Censorship at NPR

The following comes from Josh Mitteldorf. He’s an election reform activist in Philadelphia, who tried to buy ad-time on WHYY-FM, the local NPR affiliate, to help sell Fooled Again. As you’ll see from his account, the station first okayed the deal, and then, after having read the copy, arbitrarily refused to run the ads.

As Philadelphia goes, so goes NPR from coast to coast. Although I’ve been on many NPR shows several times over the years, none of them will have me on to talk about this book. For instance, “The Connection,” a national show broadcast from Boston, had had me on two or three times before this book came out. This time, the show’s producer just refused outright to have me come back on–even after the show’s host, Jack Beatty, tried to get her to relent. (Jack is an old friend of mine.)

So let’s be clear what this is all about. It’s not because the book’s “not new” (it came out just two months ago), or because I didn’t do a good job as a guest on “The Connection” (after all, they’d asked me back), that I can’t get on NPR to talk about this book. (I can’t get on any PBS shows, either.) It’s because the subjects of election fraud and the dire need for electoral reform are now
officially verboten on what we still call “public radio.”

MCM

Mark,

I just got off the phone with Tim Roll of WHYY radio, the largest NPR station in Philadelphia. I had submitted to him last week ad copy for your book. When I spoke to him last week, he had assured me that there was no censorship in accepting these spots, and explicitly told me the few rules that we had to follow: we must not tell people explicitly to vote for a candidate or buy a product, and must not state that any product is the “best” or make claims that compare it to another product.

But this morning he told me that “unfortunately” the copy was rejected by his supervisors. The only objective reason he offered was that the book was “not new and has already been out for awhile”. I suggested to him that Steve Freeman’s book on a similar theme would be coming out in the near future, and I might approach them again with an ad for that book. He replied that they couldn’t accept ads for just any book – and raised the analogy of Mein Kampf ! I thought that said a lot about how this issue is viewed by the corporate media. A sympathetic reading of their policy might be that they are excessively sensitive to the obligation not to undermine public order, or incite their listeners to acts of hatred or rebellion. A less sympathetic reading is that they’re shills of the Bush agenda.

I raised the issue of editorial control by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and he claimed that WHYY accepts no such control. He volunteered the information that only 9% of the station’s funding comes from the Federal government, far lower than some rural NPR stations with smaller listener bases. He said he was all in favor of letting go of that last 9%, so that the station would be fully independent, but said flatly that this would have no impact on their standards for ad copy.

Below, for your reference, is the email to WHYY, including the proposed copy.
-Josh

Hi, Tim-

Here are 5 different versions of the ad copy, to be run twice each during some week in the near future. We’ve talked about the $145 rate for each 30 second spot, and you’ve told me the ads will run at random times through the broadcast day.

Version 1:
Brought to you by Mark Crispin Miller’s book
“Fooled Again – how the Right stole the 2004 election, and why they’ll steal the next one, too (unless we stop them)”
Read how HAVA – the so-called “Help America Vote Act” – actually helps to hide the way our votes are counted, so that verification of election results is becoming impossible in more and more communities, including Philadelphia and the 5-county area.
“Fooled Again”, by Mark Crispin Miller.

————————————————————————-

Version 2:
Brought to you by Mark Crispin Miller’s book “Fooled Again – how the Right stole the 2004 election, and why they’ll steal the next one, too (unless we stop them)”
In November, 2004, some 8 million votes were switched or trashed in Pennsylvania, Florida, Ohio and many other states – 8 million votes, which is more than twice the number by which Bush supposedly won re-election.
Read copious details and full documentation in this new book, “Fooled Again”, by Mark Crispin Miller.

————————————————————————-

Version 3:
Brought to you by Mark Crispin Miller’s book “Fooled Again – how the Right stole the 2004 election, and why they’ll steal the next one, too (unless we stop them)”
Read about Nathan Sproul, the man hired by the Republicans to sign up new Democratic voters – then throw away their registrations. This was a coast-to-coast operation for which Sproul’s organization was paid millions.
Details in this thoroughly-documented new book,”Fooled Again”, by Mark Crispin Miller.

————————————————————————-

Version 4:
Brought to you by Mark Crispin Miller’s book “Fooled Again – how the Right stole the 2004 election, and why they’ll steal the next one, too (unless we stop them)”
President Bush claims that Americans are dying in Iraq in order to spread democracy. But read how the Republican National Committee has subverted democracy and corrupted elections right here in the USA.
Details in this new book, “Fooled Again”, by Mark Crispin Miller.

