As Twitchy reported, last weekend NPR’s “Code Switch” — which describes itself on the NPR website as “Race. In Your Face.” — published an interview with the author of “In Defense of Looting” with no pushback whatsoever. “The rioters who smash windows and take items from stores, she claims, are engaging in a powerful tactic that questions the justice of ‘law and order,’ and the distribution of property and wealth in an unequal society,” wrote Natalie Escobar. In a transcript of the interview, author Vicky Osterweil explained that looting “provides people with an imaginative sense of freedom and pleasure and helps them imagine a world that could be.”

The book and the interview are both nuts, and it sounds like NPR got some complaints, because public editor Kelly McBride replied to an email complaining about the lack of fact-checking on the piece.

McBride writes:

I asked Code Switch editor Steve Drummond if the piece was fact-checked, and he said, “This piece was fact-checked but we should have done more.”

A new introduction was added to provide more context and prepare the reader to digest the author’s ideas. Still, this failure to challenge this author’s statements is harmful on two levels. Publishing false information leaves the audience misinformed. On top of that, news consumers are watching closely to see who is challenged and who isn’t. In this case a book author with a radical point of view far to the left was allowed to spread false information. Casual observers might conclude that NPR is more interested in fact-checking conservative viewpoints than liberal viewpoints. Or possibly, that bias on the part of NPR staff interferes with their judgment when spotting suspect information.

This is amazing not only because NPR describes the author as having “a radical point of view far to the left,” but because there’s at least the question that bias on the part of NPR’s staff interferes with their judgment.

Could it be that even NPR’s audience isn’t so far left it could get on board with agreeing looting can be a good thing?

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