It’s Corporation For Public Broadcasting Fundraising Time, Which Means Deception At NPR And PBS

The "Car Talk" brothers today, or so we are told.

The “Car Talk” brothers today, or so we are told.

It is fundraising time for the Corporation of Public Broadcasting, and once again, perhaps more than ever, NPR and PBS are lying to you. If you watch the PBS broadcast of “Downton Abbey” this weekend, for example, you will find the show introduced by a series of promotions for such companies as Viking Cruise Lines. These spots look, feel, sound and smell like commercials, but because PBS describes them with the euphemism “promotional considerations,” it thinks it can magically make them non-commercial, and thus, within seconds of running these ads, and while making its audience wait fifteen minutes to actually see the programming, describes PBS as “commercial-free television.”

If you can sell commercials, guys, don’t tell me that the survival of Western civilization depends on my tax-payer dollars going into your pockets.

Over at National Public Radio, it’s also deception and hypocrisy, but worse. I just turned on WMAU, a local NPR affiliate, and heard the familiar strains of Boston townie accents talking about automotive issues on “Car Talk,” where  the Tappet Brothers made the banter between Cliff and Norm sound pedestrian by comparison. After the last segment, in which “Click and Clack” answered a query from an LA area student about whether he should buy a car (Their answer, after much foolery: “No.”) Tom Tappet came on and explained that if this were commercial radio and they were sponsored by an auto manufacturer, the bothers might have felt pressured to give a different answer, or perhaps been fired for giving the honest one they did. And this is what is so important about NPR being listener-funded, he explained. It is independent radio. NPR is only interested in the objective truth, and isn’t swayed by conflict of interest.

Right, Tom! Ask Juan Williams about how independent NPR is. NPR isn’t listener-funded radio in the way promotions suggest. That phrase is classic deceit, since listeners contribute to the funding and the phrase is literally true. NPR is government-funded radio, and more to the point, Democratic Party government-funded radio, and NPR’s desperate desire to please their meal-ticket party is on display for all to hear every day of the week. I cited one typical example recently when NPR deliberately distorted a Ted Cruz interview. To NPR, I guess, that’s “objective truth”: Republicans  are foolish and dumb, so editing Cruz’s responses to make him sound foolish and dumb was responsible reporting. How do we know they are foolish and dumb? Easy: they want to stop using taxpayer funds to pay for NPR and PBS, because there are now many, many other sources of news and culture.

Ah, but the double dealing wasn’t over at NPR this day. For Tom Tappet was succeeded by an NPR spokes woman, who took the hand-off. “Thanks, Tom!” she began. “I think the Car Guys want us to like them, and we want you to like NPR.” She then explained  how our contributions keep unique shows like “Car Talk” on the air.

Now, anyone who hasn’t followed NPR and “Car Talk” and who tuned in when I did might say, “Hey, she’s right! I love “Car Talk” and those brothers are hilarious! I don’t want to miss any new episodes! Where’s my check book?” And that’s just what NPR would want them to think, for if it didn’t want that, it would not lie so blatantly. For you see…

1. “Car Talk” ended production in 2012. Now NPR runs old shows, which costs it virtually nothing, since it owns the tapes.

2. “The Car Guys” don’t want you to like them because there are no “Car Guys” any more. There is a ex-Car GUY, singular, because the older Tappet brother died in 2014.

3. The one who died was Tom, who made that tape years ago and whom the host pretended was exhorting listeners today.

That’s the Corporation of Public Broadcasting at work. That’s the ethics culture at NPR and PBS, and if you trust either to be objective, honest or independent, you’re either gullible or a Democrat.

I should mention here that I enjoy a lot of NPR and PBS programming, and have been used by more than one NPR affiliate as an ethics commentator. Oddly, they haven’t asked me to comment on their fundraising conduct.


16 thoughts on “It’s Corporation For Public Broadcasting Fundraising Time, Which Means Deception At NPR And PBS

  1. Well, I lost interest a long time ago when they where using Wayne Dyer as their salesperson for all his videos. books and other great deals which I’m sure that PBS got a healthy chunk of the profits on the sales. Least we forget the boring pledge drives with the legends of doo-wop that went on and on.

  2. I’d believe they really wanted to preserve doo-wop or the jazzy big band (as thy claim during fund drives) IF they had a weekly show. But if you like older music, the only time they run it is during pledge drives. That’s not preserving it and bringing it to new audience, that’s more bait and switch, like the old monkey-faced boy in the carnies to con the rubes.. We only play this to make you open your wallet, we won’t play it the other 8 months of the year. And we’ll pre-empt the shows you love to get the money from desperate music lovers instead of the shows they regularly air.

    I didn’t mind a sponsorship card they used to air, but as public funding has been dropping and people who needed things liek sesame street could necessarily pledge funding. These full fledged ads are getting to be too much, but I don’t see an alternative. They do have some good shows, even if their editorial materials are annoying to moderates.

  3. I wish the apocalyptic wing of the Republican party would go after Pravda’s, er, NPR’s and PBS’s budget as ferociously as they’re going after the Republican party. I can’t stand NPR. I don’t enjoy being talked down to. And why does PBS even exist anymore when you can get the BBC itself on cable? Of course, I’m not an Anglophile, so I don’t watch PBS either.

  4. NPR has been pretty open about the fact that Car Talk ended. They had to go off the air before the one brother died because he was suffering from severe Alzheimers. They announce this before every segment and had a large tribute to him when he died.

    As for commercials, you’re right that they had to start selling them — but they only a sell a small percentage as compared to other radio stations. And, it pains them that they have to do it at all.

    You used the Ted Cruz interview as an example when NPR could and should have done better, but on the whole it is the most balanced and substantive news radio station out there.

    • “on the whole it is the most balanced and substantive news radio station out there”

      Beth, if you trust either [PBS or NPR] to be objective, honest or independent, you’re either gullible or a Democrat

    • Please. Substantive, absolutely. Balanced? Fox News is more balanced.

      Beth, the segment I just listened to behaved as if the show was still current. I don’t care what they announced at the beginning. By the end, it was deceptive.

    • I’ve tuned in to NPR from time to time and it’s always shriekingly extremist-Left. As in, “Israel is an apartheid-state, Bush caused 9-11” level Left. I can only feel sorry for Beth at this point.

      • Whatever. I didn’t say it was balanced, I said it was the most balanced. I’ve had this fight on here before, and no one has come up with a credible alternative.

  5. I recall years ago when the entire American Academy of Pediatrics declared that infants under age 2 should not watch ANY television, and that those over 2 should have their viewing heavily restricted. The response of PBS and the producers of its program “Teletubbies,” a show for babies, was basically, “Nah, our shows are positive and great for babies. Who are you going to believe, PBS or a bunch of stupid doctors?”

    That’s government-funded media, always looking out for the little guy.

    In more recent news, Sesame Street, just about the most popular and most heavily-merchandised children’s show in all the universe, just sold the rights to broadcast new episodes to HBO. (Now if you want Big Bird you’re stuck with Bill Maher.) Somehow PBS couldn’t manage to keep Sesame Street in the black and needed an Evil Capitalist Bailout; maybe all those puppets kept holding out for bigger contracts.

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