'On The Media' Co-Host Bob Garfield Fired For Alleged Bullying According to a statement from New York Public Radio, an outside investigation found that Garfield violated the company's anti-bullying policy. He was the subject of a similar investigation in 2020.

WNYC Fires 'On The Media' Co-Host Bob Garfield For Alleged Bullying

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/997900699/997983743" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Bob Garfield, host of the public radio show and podcast On The Media, has been fired. According to a statement from New York Public Radio, which produces the series, Garfield was terminated as a result of a pattern of behavior that violated the company's anti-bullying policy. NPR's Elizabeth Blair has more.

ELIZABETH BLAIR, BYLINE: Bob Garfield is a veteran journalist, critic, author and radio host.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

BOB GARFIELD, BYLINE: Is the world ready to take listening and empathy lessons from Glenn Beck? No.

BLAIR: Along with his co-host Brooke Gladstone, On The Media is broadcast on more than 400 stations. The show has won a number of honors, including Edward R. Murrow Awards and a Peabody. New York Public Radio says this is the second time Garfield has violated its anti-bullying policy. In 2020, an investigation resulted in, quote, "disciplinary action" and a warning about consequences if the behavior continued.

On Twitter, Garfield writes that he was not fired for, quote, "bullying per se but for yelling in five meetings over 20 years." He goes on to say the, quote, "provocations were just shocking. In time, the story will emerge, and it is tragic," end quote. He has not yet responded to NPR's request for comment. Garfield is known to be a tough interviewer. In 2016, when Glenn Beck was on his apology tour, Garfield challenged his sincerity.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED NPR BROADCAST)

GARFIELD: So are you adjusting your message as a question of principle or because you're just trying to suss out a better market reach?

GLENN BECK: What does that leave me with, Bob? What does that leave me with?

BLAIR: Garfield once described himself as Charles Kuralt with an attitude problem, and that is partly what endeared him to his fans. In the vast, bland American wasteland of homogenized, regurgitated media, writes Alec Baldwin in a blurb for one of Garfield's books, there is a lone heroic taco truck. Bob Garfield is that taco truck. Garfield and Gladstone co-hosted On The Media together for 20 years. They could get testy.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED NPR BROADCAST)

GARFIELD: Can we go mega-transparent, Brooke?

BROOKE GLADSTONE, BYLINE: Yes.

GARFIELD: Let's go mega-transparent.

GLADSTONE: Sure. Go ahead.

BLAIR: After Trump was elected president, they were transparent about their differences in how they should cover the media.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED NPR BROADCAST)

GARFIELD: So what does that tell us about how to approach fairness? Are you being fair or unfair to your audience by reflexively throwing bones at ideas that you don't think have merit?

GLADSTONE: What you describe is in no way how I describe fairness. The way that I intend it is simply to put more voices on the air, not to give them a free ride.

BLAIR: Gladstone, who is also On The Media's managing editor, will continue as the show's host. In response to Garfield's firing, the show tweeted, as you may have heard, Bob is no longer co-host of On The Media for a pattern of behavior violating NYPR's policy on bullying. We support the decision. Thanks to everyone who's reached out. In its statement, New York Public Radio writes that it is committed to, quote, "providing an inclusive and respectful environment for our employees, guests and listeners."

Elizabeth Blair, NPR News.

(SOUNDBITE OF DIRTWIRE'S "SAILING THE SOLAR FLARES")

Copyright © 2021 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.