Opinion, Siskiyou

To Editor: Media Bias

Mt. Shasta, credit: Jim Perdue

Recently a story emerged concerning NPR, National Public Radio, based on an article by Uri Berliner, a long-time editor at NPR, which was published on Bari Weiss’ online news site The Free Press.

Link to The Free Press article:

https://www.thefp.com/p/npr-editor-how-npr-lost-americas-trust?

 Here’s a quote from an article by Jonathan Turley, a professor at George Washington University Law School and occasional news commentator:

“It has been a rough week for the National Public Radio (NPR) after a respected editor, Uri Berliner, wrote a scathing account of the political bias at the media outlet.”

Here’s a link to Mr. Turley’s full article:

One of Mr. Berliner’s biggest complaints about NPR was its policy of ignoring the Hunter Biden laptop story, and the reason, according to Berliner, is that the story may have helped Donald Trump in the 2020 election. Berliner had similar criticism of the way NPR handled the Russia-Gate story. When special council Robert Mueller found no hard evidence of collusion of Trump’s campaign with Russia, apparently NPR just quit reporting on the story, with no admittance that the story was based on hear-say.  

Here’s a link to a New York Post article about former NPR editor Uri Berliner:

NPR editor says network ‘turned a blind eye’ to Hunter Biden
            laptop story because ‘it could help Trump’ 

By  Ariel Zilber 

Published April 9, 2024, 4:51 p.m. ET 

https://nypost.com/2024/04/09/media/npr-editor-says-network-turned-a-blind-eye-to-hunter-biden-laptop-story

Mr. Turley’s concern is that NPR gets some of its funding from the federal government, meaning close to half the country’s taxpayers are supporting a radio station that is left leaning or liberal, with tax dollars from people who are conservative. Turley believes NPR has the right to discuss topics in a manner they choose, but in that case, NPR shouldn’t be receiving funds from the federal government. 

I think the bigger story, and I’m not sure it’s even a story anymore, is how biased media is. That became apparent to me in 2020, when I noticed how different the coverage of Trump was between main-stream media (ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN) and Fox News. These are private companies who have the right to support whatever opinions and issues they choose. What is concerning, and should be a big story, is the appearance that the federal government became political, for example, the Russia-Gate, Cross Fire Hurricane investigation or the Hunter Biden laptop story. 

What is disturbing regarding the Hunter Biden laptop story, is the apparent effort by former intelligence officials to mislead American voters. Here is the headline  from 2020, and an excerpt of this story published by Politico on Oct. 19, 2020:

Hunter Biden story is Russian disinfo, dozens of former intel officials say 

By Natasha Bertrand

10/19/2020 10:30 PM EDT 

“More than 50 former senior intelligence officials have signed on to a letter outlining their belief that the recent disclosure of emails allegedly belonging to Joe Biden’s son “has all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation.” 

The letter, signed on Monday, centers around a batch of documents released by the New York Post last week that purport to tie the Democratic nominee to his son Hunter’s business dealings. Under the banner headline “Biden Secret E-mails,” the Post reported it was given a copy of Hunter Biden’s laptop hard drive by President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who said he got it from a Mac shop owner in Delaware who also alerted the FBI.

While the letter’s signatories presented no new evidence, they said their national security experience had made them “deeply suspicious that the Russian government played a significant role in this case” and cited several elements of the story that suggested the Kremlin’s hand at work.

“If we are right,” they added, “this is Russia trying to influence how Americans vote in this election, and we believe strongly that Americans need to be aware of this.” 

Nick Shapiro, a former top aide under CIA director John Brennan, provided POLITICO with the letter on Monday. He noted that “the IC leaders who have signed this letter worked for the past four presidents, including Trump. The real power here however is the number of former, working-level IC officers who want the American people to know that once again the Russians are interfering.”

What was missing in this story about the letter signed by the former IC officers (Intelligence Community=IC?) is the fact that the FBI had possession of the laptop since the fall of 2019, almost a year before this letter came out. I would think that these intelligence officers would have been aware of this fact, that the laptop was authentic and not part of a Russian disinformation campaign to influence how Americans vote. If true, that letter represents a deliberate effort to influence voters in a way that helped Joe Biden leading up to the 2020 election, which is what these former ICs were accusing Russia of doing, only for the benefit of Donald Trump. Is this the pot calling the kettle black? 

When I stand back and look at a broad picture of what’s been happening over the past few years, going from Russia-Gate to the censorship during covid, and the Hunter Biden laptop story, and, I almost forgot, the Snowden release of NSA files showing the extent that the federal government spies on its citizens, I can’t help but believe our constitution is being eroded, and is under a slow and deliberate attack. One way to push back is to contact our Representative and Senators and let them how important free speech is and the Constitution as a whole, including the 4th amendment which guarantees our privacy. Government spying without a warrant violates the 4th amendment.  

I’m in my seventies and I worry what kind of world I’m leaving behind, what kind of country my kids and grandkids will be living in. When I learn something that I think is important, something that is newsworthy, but main stream media isn’t covering it, or only gives it a passing glance, I’m motivated to write and share what I have learned. I’m surprised that the Twitter Files didn’t blow the top off the news world. Criticizing the Israeli government seems to be off limits in most newsrooms. Although this is starting to change. The government’s response to the pandemic was less than honest and transparent. Two major events merged in 2020, the outbreak of Covid coinciding with an election year. The last pandemic prior to Covid was the Spanish Flu of 1918, over a hundred years ago, and Donald Trump is probably the most unusual former president and current candidate that we have ever seen. Things like this don’t come along everyday. A third major event a couple of years later, was Elon Musk opening Twitter’s computers to a few journalists.  Musk says he’s a big believer in free speech and that was his motivation. I’ll take his word for it. Whatever his reason, it was unprecedented. If you do take the time to read some of Twitter Files, you’ll discover a very organized system that the government uses, including working with NGOs, to censor ideas and individuals. For our own good, of course. 

Matt Taibbi and Michael Schellenberger have probably written the most twitter file reports. There are other independent journalists and podcasters who cover topics main stream usually won’t, such as Glen Greenwald, Chris Hedges, Judge Napolitano and others. Sometimes it’s an eye opening experience, hearing what these independent journalists have to say, one that I hope more and more people experience. 

My hope is more people seek out news from independent journalists and podcasters and contact their representatives and senators with their concerns. Some of them do listen. After all, they want to get re-elected.  

2 Comments

  1. Kristi Lawrence

    Good article.

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