Okay folks, NPR should feel some real pain on this one. Some of you may recall last week when I beat up on NPR for presenting the views of Joe Olivo, a small business owner, on the Affordable Care Act (ACA). I pointed out that the piece the segment did not put Olivo's complaints in any context so that listeners would have no way of assessing their validity.
It turned out that I was overly generous. Olivo was not a random small business owner who NPR happened to stumble upon. He is a person that the National Federal of Independent Businesses (NFIB), the lead plaintiff in the suit against the ACA, routinely sends out to speak to the media and to testify at public hearings. I discovered this from a blogpost at Balloon Juice.
One might have thought NPR would apologize for not properly identifying Mr. Olivo in its segment. However, if you thought that, you would be wrong.
Balloon Juice tells us that Mr. Olivo was back last night. He told All Things Considered listeners that a higher minimum wage is a really bad idea and would force him to lay off workers. Once again Mr. Olivo was presented as a random small business; his ties to the NFIB were not mentioned.
Come on folks, this is really Journalism 101. It's fine to put Mr. Olivo on the air and let him give his story, but don't present him as a random small business owner. The reason that you are talking to him is because the NFIB sent him to you. How could you not give this information to your audience?
If NPR keeps this up they should bill the series as Joe Olivo versus the Regulation Monster.
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