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Liberals, Families, NPR

chicago dyke's picture

So, I had an ugly encounter with a family member yesterday. Here's the short version:

Her: So I heard this on NPR yesterday /insert Republican propaganda/.

Me: That comes from the Heritage Foundation. And it's factually untrue. Do you know that?

Her: What makes you smarter than NPR? We give them money, you know. They're Liberal! /indignant pose/

Me: Well, actually, they're not anymore /litany of facts about Heritage, NPR, Diane Rheem, Terry Gross/

Her: Fuck you, you fucking DFH! I make more money than you!


I'm just wondering, has anyone else had this experience? I love this member of my own fambly, more than my own life. And she's smart, too. And truly liberal. But I can't break thru with her: she refuses to accept that NPR is "nice polite republicans" as most of us here do. Facts, cool logic, etc., seem to have no impact on her, when we talk about that.

Have you ever had any success convincing a family member that most of the "liberal" media is not, and if so, how? Please tell me how, when, and how well it "worked." Thanks.

No votes yet


Submitted by hipparchia on

i apologize for laughing, but i love the way you tell stories and the dialogue here was too much fun to read.

to answer your question: no, i have never been able to convince anybody -- not friends, not family, not neighbors -- that the 'liberal' media is not liberal any longer. i can talk to conservatives on a lot of issues, but this one is super-glued into peoples dna or something.

Submitted by hipparchia on

i love the voices and the music

not to mention that they do all sound so very different from glen beck and rush limbaugh, it's very easy to believe that they ARE lefties

Submitted by jawbone on

tad too...precious. It seems the standard for female voices on NPR is now soft, low, lightly breathy, almost whispery. Whispering in men's ears....

Sometime the send of intimacy during interviews is almost scary and, to me, off-putting.

Submitted by hipparchia on

the radio in my car went out several years ago so i haven't really been listening much for maybe the past 4 or 5 years. i just remember that the tone and timbre of the npr voices were so different from rush limbaugh and his ilk.

Submitted by jawbone on

When I've drive out of my area, I can tune in to NPR stations based on the mere sound of the announcers/news readers' voices. Works pretty much for classical music stations as well.

BTW, is anyone having problems getting into Avedon's Sideshow? I click over there and get only the top mast with no way to hit "home." It's been happening since I got on my new PC with Windows 7. Not necessarily a Windows problem, but frustrating.

I can somehow, trying over and over, get in occasionally.

Aeryl's picture
Submitted by Aeryl on

I used to have to listen to NPR for my media monitoring job, and I always thought the music was atrocious. Worse than being stuck in the elevator.

The voices are soothing though.

Submitted by jawbone on

Now, with access to the internet and wider views of what's "news" I can barely stand to listen to them. I find myself arguing with NPR reporters almost as much as with for-profit MCMers.*

*MCMers--Members of the Mainstream Corporate Media

Valhalla's picture
Submitted by Valhalla on

in one situation not nearly so extreme as yours by opening with: 1) laughing (like we're about to share a joke) hey you know what they call npr these days? Nice Polite Republicans! ha ha ha ha; and 2) bringing up just one example where they were clearly not liberal (near-blackout on sp).

If evidence and logic won't work, then the psychological effect of sharing an in-joke as if you're both IN on the joke, plus popular pressure (the ubiquitous "they" who make a joke about npr) might work. Plus planting the idea on one issue of non-liberalness might trigger some skepticism when family member is listerning to npr at another time.

But I dunno, my sit may have worked because my situation wasn't as polarized (no dfh segment). And family member did not have a very long history of listening, more recent. Plus, methodologically, using the what other people think is in the any-stick category...

Submitted by lambert on

Proffer alternatives...

No, I can't say anything like that has worked. But I do know that all the young people I know don't listen any more....

kelley b's picture
Submitted by kelley b on

Either you have the witch-sight and see through the faerie glamour, or you do not.

People will believe what they want to believe. It has always been so. I suspect as long as there are people it will always be so.

One solution is to believe nothing and doubt everything, but that's not a solution most can live with.

DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

I always back off from trying to convince family of anything because you have to live with them.

I have had many conversations with friends, otherwise intelligent people, who think that NPR and PBS are liberal. I stopped trying to convince them. If they live in the Greater Washington area I suggest they try MHz Networks.

Otherwise I send links to the Daily Howler, or this, or other online news sources that I think will appeal to them. I have given up trying to outright convince people. I just hope that if you offer alternatives the will reach the correct conclusion on their own.

joc's picture
Submitted by joc on

Pick a particularly egregious example (e.g. like NPR inviting David Horowitz on to defame Howard Zinn when he died). Switch the station when you tell the story:

Me: Did you hear that right after Howard Zinn died FOX News brought on David Horowitz to say nothing Zinn had done "was worth any kind of respect?" I know they are conservative propaganda, but can you believe they would sink that low?

Her: Yeah, well it's FOX what do you expect?

Me: Actually, it was NPR.

When she realizes she can't tell the difference between FOX and NPR she might start rethinking her donation and listening choices.

dr sardonicus's picture
Submitted by dr sardonicus on

By convincing the public that they are liberal while in fact spreading conservative talking points, the media keeps the Overton Window firmly planted on the right side of the spectrum.

One big problem with convincing friends and family that the media doesn't have a left bias is that so few people see and hear genuine liberalism that they think the phony talking heads are the real thing.

gqmartinez's picture
Submitted by gqmartinez on

Relative to Limbaugh and Beck. That's one thing that the right has done successfully over the last 30 years, push the right wing to the extreme to make right-wing the new baseline. I have to bring Obama in on this because one of the things that ticked me off most about his campaign (other than his racism card against the Clintons and helping to rig an election) was that he constantly made nice with the extreme right wing and changed the problem from conservativism to "partisanship". This was a twofer. The Dems and liberals became part of the problem and extreme right-wing wasn't really so bad. Hillary, regardless of how she would have governed, brought the baseline back to a more reasonable place with her rhetoric.

Id add, the way CD feels about talking to her family member is not disimilar from how many of us feel when talking to Obamaphiles and the proggers.

Submitted by Lex on

Rather than the standard "nice, polite Republicans" i like to toss the phrase "National Propaganda Radio" into the mix.

And i'm not so sure that Garrison Keillor isn't an intelligence asset. There must be a reason for the hypnotic droning and i'm guessing it's subliminal messaging.

Aeryl's picture
Submitted by Aeryl on

Because I think publicly funded media is important to democracy. I don't know how publicly funded NPR is anymore, but if it's anything like the PBS, it's all private corporate sponsorship, but it's still perceived as public.

If you call it National Propoganda Radio, I think you help perpetuate the idea that all publicly funded media is government propoganda, which I think is bad thing.

chicago dyke's picture
Submitted by chicago dyke on

that will get forwarded to her.

we'll see how many days we go without speaking. i suspect it'll be a while before she gets over my "irrationality" and "anger." she always accuses me of that, when i mock or correct some NPR bias. it's very tiresome.

madamab's picture
Submitted by madamab on

they will have to acknowledge that injustice was done.

And bitter knitters weren't treated unjustly, nor were single-payer advocates.

Sister MadamaB explains it all to you!


thebewilderness's picture
Submitted by thebewilderness on

I have had limited success, on occasion.
I have to be very careful not to say anything in a way that would imply that I think they are wrong. Like screaming bs in their face no matter how provoking the absurdity.
Persuading someone to reexamine what they heard without telling them what they hear is incorrect, but rather helping them think it through, is hard work. It's worth it if you love them though.

cellocat's picture
Submitted by cellocat on

That people tend not to want to trust angry people, because consistent anger makes them uncomfortable. So instead of remembering that it's reasonable to retain anger about an ongoing injustice, they wish you'd just shut up and go away, or make nice, or whatever.

However, I think that bringing up the Howard Zinn example is perfect; it's not refutable.