Letters time on NPR is not one of the high points of Farad Manjoo's week.
"Oh, I hate them, hate them, hate them," the Slate writer says in a column today (March 2). "Every time one of their narrow-minded, classist letters makes it on the air, I contemplate burning my tote bag in protest. The problem, for me, isn't just that some people don't like some things NPR covers. It's that these reflexively snobby pseudo-intellectuals see NPR as their own — a refuge from the mad world outside, a 'safe,' high-minded palace that should never be sullied by anything more outré than James Taylor (whom, of course, they love). Not only do these letter-writers perpetuate the worst caricature of public radio, but their views don't track with what you actually hear on the air."
After speaking about all this with folks who work in pubradio, Majoo has decided that "the letter-writers' views don't represent most of us who listen to public radio. Their correspondence is the product of a psychology particular to public radio — since they spend so much time with the radio, and because they even donate to keep it alive, they believe it should reflect their high-brow passions."