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NPR has a new CEO. He's the head of Sesame Street. In his blog post on the decision, +Brian Stelter of the New York Times writes, "NPR, formerly known as National Public Radio, has the benefit of tens of millions of devoted weekly listeners and a robust Web presence. But it is threatened by the prospect of funding cuts, by power struggles between the organization and its member stations across the country; and by the perception that some of its programming has a liberal political bent."

Can you be "threatened" by a "perception?" I guess maybe you can. But if you can, then I would say that NPR is equally threatened by 1.) the perception that it can be rolled or intimidated, especially after forcing its last CEO to resign in part because right wing trickster James O'Keefe pulled a culture war stunt that worked, and 2.) the perception that it's increasingly a he said, she said, "safety first" news organization that tends to quote both sides and leave it there. I don't think Stelter can show that his threat is more threatening than the two threats I cited.
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Am I the only one worried that, as much as I love Sesame Street, they are masters of bending over backwards to not offend anyone; primarily by omitting any potentially offensive content? (Anyone remember the controversy surrounding Sesame Street - First and Last (1969) ? I don't, I wasn't old enough to watch back then. But they sure never came close to that line again, did they?)
 
Mr Rosen, you kind of ruined NPR for me. You pointed out a few weeks ago the "he said / she said" style reporting and now that I listen for it I notice its egregious prevalence on NPR. 
 
What perception? NPR's audience is there for its programming and a lot of its programming is pretty intellectual. They attract an educated and otherwise interest-selected demographic, and this is not exactly the Moral Majority or the Minutemen we're talking about. If you had a radio station that had loads of programming for farmers I would guess it would reflect the political leanings of farmers and nobody would expect them to give equal time to the Communist Party of America. The trouble is everybody's got a viewpoint and that's fine as long as they're up front about it and don't spread BS about another viewpoint. I have heard neither a Glenn Beck nor an Olbermann on NPR and it seems to me the could press that point a lot more forcefully.

Where they went wrong was firing Juan Williams, and I think that was a real mistake; it wasn't that clown and hsi video camera that put them behind the eight ball. And for that they really should be held accountable.
 
I think the world might be a better place if more Muppeteers ran it, frankly. And +Patrick Carroll - I don't know, a lot of the farmers I know listen avidly to NPR, and a lot of them run what amounts to collectives. Except for the Amish ones, and no one's making a radio station for them, I guess.
 
My perception: NPR News programs routinely have the news readers characterize what the Democrats say about an issue, then provide sound bites of a leading Republican speaking for him/herself. Followed by ZERO statements about the relative truth or falsity of the opinions.
 
+Louisa Smith I sure wouldn't mind if they replaced Neal Conan with Fozzie Bear, but the rest of them usually seem okay. Maybe Ernie and Bert could explain the difference between torture and advanced interrogation techniques.
 
+Louisa Smith I was born and raised in South Carolina - I know agriculture has changed a lot lately but when thinking about a non-NPR demographic a lot of the farmers who lived around us fit the bill. They were older people with small farms and not a lot of money, not a lot of formal education, religious, and very conservative. Like I said, I make no claims on being unbiased, just willing to say it if it's brought to my attention. I wasn't particularly trying to say I know the politics of everybody in the agriculture business, just that if you have a radio show targeted to certain interests it shouldn't be stunning that the political leanings of people with that interest creep in. +Allan Brauer I guess the problem is how could you comment on truth or falsity of opinions at all - they're opinions. Seems like a lot of news programs have decided that "balance" means having two wingnuts from opposite sides lob talking points at each other. If the anchor interjects he/she's "biased" (which is certainly true), if he/she doesn't all you hear is noise. I have some sympathy for these people, you get beat up either way.
 
Jay's right that the threats to NPR are plentiful, and that I identified just three in the story. When I read Jay's post, I adjusted the sentence so that it said that NPR "is threatened by, among other things..."

Of course, I could have -- and maybe should have -- listed every single perceived threat to NPR. Grist for a follow-up story?
 
Perceptions can be threatening if one internalizes the idea that the media's in the perception business and not, say, the news business. To be fair, Mr. Knell sounds a bit threatened by perceptions at the moment. "We've got to make the case that we're delivering a fair service — not only in the way we do our jobs but in the way we disseminate the news" only makes sense if you think that doing the job well doesn't itself secure fairness. NPR: fighting perceptions with appearances!
 
Does that mean we're going to start to hear Kermit the Frog on Morning Edition? :-)
 
+Brian Stelter I'm late to the conversation, but I wanted to follow up on your question. I think it would be interesting to know what the biggest threats are. I think the original question was whether the perception of liberal bias is as significant a threat as, say, the perception that NPR will roll over when charged with liberal bias. A follow-up story that answered that question would be pretty interesting.
 
Is +gary knell on G+ yet?

+Rick Scheibner Kermit was asked to leave his reporting position after video of his attempting to cross traffic while members of the notorious "Citizens for Cozier Lily Pads" -- probably a front group -- were demonstrating nearby.
 
.....and the Seasame Street song: "One of These Things Is Not Like The Other" had to be changed to include:

One of these CEO's is not like the others, because he will not be set up like a bowling pin by the James O'Keefe Nutters. One of these CEO's just doesn't belong.
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