NPR, Warts and All | Letters | Chicago Reader

NPR, Warts and All 

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To the editors:

Glenn Garvin's case against NPR news [June 25] was fun reading and raised lots of old arguments provocatively once again, but I just can't get my dander up nearly as high as his (do hate reporters interviewing reporters, though). I still like NPR, warts and all, because:

1) TV news is too superficial and too effort-consuming. I may not have to but I usually do sit down and watch it and therefore do not do the hundreds of little labors (fixing meals, sorting the mail, letting the late-working neighbor's cat out, petting my own cats, etc., etc.) I very easily accomplish while listening to radio.

2) I want a headline service: most times when I read a newspaper, I wind up only skimming it for headlines. Garvin assumes much more of the everyday news is important to individual persons than actually is. I don't care about the vast majority of what is reported on any given day.

3) On the other hand, I do find many NPR features quite enjoyable: several of its essayists (Codrescu, Bailey White, Daniel Pinkwater), its book and movie reviewers, the occasional report on or interview with a performing artist, many of its interviews with authors. This is not hard news, but I find it more satisfying than similar material in newspapers.

In further defense of NPR, where does Garvin get off saying radio's a dying, no-big-deal medium? Like daily newspapers aren't? They've been dying for decades and more will die because radio and TV can report headlines at least as well and weeklies, monthlies, etc., can do investigation and analysis better.

And why does Garvin assume all NPR listeners are as stupid as his sister? A great many of us have known for years that NPR is slavishly bureaucratic-liberal and have the occasional good laugh about it while we're still getting the bare bones news.

So 1 1/2 cheers for NPR and the rest of the three for Garvin.

Ray Olson

W. Elmdale

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