On Friday, April 12, NPR's David Greene was in Colorado Springs for a 91.5 KRCC member event hosted by Abigail Beckman, 91.5 KRCC's local host for Morning Edition.
NPR Morning Edtion host David Greene is an award-winning journalist, Harvard graduate, and an author who started his career in newspapers. He's hosted NPR's flagship program since 2012 after spending time in Moscow as a foreign correspondent. Prior to that, he reported from Libya as part of NPR's coverage of the Arab Spring, and he has crossed continents as a White House correspondent and covered the United States following elections and natural disasters. Recently he spent time out of the host chair reporting on issues from the southern border from El Paso, Texas.
The dialogue between Morning Edition hosts was held at the Pikes Peak Library District's 21C Facility in front of an audience of 91.5 KRCC members and was followed by a question and answer session. Topics covered everything from Greene's recent reporting at the U.S. - Mexico border, to his time as a foreign correspondent in Moscow.
Interview highlights from the full conversation, which you can listen to here:
On covering the immigrant crisis from El Paso, Texas:
This was such a reminder to me that there is nothing like being there.... The extent to which I truly understood what was happening by being there was amazing, and, you know, for all the political back and forth and all the debate about immigration right now, this was a human interest story that involved people. It involved families who were escaping unimaginable poverty and really frightening violence who were looking to the United States for some sense of hope....
On NPR's political coverage of the 2016 presidential election:
In this project, we would profile four voters in a given state, and they would all watch one of the [presidential] debates on a given evening, and then we would have the four of them come into a studio live the next morning, all together, and hash out their differing viewpoints.... I think that in an election like 2016 it's our job to our country... It's not just about candidates, it's not just about messages, it's about what you as a voter feel and how that informs your decisions.... We never want to be a platform for hate, but when there are times when I truly believe that when something is part of a mission to listen to one another, to create a space for people to think out loud, and really think deeply about why they believe something and how it's affecting their decision and their politics, then we've got to do that....
On the state of news:
When it comes to what we do, I think what worries me most is even when our coverage was criticized or when people were suspicious of bias, you know, I look back to the years covering Bush and so forth, there was still this feeling that what we were doing was news. What we were doing was something worthy, that we were playing an important role in society. That, even if we were biased of the eyes of someone, they still accepted that I went to work every day trying to do the best I could to tell a fair and accurate story. And that's just gone. I mean, now it's, every time there's a story that someone is not happy about, it's questioning our motives, it's questioning our own beliefs, it's.. just saying nasty stuff.
I really worry that we have lost the definition of what is news, and that troubles me so, so much…
And the idea that people now feel like, you know, you get your news from your social media feed… 20 years ago if your friend had walked up the street and said, you know, that the mayor had killed someone, would you have accepted that as fact?.. You would have said to your friend, "Where are you getting that, how do you know that?"
I would like to believe that we are this one place that people still feel like they can turn to and get that. I grew up admiring people who sat behind an anchor desk, and that anchor desk seemed like it was sacred. Like, if you saw someone behind an anchor desk, that was a person who you could trust to tell the truth. And, you think about the number of people who sit behind anchor desks now, and you don't have an ounce of trust in, and that's really sad.
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