CEPR - Center for Economic and Policy Research


En Español

Em Português

Other Languages

Home Publications Blogs Beat the Press Does National Public Radio Have the Ability to Control Its Obsession With the National Debt

Does National Public Radio Have the Ability to Control Its Obsession With the National Debt

Monday, 10 February 2014 11:22

In recent months we have heard comments from the chief economist at the I.M.F., the chair of the Federal Reserve Board, and the Congressional Budget Office, all saying that austerity is hurting growth and costing the country jobs. By the Congressional Budget Office's estimates we are still operating at a level of output that is more than $1 trillion below potential GDP. Comparing its most recent projections with its 2008 pre-crash projections, we stand to lose a cumulative total of more than $24 trillion in output ($80,000 per person) through the end of its budget horizon in 2024 as a result of the collapse of the housing bubble. 

In short, millions are needlessly suffering from unemployment or underemployment, and the country continues to waste a vast amount of goods and services that it could produce to meet important needs. One would think this situation would garner attention from National Public Radio and other major news outlets. But no, NPR is upset that we are not concerned about the national debt.

It told us this last week in a segment where it included no voices to make the obvious point that spending is good right now, and it did so again today when it complained that Congress lacks the will to reduce the debt.

Obviously the debt is an obsession of some reporters/producers at NPR. It would be reasonable to give them occasional opinion pieces to express their concerns. These pieces are not news.

Comments (13)Add Comment
Does NPR have the will to listen to anyone other than Pete Peterson and the Fix-the-Debt crowd?
written by leo from Chicago, February 10, 2014 10:59
Getting worse ever day
written by BBell, February 10, 2014 11:35
Did anyone here the conversation between Renee Montagne and Cokie Roberts this morning? You could expect as much from Roberts, but it seems the folks at NPR have fully internalized the GOP talking points that the CBO report says Obamacare eliminates jobs.
written by howard, February 10, 2014 11:45
I stopped listening to npr news during the run up to the invasion of iraq, as their work was indistinguishable from mainstream coverage. Haven't missed it a bit, and as I have informed my local station many times, I would give more if the station simply dropped npr news.
What is the Benefit of Balancing the Budget?
written by Paul Mathis, February 10, 2014 12:01
During the Clinton Administration, we not only balanced the budget, but surpluses actually reduced the national debt. What exactly did we gain by doing that?

Shortly after the final budget surplus, the economy collapsed into recession exactly as it had done the immediate three previous times -- 1957, 1960 and 1969 -- that we had engineered budget surpluses. In fact, over the past 60 years, EVERY TIME the federal budget has been balanced or in surplus, we have had a recession. The recessions of 1957, 1960, 1969 and 2001 were all preceded by budget surpluses and the recessions of 1954, 1974 and 2008 were all preceded by budgets that were nearly balanced - deficits of 1% of GDP or less.

Budget surpluses have never done any good for our economy!
Who is sending these comments to NPR top brass??
written by jumpinjezebel, February 10, 2014 12:13
How do they know they are promoting the Republican big lies if no one tells them pointblank??
written by Dryly 42, February 10, 2014 12:56
This should be reported to the NPR ombudsman and request an inquiry and an explanation. The same is true for the Corporation For Public Broadcasting.
Follow the money
written by jonny bakho, February 10, 2014 1:30
Peterson gives money to all the villagers who cover budget policy.
No strings attached (Ahem!), of course.
does the multiplier still work?, Low-rated comment [Show]
To Paul Mathis
written by Tyler, February 10, 2014 3:19
Paul, you can't be talking that much sense on a mainstream blog. Sooner or later, people are going to realize you understand economics. That may sound like a good thing, but not if you have any personal ambition. You'll never make it in Washington saying stuff like that. Better to remain ignorant or deceitful, like President Obama.
written by howard, February 10, 2014 9:50
Dryly 42, I have tried, to no avail. That's why I've moved on to encouraging my local npr station to simply drop npr news altogether as a pointless expenditure.
I concur with howard
written by John Puma, February 11, 2014 2:33
I, too, dropped NPR, after a period of growing doubt, when, during the preparation for the (2003) Iraq invasion, it proved itself no different, in any important respect, from the rest of mainstream media.

In the most important sense, it's much worse that MSM, precisely because it implicitly and explicitly promises much, much more than it delivers. In this area its delivery/promise ratio hovers near that of abusive religious clergy.

The only residual difference is its much greater collective self-satisfaction with
a) exaggerated voice modulation b) inside jokes and c) sophomoric cleverness.

Balance NPR's Budget
written by simjam, February 11, 2014 8:00
Follow the money.
NPR, at the national level, is a voice for the powerful and the status quo
written by John Wright, February 11, 2014 8:47
Here are some snippets from http://mondoweiss.net/2010/06/...s-atc.html

"In the close of the interview of Noam Chomsky, he raised the subject of NPR censorship:

"…in fact on paper, since we’re on NPR, the co-host of All Things Considered Robert Siegel wrote that I’m the one person they’ll never allow on their prime-time program."

"The host of the show read a rebuttal by Siegel in which he denied having said such a thing or having the power at NPR to ban anyone and threw in some colorful remarks about conspiracy theorists along with a harrowing account of an interview with Chomsky. As a commenter on the site’s facebook page notes, there is at least one reference to Siegel’s public statements about Chomsky in print, from the Duke Chronicle, 1994:

"I was surprised to hear National Public Radio’s Robert Siegel, on his own, volunteer that independent thinkers like Noam Chomsky are not welcome on NPR’s news and discussion programs.

It was the last day of a book tour for the co-host of "All Things Considered," and he was signing copies of "The NPR Interviews," which he edited, at Durham’s Regulator book store. He was accompanied by WUNC General Manager Bill Davis."

"After the first wave of books had been signed, I approached Siegel and expressed concern over the lack of range in political commentary on NPR. I explained that I felt that the public interest was not very fully explored, and that an "inside the beltway" mentality and bias prevails. Siegel made a token statement of agreement, saying that it would be worthwhile to find more voices, but quickly limited it by saying, "However, we wouldn’t be interested in airing the views of such media and political critics as Noam Chomsky."’

And this was in 1994.

Write comment

(Only one link allowed per comment)

This content has been locked. You can no longer post any comments.


Support this blog, donate
Combined Federal Campaign #79613

About Beat the Press

Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. He is the author of several books, his latest being The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive. Read more about Dean.