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Author Topic: NPR's 'non scandal' scandal
DarkKnight
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In Video: NPR Exec Slams Tea Party, Questions Need For Federal Funds
Does this matter to anyone here?

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mr_porteiro_head
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Do you think it might be possible that it doesn't matter to anybody here? If so, why?
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TomDavidson
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I honestly don't see why NPR executives aren't allowed to dislike the Tea Party. I mean, I know people who work for the Department of Transportation who have opinions about the Tea Party.
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DarkKnight
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Yes I do think it is possible that it doesn't matter. One reason could be that they agree with Schiller's assesments of republicans and the tea party. Another could be that it was just one person at NPR and not the whole organization so it isn't really a story at all.
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TomDavidson
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quote:
One reason could be that they agree with Schiller's assesments of republicans and the tea party.
Why would that matter? Heck, I know several people working for the Justice Department who don't like the Democrats, and you'd think -- given that the President's a Democrat -- that this would be even more of a problem. But it isn't.
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DarkKnight
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Thanks Tom, excellent timing [Smile]
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TomDavidson
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Again: why do you think it should matter? Does it matter that people working for the government have political opinions?
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DarkKnight
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quote:
Why would that matter? Heck, I know several people working for the Justice Department who don't like the Democrats, and you'd think -- given that the President's a Democrat -- that this would be even more of a problem. But it isn't.
Out of curiosity, do you think that Schiller's attitude is a fairly common attitude at NPR?
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Flying Fish
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Looks like it mattered to the board of directors:

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/03/09/npr-president-schiller-resigns/

(Note this is not the Schiller fellow at the lunch, it's the Schiller lady who was ceo)

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DarkKnight
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Both Schillers are gone, and are not related.
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DarkKnight
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quote:
Again: why do you think it should matter? Does it matter that people working for the government have political opinions?
Is there anyone who doesn't have a political opinion? That's not a very good question.
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TomDavidson
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Don't be a coward.
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DarkKnight
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Don't be a name caller. You asked a bad question especially since the 'government' contains all of the politicians who have political opinions. Was Schiller representing the government?
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Rakeesh
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I dislike the Tea Party in pretty strong terms, and I'm not likely to agree with DarkKnight on many given political topics that I've discussed (and this probably isn't one either). I mention that to establish that I'm not sayin' this out of a take-his-side impulse or anything, but dang Tom, that last remark was pretty bad and unnecessary. It's difficult for me to believe you're not good enough at understanding people not to have known it at the time, too.
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mr_porteiro_head
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quote:
Originally posted by DarkKnight:
Yes I do think it is possible that it doesn't matter. One reason could be that they agree with Schiller's assesments of republicans and the tea party.

Wait. You really think that it's possible that every single person here on Hatrack shares Shiller's assesments of republicans and the tea party?

Do you think that it's possible, for example, that there are zero republicans here?

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TomDavidson
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DarkKnight is dodging the core issue, and doing so not just disingenuously but dishonestly. He knows perfectly well why this doesn't matter, but lacks the guts to stray from his programmed line.
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Mucus
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I'm not too familiar with NPR, but strictly speaking, is NPR really part of "the government" as opposed to having some government funding?

The BBC and CBC are actual state-owned, crown corporations in the case of the CBC. But briefly looking, NPR doesn't look like its on the list of the US equivalents http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Government-owned_corporation

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DarkKnight
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quote:
Wait. You really think that it's possible that every single person here on Hatrack shares Shiller's assesments of republicans and the tea party?
It would be of interest to see a survey of that question.
quote:
DarkKnight is dodging the core issue, and doing so not just disingenuously but dishonestly. He knows perfectly well why this doesn't matter, but lacks the guts to stray from his programmed line.
No, TomDavidson, I am not dodging anything and you know that perfectly well. You are setting up certain specific conditions to prove a point. How can the core issue be "Does it matter that people working for the government have political opinions?"? You know full well that everyone has a political opinion, everyone does include people in the government and at NPR. You asked a bad question to start down the path of people in government, news organizations, etc being allowed to express their political views in a general sense. Right?
Here is a better question, should an individual acting as a representative of NPR in a fund raising capacity express a particular disparging political bias be reprimanded/fired/some sort of action?
Please note the qualifiers.
Or in your government case, should an individual from the Justice department, acting in an official capacity, make a statement like 'Tea Party members are racist and belong in jail' be reprimanded/fired/some sort of action?
Again, please note the qualifiers.

