Saturday, January 9, 2010
NPR Ombudsman: Tea-Bag Cartoon is 'Mean-Spirited,'
On Friday, NPR Ombudsman Alicia Shepard reported a flood of angry calls and e-mails from conservatives about the NPR website’s "How to Speak Tea Bag" cartoon. Shepard found "there are problems with the Tea Bag animation." For example: Chief among them is it doesn't fit with NPR values, one of which is a belief in civility and civil discourse. [Cartoonist Mark] Fiore is talented, but this cartoon is just a mean-spirited attack on people who think differently than he does and doesn't broaden the debate. It engages in the same kind of name-calling the cartoon supposedly mocks. And why is NPR running a cartoon from just one perspective? After I complained, Shepard asked me to offer a conservative take on the cartoon, which she included. I told her: The cartoon is a perfect caricature of what NPR looks like to conservatives: liberals snidely imagining conservatives to be monosyllabic clods who can't make an argument beyond name-calling. Conservatism is 'satirized' into a form of political retardation. The rebuttal from NPR executives and the cartoonist is eye-opening...read more