Skip to comments.Ralph Nader and Whether NPR Ignores Progressives (seriously)
Posted on 02/29/2012 5:11:21 PM PST by Drango
In a Weekend Edition segment about Ralph Nader and his search for a reasonably priced airplane ticket, Scott Simon said he was surprised that a screen didn't pop up on the airline's computer saying, "GIVE RALPH NADER WHATEVER HE WANTS AND SAVE US ALL A LOT OF TROUBLE." After all, Nader is known for his persistence and successful consumer advocacy. All cars now have seatbelts thanks to Nader and his 1965 book Unsafe at Any Speed.
Nader, a five-time presidential candidate, has been calling me in recent months to hold my feet to the fire, and so I went to meet with him.
While the political right has been beating the drum for years that NPR is too liberal, Nader says that is not the true picture at all. He says that it is progressives on the political left, like him, who are being excluded from NPR's airwaves.
"Progressive voices are not heard on NPR with the frequency of voices representing more corporatist and conservative opinion," Nader said. "And progressive voices should not be confused with liberal voices and lumped into the same category for any frequency analysis."
According to Nader, what NPR considers a liberal perspective is really middle-of-the-road. Among his examples are well-known Democrats like President Barack Obama, former President Bill Clinton and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Progressives, he said, exist farther to the left on the political spectrum. They support things like a Medicare-type single-payer system for all Americans, and not the health care compromise passed by Congress.
Nader does make at least one good point. Academic studies in recent decades have repeatedly shown that the country's political right, more than the left, is so peopled by true believers driven by principle that they reject political compromise and stay on message with such a strong voice that it attracts great media attention and exaggerates their real weight in the populace.
So who are some of these progressives on the left that Nader says are being ignored? Some are old war horses such as Jim Hightower, Gloria Steinem, Frances Fox Piven and Cornel West. But others are younger political players. They include Kevin Zeese and Robert Weissman. Nader gave a list, quickly scribbled; it is not exhaustive.
"Most of the Liberals in Congress voted for the Patriot Act and its renewal," Nader said, citing another policy differentiator. He said progressives more than liberals also want to dramatically increase minimum wage and decrease the country's military involvement abroad.
He said that in listening to the radio, it seems to him that NPR is increasing the diversity in its coverage when it comes to gender and race, which he applauds. But he said it is overlooking a diversity of political ideas. Coverage of the current Republican primaries is particularly assuring that what he calls both the more moderate "corporatist" right and the more hard-core conservative right are getting plenty of air time.
I am not quite sure how to measure appearances by people representing these very real but still fuzzy distinctions. Where do you draw the lines? Is there a master list of voices? I have enjoyed following the thoughtful conversations in these open forums, and so it occurs to me to ask you for your ideas. All responses are welcome.
Frances Fox Piven
When right-minded folks complain about NPR's exclusionary leftie-left-left activism, NPR can conveniently claim that Nader says that "Progressive voices are not heard on NPR with the frequency of voices representing more corporatist and conservative opinion..." the horrid lie of which gives them a fake foundation upon which to base a denial.
Exactly. This is their favorite sort of tactic.
Goes to show that when people don’t believe in truth, the only task before them is to invent more lies.
The simplistic notion that everyone to the left of us is a commie is wrong and unhelpful.
Nader is speaking the truth. NPR does not support the ultra-leftists. Where would they get their funding? They don't get that much from the ultra-leftists that want to take us back to the stone ages technologically, and limit us all to vegan diets.
They get their money from neo-liberals who work within the current system, and are quite happy to eat meat, drive around in expensive (usually foreign) cars, and live in places like Beverly Hills and the Hamptons.
In Los Angeles, NPR is played on KCRW out of Santa Monica and KPCC out of Pasadena, two bastions of neo-liberals.
The true whacked-out leftists broadcast on KPFK. They despise the neo-liberals on NPR as much as we despise the RINOS in the GOP.
There are wedges we can drive between the neo-liberals and the progressives if we open our eyes to see them. Imagine a conservative-funded SuperPAC sending out a message, not that Obama is too liberal, but that he is not liberal enough in places like Madison or Boulder or Berkeley? Such a message might demoralize the hard left and keep them from the polls.
Of course if we want to keep our blinders on and see Romney and everyone to his left as a raging commie-pinko-socialist then we can continue to lose the war.
NPR is in bed with ultra-leftwing Mitten's. Nadar and Willard should just get a room.
None of those professions is inherently evil (except maybe lawyering) but their opinions are far left of ours.
Still they're not as far left as the Earth Firster's, the most militant Greenpeacers, the Queers (though they like the gays), etc.
Some of them are even pro-Israel, or at least not pro-Palestine.
Most of them support the need for some type of free market. They just want to tax and regulate the heck out of it.
The thoroughgoing Marxists want to eliminate the free market system altogether.
There is a difference, and it is more than a dime's worth.
Believe me, when it comes to money, I’m spot on about Liberals. As a construction contractor, I deal with these people a lot. They are the love mankind, hate people types.
They love their families. They have deep, longlasting friendships. They care about things both local and global.
By and large they are not ideological. They have very inconsistent views because they don't try to get everything to fit together. They are very much like RINOS, only much more supportive of government and less supportive of corporations and free enterprise.
FR is swamped with "conservative" ideologues, i.e. non-conservatives. KPFK is swamped with liberal ideologues, i.e. commies, socialists, etc.
FR ideologues won't give an inch. KPFK ideologues won't give an inch. Liberals and RINOS are willing to give away a mile or two to keep the peace.
Of course the KPFK types like Nader think everyone right of Romney is a fascist. Just like the FR ideologues think everyone right of Romney is a communist.
Neither group of ideologues is going to make much headway in American politics.
Ron Paul is a perfect example of how libertarian ideology has a ceiling on acceptability.
I guess we can try and achieve his level of "success" by continuing to do likewise as conservatives, but that doesn't make a lot of sense to me.
Nader wants to be leading the left in the socialization of America. He can’t stand that that role goes to Obama and Pelosi - and he has too much of an ego to accept being a minor leftist foot soldier, that’s why he lashes out.
The moonbats always do this. When there is heat on their friends in the media they come out with charges they are not leftist enough.
PBS needs to go along with all the other Leftist cultural nonsense stinking up the Federal government and sucking off the US Treasury. Let the limo liberals fund their leftie propaganda like they do at nbccbsabccnnmsnbcfox...
New book title - Ralph Nader - Stupid at any speed.