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Goodbye to the Loudest Drunk in NPR’s Online Bar


Goodbye to the Loudest Drunk in NPR’s Online Bar

Alicia Shepard

Good riddance to NPR’s comment section, which is shutting down Tuesday after eight years. There has to be a better way for news organizations to engage with the public.

NPR is joining a growing list of media organizations that have said “finito” to comments including, ‘This American Life,’ Reuters, Recode, Mic, the Chicago Sun-Times, Popular Science, CNN, The Toronto Star and The Week.


Hey I'm first, whoo hooo :wink:, anybody need a drink? :wink:


I guess they didn't like all the criticism of their anti-Bernie/pro-Hillary/fear Trump bias and pulled the plug.


The real story is about wtf happened to NPR over the last few years. Becoming (or has already become) a corporate sewer.


i super appreciate all the effort that Common Dreams - with its extremely limited budget - has put into trying to develop a useful comment section.


Now go away and shut up, you don't matter.


I have spoken personally with this particular ombudsman. Remember when the town hall meetings were being disrupted by "tea party activists"? You know, the ones where supposedly the "regular folk" were aghast at the public option, that was of course already dead, because Obama had killed it in private meetings with Big Pharma and the Big Insurers.

I had called, back when the ombudsman at NPR posted a phone number, to take issue with NPR's coverage of these disruptions, in particular NPR's apparent refusal to put into context the Tea Party's less than organic roots i.e., funding and organizing by corporate sponsors, in this instance engaging in subterfuge designed as propaganda against anything smacking of single payer.

This ombusdman, although I give her credit for taking the call, defended, of course, NPR's coverage, its omission of that context that was quite demonstrable at that time.

But the thing I remember most about this particular Ombudsman, Alicia Shepard, is her defense of NPR not using the word torture, even after such evidence of TORTURE had emerged. NPR, in fact, interviewed one of the psychotic psychologists that assisted in its implementation of the torture regime at the CIA. The torture regime that was used at the CIA, Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantanamo, and all of the black sites.

During that interview, that psychologist was allowed to present his defense of his behavior, his coverup that what had transpired was not torture, and he conducted this entire interview completely unopposed on that point.

No follow up interview with anyone else, correcting that record, nothing. The interviewer didn't challenge that psychopath. My protests on this issue went unanswered.

Then, not long after that, or maybe it was before, but in any case, around that same time period, KPBS, my local public radio station broadcast an interview out of KPBS's studio of Alicia Shepard, who was still the ombudsman at NPR.

Somehow the issue of journalists referring to "interrogation techniques" instead of "torture", and this ombudsman came up in the interview, and Alicia Shepard defended that practice of not saying the T word. Not only did she defend that practice, but she acknowledged having given NPR's talking heads counsel, as to best practice in this regard. That best practice advice she gave, was to not use the word "torture".

So it is pretty rich, that here Alicia Shepard intentionally muddied the waters, in defense of the indefensible, TORTURE no less, and she has the audacity to complain about a comment section.

This kind of post, of course Alicia would characterize as "trolling" or "mean spirited", and NPR I'm certain didn't appreciate my posts on that forum at the time either.

That holding to account, the corporate sell out NPR, on such issues is ultimately the reasoning behind this.

Alicia Shepard I have zero respect for you on that issue of directing messaging diluting the horrors of torture.

It should be a crime in my opinion.

Moderate that!


Yes, this article is Very NPR. Mustn't 't have the filthy rabble interfere with the corporate message. Those rabble are so pesky. Maybe rich folk can come up with some software to help manage the messiness of engaging the (ugh) "public" (eeewwww).

Ms. Shepard is a perfect example of why I call NPR, "National Propaganda Radio". It might as well be internal branch of The Voice of America. It is not that interested in the public's opinion, despite the fact that its apparent mission is to adjust public opinion.


You might want to take this comment over to the Zubaydah article here as well, where it might, if you'll pardon the expression, be useful.


The common problem with comment sections is that everything you disagree with.....is a lie!


I have no idea what you are talking about.


It seems somewhat comic that a format - media - attempts to "engage" as though the scope of human engagement can simultaneously transcend and adhere to the architecture of limitations imposed by the medium itself - not to mention the economics involved in the "industry". Centuries ago one Persian, perhaps it was a Sufi (I can't remember), noted that it is possible to describe honey with every word known, but until honey is tasted, it remains an abstract construct of language. Marshall McCluhan still stands out as one of the best conductors on experiencing the media roller coaster.

So, it seems that what we're actually talking about is not talking about cognitive precepts in the industrialization/fragmentation model of human interactions. Not talking about what is being talked about seems to characterize a broad swath of the frustrations so ubiquitous in 'post-industrial' (sic) mediatized notions of human interaction.

There is probably no replacement for face to face community life with all its warts and wrinkles, not to mention priceless experiences not infrequently leaving one speechless until the experience works its way through the breadth of human experience and pops up as an áhah' moment- maybe after a good night's sleep and dreaming..

Time to take care of some work in the garden and talk with the plants and critters.


Colorado Public Radio created what it calls their Public Insight Network: https://www.cpr.org/news/public-insight-network

It's not a comment system but it allows the radio station to identify people from all walks of life who are willing to be interviewed about their expertise. What's new is their "Your Turn" section where they also allow you to answer specific questions. Here's a recent one:

Your Turn: What Do You Want To Know About Climate Change In Colorado?


Yes, you do,,liar.


Actually jerk, I don't. What article?


NPR (Not Progressive Radio), under-writers the who's who of death, and destruction.


When the comments don't match the narrative, stop the comments. Nothing should contradict the narrative.


"With Ask, you can quickly and easily build a form to ask specific questions of your audience.

NPR asks: "Are you voting for Clinton because she's a Democrat who gets things done, or just to prevent the disaster of a Trump Presidency?"




You're going to ask that of jerk? What's your problem?