NPR Mission Statement

The mission of NPR is to work in partnership with member stations to create a more informed public — one challenged and invigorated by a deeper understanding and appreciation of events, ideas and cultures. To accomplish our mission, we produce, acquire, and distribute programming that meets the highest standards of public service in journalism and cultural expression; we represent our members in matters of their mutual interest; and we provide satellite interconnection for the entire public radio system.

NPR is a nonprofit organization, privately owned, and funded by corporations, foundations, and individual donors. They follow a Code of Ethics and Practices regarding the news stories they cover.

Five Principles of News Coverage

  1. Fairness
  2. Unbiased
  3. Accuracy
  4. Honesty
  5. Respect

In NPR's coverage of the 2008 election, they continuously focus on one person: Barack Obama. There have been five stories in the last two weeks either specifically or significantly about Obama:

  1. Obama Nearly Equals Clinton's Campaign Total
  2. Obama's New Mission: Connect with Iowans
  3. Fundraising Recasts the Presidential Race
  4. Fundraising Success Adds to Interest in Obama
  5. Obama Visits the Letterman Show

Why this focus? The greatest and most obvious reason is that he's black. Because of this, there is a great fascination about his success. NPR consistently covers two aspects of Obama's campaign:

  1. Fundraising: Time and time again NPR reports that Obama is in close competition with Clinton in the amount of money raised for his presidential campaign.
  2. Health Care: What distinguishes Obama from other presidential runners is that he does not want to reveal is plan for reforming health care. Instead, he wants to hear the opinions of the American people before committing to a specific plan.

Throughout their stories, the NPR reporters almost seem surprised that Obama is doing so well. He is this phenomenon that came from nowhere. He's young, relatively new to the Senate, and actually doing well. This puts an unfair focus on Obama, relative to other contenders, and reveals the biases within NPR. A surprised reaction to the success of Obama perhaps points to the surprise that a black man could be successful.

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