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NPR Host on Media Bias: ‘Can You Believe in Democracy Without Being Pro-Biden?’

by | Mar 19, 2024

By Tim Graham

Former NPR All Things Considered anchor David Greene performed a very pompous rhetorical dance on the latest podcast Left Right and Center out of Santa Monica NPR station KCRW. Greene is supposedly the “Center,” but he’s a typical leftist, as you can see. The topic? “This election season, will media learn from past mistakes?”

We can all guess what that means: Will the media finally defeat Trump and stop hurting the Democrats? Greene led off by claiming in 2016,  people didn’t take Trump seriously, and so “the focus was really on Hillary Clinton, this career politician running a flawed campaign, and the flaws were put on full display in the media.” People actually claim Trump wasn’t facing an all-out media war as they labored to protect and promote Mrs. Clinton.

But 15 minutes in – that’s where the pomposity broke out:

DAVID GREENE:  Here’s my question. I, as a journalist, believe in democracy. I support democracy. I am a —


SARAH ISGUR, THE DISPATCH: Good for you! (giggles quietly)


GREENE: I believe in a free press. I believe in democracy. I believe that Donald Trump is very transparently and pretty brazenly, um, acting anti-democratic in a lot of ways right now — when he talks about his plans to dismantle institutions, to pack the federal bureaucracy with people who support him. I mean, he has praised authoritarian leaders around the world. So I think the bind that a lot of journalists are in is, how can we be passionate believers in democracy and not be biased in a presidential election?

This is a restatement of Jim Rutenberg’s infamous piece on the front of The New York Times in 2016, that the danger of Donald Trump ruined journalistic objectivity, that the threat of Trump required “being oppositional.”

Greene tried to claim as a believer in democracy, he knows “voters get to decide,” but he thinks reporters have to describe the “stakes” of this election (code: the end of Democracy). So he wondered:

Can you believe in democracy without being pro-Biden?

Greene, like the vast majority of journalists covering politics, clearly believes the answer is No.

Isgur, the titular “Right” side, said America has survived dangerous presidencies before – she picked Woodrow Wilson. But she nailed the rebuttal, gently:

ISGUR: I would just say that it’s important to have a certain amount of intellectual humility, that the moment you’re living in and the thoughts that you’re having, the existential crisis you think you’re in, may not be what you think it is.  It might be. Intellectual humility isn’t ‘I’m probably wrong.’ It’s just ‘I might be wrong,’ being open to the possibility that you’re wrong.

After his “I’m for democracy and a free press, and I think I need to be pro-Biden,” Greene claimed “I’m a big believer in intellectual humility, obviously.” She pushed ahead:

It is hard to earn back credibility, so when you thought the sky was falling with George W. Bush who was a racist, and then McCain, and then Romney, you’ve already lost credibility, and the media did that. When the media hyperventilated in 2016 and 2020, and I’m not even saying that was not well-deserved, but you lose credibility – it’s already gone.

Even the “Left” of this show, Democrat strategist Mo Elleithee, disagreed with Greene: “The second you say Donald Trump is anti-democratic, you immediately are going to feed into this narrative” of a biased press. He said just describe what Trump wants to do, and let the voters decide without the Trump Scare lingo.

Editor’s note. This appeared at Newsbusters and reposted with permission.

Categories: Media Bias