Things You Hear on NPR: If the Person You’re Interviewing Doesn’t Give You Quite the Quote You Wanted, Just Go Ahead and Say It for Him

June 25, 2018

GreatLester_1904_-_Wielki_Lester_1904, TheNPR this morning, “reporting” on immigration policy (getting less subtle in its advocacy for one side and its chosen narrative):

[NPR’s Steve] INSKEEP: So for that symbolic prosecution, they’ve been diverting from drug cases. I get that. But I’m remembering when Jeff Sessions announced this policy. He didn’t say to prosecutors across the country, abandon drug prosecutions. He said prosecute everybody. And if you need more resources, let us know. Have prosecutors been getting more resources to handle these border-crossing cases?

[USA Today’s Brad] HEATH: The Justice Department has created some new positions in Southern California and elsewhere. They’ve moved some attorneys. They’re also taking some military attorneys to help prosecute these cases. What’s not clear in San Diego at the moment is whether those are new attorney jobs that have to be filled or new attorneys that were moved down from elsewhere.

INSKEEP: So they haven’t quite figured out what to do, but they’re going ahead with the zero tolerance policy anyway. Now, very briefly, what have people in San Diego or elsewhere in the Justice Department said to you about what they’re doing?

(Emphasis added.)

We all know that NPR has a side, but this is just insulting.  It’s supposed to be NPR’s aesthetic at least to do it with some intelligence and finesse.

2 Responses to “Things You Hear on NPR: If the Person You’re Interviewing Doesn’t Give You Quite the Quote You Wanted, Just Go Ahead and Say It for Him”

  1. Mordecai Ali Van Allen O'Shea Says:

    The italicized text is, in my opinion, a fair characterization of how the zero tolerance policy was implemented. As is so often the case when somebody in government decides to “take action,” we’re looking at a case of “ready, fire, aim.” (Or maybe “fire, aim, ready”?)


    • Well, look, if Mr. Inskeep wanted to write an opinion piece (or a blog entry) and characterize the present administration’s policy orientation and level of preparedness in general as they haven’t quite figured out what to do, but they’re going ahead with the policy anyway or “fire, aim, ready”, that would be one thing (and I might agree—certainly as to some issues, and maybe also in general). (This is, after all, the president who literally said, “Take the guns first, go through due process second,” according to sources—or never mind that, here’s the man in his own words in context.)

      But if Mr. Inskeep wants to maintain the pretense of news reporting, as opposed to advocacy, I have two criticisms: First, he shouldn’t be correcting the quote (so to speak) like this in general. Second, as to this particular instance: When I was listening to this NPR story this morning, his characterization struck me as inaccurate and unfair even based solely on the information provided by NPR within this story. (Condensed version:

      INSKEEP: Sessions promised more resources. Did that happen?

      HEATH: Some, yes. It’s not entirely clear yet [to reporters] how much, and how much this may or may not undermine NPR’s narrative and the headline you’ll run on this story.

      INSKEEP: You say the administration is both stupid and evil? I find this fascinating and newsworthy. Steve Inskeep signing off.)

      Again, I think NPR let the cards show so badly that it was insulting.


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