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mr_porteiro_head
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quote:
It would be of interest to see a survey of that question.
I note that you didn't even try to answer my question about what you think.
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JanitorBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
Don't be a coward.

Tom: Please tread lightly, you are borderline verbally abusing another poster. You can easily discuss a poster's hesitance to answer a question without calling them a coward.
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kmbboots
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NPR is not a part of the government. There is nothing governmentally wrong with someone who works for a non-profit organization having political opinions. It is complicated when journalists have and express strong political opinions, though it seems like everyone but NPR ignores this anyway. The guy that was fired wasn't even a journalist.

Having said all that, it is entirely possible that getting caught expressing those opinions in a sting showed bad judgment and compromised his ability to effectively do his job.

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Tresopax
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This proves that there exists at least one person at NPR who is willing to express an unfavorable view of the Tea Party in a private conversation, when baited into it by the person he is talking to.

It also should be noted that the person is the Vice President for Fundraising, who presumably has no influence over NPR content, and that he was under the impression that he was talking to a major donor who wanted to hear that sort of opinion.

Should anyone consider this a controversy?

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TomDavidson
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quote:
Here is a better question, should an individual acting as a representative of NPR in a fund raising capacity express a particular disparging political bias be reprimanded/fired/some sort of action?
Okay, so this is what you think the question is.

So: an individual, acting in a fundraising capacity for an organization, is led by a donor into criticism of a group that a) the donor has said he dislikes; and b) the individual may or may not dislike.

I don't see the problem. If you're amazed that fundraising officers will say things to donors that they think donors want to hear, let me know and I'll explain why this happens.

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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by Tresopax:
This proves that there exists at least one person at NPR who is willing to express an unfavorable view of the Tea Party in a private conversation, when baited into it by the person he is talking to.

It also should be noted that the person is the Vice President for Fundraising, who presumably has no influence over NPR content, and that he was under the impression that he was talking to a major donor who wanted to hear that sort of opinion.

Should anyone consider this a controversy?

Nope.
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Lyrhawn
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I don't think it's worth making hay over, but in today's climate, it certainly will be. Bugs me too. I love NPR. I listen to it all the time. I'd be pretty well crushed if it went off the air. And I really don't get what people who have an axe to grind against NPR are complaining about. Have they even listened to the show, or is the assumption that NPR has a liberal bias all that's necessary?

Whenever I think of this, I just keep thinking of Colbert's "Reality has a liberal bias" comment.

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Samprimary
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quote:
No, TomDavidson, I am not dodging anything and you know that perfectly well.
You can't say that when you're observably going out of your way to not directly address or answer his question, even when it's repeatedly asked.
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The Rabbit
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quote:
Here is a better question, should an individual acting as a representative of NPR in a fund raising capacity express a particular disparging political bias be reprimanded/fired/some sort of action?
It depends to some degree on the context in which that person expressed those opinions. Was the comment made while the person was acting in an official capacity for NPR, or in his/her free time?

I think when any person makes a comment that is embarrassing to his/her employer, while s/he is acting in an official capacity as an employee, the employer would justified in taking action against that employee. The severity would of course be dependent on the specifics.

If the comments were not made either publicly or as part of the persons official capacity as an employee, then I shutter to think they might be fired or even reprimanded for them. An employer should not have the right to control what employees say in private conversations during their free time.

