Tag Archives: NPR

An Important Reason Why Podcasts Are More Popular Than The News Media

The News Media say:

There’s a problem and no institution or government is doing anything to fix it.

The Podcasts say:

There’s a problem and you can fix it—here’s how.

Wait, That’s Generalizing!

Yes, but I recently heard a segment on NPR in which the reporter moved seamlessly from describing a problem through interviews to identifying the fact that no government program exists to address the problem.

And I remember thinking the problem didn’t seem like the kind of thing we Americans usually take before City Council or Congress.

Then it dawned on me that most of the podcasts I’ve been listening to over the last year—like The Tim Ferriss Show, The Art of Charm, The Art of Manliness—had a strikingly different angle.

The podcasts often focus on things I can do to overcome my problems, and the hosts interview people who discovered new resources of resilience, innovation, and ingenuity in the face of difficulties.

Of course not all problems can be solved by an individual on his/her own. Sometimes you, I, need real help from others. Good government can play a healthy role in a civil society.

But consider the general inclinations and the basic outlooks in old media and new.

The old news media assumes, more often than not, that elected officials and governmental bodies are the first sources of solutions.

The newer realm of podcasts, more often than not, tells you how you can be the first source of your solutions.

What a significant difference in attitude.

And the latter is so much more appealing.

Christian universities say, ‘Don’t confuse me with the facts’

Read, “Evangelicals Question the Existence of Adam and Eve” from NPR.

Also read, “No One Reads the Bible Literally,” by Books & Culture editor John Wilson, in the Wall Street Journal.

(Books & Culture is a publication of Christianity Today.)

‘The Bible Is Dead; Long Live the Bible’

The Codex Gigas from the 13th century, held at...

Image via Wikipedia

Read Timothy Beal’s outstanding article in The Chronicle Review here.

Listen to NPR’s On Point interview with Beal here.

While I think Beal fails to account for the messianic thrust in Scripture, he demolishes the post-Enlightenment fundamentalist view of the canon — which needs to be demolished so Christians can have intelligent conversations about the Bible.

The pretense of being hate-free

After NPR fired news analyst Juan Williams for allegedly insulting Muslims on a Fox News program, a video clip of still-not-fired news analyst Nina Totenberg has surfaced on YouTube. The video clip shows her saying that then-Sen. Jesse Helms (now departed) should worry about God giving him AIDS. (See the video clip.)

Tim Wise on NPR’s firing of Juan Williams

Read this very insightful analysis by Tim Wise, an author and speaker who challenges racism.

Speculating on the potential impact of Juan Williams’s firing

Juan Williams articulated his feelings, and NPR decided his feelings were not appropriate.

Note the internal nature of the offense. Note the harsh judgment on the feelings of another person.

NPR is a respected institution.

By punishing certain feelings, NPR risks marginalizing people who have similar feelings.

The feeling of being marginalized is socially costly.

When people feel marginalized by official voices or by the establishment, they tend to break away from the mainstream and start insular groups.

Sometimes, insular, breakaway groups become forces for positive social change. Sometimes, those groups become violent.

Just think — NPR was once considered a source of news and discussion. Now it is known as a judge of feelings. NPR has pushed marginalization. What’s next?

When Ben Franklin seemed to steal lightning from God

When Benjamin Franklin demonstrated the lightning rod, great theological adjustments were necessary, at least in the minds of many early Americans.

Most people thought that lightning was a tool of God, used for retribution and other divine purposes.

Yet Franklin, with a little experimental science, showed that he could attract lightning by positioning lightning rods.

If Franklin could cause lightning to strike a certain place, then lightning was not a divine privilege but rather a natural phenomenon.

This I gleaned from NPR today, when Ira Flatow interviewed Nobel-prize winning chemist Dudley Herschbach and Philip Dray, author of Stealing God's Thunder: Benjamin Franklin's Lightning Rod and the Invention of America.

It made me think about my recent post, in which I wondered aloud about a recent lightning bolt that struck a 62-foot statue of Jesus.