By Tim Graham
On Friday's edition of The Diane Rehm Show that's broadcast on many NPR stations from Washington, the host mangled her presidential history, but her guests and producers all humored her, like you might humor a nice lady who's 77. No one suggested a gold watch and an open space for a younger NPR liberal behind the mic.
As Rehm and a crew of reporters aerobically compared Barack Obama to Nelson Mandela, Rehm claimed Reagan was president in 1979 when she first took the microphone at WAMU-FM in Washington and he didn't want the U.S. involved in any anti-apartheid activities (video below):
"It was during the Reagan administration – 1979 was the first year I took over this microphone – President Reagan did not want to have the United States participate in anti-apartheid activity," Rehm said, throwing the floor to Gerald Seib of The Wall Street Journal, who agreed without correcting her that Reagan wasn't president until January 20, 1981: "No, and I think it’s easy to forget now how completely the South African debate was wrapped up with the Cold War environment."
Discussing Mandela in the first hour of Friday's show was strange, since it's usually split between reporters discussing domestic politics in the first hour, then international issues in the second. But they wanted to start the show by rubbing Mandela all over Obama instead of starting with, say, Healthcare.gov -- which they eventually discussed.
Rehm began the show by quoting Michael Shear in The New York Times: “Without Mandela, there might never have been a President Obama.” She called that a “fact.” Shear’s story oozed: “Mr. Mandela and Mr. Obama served as the first black leaders of their nations and both were looked to by some as the vehicles for reconciliation between polarized electorates. Both won the Nobel Peace Prize, in part for their charisma and their ability to inspire and communicate.”
Rehm doesn’t seem to read anything conservative. (The one time I was a guest, every newspaper clip in front of her was from the Times or The Washington Post.)
This allowed Sheryl Gay Stolberg of the Times to energetically compare the two leaders:
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Read more: http://newsbusters.org/blogs/tim-graham/2013/12/09/oops-npr-host-diane-rehm-asserts-reagan-was-president-1979-and-no-one-co#ixzz2mzgYYrKl