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Sundries
...a sweatshop of moxie

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Who Do You Thinking You're Kidding, NPR

I'm fairly sure all the NPR affiliates around the US, are having their little beg-a-thons, so perhaps you can tune in and hear their pledge drives at the moment.

As I have told you countless of times, NPR or rather, my local South Florida affiliate, WLRN, is my favourite talk radio station.

In fact, I have rarely listened to Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage, Michael Medved, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham and the whole slew of conservative talk show radio hosts, which practically steamroll the AM radiowaves.

At the end of the day, I know what they are going to say, some of it badly, some of it spot on, but perhaps a little too uneclecticly for my tastes.

Like the New York Times, a paper I stopped subscribing to in 2001 when I finally had enough of their skewed, high-bound tone, but one which I miss for its arts and entertainment section, NPR keeps me coming back, because of their quality programming.

Garrison Keillor, Car Talk, even Fresh Air, all are one-of-a-kind shows, which Rush neither wants to imitate, nor frankly, can.

So fine, 91.3 on my FM dial is my station of choice.

Who's a prisoner of their ideology? Not I, boy.

But this Saturday, I confess, I just couldn't take one more minute of WLRN.

There I was, in my car, listening to a solid hour of two local NPR presenters, trying to get callers to phone in with pledges.

The usual weepy reasons were hauled out, from "listening to NPR without paying for it, is like stealing your neighbour's Newsweek" to "People think the "public" is because of government support, but only 5% is from grants, which are rapidly dwindling anyway" -- oh please.

But then, they mentioned all their great programmes, and I told myself, okay, $65 per year is maybe a 10th of what I spend on my hair per year, so I reached for the cell phone.

I was straining to hear the 866-toll free number, when the two presenters pulled out their guilt trump card:

They decided to drop all pretenses that NPR is anything but a liberal, progressive, counter-culture, tree-hugger, tofu-eating wet dream of a station, and said the following:

"Maybe you're a part of the Power to the People generation.

"Or maybe you feel that recent elections have not gone your way, and your voice isn't being heard.

Well here is your chance to make your voice be heard in the political wilderness of today."

AND I QUOTE, mind you.

I put down the cell phone with a look of utter disgust on my face.

But then I said, screw it, and dialed the number anyway.

The lady operator put me on hold, since she had a donor already on hold ahead of me. Fine. I waited.

And I thought, and thought what I was going to say.

Make it sound logical.

Make it sound dispassionate, even if you're irate.

Make it sound like they just lost a whole bunch of money, due to their blatant, disgusting tone.

And put on your best American accent, because let's face it, Americans like "British" accents just fine, unless you're chastising them. Then, you're just being snotty.

That's when she came on the line.

This is what I said, exactly. My memory is letter-perfect, since this convesation is seared forever in my mind now.

"Hi, ma'am. Thanks for waiting. Would you like to pledge to WLRN today?"

"No problem. Well, in fact, I would, but I have a request first."

"Okay?"

"I am driving in my car, listening to your pledge drive. Now I have to tell you, I am a long-long time listener of NPR ("oh that's great") but I am also conservative."

(pause)

"Okayyy."

"But I still greatly enjoy your programming, so I was about to send in as generous a contribution as I could, when suddenly I hear your two announcers refer to the Power to the People generation.


Later, they mentioned how certain elections may not have gone a particular way, and this is your chance to make your voice heard."

"Ma'am"

"Wait, I'm not finished. When I was on hold, your hold-message said you also welcome suggestions or comments, so let me do so."

"MA'AM! I'M SORRY BUT..."

(speaking calmly over her shouting)

"My comment and suggestion to your station is if they would not be so blatantly obvious in your appeals, that you could get pledges from people like me -- moderates, or conservatives, but who like what NPR has to offer anyway.

But I assure you, you will get not one penny from me today, and I daresay any other person who holds moderate, yet strong opinions, but who finds your blatantly partisan comments, very very off-putting.

