Emory University. We’re talking to him from member station WABE in Atlanta. And welcome to the program.
JOHN WITTE: Thank you, Jennifer, good to be here.
LUDDEN: So give us a bit of history here. When and why did religious exemptions start?
WITTE: We’ve had religious exemptions in the history of the West for a long time, but they came into the American scene in the 18th century. And religious exemptions were viewed as a way of achieving religious freedom for select groups. You mentioned a number of the kinds of exemptions that existed. In the 18th century, an important one was conscientious objection to military service. The thought being those that were conscientiously opposed wouldn’t be forced into military service but could serve by an alternative means.
LUDDEN: Was that true in the Revolution? I’m curious.
WITTE: Absolutely, absolutely, and Quakers and Moravians and other groups were free from service, but they had to provide a substitute: a horse, a musket, provisioning for soldiers and the like.
Another one in the Revolutionary period and continuing into the republic was objection to oath-swearing. A person couldn’t swear an oath, they could be free from the swearing of an oath on a Bible or another religious text, but they would have to give another alternative form of proving their veracity.
A third one was property tax exemptions for religious properties. The thought being that separation of church and state is better achieved by simply saying that the state will not tax the church, and the church in turn will do charitable service in the community, and it will be a wash in terms of the economic consequences for the community.
LUDDEN: So it was a religious freedom issue.
WITTE: It was a religious freedom issue and a way of achieving religious freedom, not the only way, but a way of achieving religious freedom when there was no way to otherwise release the tension between state power and the claims of conscience or a central commandment of the faith of a particular religious party.
Note that in the context of the story (birth control and religious institutions) this would actually lead one to be supportive of exemptions.
And now from Fox & Friends (which is representative of similar programs on MSNBC and, for the most part, CNN as well):
A: Let’s talk about something else on Capital Hill and that is gun laws in the face of some of these major shootings that have happened in recent times. Well now in the state of Washington, could it be that in a law there they have accidentally included a provision that would allow police to search the homes of assault rifle owners.
Apparently, it does have some sort of a provision that says in order to contain or possess an assault weapon that was legally purchased on the effective date of this section, the person possessing shall safely and securely store the assault weapon. The sheriff of the county may no more than once per year conduct an inspection to ensure compliance with this subsection.
Now, why is this interesting? It’s interesting because that would mean the sheriff would come to your house when you legally own a gun to see where you store them. Now what does that lead to next? Many are concerned about that. But why this story is so important is because there’s actually a liberal democrat in Washington State who is against this even though he normally would not be.
And I think that this is very interesting to point out because often times this discussion is just right or left. Now you have somebody who’s actually looking at the law and having an open mind and saying maybe this isn’t the right way to take this.
B: Home inspections with no warrants is very Orwellian and so that’s why a lot of people in this country who, when they’re talking about, oh, background checks, okay, we’re all for background checks, right? Well background checks may lead to national registration, national registration leads to [knock, knock, knock] I’m from the Sheriff’s department, we just want to see where you’re guns are.
Compared to NPR, much of the TV news makes it a point to tell you why an issue is important, what the opinion on the issue should be, and what the potential consequences are, often with nothing to back up their claims. NPR makes it a point to not do this. I’ve never heard dialogue like this on the radio.