August 21, 2015

At first blush, NPR's story on Hillary Clinton's emails and their classification status quotes lots of government officials in an attempt to make this into a bigger thing than it is. But they forgot to tell readers that at least one of the people they quoted works for the Jeb Bush campaign, and another one is the head of a conservative nonprofit organization.

Michael "Rectal Feeding Is Awesome" Hayden was one of the "experts" they quoted, without noting that he works for Jeb Bush.

Media Matters:

The NPR article also cited an interview that former NSA Director Michael Hayden gave on MSNBC's Morning Joe, where Hayden said about Clinton's email use: "Put legality aside for just a second, it's stupid and dangerous."

But NPR failed to note that Hayden is not just a former NSA director; he works as an adviser to Jeb Bush's presidential campaign. As he told NewsmaxTV back in May of this year:

"I've signed on as an adviser to Gov. Bush because he asked me and because he represents what I feel is the right position, which is the Republican internationalist position," Hayden said. "If you're looking for one sentence as to what a new president should do with regard to foreign policy: Get involved, and stay involved."

This is particularly egregious, given NPR's status as the more "unbiased" news outlet. That's not really true since David Koch took his seat on the WNET board, but the idea plays nice in the national media landscape where the likes of Fox News is still viewed as reliable.

It wasn't just Hayden, either. They also featured quotes from Ron Hosko, head of a right-wing group of former law enforcement officers.

NPR did not mention that Hosko is currently the president of the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund (LELDF), a right-wing non-profit that claims to defend police officers fighting criminal charges, but which has come under scrutiny for financial ties to other conservative groups, such as the Federalist Society and the American Spectator. The chairman of LELDF is Alfred Regnery, the former president of conservative publisher Regnery Publishing, whileboard members include Ken Cuccinelli, the former Republican nominee for governor of Virginia; J. Kenneth Blackwell, a Republican politician and senior fellow at the Family Research Council; and Edwin Meese III, a former Reagan administration official who reportedly helped orchestrate the devastating 2013 government shutdown.

In December 2014, Hosko also wrote a column for USA Today arguing that "police weren't the problem in Ferguson." The column blamed the Obama administration and "radical activists" for "exacerbating the problems in Ferguson" and contributing "to an epidemic that will most adversely affect those for whom they claim to advocate."

It seems "public broadcasting" isn't quite as public as it ought to be.

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