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Strider
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You know what really gets me about calls to defund NPR? (one of the many things) Here are some of my favorite shows on NPR:

This American Life
Radiolab
Prairie Home Companion
Wiretap
Car Talk
Talk of the Nation's Science Friday
Fresh Air

Sure I enjoy the news and political stuff as well, and NPR IS one of my top news sources, but it's these types of shows that I'd be really sad about.

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mr_porteiro_head
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
And I really don't get what people who have an axe to grind against NPR are complaining about. Have they even listened to the show, or is the assumption that NPR has a liberal bias all that's necessary?

Whenever I think of this, I just keep thinking of Colbert's "Reality has a liberal bias" comment.

I am a big fan of NPR. I've listened to it an awful lot, although not much in the last few years (mostly due to changes in my driving habits).

Based on my own experiences listening to it, I disagree with your claim that NPR has no liberal bias.

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Strider
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It could be that Lyrhawn isn't denying that NPR has a liberal bias, but stating that it has one because reality has a liberal bias.
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mr_porteiro_head
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[Roll Eyes]

That's just a snide way of saying the same thing.

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MattP
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NPR definitely has a liberal bias, but it's fairly mild relative to other media organizations and I get the impression that the journalists that work for NPR actually care about not letting their biases get in the way of the best possible journalism. They seem to run a story about this every so often and appear fairly thoughtful about this issue.
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Strider
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quote:
Originally posted by mr_porteiro_head:
[Roll Eyes]

That's just a snide way of saying the same thing.

Are you rolling your eyes at me or at Lyrhawn via my suggested interpretation of his post?
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Rakeesh
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I largely agree with MattP, particularly regarding their reporting and All Things Considered which is by far my biggest NPR listening experience. I think they're aware of it and pretty honest about reporting on it, certainly more honest than other outlets in my opinion at least. Or at least more concerned about the possible implications. I can't say whether that's because of their funding or because it's intrinsic to their ethics, though.

Going a bit further from what MattP said, though, I find the idea that NPR doesn't have a liberal bias about as strange and implausible as the idea that Fox News doesn't have a conservative bias. Not that I'm saying I feel NPR is skewed as far to the left as Fox is to the right or anything-I'm just saying that, to me, it's pretty plain there is some leaning going on.

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Darth_Mauve
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So this man who's job was to get donations is recorded on tape saying things to get funding that he believes the men making a huge donation want to hear. Its not a liberal bias. Its a sales tool.
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The Rabbit
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quote:
Originally posted by Darth_Mauve:
So this man who's job was to get donations is recorded on tape saying things to get funding that he believes the men making a huge donation want to hear. Its not a liberal bias. Its a sales tool.

That's not fair. The fraud, who recorded the conversation, offered NPR $5 million, no strings attached. NPR refused to accept the donation because the purported organization had ties to Islamic terrorism.

This is the second time in the last couple of weeks that I've read an account of some one making fraudulent claims about their identity in order to get someone or some organization to embarrass themselves. In both cases (Gov. Walker and NPR) the attempt pretty much failed but the groups in question nonetheless tried to make a scandal out of it. I find this tactic shameful.

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Samprimary
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This is O'Keefe at work. The guy who is now a convicted felon due to his intentionally deceptive antics, took down ACORN with doctored videos, and tried to trap a CNN reporter in a boat full of dildos. What do you expect?
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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
This is O'Keefe at work. The guy who is now a convicted felon due to his intentionally deceptive antics, took down ACORN with doctored videos, and tried to trap a CNN reporter in a boat full of dildos. What do you expect?

Don't forget his out of context video where a member of the Obama administration was telling how she overcame racism and was fired anyway.
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DDDaysh
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
I largely agree with MattP, particularly regarding their reporting and All Things Considered which is by far my biggest NPR listening experience. I think they're aware of it and pretty honest about reporting on it, certainly more honest than other outlets in my opinion at least. Or at least more concerned about the possible implications. I can't say whether that's because of their funding or because it's intrinsic to their ethics, though.

