'Linsanity' Taking Knicks, NBA By Storm

Tell Me More host Michel Martin and editor Ammad Omar dig into the mailbag for listener feedback. They check in on the 'Linsanity' surrounding Jeremy Lin, a star with basketball's New York Knicks. Martin spoke to him when he was playing for Harvard University. They also check out responses to a controversial discussion on women's health.

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And now it's time for BackTalk. That's where we lift the curtain on what's happening in the TELL ME MORE blogosphere. Editor Ammad Omar is here with us once again.

Ammad, what do you have for us today?

AMMAD OMAR, BYLINE: All right, Michel. We're going to start with a women's health topic that's been in the news and we covered in our political chat on Wednesday. We talked about that decision by the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation to strip funding from Planned Parenthood and why they eventually reversed that decision.

A lot of listeners wrote in to say our coverage was biased against Planned Parenthood. Lisa Kenyan(ph) from Euclid, Ohio, says it was the least balanced panel she's ever heard assembled on NPR. And here's Katrina Jones(ph) from Brooklyn, New York.

KATRINA JONES: I found the panelists that spoke about the Susan G. Komen story to be negative and one-sided and, frankly, missing the big picture. They accused Planned Parenthood of going on a witch hunt. In truth, many people were outraged about Komen's decision, myself included. Thankfully, Komen heard our pleas and reversed their decision and, frankly, saved the lives of women who would have gone unscreened or would have been screened much too late.

MARTIN: Well, we appreciate all the comments, but I do have to say that we had four people on the panel, two of whom were conservatives and two of whom sided with Planned Parenthood. And I really shouldn't have to say this, but every so often, I do. We think that our job here is to give people many different points of view, not just the ones that we think our listeners already have.

Ammad, what else do you have?

OMAR: All right. On a lighter note, a couple of years back, you spoke with then Harvard basketball star Jeremy Lin. Michel, you played some hoops at Harvard yourself for the old Crimsons, so that's your guy.

Anyway, here's a clip from that 2010 conversation. He's talking about some of the taunts he got from fans in college.

JEREMY LIN: You know, stereotypical jokes in terms of, go play the orchestra, or they'll yell out beef and broccoli or sweet and sour chicken and, sometimes, I'll hear, Chinese import, go back to China, slanty eyes, can you see the scoreboard? So pretty much everything you could think of.

OMAR: Well, after some time bouncing around the NBA and the developmental league, Jeremy Lin is lighting up the scoreboard and the fans for the New York Knicks. Linsanity is taking Madison Square Garden and the league by storm.

Here are some highlights from the MSG Network.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Linsanity (unintelligible) splits the defense again, gets to the rim, pops it in and the foul. Wow, Jeremy Lin does it again and the crowd on their feet paying homage to this man. It even looks like his teammates don't believe what they're seeing.

MARTIN: I'll just take this opportunity to point out that my fellow alum went for 25 points against the Nets on Saturday. He then backed it up with 28 and 23 points in his next two games, putting a hurting on the Washington Wizards, I have to say, who play down the street from us. Sorry to say, but - and helping the Knicks to a three game winning streak, so all those folks who had all those things to say - well, I think the phrase is called: in your face.

OMAR: OK. Last update. You spoke with the band Jarana Beat, in November. Update here. They just got picked up to play in the South by Southwest Festival in Austin next month. Good news for them and good news for you if you're in town for that festival. Let's hear some of it now.


JARANA BEAT: (Singing in Foreign Language).

MARTIN: And remember, with TELL ME MORE, the conversation never ends. To tell us more, you can call our comment line at 202-842-3522 or visit us online at NPR.org/TellMeMore. Please, remember to leave us your name. You can also find us on Twitter. Just look for TELL ME MORE NPR.

Thank you, Ammad.

OMAR: Thank you, Michel.


BEAT: (Singing in Foreign Language).

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