————————————————————————-

Version 5:
Brought to you by Mark Crispin Miller’s book “Fooled Again – how the Right stole the 2004 election, and why they’ll steal the next one, too (unless we stop them)”
Not enough voting machines – in Democratic precincts only. Machines that systematically turned Kerry votes into Bush votes. Some 8 million votes switched nationwide, delivering Bush his quote re-election. Read the news that the press has skirted.
Details and full documentation in this new book, “Fooled Again”, by Mark Crispin Miller.
————————————————————————————

-Josh Mitteldorf

0 thoughts on “Censorship at NPR”

  1. Important report, Mark. A new talking point seems to be evolving. In Arizona last week, election reform demonstrators were called “fascists.” Here you have a host referring to Mein Kampf.

    It used to be that election integrity advocates were simply called “berserkers” and “conspiracy theorists” (although we’ve been called “terrorists” since late 2003. Add to this the names “anarchists” (also used in Arizona.

    We need to continue to document and publish censorship of this topic. We also need to turn the tables on government surveillance and start surveilling our public officials — your camcorder: Don’t leave home without it.

    If people got into office by cheating, they won’t give up their power easily.

    Bev Harris
    Black Box Voting

  2. “It used to be that election integrity advocates were simply called “berserkers” and “conspiracy theorists” (although we’ve been called “terrorists” since late 2003. Add to this the names “anarchists” (also used in Arizona”

    All in keeping with the process of “projection.” I was just talking with someone about this too…”liberals” are now “fascists” who wish to “censor” the right, and impose their “out-of-touch-from-reality” beliefs on everyone. Every right wing headcase that is confronted by rational criticism takes said criticism, spins it, and turns it back on the person who initially and rightfully leveled the charge.

    It’s like a group of kids fighting over something, right, and it’s just one or two that instigated it, and then mom or dad walk in, and the brat that started it immediately points the finger at the rest who responded in kind and were pulled into it. We now have a social atmosphere where disturbingly few people are capable of discerning this example. It’s all sold as part of the “divided country” package in our media, which is some deceptive shit, cause there’s no acknowledgement of who the blatant wrongdoers are. People are led to believe that the big mess is simply due to everyone having their “opinion” on what’s going on. Well, an UNINFORMED opinion is like a fart in a wind tunnel.

    I’m just flat out amazed at the degree of ignorance here…that so many are completely incapable of discerning shit from shinola, of not realizing – even with the facts in front of them – that they are being manipulated and lied to, and why it’s so obvious as to why the so-called “leaders” of a democracy would need to lie: to disguise the dirty deeds they’re up to, cause none of what we’ve been sold about what this country supposedly stands for is anything more than a con. And there’s no reasoning with those who refuse to wake up. There can be a paper trail a mile long, with aspects of it even acknowledged by cabinet members and so on, yet the average supporters of the right will defiantly proclaim “nu-uh! that’s not true! that’s our liberal media!” I mean, where do you go from there? It’s completely absurd. Rant over.

  3. WHYY is the most conservative of the NPR stations I’ve heard, so this is no surprise. Their morning talk show Radio Times w/ Marty Moss-Coane is particularly egregious; they’re completely happy to host shows with someone from the Heritage Foundation as the sole guest. Obviously much more conservative than their listeners, there is never any serious challenge from the host, its the callers who ask the tough questions.

    The whole station is so abysmal (don’t get me started on their ridiculously pro-business financial reporting) I tend to listen to other NPR stations on-line to escape their insufficient local programming. I found out more about the local transit strike from Berkley’s KPFA than I did from all the local media.

    NPR’s own ombudsman has recently revealed NPR skew towards conservative spokesmen. It has just gotten embarrasing. The worst thing is that NPR’s compromised reporting has has led to boring, disposable news, which can only lead to listener apathy while shows like Democracy Now not only break news first but are just plainly more entertaining.

    Your message is too important to get frustrated though, you have to hold on and get your punches in where you can. Keep up the provocative work!

  4. As I’m sure you know, Amazon is not carrying your book. Heck, even Wal-Mart is selling your book but not Amazon. I know because I tried to link to it on my blog. Amazing.

  5. Just for the record, the book *is* available on Amazon, but hard to find. Search on “Fooled Again” and you should find it. Indeed, they’ve got a special: 25 bucks gets you Mark’s book and a copy of the Conyers report on the Ohio election.

  6. public radio stations do not accept many advertisers and the copy they want to ‘purchase’ in underwriting announcements.

    they won’t accept beer ads, liquor ads, sex ads, political ads, many non-profit fundraising ads etc…it is NOT a conspiracy against your book personally.

    i represent a public radio station in this capacity and empathize with your situation, but it a much bigger picture than you painted. click on any of the public radio stations website and see the copy guidelines.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *