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NPR Shares Without Asking Permission

There was a rather interesting brouhaha at your favorite station, NPR, that's worth taking a quick look at today. Sorry, this doesn't involve the liberal bias so many of you hear in their reporting (and thank you for the continuing e-mails on this subject). Instead, this is about possible plagiarizing.

As the Internet continues to become the go-to place for news, hi-jinx and information, plagiarism (stealing somebody else's work and calling it your own) has positively flourished.

In this case, NPR Ombudsman Alicia Shepard types the play-by-play of what could have been an Abbott and Costello routine she called a case of 'accidental plagiarism' at the station three weeks ago.

Long story short, on May 5, NPR ran a lighthearted piece on its Morning Edition show illustrating how cell phones seem to always fail just as they are needed most -- or when the villain is closing in for the kill. It was titled "In Horror Flicks, the Cell Phone Always Dies First."

I actually heard this one, and thought it pretty clever at the time. Well, it turns out the piece sounded a lot like a popular YouTube video put together by Rich Juzwiak called "No Signal" last year.

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NPR Plays Blame Game and Misses Real Story

There is an interesting story on NPR's website this morning headlined, "How Media Coverage Crimped the Times Square Case."

I read the story three times, and bits and pieces of it over and over again, and wonder why in the world NPR decided to put that headline on Dina Temple-Raston's accounting of the behind-the-scenes maneuverings between law-enforcement officials and the press in the hours and days after the smoking SUV was discovered in Times Square.

The headline would have been more accurate had it said, "How Law Enforcement Crimped the Times Square Case."

Frankly, the best headline would have been: "Loose Lips Sink Ships, and Thankfully, Stupid Terrorists."

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Ombudsman Exposes Woman-on-Woman Crime at NPR

In a media world gone messy, National Public Radio provides a steady stream of thoughtful, provocative programs that eschew the soundbite in favor of meaty discussion and insight.

I generally feel like I have learned something after spending time with the station, so I am here to mostly praise NPR not bury it.

As a media-watcher I find myself listening to the station a bit more critically these days. It's no secret that opponents of the station have long held that there is a pronounced liberal lean to its programming, and is therefore one-sided.

I used to think the same thing -- though I thought it to be more of a slight tilt -- until I started listening to the station regularly.

I hear no such thing.

I am satisfied that when dealing with politically sensitive issues, NPR makes an effort to balance the playing field. Their hosts and editors seem to smartly avoid the yahoos on the political fringes, and I say hooray for that.

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