Archive for Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Letter to the editor: Value KPR

April 12, 2017


To the editor:

We were dismayed to read and hear about the completely debilitating cuts coming down to Kansas Public Radio. We both started listening to and supporting KPR as undergraduates — now more than 30 years ago.

As avid listeners and members, we see KPR as a vital and integral part of the fabric of Northeast Kansas. From fantastic music to the best and most timely weather reports to news that actually matters, KPR is on in our home for most of our waking hours. The news especially is thoughtful, in-depth and covers topics that are not found in most commercial outlets.

Professionally, KPR is the only media outlet that so regularly lets the world know when and how KU students, faculty and staff excel in science, arts, engineering and many other truly important endeavors. When a violent storm rakes over our town and the cable and power (so frequently) drop out, KPR is there like a rock with minute-by-minute weather updates.

We see the cuts as harming not just one radio station, but degrading the quality of life for our entire community. In the short term, we encourage anyone who enjoys KPR to step up to the plate and help the station in its time of greatest need. In the long run, there’s really only one course of action: Change the composition of the Legislature in Topeka by supporting candidates who value public broadcasting and education in general.


Bob Smith 1 year, 2 months ago

If you want to support KPR, feel free to get out your checkbook and do so.

Ralph Reed 1 year, 2 months ago

We do every year "Bob."

Now, using rational analysis, tell us why don't you support KPR. Is it because KPR doesn't spout the drivel mouthed by RWNJ hate radio hosts?

Larry Sturm 1 year, 2 months ago

KPR is unbiased reporting. We have a GOP government that hates the public and education.

Scott Burkhart 1 year, 2 months ago

KPR "unbiased" reporting comes, predominantly, from NPR. NPR is a mouthpiece for liberal horse manure exemplified by firing the left wing, Juan Williams, because of his associations with FoxNews.

Renee Patrick 1 year, 2 months ago

Seriously? Have you ever actually listened?

Ken Lassman 1 year, 2 months ago

Public radio stations like KPR are a lifeline of information for rural Kansans and commuters who want to combine driving from A to B with getting an in-depth understanding of the world around them. Public radio stations like KPR are a showcase that allows in-depth exposure to genres of music that are difficult to find anywhere else on the radio, largely advertisement-free. Public radio stations like KPR (tho not that many other public radio stations even) provide a live recording venue for visiting local, regional and national artists and lecturers to supplement the live music/lecture scene which may not be available to listeners otherwise.

Public radio enriches the lives of those who listen and as a contributing member, I highly recommend it to anyone/everyone as something well worth your time to listen to and to contribute financially to. Most of the funds come from listeners, not public money, though the public money that goes to public radio is money extremely well spent.

Scott Burkhart 1 year, 2 months ago

Ken, seriously, the days for funding Public Broadcasting has passed. With Sirius and XM radio, you would have to be in a nuclear storage facility, 500 feet below the surface to not be able to receive a broadcast from somewhere. In which case, NPR wouldn't help either.

Ken Lassman 1 year, 2 months ago

Seriously, the small percentage of federal funds that goes to Public Broadcasting plays an important role in maintaining public access to good journalism and it helps attract matching private funds in ways that make public media possible. Pay-to-listen networks like Sirius and XM are no substitute, any more than a privately owned mall is a substitute for a public downtown.

Scott Burkhart 1 year, 2 months ago

That is such a willfully ignorant reply. When you add a small percentage here to a small percentage there and then another small percentage over there for this, that and the other things, you wind up with a big percentage of tax dollars being syphoned off of the coffers. I would ask you if you have enough money to go out and spend on any and everything that you want? I don't. I have to make choices everyday as to what fits in my budget and what doesn't.

Ken Lassman 1 year, 2 months ago

Oh, so now it's public broadcasting that is responsible for all government waste? Don't you think that is a bit burdensome to lay the blame of wasteful government spending at the feet of public broadcasting, to say nothing of questionable logic? The amount of public good that comes out of the tiny slice of the federal budget that goes to public broadcasting is indeed a good investment, and helps educate the average citizen on a host of complex topics that nobody else bothers to go into. I daresay it is the price of an educated populace which is essential for a functional democracy. And a small price at that. And believe it or not, there are regular conservative-leaning commentators and legislators who are interviewed as well; if you're not aware of that, then I suggest that you listen more.

