Slog Music

Music, Nightlife,
and Drinks

Friday, February 28, 2014

Massive NPR Fail This Morning

Posted by on Fri, Feb 28, 2014 at 8:59 AM


National Public Radio’s Michel Martin did a segment on Uganda’s growing crackdown on its gay population, and decided to interview Holocaust-revisionist hate-group leader Scott Lively, who is truly one of the most horrific religious right extremists in America. How did NPR’s Michel Martin describe Lively to her audience? Simply as “Evangelical leader Scott Lively.”

That’s it.

No mention of the fact that Lively was labeled a Holocaust revisionist by HateWatch for his “thoroughly-discredited” 1995 tome, “The Pink Swastika,” which tried to argue that gays were the really force behind the Holocaust. No mention of Lively’s organization, Abiding Truth Ministries, that was officially-designated a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center.... If Scott Lively is simply an “evangelical leader,” then former KKK grand wizard David Duke is simply a “former GOP Senate candidate,” and Adolf Hitler was nothing more than “an aspiring artist.”

NPR also didn't mention that Scott Lively is being sued in federal court by the Center for Constitutional Rights for crimes against humanity:

On March 14, 2012, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of Sexual Minorities Uganda, a non-profit umbrella organization for LGBTI advocacy groups in Uganda, against Abiding Truth Ministries President Scott Lively.... The case is brought under the Alien Tort Statute (“ATS”), 28 U.S.C. §1350, which provides federal jurisdiction for “any civil action by an alien, for a tort only, committed in violation of the law of nations or a treaty of the United States.” United States Supreme Court has affirmed the use of the ATS as a remedy for serious violations of international law norms that are widely accepted and clearly defined. Persecution, as a crime against humanity that is universally proscribed and clearly defined in international law, is such a violation.

A federal court has already denied Lively's motion to dismiss the lawsuit and he will soon have to answer in court for his work in Uganda. This wasn't mentioned by NPR this morning.

Complain to NPR's ombudsman here.


Comments (44) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
Max Solomon 1
you are laboring under the illusion that this is the NPR of the 80s. they've been beaten into submission and thoroughly infiltrated by the GOP during the Bush the Lesser era.

now the tea party congress keeps their meager remaining funding under constant threat, and it keeps them quite compliant. had they mentioned any of that there'd be fresh calls to defund them entirely.
Posted by Max Solomon on February 28, 2014 at 9:09 AM · Report this
You can learn more about Scott Lively's theory about how gays caused the holocaust here:…
Posted by Ken Mehlman on February 28, 2014 at 9:21 AM · Report this
TomJohnsonJr 3
Complaint submitted - thanks for the link. Hideous.
Posted by TomJohnsonJr on February 28, 2014 at 9:27 AM · Report this
BostonFontSnob 4
They do mention the lawsuit towards the end.

This guy is a scumbag and I can't believe they gave him a platform to defend his vile actions.
Posted by BostonFontSnob on February 28, 2014 at 9:30 AM · Report this
I say it's best to just go ahead and assume that all homophobes are also holocaust deniers.
Posted by GermanSausage on February 28, 2014 at 9:34 AM · Report this
Actually I think the story ran yesterday. And she did do a pretty good job of letting him demonstrate what a scary shithead he is.

I wonder if there isn't something to be said about letting us NPR listeners hear directly from these guys. Hearing him and reading over what he said sure made me a lot more aware of who and what he is. . . Earlier this week there was an NPR story about opposition to Obama care in Louisiana. One of the "persons on the street" interviewed said something that knocked me on my naive butt - that he believed this and that he said it into a microphone:

"I don't vote for black people, lady," he says. "No, ma'am. I don't vote for black people. They got their place, I got my place. That's the way I was raised."

Nonetheless, you are correct.
Posted by Fluffy on February 28, 2014 at 9:34 AM · Report this
Nice Polite Republicans, at least nationally, though they'd probably want to claim the mantle of sensible centrists. When E.J. Dionne is your 'liberal' commentator...

There's been a noticeable slide into business friendly reporting and austerity cheerleading since '08. The change might originate from when the McDonald's heiress left NPR ~$200 million in 2003, just as the Bush Administration was cutting NPR's funding.

Recent example: their hit job on government pensions:…
Posted by dirge on February 28, 2014 at 9:37 AM · Report this
I did submit a nonviolently communicated complaint to the ombuds at NPR.

Though, reading what Lively said, as @Fluffy and @BostonFontSnob, makes it clear what an appalling, repulsive person he is. Pretty good balance in the 1940s and 50s, indeed!
Posted by midwestkittie on February 28, 2014 at 9:40 AM · Report this
Dan the piece was actually for the show "Tell Me More" hosted by Michel Martin *YESTERDAY*. For those who are interested the audio can be found here:…
Posted by doubtroub on February 28, 2014 at 9:41 AM · Report this
AFinch 10
Um, Dan, Iove ya, but two things: first, Martin did an earlier interview, which she references, which does mention all those things you've asked for. She also let the activists in opposition have the first crack at this, and her biases are pretty transparent.

I'm gonna bet Lively wasn't willing to go on air for the story if those things were mentioned but it's still worth getting him on air and getting him to explain (his ridiculous ideas) because it puts them all out there to be seen.

You want an activist, not a journalist - go to Pacifica. Lively is a piece of human excrement, no doubt, but Martin's and NPR's job isn't to slam him, but to make him step through and fully explain his broken thinking. She did that.
Posted by AFinch on February 28, 2014 at 9:43 AM · Report this
Leishalynn 11
Hey, guys. Up for a Pink Swastika/FemiNazi party?
Posted by Leishalynn on February 28, 2014 at 9:47 AM · Report this
raindrop 12
@1: Government curtailing funding for unnecessary expenditures during a time of limited revenue is something we should applaud, not denouce.
Posted by raindrop on February 28, 2014 at 9:50 AM · Report this
undead ayn rand 13
I love false evenhandedness in the media.

@10: Journalists really shouldn't pretend to objectivity.
Posted by undead ayn rand on February 28, 2014 at 9:51 AM · Report this
undead ayn rand 14
@11: I'm sure I've seen that at a club somewhere.
Posted by undead ayn rand on February 28, 2014 at 9:52 AM · Report this
AFinch 15
Also: the whole transcript is online at NPR as well.
Posted by AFinch on February 28, 2014 at 9:53 AM · Report this
AFinch 16
@13 - well, there's no question all journalists have biases, but as I said: it was clear Martin wasn't endorsing Lively and making him clearly state his views (rather than getting a Faux love fest) is a public service. I really don't think this promoted him or forwarded his agenda.
Posted by AFinch on February 28, 2014 at 10:03 AM · Report this
Max Solomon 17
@12: oh, we're going to use the deficit canard and pretend we're principled, are we?

fine, I got a list, starting with the bloated DoD. NPR, PBS, the NEA, etc. are pebbles in the ocean, as I am sure you're aware. all I see in DC are conservatives bending over backwards to preserve every penny of military deficit spending.
Posted by Max Solomon on February 28, 2014 at 10:05 AM · Report this
@17 All that DoD spending was totally necessary, don't you remember all the WMDs they found in iraq?
Posted by Ken Mehlman on February 28, 2014 at 10:14 AM · Report this
fletc3her 19
I sort of gave up on NPR after hearing a "debate" between an oil company spokesperson and some activist. They presented both sides of the story indeed. One side was a focus tested pack of lies. The other side was a well meaning guy who just really wanted to save the animals. People who lie should not simply be able to say their piece. If they are they should at least be balanced by somebody with equal gravitas.
Posted by fletc3her on February 28, 2014 at 10:18 AM · Report this
fletc3her 20
@17 Remember, cutting Army funding by 5.9% is the same as giving up.
Posted by fletc3her on February 28, 2014 at 10:19 AM · Report this
Anne18 21
What keeps pissing me off is NPR's embracement of the term "entitlement programs". Not exactly neutral phrasing, no matter who uses it.
Posted by Anne18 on February 28, 2014 at 10:34 AM · Report this
rob! 22
@7, while I find lots to criticize about NPR and McDonald's has been failing its employees and its customers in many ways, it's not at all accurate to suggest that Joan Kroc's bequest was intended to move NPR in a conservative direction. She was a major donor, and anonymous whenever she could manage it, to progressive causes.
...The Krocs were formidable personalities who sometimes clashed, often over politics. Ray was conservative, Joan liberal. “All you wanted to do in that situation was stay out of the line of fire,” says Starmann, her adviser.

They had separate foundations to give money away, and sometimes their gifts were at odds with each other. Ray gave $250,000 for Richard Nixon’s 1972 re-election. Joan later gave $1 million to the Democratic Party. Ray supported trade schools and disdained liberal arts colleges. Joan, who never went to college, established peace studies programs.

But that piano bar spark continued to flash. “You can tell people that are happy with each other,” Starmann said.

They both gave heavily to children’s charities. And when he died, he trusted her to do as she pleased with his fortune...
—From Notre Dame's remembrance.

If you have time, I also recommend this appreciation for a fuller picture of her.
Posted by rob! on February 28, 2014 at 10:43 AM · Report this
Pope Peabrain 23
We must know the enemy to exploit his weakness.
Posted by Pope Peabrain on February 28, 2014 at 10:45 AM · Report this
rob! 24
Close link tag, dammit.
Posted by rob! on February 28, 2014 at 10:46 AM · Report this
Urgutha Forka 25

"Cutting PBS support (0.012% of budget) to help balance the Federal budget is like deleting text files to make room on your 500Gig hard drive."
-Neil DeGrasse Tyson
Posted by Urgutha Forka on February 28, 2014 at 10:50 AM · Report this
@10 "You want an activist, not a journalist [...] Martin's and NPR's job isn't to slam him"

While your statement has truth to it, the kind of objective journalism to which your theory aspires would require that relevant facts like the hate-group designations and discredited holocaust denial book that would be included when introducing a subject.

Objective reporting doesn't mean an unedited, unfiltered and contextualized assertion-off, no matter how many putative news organizations pretend otherwise.
Posted by To Present The Other Side Of The Weather: Orel Robets on February 28, 2014 at 10:55 AM · Report this
The purpose of NPR is the calm the college educated by always painting every topic in a way that makes the world not appear too far out of wack.

Somebody once wrote a satire of The McNeil-Lehrer Report: "Good evening Robin." "Good evening Jim. Tonight's topic: Should one man own another?"
Posted by cracked on February 28, 2014 at 11:09 AM · Report this
Ophian 28
As a life long and avid NPR listener, Martin is awful. As a host/moderator/interviewer she is just bleh. I never would have known about this interview had I not heard it here as I make a point of skipping her program.
Posted by Ophian on February 28, 2014 at 11:33 AM · Report this
venomlash 29
@12: Let's forget cutting military spending for a moment, and let's just give the Pentagon the money it's asking for. That is, let's give the military the money it says it needs, and not the billions and billions more that the GOP has been bent on throwing its way.
Posted by venomlash on February 28, 2014 at 11:36 AM · Report this
Dr_Awesome 30
@Raindrop- see, this is exactly why I despise you wingnut shills and have no problem saying so.
Yet again you spout off a standard and shopworn conservative wingnut talking point (cutting gub'mint spendin' is good!) but the context you're doing it in is a thread discussing NPR. Others have already pointed out what an utterly trivial part of the budget that funding makes up.

Furthermore, in a discussion about the wars, the military, or news about the military you never fucking say boo about the bloated and unnecessary military budget.

It's only now where you hope to score a symbolic victory in support of a completely fallacious opinion that you spew your bullshit.

This is why I call you scum, raindrop, and too bad about your poor fee-fees.
Posted by Dr_Awesome on February 28, 2014 at 11:52 AM · Report this
So she should have introduced him as "Fucking asshole Scott Lively"? She gave him the rope he needed to hang himself. This is what respectful discussion and disagreement sounds like.
Posted by David from Chicago on February 28, 2014 at 12:16 PM · Report this
IndicaDogwalk 32
Thank you for posting this - it's the kind of thing we all need to know, and posting the link ensures action, not just indignation.

Good job.
Posted by IndicaDogwalk on February 28, 2014 at 12:24 PM · Report this
Of course NPR's slice of the budget pie is tiny, yet since NPR has slowly become another propaganda outlet of the GOP, I wouldn't shed any tears over it being defunded. Nice Polite Republicans my ass. That mythical creature never existed.
Posted by Not a real boy yet again on February 28, 2014 at 12:26 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 34
Guillotines and Pitchforks

Just saying
Posted by Will in Seattle on February 28, 2014 at 12:32 PM · Report this
raindrop 35
NPR spending is but a tiny percentage, yes, same as spending for Uganda (which still has not been stopped), and as other tiny percentages of government spending we see every day. Cumulatively, they amount to a larger percentage, still not nearly as large as entitlement spending. So each expenditure has to be re-evaluated, no matter how small.

@25: Unlike text files, government expenditures require continuous financial nourishment. They don't simply take up space. The analogy is invalid and throws an exception.
Posted by raindrop on February 28, 2014 at 1:10 PM · Report this
poor danny must daily feed his sense of betrayal and outrage.

poor poor danny.....
Posted by WHY DOES THE UNIVERSE PICK ON DANNY? on February 28, 2014 at 1:19 PM · Report this
raindrop 37
@29: Yes. I concur.

@30: True, it's symbolic but imagine the outcry if the government decided that it will subsidize NPR and PBS for left-minded folks, and subsidize Fox News by an equal amount (or less) to help maintain a pluralistic society. Not since William F. Buckley Jr.'s "Firing Line" has there been conservative-based content on PBS.
Posted by raindrop on February 28, 2014 at 1:20 PM · Report this
@37: Did the person who just chastised another poster for a bad analogy just try to compare Fox News to NPR?!?
Posted by MRM on February 28, 2014 at 1:31 PM · Report this
dwightmoodyforgetsthings 39
@21- How about they way they still use the term "enhanced interrogation" for torture and "simulated drowning" for water boarding (which is controlled drowning, not simulated)? I love NPR, but it's not an uncomplicated relationship.
Posted by dwightmoodyforgetsthings on February 28, 2014 at 1:37 PM · Report this
@35 Way to dodge the issue of the amount of waste in the defense expenditures Lokheed-Grumman-Boeing-General Dynamics have insisted on to keep their shareholders happy. You could cut the F35 program alone (the Pentagon doesn't want it--why should Congress? Let me guess...) and save more money than all the programs you cited. Of course, addressing the issue is one thing wingnuts are excellent at avoiding.
Posted by maddogm13 on February 28, 2014 at 2:09 PM · Report this
raindrop 41
@40: I'm not dodging anything. The concept of looking out for the cumulative affect of multiple small expenditures as well as eliminating unneeded military spending can coexist. They are not mutually exclusive, but are both contributing factors to a problem.
Posted by raindrop on February 28, 2014 at 2:30 PM · Report this
If I were an evangelical, I'd be super offended that this guy was introduced as "evangelical" and nothing more. I'm Catholic, and at least the wicked Catholics in the news actually are primarily part of RC Church heirarchy. (If a dude were Catholic and a member of Evil Hategroup International, I'd be ticked if he were introduced as just "Catholic.")
Posted by DRF on February 28, 2014 at 3:52 PM · Report this
My response to NPR:

On tell me more on Thursday, February 27th, Michel Martin introduced and then interviewed Scott Lively, the self-proclaimed activist against gay people and the co-writer of a book that claims that gay men and lesbians were behind Nazism and the Holocaust. He's a hate-monger of the worst sort, capitalizing on the religious prejudices of others to help support horribly destructive, repressive laws. And Michel Martin threw him softballs throughout the interview.

If journalists who have the opportunity to call attention to the murderousness of people like Scott Lively neglect to, they are simply reporters of events. The description of "Tell Me More" on the NPR website says, "Tell Me More understands that the digital public is real, is here now, is ever more diverse and is hungry for constructive dialogue and difficult and honest conversations." This was not constructive dialogue and was neither difficult nor honest; it was cowardly and appalling.
Posted by Missliss on February 28, 2014 at 7:16 PM · Report this
obvious troll is obvious. you have to shine a light on their BS our they just run to new dark corners.
Posted by derzyidaho on March 1, 2014 at 2:24 AM · Report this

Add a comment


Want great deals and a chance to win tickets to the best shows in Seattle? Join The Stranger Presents email list!

All contents © Index Newspapers, LLC
1535 11th Ave (Third Floor), Seattle, WA 98122
Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Use | Takedown Policy