National Public Radio (NPR), the taxpayer-funded radio organization, is notorious for its reputed liberal bias. On December 19, 1995, Andrei Codrescu uttered inflammatory anti-Christian remarks in his "All Things Considered" commentary on NPR. Referring to Christ's rapture of His church, Codrescu said, "The evaporation of four million [people] who believe in this [Christian] crap would leave this world a better place." Later, when pressed for an apology, Codrescu unrepentantly said he apologized "for the language but not for what I said." Donald E. Wildmon, president of the American Family Association, urged NPR to fire Codrescu, pointing out that had he similarly disparaged Jews, blacks, women, or homosexuals, he would have been terminated. NPR reportedly did later apologize for the comments.
KSUT-FM, an NPR station in Pagosa Springs, Colorado, recently refused to run a paid ad by a local dentist. Dr. Glenn Rutherford uses the phrase "Gently Restoring the Health God Created" as a theme for his dental practice. Rutherford, a devout Christian, said that his motto is not so much a statement of faith as "an acknowledgment that we don't create health. We merely restore health which was imparted to us by our Creator." When he tried to air that theme in his ads with KSUT, a station representative told him, "Well, we had a staff meeting and there was universal agreement that that couldn't go on." The station staff agreed that the spot could not contain the word, "God." Dr. Rutherford said, "I was a little incensed the station could run gay and lesbian coalition sponsorship spots-but I couldn't mention God in mine?" Rutherford requested an apology from station officials.
Notably, KSUT often uses its own slogan, "Diverse programming for a multi-cultural world." Donald E. Wildmon, founder of American Family Radio network, said that because NPR is tax-supported, stations like KSUT that refuse such advertisements "are practically engaging in a form of government-sponsored censorship. David Barton, president of Wallbuilders, in an interview with Joe Scarborough on MSNBC described a television report he had seen in which
NPR station managers across the country were interviewed about KSUT's decision. One of them, said Barton, accused American Family Radio of hypocrisy because it would never permit satanic or Islamic or anti-abortion groups on its airwaves. Barton drew a telling conclusion from this comparison. "NPR sees this, the mention of God," said Barton, "in the same way that a Christian group would see a satanic group. I thought that says a whole lot about NPR."
In another regrettable incident, NPR reporter David Kestenbaum, on January 22, 2002, seemed to imply that the Traditional Values Coalition (TVC), a Christian pro-family ministry, was involved in the terrorist anthrax attacks on our nation's capital. Kestenbaum's exact words from the transcript are:
Two of the anthrax letters were sent to Senators Tom Daschle and Patrick Leahy, both Democrats. One group who had a gripe with Daschle and Leahy is the Traditional Values Coalition, which, before the attacks, had issued a press release criticizing the senators for trying to remove the phrase so help me God' from the oath. The Traditional Values Coalition, however, told me the FBI had not contacted them and then issued a press release saying NPR was in the pocket of the Democrats and trying to frame them.
If Kestenbaum was not trying to taint TVC, it's difficult to understand why he gratuitously mentioned it in that context. TVC chairman Reverend Lou Sheldon had no doubt. He said, "When we realized we were being accused of murder-because several people died [postal workers who delivered the letters to the Senate building]-when we realized that is what NPR was saying, [that] we were potential murderers, I was outraged." House Majority Whip Tom DeLay lambasted NPR over the incident, and a congressional subcommittee confronted NPR executives about continued congressional funding of an organization with an overtly antiChristian bias. House Labor and Health and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Ralph Regula accused NPR of "irresponsible journalism" and said the smear "erodes NPR's credibility." California Representative Ken Calvert said he had "become jaded to the fact that the news media use the airwaves to promote their liberal agenda," but NPR had "crossed the line from simple bias to outright libel." A year after its show aired, NPR issued an apology and retraction, saying its "report violated NPR editorial principles. No one had told our reporter that the Traditional Values Coalition was a suspect in the anthrax mailing. No facts were available then or since then to suggest that the group had any role in the anthrax mailing. NPR deeply regrets this mistake and apologizes for any false impression that the coalition was in any way involved in this investigation."
