Tag Archives: Texas A&M-Commerce

In defense of NPR

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo needs yet another lesson in just how the media do their job.

They ask tough questions. They seek direct answers. They also seek to report those answers to the public they serve. You and I depend on the media for answers to our own questions about what our government — especially at its highest levels — are doing ostensibly on our behalf.

National Public Radio reporter Mary Louise Kelly asked Pompeo why he hasn’t defended former Ukraine ambassador Marie Yovanovitch against criticism leveled at her by the current president of the United States, Donald John Trump.

He dodged the question, saying he has defended “everyone” in the State Department. Kelly sought a specific example of how he has defended Yovanovitch. He cut her off, summoned her to his private quarters, then lashed at her with a profanity-laced tirade, saying that NPR is part of the “unhinged” media that demonstrate a hatred for Trump.

Kelly was doing her job. She has not done a thing for which she should apologize.

Time for full disclosure: I work as a freelance blogger for a public radio station, KETR-FM, based at Texas A&M University-Commerce. 

With that out of the way, I want to tell you that NPR goes the extra mile in ensuring that it reports the news fairly and without overt bias.

A friend of mine who works in public radio explained to me once about NPR’s policy that it enforces strictly. He said that during the coverage of the health-care changes that resulted in the Affordable Care Act, NPR reporters were counseled by their editors to refrain from using the term “reform” to describe the ACA. “It isn’t a ‘reform,'” my friend told me. NPR affiliates were told us call it “overhaul.”

You see, the term “reform” implies an improvement over the status quo. Thus, to describe the ACA as a “reform” would be to endorse it as a policy in NPR’s news coverage. That’s how my friend characterizes the ethos that drives NPR’s reporting of important issues of the day.

And so, it is against that backdrop that I find Mike Pompeo’s tirade against a seasoned, well-educated, dedicated reporter such as Mary Louise Kelly to be just another ignorant tirade coming from a senior official in the Donald Trump administration.

Reprehensible.

Happy Trails, Part 140: Retirement journey takes surprising turn

COMMERCE, Texas — Life is a journey that is full of surprises. Some of them sadden us. The one that has just presented itself to my wife and me, however, fills me with excitement.

We came to this college town today to discuss an opportunity that fell out of the sky. We met with Mark Haslett, a friend and former colleague of mine. We worked briefly together at the Amarillo Globe-News, but I knew him before that, when he was news director at High Plains Public Radio in Amarillo.

He now is news director at KETR-FM, the public radio station headquartered on the campus of Texas A&M University-Commerce.

What’s the surprise? Haslett has asked if I would be interested in writing for the station’s web site. The potential assignment that awaits me is quite similar to the first part-time freelance gig I scored shortly after quitting my post at the Globe-News; I wrote blogs for Panhandle PBS for a time.

This project is still a work in progress. Haslett and I haven’t yet set a start date. I’ll go out on a limb and suggest that it’s not far off at all. Yes, we still have some more details to work out.

My wife and I — along with Toby the Puppy — are getting ready to move into a new home in Princeton, in eastern Collin County, which Haslett told us over lunch today is in the KETR-FM coverage area. He prefers that I write about issues pertinent to Collin County and the area surrounding Princeton, which is a growing community in what — for the time being — sits in one of the few remaining rural areas of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.

OK, so here we are. Retirement remains a wonderful life for my wife and me. It does present some opportunities that we cannot foresee. This is one of them.

I don’t yet know where this particular journey will take us. I am grateful that my friend believes I have something of value to contribute to his listenership at KETR. There also might be some radio air time to discuss this new project and where we intend for it to go..

Meanwhile, I’ll be able to write about whatever moves me as we get settled in at our new digs in Princeton.

And so . . . the journey continues.