This is something that mistermix has been telling me for years:
A common question on the left is, “Why is there no liberal talk radio?” That is, no wildly popular liberal version of Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity or Laura Schlesinger. And the answer is: there is. It’s called NPR. When lefties listen to the radio, that’s what they listen to.
In one of the great under-told media success stories of the past decade, NPR has emerged not as the bespectacled schoolmarm of our imagination but as a massive news machine poised for what Dick Meyer, editorial director for digital media, half-jokingly calls “world domination.” NPR’s listenership has nearly doubled since 1999, even as newspaper circulation dropped off a cliff. Its programming now reaches 26.4 million listeners weekly — far more than USA Today’s 2.3 million daily circ or Fox News’ 2.8 million prime-time audience. When newspapers were closing bureaus, NPR was opening them, and now runs 38 around the world, better than CNN. It has 860 member stations — “boots on the ground in every town” that no newspaper or TV network can claim.
I’m not a big fan of NPR news. I find it weasely and annoying, though I do like the stuff from the BBC they run. But it is what lefties listen to.
I wonder if it would be better if NPR broke free of the government and supported itself entirely through private donation. If they fired Juan Williams, Ken Rudin, and Mara Liasson, I’d be happy to start giving them money again.