Softening The Blow: NPR Edits Word ‘Tax’ Out of Democrat Debate Performance

Voters do not like taxes. So, National Public Radio in New Hampshire seems to have thought it would be nice to help Maggie Hassan, the Democrat candidate for Governor, by doing a little editing work to take the word “tax” out of one of her answers at a recent candidates debate. The radio folks claimed it was a “mistake,” but eliminating the word sure does tend to soften the blow of her policy ideas.

The September 19 debate featured Republican candidate Ovide Lamontagne and Democrat candidate Maggie Hassan both vying to take the seat being vacated by sitting Governor John Lynch. The edited remark concerns Hassan’s answer to a question about a state program called the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), another left-wing cap and trade-style boondoggle.

In the actual debate, Lamontagne and Hassan were asked if they would keep the RGGI program. Unsurprisingly, the Republican said no, he’d put an end to it. Just as unsurprisingly, Hassan, the Democrat, said she’d keep it. (My bold for emphasis)

I was proud to be a sponsor of that tax, eh, the energy efficiency program because it has saved businesses millions and millions of dollars and created over 400 jobs.

Now this is exactly how Hassan answers in the video of the debate that Hew Hampshire NPR posted.

NH NPR, however, decided to replay the audio of the debate several more times after the September 19 event. In so doing, the taxpayer-supported radio folks did some selective editing to the program in order to get it down to more air-able timing.

One of those edits materially altered the section I quoted above. In later broadcasts of the audio, Hassan is now heard to say,

I was proud to be a sponsor of the energy efficiency program because it has saved businesses millions and millions of dollars and created over 400 jobs.

Notice that the part where Hassan said, “that, eh tax” is suddenly missing from the original answer?

Now, this is important because Mrs. Hassan’s original answer was a telling slip up. She admitted that it was a tax but thought better of it and decided to quickly backtrack to call it a mere “program.”

Taking out the “the tax” part of her reply eliminates this telling admission. This edit also tends to give the Democrat cover.

Now, NH NPR told the New Hampshire Journal that this was all just an unfortunate mistake. Just an edit gone accidentally wrong.

“The edit was an unfortunate mistake,” said Keith Shields of NHPR in a response to NH Journal’s inquiry. “We were fitting these debate cuts into a tight amount of time for our look back show and providing ‘excerpts’ of the debates. Nothing editorial was intended to be taken out, the sound was being edited… taking out ‘uhms’ ‘ahs’, stutters and stumbles. The ‘tax’ comment was mistaken as part of a stumble. We should have been more sensitive to the implication of the edit.”

“The Exchange has always been serious about balance and being non-biased in what we broadcast,” Shields added.

At least one Hew Hampshire commentator is not very satisfied with the NPR spokesman’s plaintive excuse making.

Mike Johnson says that the edit eliminated Hassan’s “inadvertently telling the truth.” He is also critical of the tax-funded radio folks generally.

What I cannot accept is a supposedly public service entity that draws on my hard-earned tax dollars to engage in partisan politics. Let Big Bird and Jim Lehrer and NHPR and PBS compete in the open market for their funds. More power to them.

Johnson also notes that the RGGI program has been a colossal failure, anyway.

RGGI is not living up to the promises of the eco-zealots — big surprise there. New Hampshire paid the seventh-highest electric rate in the country in 2008, fifth in 2009, and fourth in 2010. And there’s no place to go but up, as another rate hike is coming.

So, whether it was just an unfortunate mistake as NPR claims, or just another example of a taxpayer funded entity paying fealty to the Democrats once again, the fact is the edit really does act as an aide to Democrat Hassan’s campaign.

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