Going a bit further from what MattP said, though, I find the idea that NPR doesn't have a liberal bias about as strange and implausible as the idea that Fox News doesn't have a conservative bias. Not that I'm saying I feel NPR is skewed as far to the left as Fox is to the right or anything-I'm just saying that, to me, it's pretty plain there is some leaning going on.

I actually listen to NPR pretty frequently and don't really seem them leaning very much at all - some stories lean one way, other stories lean another way. For instance, almost everything I've heard regarding the Wisconsin thing has leaned, if anywhere, to the conservative side. (This is going based solely on the parts of the programming I've happened to hear.)

I tend to be pretty centrist, and I usually find that NPR provides more factual, less "flavored" reporting than my other news sources.

However, that's all besides the point when you're talking about this particular "trap". First of all, this was obviously a baited situation and the guy was a fundraiser. Secondly, the guy was already on his way out at NPR, so who cares?

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Scott R
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I enjoy NPR for the most part, as long as it's their news reporting or humor.

I find Fresh Air to be a waste of time, though, and fairly biased. Same thing goes for This American Life.

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Lyrhawn
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Well that's odd. You think This American Life is a waste of time but you like the humorous and news aspects of the network? What are you listening to then? Wait Wait Don't Tell Me?

I'm also a little surprised to hear This American Life described as biased, or Fresh Air even. A lot of it is just human interest stories and audio essays on a variety of things. Is it their portrayal of culture that you have a problem with?

To be fair, Fresh Air isn't really my cup of tea either, and I don't listen to This American Life that often unless I know of a particular guest, like Sarah Vowell or David Sedaris, is going to be on.

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Jake
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Wait, This American Life is biased? Toward whom, hipsters?
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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
This is O'Keefe at work. The guy who is now a convicted felon due to his intentionally deceptive antics, took down ACORN with doctored videos, and tried to trap a CNN reporter in a boat full of dildos. What do you expect?

Don't forget his out of context video where a member of the Obama administration was telling how she overcame racism and was fired anyway.
I don't think that was O'Keefe, but it was still a Breitbart thing.
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capaxinfiniti
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
This is O'Keefe at work. The guy who is now a convicted felon due to his intentionally deceptive antics, took down ACORN with doctored videos, and tried to trap a CNN reporter in a boat full of dildos. What do you expect?

to be accurate, his felony conviction was for trespassing on federal property while intending to tamper with the phone system. completely unrelated to the planned parenthood and ACORN incidences, both of which were highly comical and successful. i bet the blogger who called walker wishes his prank call was as successful. its likely o'keefe's NPR call doesnt deserve full credit for dethroning schiller but it does show, yet again, his mitnick-like skills at social engineering. his ninja skills are still lacking and hopefully he refrains any more B&E.
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Samprimary
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quote:
his ninja skills are still lacking and hopefully he refrains any more B&E.
Yes, let's hope he sticks entirely to intentionally deceiving conservatives in a morally lacking manner and not include B&E in any more of that. It sullies his otherwise comical antics.
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Rappin' Ronnie Reagan
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quote:
Originally posted by Jake:
Wait, This American Life is biased? Toward whom, hipsters?

*laugh*
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Swampjedi
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quote:
Originally posted by Jake:
Wait, This American Life is biased? Toward whom, hipsters?

I thought that you should know I had a nice belly-laugh at this comment. It's true! :-D

Anyways, I'm pretty conservative, and I listen to NPR all the time. Sure, it's biased to the left - but it is usually akin to the sound of a mouse farting a mile away. For comparison, Fox News is more like an elephant farting in your ear.

This isn't good for NPR, sadly. I don't really see the sinister conspiracy though.

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TomDavidson
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Are you looking for the sinister conspiracy? Because there is in fact a conspiracy, although its sinister nature may be debatable.
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Swampjedi
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Perhaps I should rephrase: I don't see a sinister conspiracy that is being run by NPR to (take over the world | bring about communisim | etc).

The "conspiracy" to take them down, though, is too open to deserve that label.

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TomDavidson
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I do think NPR is conspiring to cause people to consume more organically-grown coffee.
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