NPR selectively quotes from report to hurt Republican Congressman

  • Chappell/NPR writes an unbalanced piece that doesn’t include the subject’s factual denial of the report
  • Interjects partisanship into the story to leave readers with the wrong impression

OUR RATING: Sloppy and Error-Filled. Your typical Friday night at Fox News, sloppy work.

Indicted Outlet: Bill Chappell | National Public Radio | Link | Archive

“Navy Admiral Curses Like a Sailor” wasn’t a good initial headline, so NPR reverted to their standard fare, complaining about the bullying of a grown man using naughty words with staff when complaining about then-Admiral Ronny Jackson who is now a Republican Congressman.

A recent report going through Cong. Jackson’s alleged misdeeds has been released. [1] Rep. Jackson is an otherwise forgettable Republican Congressman from Texas, but had served in the White House medical unit from Bush, through Obama, to Trump [2] where he was appointed to be Secretary of Veterans Affairs before having his nomination withdrawn. [3]

The problem with the NPR Article by Bill Chappell, is that it is completely unbalanced because it does not provide much support for Jackson, or offers his side of events until late in the article, the ninth paragraph. It also carefully over-mentions his identification as a Republican, even though much of the offending conduct happened while serving in the Bush and Obama White Houses. Bush is mentioned once, Obama twice, and Trump five times. This has the effect of leaving their readers with the impression that this conduct is something only Republicans do, it leaves them with a partisan conclusion.

Major Violations:

  • Unbalanced
  • Partisan

And in fact, Cong. Jackson has disputed the facts in the report. Jackson made the statement via Twitter to rebut the allegations, disputing their accuracy. [4]

Other outlets covered Jackson’s statement contesting the findings, which read:

“This is a political hit job because I have stood firm in my support for President Trump and his America First agenda. The far left and the liberal press has demanded that I back away from the support and I will not,” he said in the video. “And I flat out reject any allegation that I consumed alcohol while on duty. That absolutely did not happen. I also categorically deny the false report that I made an inappropriate comment to a male coworker, about a female coworker.” [5]

By leaving out the statement from Jackson until late in the article, the silence by the defense is used to incriminate Jackson. Most readers only read the first few paragraphs of a story. ‘Only guilty people stay silent’ is the implication, and when an accused person refuses to defend themselves, it leaves the reader with the erroneous impression. Here, if the reporter had done their proper job, they would have given that necessary missing context: the factual denial by the subject of the story. In case anyone was wondering what the typical NPR listener and reader was taking away from the article, these are representative samples of the comments on Facebook:

These people are 1) assuming guilt, 2) assuming this is a uniquely partisan issue, 3) coming to unbalanced conclusions. Their statements directly track with the journalistic malpractice in the story.

NPR’s Bill Chappell should do a better job than this, and there’s no excuse for these errors and omissions except to advance a false agenda.

OUR RATING: Sloppy and Error-Filled. Your typical Friday night at Fox News, sloppy work.



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