Wednesday, July 26, 2006

npr vs lamont and the blogosphere

Yesterday morning, NPR ran a pair of remarkable reports about the Lieberman/Lamont campaign and the DLC, in which they managed to discuss the race in Connecticut without quoting anyone who supports Lamont, and the struggle between the netroots and the DLC without quoting anyone from the netroots.

The first was a report from David Welna, who reported on Clinton's campaign for Lieberman, characterized Lamont only as a "millionaire," quoted Lieberman supporters on the air characterizing Lamont supporters as a "screaming minority," and reduced the race to a single issue: the war on Iraq. There were no quotes or comments from Lamont supporters. It's hard to believe they declined to provide comments, but the only other conclusion is that no comments were sought.

The second, blending almost seamlessly with the first, was about the "debate between the left and center of the Democratic Party." It describes how the DLC is now battling the "netwired, left-wing populists working so hard to defeat Joe Lieberman." The DLC is allowed to characterize itself and tout its accomplishments, but the characterization of the "blogosphere" and the "activist base of the party," is left to Mara Liasson herself. The closest she comes to allowing the base to speak for themselves is to quote Democratic Party official Elaine Kaymark, someone who has "worked with both the DLC and anti-war Democrats."

Perhaps NPR has finally taken the advice of those who've said that journalists should abandon their pose of neutrality and speak with their own voice rather than merely presenting the views of both sides. On the other hand, only one side of the debate was silenced. The "centrists" were given ample time to make their case, only the populist, activist, left was excluded. Lieberman's supporters were allowed to make their case. Lamont's supporters were not.