Monday, February 16, 2009

Breakthrough at NPR

DETROIT - Those who were once summarily dismissed by National Public Radio editor Andrea De Leon as "these people" - unworthy of the network's attention, finally were heard on NPR today.

Bernadette Blount, a parent organizer with the Child Welfare Organizing Project in New York City was among the guests discussing racial bias in child welfare during a segment of NPR's Tell Me More. Also on the program, a co-author of the landmark Michigan Race Equity Review, discussed in a previous post to this Blog.

The guests talked not only about racial bias, but about the profound harm wrongful removal does to children. In short, they talked about all the things that De Leon had succeeded in keeping off the air back in 2006.

The segment also directly contradicted the false claim by NPR Reporter Michelle Trudeau that "A child is placed in foster care only as a last resort, when parental maltreatment or neglect is extreme and unremitting." Ms. Trudeau however never has corrected her false claim, a smear against thousands of good, decent parents who lose their children when their poverty is confused with "neglect." I wonder if she was listening this afternoon? I wonder of De Leon tuned in?

And this segment was not the only breakthrough at NPR. Another story from Michigan, on another NPR Program Day to Day, devoted a lot of time to the problem of children removed because of family poverty.
The timing was good as well. NCCPR releases its own comprehensive report on Michigan child welfare on Wednesday.

These inconvenient truths still haven't cracked the wall of denial at NPR's flagship programs, All Things Considered, Morning Edition and Weekend Edition, but it's a start.

After all, even Jackie Robinson had to play in the minors before he made it to the Dodgers.