NPR fields complaints on conservative chat

March 9, 2008 at 6:44 PM
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WASHINGTON, March 9 (UPI) -- National Public Radio says some U.S. listeners complained and a few applauded after it aired a series of interviews with political conservatives last month.

"Conversations with Conservatives" featured NPR's "Morning Edition" host Steve Inskeep interviewing Southern Baptist leader, the Rev. Richard Land; tax-reform advocate Grover Norquist; talk-radio and TV host Glenn Beck; and David Keene, chairman of the American Conservative Union.

NPR ombudsman Alicia Shepard told The Washington Times the broadcaster received more than 60 angry e-mails and phone calls -- one calling the programming a "lovefest with radical, right-wing nuts." She said a few listeners called the "refreshing" and "articulate."

NPR attracts about 13 million listeners weekly.

Inskeep told the newspaper the broadcasts were intended to gauge the direction of the Republican Party.

"Our basic motivation was to get a sense of where the GOP is heading, and where conservatives want to be," he said.

"We did annoy our listeners, but if we do our job right, we function as a personal intelligence agency for them. Hopefully, they hear allies and enemies and everybody in between. We have to learn from a wide range of people."

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