Ed Driscoll

Dem Koan

It’s sort of a zen koan (or Zen Cohen, for all you Brothers Judd fans, not to mention a paraphrase of an old Lileksism): as Key Luke would have said on ABC’s old Kung Fu series, tell me, Grasshopper, where does the MSM end and the DNC begin?

In addition to Katie Couric’s Christmas caroling for Harry Reid and socialized medicine, ABC’s healthcare infomercial, NBC’s frequent touting of Al Gore and all things green, comes this bit of first name chumminess between NPR’s Nina Totenberg and Rahm Emanuel, White House Chief of Staff, as spotted by Accuracy In Media’s Don Irvine:

NPR brass reacted negatively after veteran reporter Nina Totenberg consistently referred to White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel by his first name only.

From the Politico:

After one of its reporters repeatedly referred to Rahm Emanuel simply as “Rahm” in an on-air segment last week, NPR executives have decided such familiar references by reporters will be verboten in the future.

Henceforth, the White House Chief of Staff will be known only as “Rahm Emanuel.” The customary second reference using only the person’s last name is being set aside in this case because Rahm is rarely referred to as “Emanuel” in Washington circles.

“No one, absolutely no one, refers to Rahm Emanuel as Emanuel, or Mr. Emanuel, or Chief of Staff Emanuel. Therefore our style for him will have to be Rahm Emanuel, both names on first reference and second reference,” NPR Washington editor Ron Elving told the network’s ombudsman, Alicia Shepard last week.

Shepard said she disagreed with the special second reference for Emanuel and thinks he should simply be called by his last name on second mention, like most others referred to on NPR.

This was no rookie mistake by Totenberg and NPR reacted quickly to make it clear that all reporters need to use both the first and last name of their subjects.  Even though the report wasn’t favorable towards Emanuel in this case it still calls into question why Totenberg felt comfortable enough to refer to him by his first name only.  Just how chummy is Totenberg to Emanuel and the White House?

So much for reporter objectivity and credibility at NPR.

And that’s on top of the infamous “David Axelrod — well, we loved you in the HBO documentary, and umm, uhh, we’ll always have the New York-23rd” moment between NBC’s Andrea Mitchell and Axelrod earlier this month: