NPR vs. Talk Radio

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Joe Carter explains why NPR is objectively better than commercial talk radio. I agree with almost everything he says. Part of it is the commercial element and the fact that callers have nothing to say. Callers on NPR vary, but many of them have real questions of shows' guests or engage in a real discussion. Hannity, Limbaugh, et. al. are just looking for dittos from unthinking thralls or a punching bag at whom to rant. The people who fill these roles seem to fill them admirably. Those drawn to call such shows are exactly the type the hosts want calling. Anyone with anything intelligent to contribute just doesn't fit the format and won't likely be listening anyway.

I also agree that the biggest strength of NPR is that it isn't all about politics and the "us vs. them" mentality. They discuss issues that are interesting to me, and they discuss things I find utterly boring, and then there's everything in between. However interested I might be, it's pretty clear that the people talking about them consider the topics interesting in their own right. The interests of Hannity, Limbaugh, et. al. aren't exactly very broad.

The biggest downside of NPR is not the fact that virtually everyone working for them is politically liberal. The liberal viewpoint is worth discussing, and there's no way anyone will be able to criticize it if it doesn't come out, so conservatives should welcome the voice of liberalism for the sake of better dialogue and more fruitful discussion. Joe is exactly right that the biggest problem with NPR is that many of its key people are just so out of touch with many in mainstream America. As Joe says, "The hosts of All Things Considered, for example, would have no trouble relating to an obscure avant garde musician, while a popular gospel singer would be considered an anthropological curiosity". That sounds right. They bring Rick Warren on and are amazed that he points out the three biggest surprises of 2004: Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ, Warren's own The Purpose-Driven Life, and Bush's reelection, none of which make any sense to the cosmopolitan, left-of-center culture of blue-state secularism or liberal-secularized religion. Hannity and co. are just as out of touch with blue culture, and shame on them, so both parties in this comparison have that problem. NPR gets the advantage, though, because of what they talk about and because they do attempt to understand Rich Warren and seek his opinion for its own sake, with what at least is an attempt at a viewpoint-neutral perspective. You don't find that on commercial talk radio.

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A good show does exist, and books on tape are better than almost all radio shows Read More

My recent post on why NPR is better than talk radio appears to have hit a nerve with some readers. The reactions have ranged from almost complete agreement to charges that I�m a �Conservative Intellectual Snob�. (Well, at least he... Read More

End of Week Roundup from the evangelical outpost on November 30, 2004 3:06 AM

Note: Due to the number of quality posts that have sprung up on the topic of NPR vs. Talk Radio, I�ve decided to dedicate this week�s EoWR to the highlighting them. If you wrote on the topic and I�ve overlooked... Read More

6 Comments

I would like to see Christian media mimic some of the good things about NPR. I would also like to get Christians involved in NPR, not to evanglize though important, but to participate.

What would really be neat (IMHO) would be either a Christian "This American Life" or a broadening of "This American Life" to cover religious and conservative concerns. Let's get our good storytellers telling stories out in public, just like Garrison Keillor and Ira Glass do. I'm telling ya, that'd probably result in good evangelism to boot (i.e. through realistic portrayals of the Christian life).

The closest I've seen to "Christians doing NPR-type radio" Is The World Vision Report, which is on for a half-hour on the weekends (and two minute segments on the weekdays). It's intentionally international, and unlike many other humanitarian-oriented shows, largely non-political.

Ah, but is it about things not directly related to Christianity and not perceived to be directly related to Christianity?

Yes and yes...depending who you let define the faith for you.

Yes on #1, in that it's often about people in other nations that World Vision deals with...the poor, the oppressed, as well as the positives that are happening within other countries.

Yes on #2, in that the show doesn't always deal with the "Christian" response to humanitarian issues. One show dealt with the positives of salons in the Dominican Republic, another dealt with traffic issues in Guatemala.

www.worldvision.org

Hey, your typical non-christian here looking around for Hannity's latest attack on NPR and I stumbled in here.

Why do the Pat Robertsons of the world get all the air play and mindful, thoughtful, respectful and insightful Christians like those I see here are not?

Man, with this kind of tone, SOOO much more could be accomplished in this world, for all involved. Hopefully, those like you will gain voice.

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