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Dear NPR: What’s so funny about death threats?

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By Michelle Malkin  •  April 26, 2011 03:19 PM

Remember those misdirected death threats from unhinged anti-Koch addicts that Doug Powers spotlighted last week?

Refresher here.

Well, government-sponsored National Public Radio — erstwhile guardians of civility — apparently found the death-threat misdirection amusing. A segment last Friday on NPR’s Morning Edition made light of the plight of Iowa businessman Dutch Koch — no relation to libertarian businessmen Charles and David Koch.

Philip Ellender, President, Government & Public Affairs, at Koch Companies Public Sector, LLC, called the NPR hypocrites out:

I am writing to raise deep concerns about a Morning Edition segment that aired on April 22 and apparently made light of death threats that had been leveled at gentleman in Iowa but that had been intended for our company.

The item was read by hosts Mary Louise Kelly and Renee Montagne, billed as “our last word in business,” and was clearly framed as an amusing take on the news. Kelly and Montagne made sport of the fact that a Mr. Dutch Koch shares the same surname as that of our company, even musing that he’s also been “confused with the big soda maker” – Coca-Cola, it seems. Kelly quipped that “he does not say which cola he prefers” before cutting away to what sounds like bongo drum music.

But there is nothing even remotely funny about a person’s life being threatened and NPR ought to be ashamed that simple fact of decency has to be pointed out. Here, for example, are three recent stories that NPR has aired about how disturbing and profoundly wrong it is when death threats are made – no matter what motivates them. It is the most depraved, lowest form of discourse and it is also a crime.

* http://www.npr.org/2011/02/08/133600386/Assange-Extradition-Hearing-Continues-In-London
* http://www.npr.org/2011/01/15/132956616/Vitriol-Debate-Timely-Even-Without-A-Shooting
* http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2010/11/10/131218517/bishop-robinson

As I’m sure you know, that “Last Word in Business” time block is fully intended for lighthearted, laughable items. In recent broadcasts, for example, it has featured reports on smart phones that aren’t so smart, a budget airline’s attempt to market upright seats as “pre-reclined,” and a restaurant accused of “poor taste.”

What is especially perplexing is that NPR has stated many times in recent months that it has a “goal of promoting a civil conversation” and has often reported on calls from national leaders for a “new civility” in public discourse. So I would like to ask for some formal explanation of how NPR could have allowed a segment on this subject to be presented on the air in this fashion?

Ask NPR here.

***

Bad taste is all the rage at NPR these days, huh?

Recent: Hey, NPR: Fund your own lame liberal humor — and leave my family alone

Related: Hannity, “Behind the Bias”

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