Public Broadcast Service (PBS), the tax-supported national television broadcast company, gets no better marks from conservatives than NPR. It funded, for example, a documentary attacking the Boy Scouts Associations' ban on homosexuals, presenting only one side with no rebuttal. It also ran a heralded seven-part series on "Evolution," which many argued was a onesided perspective. Michael J. Behe, professor of biological sciences at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania, whose research has involved delineation of design and natural selection in discrete subsystems of DNA replication, was particularly critical of the series. He wrote that the essential feature of an unbiased presentation is "whether it addresses opposing views accurately, in their strongest forms," while propaganda, "ignores or caricatures its opponents or gives weak, watered-down renditions of their arguments." He went on to say that the series trumpeted not just evolution in general, but Darwinism (random mutation and natural selection) in particular. "Yet the show," he said, didn't bother to disclose that "some scientists and academics-plus the vast majority of the public-are profoundly skeptical of natural selection as the driver of evolution." Other scientists, such as Dr. Jonathan Sarfati, a physical chemist and spectroscopist, criticized the production as a "propaganda effort" that gave the impression that only the religious criticize evolution.
One of PBS's main commentators, Bill Moyers, is particularly suspect in the bias department. He couldn't mask his disappointment following the decisive Republican victory in the 2002 election. In his commentary posted on the PBS website, he unloaded on the predicament the nation had just placed itself in with the election. "For the first time in the memory of anyone alive," wrote Moyers, "the entire federal government-the Congress, the Executive, the judiciary-is united behind a right-wing agenda for which George W. Bush believes he now has a mandate. That mandate includes the power of the state to force pregnant women to give up control over their own lives." But the real zinger came when he turned his sights on what he considered the real source of the problem. "And if you like God in government, get ready for the Rapture. These folks don't even mind you referring to the GOP as the party of God. Why else would the new House Majority Leader [Tom DeLay] say that the Almighty is using him to promote 'a Biblical worldview' in American politics?" Moyer's view, aired at the behest of the public trough, seems to be that Bible-believing Christians have no business in government. And if one happens to get elected or appointed-let alone to a position of considerable influence, Heaven forbid-he should have the decency to keep his trap shut about his religious beliefs.
Not content merely to hammer Christianity, PBS also happily promotes alternatives-Islam, for example. In 2002, the network ran a two-hour special documentary, one week before Christmas, no less, on the prophet Muhammad to "counter negative images" of Muslims. Alex Kronemer, the producer of "Muhammad: Legacy of a Prophet," is an American convert to Islam. His purpose was to demonstrate that "every Muslim is not Osama bin Laden." According to Kronemer, "Americans get most of their images about Islam and Muslims from the headlines. Demonstrations and shouting in the streets make the news, and those images are repeated:' PBS presented Islam as the "latest revelation of the one true God." In the movie a woman said, "Muhammad told his followers to not do to him what the Christians did to Jesus-make him holy," perhaps implying, and this during Christians' Holy Week, that Christ's deity was a fabrication.
According to some reviewers, the movie treated the events and claims of Islam uncritically and as truth. The academic commentators for the show were all believing Muslims, and nary a church/state separationist could be seen protesting this taxpayer-funded propaganda apologetic for another religion. It would be unheard of for PBS to produce and air a documentary featuring, say, the objective evidence for the Resurrection or the virtues of Christianity for Western thought and culture. Daniel Pipes, director of the Middle East Forum and author of Militant Islam Reaches America, said, "All of this suggests that the American taxpayer is subsidizing an attempt to proselytize Islam in America." PBS insisted that its viewers sent no negative responses about the documentary or its choice to run it during the week of Christmas. But it is difficult to counter the charge that this was a pro-Muslim production inasmuch as Kronemer essentially admitted it. If there were any doubt that an agenda was behind this, the doubt was removed when PBS followed up the next night with "Muslims," a two-hour "Frontline" special. While PBS can try to refute the charge by citing documentaries it has produced on Christianity, a closer look belies the claim, as when it aired "Jesus to Christ," a documentary tracing the "transformation" of the "real" Jesus from a Jewish carpenter to Christ of Christian "mythology."
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