Being “liberal” isn’t Daniel Schorr’s main problem

One of the really irritating things about Twitter is that it is a tease. Time after time, I follow links to things that I hope will be interesting and informative, only to find that they don’t really tell me much more than the original Tweet.

For instance, a tweet from Romenesko said…


NPR CEO Vivian Schiller is asked in a chat: “Why do you keep Daniel Schorr around?” (She admits he’s liberal, but…)

This grabbed my attention because I find myself wondering why NPR keeps Daniel Schorr around, too. But the link to the item at Romenesko in turn linked to a typo-ridden transcript of an interview, and here was the entire discussion of Schorr:

Derwood, Md.: Why do you keep Dan Schorr around? His analysis is reliably faulty, liberally-biased, and mean-spirited (yeah, I guess I’d feel the same way after what Nixon did to me). But still — he really knocks down any credibility you have of being ‘unbiased’, especially since he is a part of the news wing, not entertainment.

Vivian Schiller:

Dan Schor is a liberal commentator. I will not deny that is true. So what do we do about that? We balance his views with those of conservative guest commentators who frequently appear on our airwaves. Granted, they are not staff and you may think that makes a difference. But their voices are heard on our air, and I’m comfortable with that. We’re not planning to make 93- year old Dan Schor a freelancer at this point.

Not very satisfying. So I’ll add two cents worth of my own…

Excuse me for being disrespectful to the elderly, but I cannot abide listening to Daniel Schorr, even for a few seconds. And it’s not because he’s “liberal.” It’s because he’s so unpleasantly arrogant. It drips from every word he says.

Yeah, I get it, Dan: You were on Nixon’s enemies list. You were one of Murrow’s boys. You’ve been around, and had a storied career. Got it. It doesn’t make you God Almighty, and yet that’s what he sounds like he thinks he is with every pronouncement. And it’s not so much any particular thing he says; it’s the way he says it.

Bill Moyers is liberal, but he can be pleasant. David Broder has been around forever, but he acts like a normal, humble human being. Daniel Schorr is just obnoxious to listen to. It occurs to me, when I hear him, that any journalist about to express an opinion (or, allegedly, report) on radio or television would do well to tell himself, just before going on, “Don’t sound like Daniel Schorr.”

And yes, I admit this is probably an irrational prejudice on my part. Something about the frequency of his voice or something sets me off. He comes on the air, and it’s like fingernails on a chalkboard; I have to change the station away from NPR. Am I alone in this?

8 thoughts on “Being “liberal” isn’t Daniel Schorr’s main problem

  1. Burl Burlingame

    Me, I’ve got a face made for radio.

    Dan Schorr comes from an era when broadcasters actually had to boom into the mike like Gawd Almighty. It’s a style dictated by technical limitations. As audio technology progressed, people learn to be a little more subtle — friendlier — and guys from Schorr’s era sound like they’re yelling at you.

    Schorr’s been doing journalism since 1928.

  2. Karen McLeod

    Schorr only talks for a few moments. Most of NPR is so good. Schorr is a liberal? I just thought he was a narcissist.

  3. Brad Warthen

    Over on Facebook, Burl said, “He’s 93. Kick him to the curb.”

    … which I’ll confess made me feel pretty bad, especially about that, “wondering why they keep him around” crack.

    All I can say in my defense is that he doesn’t SOUND old and feeble… and that he’s been sounding the same to me since he was a pup in his 70s…

  4. Kathryn Fenner

    Indeed, Karen.

    C’mon, Brad–you thought he was how old when the Pentagon Papers went down? and you can hear his ill-fitting false teeth whistle, too.

Comments are closed.