Menu

ARCHIVE

Why Did National Public Radio Turn Down an Interview With President Bush?

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Talk Radio

Juan Williams' interview with President Bush we talked about earlier was actually offered first to National Public Radio — where Juan works as senior correspondent, and where interviews with President bush have been rare.

The White House offered the interview to Juan, who is an authority on race relations, on the 50th anniversary of the historic integration of a high school in Little Rock, Arkansas. The White House often offers interviews to particular reporters and anchors.

But NPR declined the offer — saying its counterproposal to use one of its news show hosts or White House correspondents instead of Williams was turned down.

Small World

Columbia University extended its invitation to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in spite of the fact that Iran was detaining a prominent graduate of the school.

Kian Tajbakhsh was one of four Iranian-Americans charged with endangering Iranian national security. He was held in prison for four months. But he was released on bail late Wednesday — just a few days before Ahmadinejad spoke at the school.

The Iranian leader's appearance has prompted many New York officials to promise retribution for Columbia. The New York Sun reports the state assembly speaker is vowing to consider reducing capital aid and other financial assistance to the school. And a New York City council member is urging donors to withhold money from Columbia.

School vs. Jail

During last Thursday's civil rights march in Jena, Louisiana — Jesse Jackson said there is something wrong with a country where there are more black youths in jail than in college. It's a popular claim among activists.

But government figures indicate that it is not true. Census Bureau statistics show there were 864,000 black men in college in 2005. The Justice department puts the number of black men in federal and state prisons and jails at around 837,000 as of June, 2006. And — for those in the 18 — 24 age bracket — black men in college outnumber those behind bars by four to one.

Freedom of the Press?

An independent student-run newspaper at Colorado State University could be in serious financial trouble because of a four-word editorial in last Friday's edition.

The item in the Rocky Mountain Collegian read — "Taser this — blank Bush" — with the F-word spelled out in the paper.

The editor-in-chief says it was a comment on freedom of speech — recalling the Tasering of a student in Florida earlier in the week.

But the paper has lost at least $30,000 in advertising.

The school is prohibited from censoring the paper. But, the school's Board of Student Communications could suspend or fire the editor Tuesday night if it rules he violated the board's policy — which prohibits profane and vulgar words in opinion pieces.

FOX News Channel's Martin Hill contributed to this report.