Ombudsman's Report: July 2003

Highlights

  • 17,185 e-mails received since March 2003 related to public radio and NPR issues.
  • Criticism of NPR's Middle East coverage continues to decline but remains constant among many listeners.
  • NPR's coverage of the war in Iraq was the dominant issue.
  • Anti-war listener complaints outnumbered pro-war listener complaints at a ratio of more than 3:1.
  • Comments about NPR's political coverage increased 600 percent from the previous report in March 2003, from 31 to 192.
  • Complaints about NPR's political bias have increased 100 percent, from 482 to 847. Most of these accuse NPR of a liberal bias.
  • Dramatic increase in comments about the programs and the hosts. These are not necessarily complaints.
  • Decline in concerns and complaints about underwriting/funding and pledge drives.
  • A local underwriting issue (see below "Rutherford") evoked a strong write-in campaign.

E-mail by subject

Ombudsman's website column 425
Accuracy 12
Anti-war 2,656
Pro-war 846
Bias 847
Corrections 169
Ann Garrels 260
General Inquiries (tapes, transcripts) 613
Hoaxes 125
Story ideas/suggestions/commentaries 574
Inquiries 18
Journalistic Guide 54
LPFM 11
Middle East coverage 1,906
Middle East history series 2
NPR/hosts/programs 3,688
Online 36
Politics 192
Rutherford 4,442
Shuttle disaster 2
Station issues 243
Underwriting/funding/pledge drives 64

Jeffrey Dvorkin
Office of the Ombudsman
July 2, 2003