Cokie Roberts serves as a commentator at NPR. She is kicking up some internal discussion at NPR, as David Folkenflik reports, because she wrote a syndicated column last month with her husband, Steven Roberts, ripping one of the candidates in the 2016 presidential campaign. This particular candidate, write the Robertses, “is one of the least qualified candidates ever to make a serious run for the presidency.” And if this particular individual is “nominated by a major party — let alone elected — the reputation of the United States would suffer a devastating blow around the world.”
Duh, the person at issue here is Donald Trump.
Why does Roberts feel entitled to throw around such opinions? Well, because she’s a commentator for NPR, a title that she received “several years ago” after serving as “analyst,” according to Folkenflik. By her own account, she hasn’t been on staff at NPR since the early 1990s. Also: Her commentatorship hasn’t been assiduously flagged for the NPR audience, according to NPR’s senior vice president of news and editorial eirector, Michael Oreskes.
And in what will stand as a baffling use of airtime, Roberts found herself Monday morning defending her right to speak out against Trump as an NPR commentator. In a chat with David Greene on “Morning Edition,” Roberts spoke about the latest Trump outrages and then discussed her role as commentator. “I don’t take a partisan positions because I’m not a partisan, but there are times when I certainly have taken positions on issues and on people,” she said.
Greene then summoned his longtime fandom of Roberts, noting that she had inspired him with a speech during his college years. “Objectivity is so fundamental to what we do,” said Greene. “Can you blame people like me for being a little disappointed — I mean, to hear you sort of come out and take a personal position on something like this in a campaign?”
“Yes,” responded Roberts, she sure could blame Greene and anyone else for being disappointed in her for coming out against Donald Trump. Just what would Greene prefer that commentator Cokie Roberts do in regard to Trump’s candidacy? Stay neutral?