Perhaps you can pass that on, to your pledge drive co-ordinator. Thank you. Good day."

*click*


...goodness only knows if this woman delivered the message or not, or even if she skewed our little chat as,

"Hey, some wingnut just called to say we're being too left-wing!! Can you believe that??!"

But so help me God, this time for a change, NPR had to listen to me.

11 Comments:

  • Okay, this post settles it, I'm plighting my troth to you - what did I just say?
    You make me proud, very much so. I would just sit there smiling all day watching you.

    By Blogger Paul, at Mon Apr 24, 06:03:00 pm GMT-4  

  • Way to go Victoria! You were so close to making a mistake but you fixed it big time by giving them a piece of your mind!

    By Blogger Jose Aguirre, at Mon Apr 24, 06:25:00 pm GMT-4  

  • Okay, this post settles it, I'm plighting my troth to you - what did I just say?
    You make me proud, very much so. I would just sit there smiling all day watching you.


    Paul, you could make any narcissist feel happy to be around you.

    That goes double for me. :)

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Mon Apr 24, 10:01:00 pm GMT-4  

  • Way to go Victoria! You were so close to making a mistake but you fixed it big time by giving them a piece of your mind!

    After I hung up, my heart was racing.

    I knew what I wanted to say, and I was well aware the whole little scene might be fraught with comic absurdity -- but I didn't care.

    I said it in such a way, that there's no earthly possibility, this woman didn't turn around, and share it with at least SOMEONE in that building.

    What bothers people like me about NPR, that is, who have my world view, is not that they are a liberal, progressive hippie mecca.

    But that they think they're neutral.

    All today, in the morning, I heard this woman talk repeatedly about the fact that NPR provides:

    "Listeners with an INDEPENDENT viewpoint, which is as unbiased as we can possibly make it."

    No lady, you guys are the definition of bias.

    Unless they believe that tilting left, means by definition, being neutral.

    That's ultimately their problem. It doesn't.

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Mon Apr 24, 10:04:00 pm GMT-4  

  • Nice work. They don't call it National People's Radio for nothing!

    By Blogger Ruth Anne Adams, at Mon Apr 24, 10:23:00 pm GMT-4  

  • Hey. Is it me? Or is there something hinky about your posting? I checked this weekend and it was still QEII up until Sunday.

    Are you doing some creative date-stamps?

    By Blogger Ruth Anne Adams, at Mon Apr 24, 10:24:00 pm GMT-4  

  • Paul, you could make any narcissist feel happy to be around you.

    That goes double for me. :)


    Good, I only want one :)

    By Blogger Paul, at Mon Apr 24, 10:59:00 pm GMT-4  

  • Although all they do is politics, which gets wearysome after a while, (ok, a brief while!) C-SPAN is far closer to 'objectivity' than NPR will ever be. I'm continually amazed at how the moderators on Washington Journal can remain truly calm in the face of the bizarre call-ins of every political stripe...

    just my two shillings...

    By Blogger Ron, at Tue Apr 25, 12:16:00 am GMT-4  

  • Nahh, that phone answerer had to listen to you. NPR could not care less.

    I always wonder why they only seem to broadcast interesting things during pledge months, and then show the same stuff night after night after night!

    Yeah, I wanna support that. "Independent Lens"? Watched it and felt so ashamed that I am American and not starving to death. And that was only the first time I watched it.

    Nahh, they get nada from me. Not even much respect. :p

    By Anonymous benning76, at Tue Apr 25, 06:05:00 pm GMT-4  

  • ruth anne: I noticed that, too! Nice to get lots of posts, though! :D


    Word Verification: difoz

    Hehehee! Call me "Difoz!"

    By Anonymous benning76, at Tue Apr 25, 06:12:00 pm GMT-4  

  • When it comes to cars, you know I can check to see the consensus!

    By Blogger Drivin' in my car, at Sun May 21, 04:32:00 pm GMT-4  

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