Embracing The Bias, Ctd

Jay Rosen provides a prescription for NPR's woes:

* Abandon viewlessness as the official ideology at NPR. Replace it with pluralism. Meaning: NPR acknowledges that the people who work for it have a diverse mix of views and starting points. It is unreasonable to expect that these won’t factor into their work, but it is perfectly reasonable to hold everyone at NPR to basic standards: accuracy, fairness, intellectual honesty and transparency. That means you can click on the name of any editorial staffer and find out where they’re coming from. ... Not only is this more honest, not only would it force NPR to diversify its staff even more than the network already has, but it would eliminate the power of dirty tricks meant to expose the fact the people at NPR have political lives and opinions. ...

* Renounce the two percent or so of its budget that it gets directly from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting or other federal agencies, eliminating that as an hot button issue.

The advantages of going off the federal dollar entirely are obvious. It would eliminate the incentive to institutional timidity that is such a striking feature of NPR’s operating style whenever it is faced with politicized attacks or merely anticipates them. (Jason Linkins makes that case here.) Eliminate the federal subsidy to local stations or force a showdown on it and mobilize your supporters: Either way NPR has to emerge from its defensive crouch.