The Latest NPR Turmoil

By James Fallows

Like Jeff Goldberg, I saw the news of the latest NPR shakeup while on the road. I am in a part of southern China where the internet connection is so shaky I can't even sign onto a VPN and each new web page, if not firewalled, can take a minute+ to appear. (Chapter 4 million: The World Is Not Flat.) I want to say more about this, especially in light of my current cover story in the magazine, but in these circumstances I can't. So let me buy time with a link to something I wrote after the previous turmoil -- the one in which Vivian Schiller was doing the pushing rather than the one being pushed out.

I still believe what I wrote there, and in the cover story. Both of the triggering events (first the firing of Juan Williams, now the NPR fundraiser's stupid comments) were mistakes, but IMHO each quickly served as a pretext for people with a larger agenda against NPR and its commitment to "real" reporting and news coverage from around the world. More to say but that's all I can type now. Pls read those other items instead!

(For the record: I have never been on the NPR staff but have appeared on various programs over the years.)

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James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne. More

James Fallows is based in Washington as a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He has worked for the magazine for nearly 30 years and in that time has also lived in Seattle, Berkeley, Austin, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Beijing. He was raised in Redlands, California, received his undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Harvard, and received a graduate degree in economics from Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. In addition to working for The Atlantic, he has spent two years as chief White House speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, two years as the editor of US News & World Report, and six months as a program designer at Microsoft. He is an instrument-rated private pilot. He is also now the chair in U.S. media at the U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, in Australia.

Fallows has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award five times and has won once; he has also won the American Book Award for nonfiction and a N.Y. Emmy award for the documentary series Doing Business in China. He was the founding chairman of the New America Foundation. His recent books Blind Into Baghdad (2006) and Postcards From Tomorrow Square (2009) are based on his writings for The Atlantic. His latest book is China Airborne. He is married to Deborah Fallows, author of the recent book Dreaming in Chinese. They have two married sons.

Fallows welcomes and frequently quotes from reader mail sent via the "Email" button below. Unless you specify otherwise, we consider any incoming mail available for possible quotation -- but not with the sender's real name unless you explicitly state that it may be used. If you are wondering why Fallows does not use a "Comments" field below his posts, please see previous explanations here and here.

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