How pliant is NPR in promoting Team Biden themes? We noted last week that NPR skipped any features on Attorney General Merrick Garland being grilled in the Senate. But over the weekend, NPR promoted Garland flying to Ukraine to talk about Russian war crimes — and their Justice Department reporter flew along and even let him choke up discussing how he had family members who perished in the Holocaust.
Garland’s trip was first promoted on Weekend Edition Saturday in their “Week in Politics” roundup with host Scott Simon and political analyst Ron Elving:
SIMON: It’s unusual for an attorney general to go on an international trip with business to do. What’s the significance of this visit?
ELVING: Vice President Kamala Harris indicated last week that the U.S. and its allies would pursue war crimes charges against Russia. This trip by the top law enforcement official in the U.S. was meant to reinforce that. But there is also a domestic political element here. Biden is reframing the aid to Ukraine as a voting issue for 2024, casting himself and his party as the defenders of liberty and law around the world, casting Russia as an international pariah.
Democrats, the defenders of liberty, and law and order. That’s rich!
But that was mild next to reporter Carrie Johnson on Weekend Edition Sunday, who flew to Ukraine with Garland. “The attorney general’s visit followed an invitation from Ukraine’s prosecutor general, Andriy Kostin….Kostin says the group represents a united front for accountability.”
It would be tawdry, apparently, to mention how Joe and Hunter “Burisma” Biden dealt with previous Ukrainian prosecutors. That was left out. Johnson provided six heroic-sounding soundbites to Garland — no space for angry Republicans like Ted Cruz on NPR — but the gush overflowed at the end around the sixth one:
JOHNSON: Congress recently gave the Justice Department authority to bring cases against Russian war criminals who may try to hide inside the U.S. in the years ahead. The issue is a personal one for Garland. Some of his family members who could not escape Europe died in World War II. How and where remains a painful mystery to this day. He described it to me in an interview on his airplane.
GARLAND, voice quavering: We know that they were killed in the Holocaust. My father — [long pause] was named for one of them. But we don’t know really exactly what happened to them. And it’s important for families and descendants to know what happened when there’s been a period of atrocities.
JOHNSON: The Ukrainian people deserve answers, Garland says, just as his family did so long ago. Carrie Johnson, NPR News.
This is the same Carrie Johnson who fawned all over Obama’s Attorney General Eric Holder. In 2014, she traveled with him to Ferguson, Missouri. “From the moment he walked into a soul food restaurant in Ferguson, the attorney general found friends.” Online, NPR said “The nation’s top law enforcement officer traveled to Ferguson, Mo., on Wednesday to wrap his arms around a community in pain.” In 2012, Johnson let him gush about how the Little Rock Nine who helped segregate schools made President Obama and Attorney General Holder possible. Democrats get glorious music and lyrics. It’s an in-kind political contribution.