Brock Masters 1 year, 2 months ago

The government must be constrained by its constitutional authority and must only do for the people what they cannot do for themselves.

The people can and do provide radio programming. There is no need for the government to subsidize a radio station. If there was enough demand for KPR then it would be sustainable without goverment assistance.

Don Brennaman 1 year, 2 months ago

"must only do for the people what they cannot do for themselves..." yeah, I think it's right there in the preamble.

Brock Masters 1 year, 2 months ago

Nope, just my opinion.

Perhaps you can show me where in either the US or KS constitutions it authorities the government to subsidize radio stations?

Ken Lassman 1 year, 2 months ago

Good, objective reporting is something that has become an increasingly endangered commodity, to the point that you could make a pretty darn good case that people can no longer do that for themselves. I remember during crises like the World Trade Center/Pentagon attacks, NPR was head and shoulders above the networks in their reportage, and that's pretty much across the board. Whenever I hear a case I think is a little too slanted one way, it's not too long that I hear another report that is slanted the other way about the same amount which is virtually all high quality either way, unlike the virtual and fake news that so often dominates other venues.

Thanks for bringing up something that helps make the case for public radio (and television).

Brock Masters 1 year, 2 months ago

KPR being objective is merely your opinion focused through a liberal lens.

Forbes had an article about NPR being liberal based on research from Duke University.

Many believe NPR to be biased based on googling NPR bias. Really depends on your political leanings so KPR being objective is an opinion and not a fact.

Ken Lassman 1 year, 2 months ago

Reference, please? I found an article that says that NPR fudges objectivity, but it was merely an opinion piece that sourced no Duke University "research." When I searched objectivity, Duke and NPR, there were a lot of NPR articles that quoted Duke University research, but none that talked about your so-called liberal bias "research."

So I'm all ears. Just because you can google a number of articles claiming liberal bias doesn't make it so. I just got 107 million hits when I typed in "the earth is flat." NPR covers way more information about our culture that you simply don't get at all in the rest of mainstream media, and like I said earlier, they excel when there is a serious, unfolding story of consequence. If lives depended on it, I would go to public radio/TV first (except for severe weather, of course, tho I remember Bob McWilliams showing up the local media a time or two because of his detailed information about the storms).

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 1 year, 2 months ago

You obviously to do not listen to NPR news. When they are interviewing someone who is conservative they ask questions that liberals would ask, but when they interview someone who is liberal, they as questions that conservatives would ask. They play the devil's advocate, so to speak. If you would listen to the station, you might learn that. They don't whitewash anything. And they give both sides of an issue. But I'm sure that you, Brock, do not believe that FOX has any bias.

Brock Masters 1 year, 2 months ago

Dorothy of course FOX has bias And I don't watch FOX.

I'd oppose government funding of FOX too. I'm not oppos d to NPR, just the government funding of it

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 1 year, 2 months ago

So CNN and Fox news are okay with you? We don't need any in-depth reporting? That is perfect for the bumper sticker mentality of many conservatives, I guess. I prefer to know more about the world. NPR and BBC (which you can hear on KPR2) are the best, but not the only sources of news.

Scott Burkhart 1 year, 2 months ago

Dorothy, your arguments are so convoluted and obtuse that it defies belief. The government should not be in the business of funding media. Period. CNN and FoxNews are corporations that, to my knowledge, do not receive funding from the Federal Government.

Ken Lassman 1 year, 2 months ago

Get your facts straight, Scott. Every broadcast media has to apply to the FCC to receive a license to use the publicly owned airwaves. They could not exist without the federal license they must apply for and abide by their rules to continue to use. So as a citizen who owns the airwaves, I have absolutely no problem providing a teensy weensy bit of my federal taxes to providing a publicly owned media venue that is supported mostly through private contributions anyway.

