May 14, 2012 From Biden and Obama's announcements to Romney's graduation speech, interviewees favoring gay marriage outnumbered those opposed 3-2 on NPR. Anti voices are needed, but history made it rightfully a pro week. The bigger question: what should NPR's values be going forward? Gay rights is a defining issue.
May 4, 2012 Reporter Peter Overby worked for a Common Cause magazine 18 years ago. He too rosily labeled it a "good government" group in stories on ALEC, the conservative business-legislator organization. But the stories were fair, disclosure of Overby's past was adequate, and the attacks on the messenger leave standing the message on ALEC's tax status.
April 27, 2012 We all love NPR music. In honor of its highly independent staffers, its time to run a permanent ethical disclaimer on all NPR.org's cultural pages saying that because of technical inevitabilities, ads and reviews on the same album, book or movie occasionally run next to each other.
April 20, 2012 A light piece by food commentator Bonny Wolf sparked strong responses from those for and against the growing movement to sell and drink raw milk. Science, culture and changing social mores create a moving target. Then there are the Saharan camels and Colombian goats.
April 10, 2012 After a series of messy mishaps, NPR isn't doing badly when it comes to racial and ethnic diversity in its coverage and staffing. Management is trying to do better. I explore what audiences identify with NPR and who really is producing the news that you hear and read.
April 4, 2012 Has the term 'Christian' been co-opted by conservatives or abandoned by liberals? These are among the several hundred, almost uniformly thoughtful reactions to last week's column about whether Christian has become synonymous with conservative. Here are some of the best responses.
March 30, 2012 A Morning Edition interview about an anti-abortion movie labeled a "Christian" film provoked a backlash from progressive Christians. But what do you do when that is the name of the genre and politically conservative Christians appear to have a lock on the Christian name? What is a Christian anyway, and what do they believe? Oh, and what would Jesus do?
March 22, 2012 Many listeners said Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me insulted Catholics when it joked Pope Benedict XVI was a gay icon. The sensitivity is understandable, but much depends on your acceptance of homosexuality, which most Catholics in fact do. Humor lightens the tension of a nation caught in social transition.
March 21, 2012 Whether the burnings are "accidental" is unproven. NPR's calling it that buys the military's frame, some complained. Not calling it that suggests ill intention and provokes more violence, others argued. Investigations continue; the press is lost. Suggestions appreciated.
March 16, 2012 A segment on All Things Considered about the founder behind the 5-Hour Energy drink raised concerns among listeners about conflict of interest and a violation of NPR's new ethics handbook on disclosures. The real problem? The handbook. At some point, you just have to trust.
March 15, 2012 Some listeners said a report on the cost of emotional trauma following the Fukushima disaster underplayed the danger of nuclear power. Science correspondent Richard Harris explains the editorial decisions.
March 1, 2012 When Nina Totenberg asked if someone was a "nutcase," listeners objected. Mental health experts say that so much of the language used by the media, and by all of us, stigmatizes people with temporary or chronic mental illnesses, affecting their ability to get jobs and housing. But can political correctness go too far?
February 28, 2012 NPR is constantly hammered for allegedly being liberal, but last week I met with Ralph Nader to hear his complaints. He thinks NPR is not just too conservative, but that what liberals it does have on the air are too middle-of-the road. How can I measure this?
February 17, 2012 E.J. Dionne and David Brooks debated the issue of religious freedom versus the Obama Administration's insurance mandate and both sided with the Catholic bishops. But as some listeners complained, neither is a woman. We looked at the gender voices in all of NPR's coverage on the issue. Read on.
February 10, 2012 A listener compares the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II to the Jewish Holocaust under the Nazis and raises the question of what to call the camps used in both experiences. At stake is the power of words in framing our actions, past and future.