In the fall of 2011, National Public Radio (an entity subsidized by American tax dollars) aired a three-part series that accused the state government of South Dakota of kidnapping America Indian children in order to place them in foster care, all in an effort to win federal dollars. Last month, NPR’s ombudsman blistered the network for their phony story. Last weekend, NPR’s own media reporter, Bob Garfield, took the network to task.
Garfield’s primary complaint came from NPR’s refusal to respond to their ombudsman beyond an arrogant denial.
Schumacher-Matos, reporter Laura Sullivan and NPR news management all declined interview requests from On the Media. In a prepared statement, NPR’s Chief Content Officer Kinsey Wilson and Senior Vice President for News Margaret Low Smith acknowledged some flaws with the series, but they criticized Schumacher-Matos in terms strikingly similar to his own. Quote, “Overall, the process surrounding the ombudsman’s inquiry was unorthodox, the sourcing selective, the fact-gathering uneven, and many of the conclusions, in our judgment, subjective or without foundation. For that reason, we’ve concluded there is little to be gained from a point-by-point response to his claims.”
Wrong answer. When a national news organization invites listeners to believe a government is kidnapping children and the audience’s representative cites eye-popping specifics, “agree to disagree” is an evasion of responsibility. In the face of the Ombudsman’s allegations, nothing less than point-by-point response will do.
Were NPR not a member of the protected class among the left, this scandal would be commanding all kinds of attention throughout the mainstream media. As is, though, it has received hardly any attention.
Using phony reporting to smear a red state like South Dakota just isn’t considered a sin in our media.
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