Scott Burkhart 1 year, 2 months ago

Once again, Ken, you choose to play fast and loose with your set of "facts." Are you going to tell me, with a straight face, that subsidizing public radio with tax dollars is the same as the use of broadcast airwaves that requires federal licensing? Well, I do have a problem with a "teensy weensy bit" of my tax dollars funding something that could be funded from private contributions and advertising like everyone else.

Ken Lassman 1 year, 2 months ago

As usual, you missed my point, Scott. The airwaves are public property that privately owned media rent at bargain basement rates to make huge profits. Allocating funds for a publicly owned media outlet to also be present on the public airwaves is a reasonable and even necessary part of being a democracy, unless you think that you'll get unbiased information from folks who pay to get onto the soapbox of private pay-to-play media. If you don't like the way public media presents information, then get involved with making sure the public media is objective, not shut it down.

Sam Crow 1 year, 2 months ago

If KPR in unable to compete in the marketplace with their liberal nonsense, it should cease to exist.

It can go way of Blockbuster, Montgomery Ward, Borders and Woolworth, just to name a few.

We are well into the 21st Century. If the Barretts want to listen to music, there are many internet music providers such as Pandora, where they can be specific within a chosen genre.

They can get weather on demand, including interactive radar, through many weather sites, including the National Weather Service, on a cell phone. Not to mention a weather radio.

What they want is to listen to KPR liberal crap to validate their thinking.

Why should the taxpayers pay, funneling the money through KU, for the high programming fees to carry “Morning Sedition” and “Some things considered’? The national hosts of those programs are paid well over half a million dollars by their originating stations, to spout their liberal drivel.

Compete or leave the market.

Carol Bowen 1 year, 2 months ago

What "liberal nonsense", Sam. Give some examples so that I can understand the rest of your comment.

Brock Masters 1 year, 2 months ago

It is apparent that liberals support KPR and Conservstives don't that it has a liberal slant. Duke verified it regarding NPR and the same holds true for KPR.

Ken Lassman 1 year, 2 months ago

Still waiting for your "Duke research" citation....

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 1 year, 2 months ago

Really. Did you know that your heroes, the Kochs, donate to KPR? How conservative are you, if you consider them liberal?

Brock Masters 1 year, 2 months ago

Dorothy as an older person why do you resort to just juvenile tactics such as making stuff up? I've never said the Kochs were my heroes but you state it to somehow make a childish point. Grow up and discuss the issue based on facts and reason. We can disagree and still be civil and mature.

Sam Crow 1 year, 2 months ago

For Carol Bowen, just a few examples:

Juan Williams was fired as a news analyst by NPR for saying, on another network, that he was uncomfortable seeing Muslim people on the same flight as himself. Of course, Williams is a noted liberal.

The President of NPR said at the time, “News analysts may not take personal public positions on controversial issues; doing so undermines their credibility as analysts...". She also urged him to see a psychiatrist.

Conversely, Nina Totenberg is a so called reporter (not analyst) for NPR. Some of her comments include:

-Wishing the grandchildren of a Republican US Senator came down with AIDS.

-Called the Citizens United decision a scandal and compared it to Watergate.

-Said the democrat party in congress was too diverse.

-Said tax cuts were immoral.

-Referred to Justice Alito as “some white guy”.

-Asked Obama why he nominated a white guy to the SCOTUS.

More recently, there is the comments from Susan Rice made on NPR in January about having removed chemical weapons in Syria, which of course, was a another total lie. NPR hasn’t discussed it since.

Need I go on ?

Carol Bowen 1 year, 2 months ago

What was the context for each of these quotes? It so easy to receive misinformation, now. (no offense intended.)


"-Said the democrat party in congress was too diverse." I'm not sure this is an inaccurate statement. Who said it, and in what context? Also, the statement is critical of Democrats. How is this objectionable?

Sam Crow 1 year, 2 months ago

Inside Washington. Nina Totenberg.

“When a party actually has a huge majority, it has a huge diversity. And that is part of the problem that Democrats have. But would I like it to be otherwise? Of course.”

This in response to 31 house democrats supporting Bush Tax cuts.

In an NPR interview readily available on video, she asked Obama, "You picked the oldest person by far, the only white guy."

Next ?

Sam Crow 1 year, 2 months ago

Though I dont like to post links, this article is in the San Francisco Examiner about Totenberg wishing grandchildren of Republican Senator gets AIDS. A video link is embedded in the article for your context.

Carol Bowen 1 year, 2 months ago

Thank you for this link. It was a lot quicker than googling. Totenberg did, indeed, make that statement. However, the SF Examiner reported the statement as a wish. Totenberg made the statement as a comparison to something. Agreed, her statement was not professional, but the statement was not a wish of personal harm for Jesse Helms.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 1 year, 2 months ago

So, when is FOX going to fire some of the haters and racists on their news network. And sexual predators? They finally got rid of Ailes after he started costing them too much money. Maybe O'Reilly will come back after his "vacation", maybe not. Maybe they will allow women to wear pants or longer skirts, so their male viewers will have to get their jollies somewhere else.

Some of the contributors on NPR are pundits, not journalists, just like on FOX. Actually, most of the people on FOX are pundits, not journalists. And citizen's united is a scandal. Corporations are not people, or we could have arrested everyone at Wells Fargo. But they also have commentators on who are conservative. Again, if you would try listening to the station, you might find out it's as liberal as you think.

Scott Burkhart 1 year, 2 months ago


Sam Crow 1 year, 2 months ago

Carol Kind of like "It depends upon what the meaning of the word 'is' is", huh ?

Ken Lassman 1 year, 2 months ago

yeah, I know. See my review of this kind of research and it's relevance to the "bias" of NPR news broadcasting below.

Justin Hoffman 1 year, 2 months ago

One less garbage station taking up valuable space on the dial. Why is anyone complaining?

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 1 year, 2 months ago

If you want to find out what some conservatives other than O'Reilly or Rush or Britfart thinks about NPR, here are some quotes from them.

Ken Lassman 1 year, 2 months ago


Something is preventing me from posting a reply to your Duke research link, so apologize for posting down here instead of in the thread. At any rate:

Glad you took the time to provide the citation: thanks. Unfortunately it does not really support your conclusion that there is a liberal bias in NPR for a number of reasons:

1) The analyses of twitter networks was done in 2010 and presented in 2011. Not only has there been a considerable shift in the political climate from just 2 years into the Obama Administration, the placement of NPR back then on their conservative-liberal scale could be just as easily described as centrist than leftist. Traditionally viewed liberal media were way further over to the left than NPR, and traditionally viewed conservative media were way further right of center than NPR's slightly to the left of center placement on the continuum.

2) The applicability of analyzing twitter networks was by the authors' admissions best applied to individuals. In fact they dropped trying to apply it to corporations because the results were so soft, and I think applying it to NPR is a similarly questionable application. In fact the New York Times coverage of the continuum left NPR off the scale.

3) There has been no published research that replicates or updates the analyses as it applies to media--why is that? The social sciences are subpar in doing that, for a number of reasons, but because of that it's best to view the conclusions as somewhat tentative and certainly not set in stone or anything more than a possible snapshot-in-time type of observation.

So thanks for the link. Interesting, but certainly not anywhere close to leading to your conclusion.

Brock Masters 1 year, 2 months ago

Ken, you state that it is not liberal like it is fact because you said so. Whether it is liberal or not is more of perception than fact. The Duke research is similar to the posts here. Look at the political leanings of those that support KPR and those that don't.

I don't care if the station is liberal or conservative I don't believe government should fund it. Not a role for government to single out a private entity to subsidize and compete against similar businesses.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 1 year, 2 months ago

Good, so we can cut out all the farmer's subsidies? And we can stop giving away so many "incentives" to businesses that rip us off. How about renting public land to ranchers for what it's really worth, instead of the cushy deal they have. Maybe end oil and natural gas subsidies?

And we can cut all these people off?

And we could insist that companies making record profits pay a living wage, so their employees don't qualify for food stamps. And on, and on, etc., etc.

And why doesn't the government (meaning up) get money from the things which were created with taxpayer's money, like the internet. And most drugs were developed with taxpayer funded money. Why are we allowing drug companies to reap the rewards, and price gouge. I assume you are all for ending their cushy subsidies.

And when did the government ever, including in the beginning, not subsidize business? Did business build the airports, roads, ports that business uses to do their business? Most people are educated in public schools and universities, and businesses get big tax cuts for their own training programs. Should we end all that?

Brock Masters 1 year, 2 months ago

You really are ignorant aren't you? Yes, I am against all government subsidies to businesses and airports, roads, etc, are a function of government as they serve the public good.

Cille King 1 year, 2 months ago

Brock, did you mean to have three sentences instead of two? The start of your second sentence contradicts the end.

Ken Lassman 1 year, 2 months ago


No, I didn't just say that because I said so; I read the article and came up with what I think are sound reasons for questioning your conclusions, which you are entitled to do yourself if you want to take the time to do so.

And I have no idea how you thought public radio and television are somehow a private entity which we are bankrolling with public funds. It is a public entity that is being supported mostly by listeners' contribution, with a small base of public money thrown in for good measure. Furthermore, the airwaves are public property which private radio stations make money off by selling advertisements to create a profit above and beyond what their license to use public airwaves costs.

Brock Masters 1 year, 2 months ago

Are they government owned? If not, then they are private.

I came to no conclusion and simple put forth the Duke research that suggests a liberal bias. As I said I don't care if they are liberal or conservative they shouldn't get government funding.

Ken Lassman 1 year, 2 months ago

The research did NOT suggest a liberal bias: NPR was solidly in the central portion of the continuum, to the right of what is considered classic liberal media and much closer to the center of the continuum than what is considered classic conservative media outlets. The only thing that suggests a liberal bias was the Forbes headline, which was not part of the research at all, rather the Forbes bias inserted onto the research. And then we'll just have to agree to disagree on the legitimacy of a publicly owned radio and television outlet as part of the publicly owned airwaves which is otherwise dominated by information sources that are driven by profit margins. I not only think it is legitimate, I think it's essential. Look at where the BBC is on the continuum--do you think it should not exist either because it is publicly operated?

Brock Masters 1 year, 2 months ago

You really need to do more research on NPR. They are not a goverment agapency and are a publicly and privately funded non-profit. They are a private agency just like many non-profits that receive government funding

To be public you must be funded by the government and "owned" by the government, you know like schools, libraries etc.

Ken Lassman 1 year, 2 months ago

If you want to go there, they aren't broadcasters, either; they only supply content to public radio stations, which are the media, in the same way that Public Radio International and American Public Media provide content as well. So what's your point? Did you also notice that NPR is the most respected source of news on the radio?

Steven Guinn 1 year, 2 months ago

Public Broadcast Networks are in fact PRIVATE NOT FOR PROFIT CORPORATIONS relying heavily on organizations that want THEIR VIEWPOINT PUT FORTH. PEW CHARITABLE TRUST IS ONE FOR EXAMPLE. When you watch a program, in the credits are the "Donors Listed." These DONORS require that public broadcasting move THEIR AGENDA FORWARD. PUBLIC BROADCASTING IS INFACT SUPPORTED BY LIBERAL CORP INTERESTS.

Ken Lassman 1 year, 2 months ago

One of the few news outlets with a more neutral rating back in the 2010 snapshot Duke analysis was the BBC, which, of course is funded by the UK government. So I presume that you are promoting pursuing a similar unbiased approach by similarly INCREASING public funding so that no such corporate-funded biases besmirch our public media sources, right?

Steven Guinn 1 year, 2 months ago

Where do I get my info..yrs of research on the current crisis in chronic disease such as diabetes,heart disease and sleep apnea. I've lectured on my finding with tagged sources now in over 10 states. In a nut shell, our healthcare crisis is related to consumption of refined foods promoted by various companies and organizations whom then drive advertising dollars. So I challenge everyone to PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT IS BEING ADVERTISED BEFORE AND AFTER A PARTICULARLY DISTURBING PIECE. Who and What is being pushed. FOLKS IT IS ALL ABOUT THE SCIENCE OF FEAR.

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