EPA director ‘unsettled’ by interview, calls for defunding of NPR

by WorldTribune Staff, June 28, 2020

EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said National Public Radio (NPR) should lose its taxpayer funding after he said an NPR reporter used an interview with him disguised as a news report to slam him and the Trump administration’s environmental policies.

EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler

“It reinforces in my mind that NPR should not be publicly financed. It’s just ridiculous,” Wheeler said after listening to how his 45-minute interview on Friday with Nora Saks of Montana Public Radio on Superfund cleanup efforts turned into an attack on the agency.

“So many reporters have blurred the line between reporting and editorializing. And she was editorializing, and I thought it was supposed to be an actual news piece. I didn’t realize it was just an editorial,” he said of the podcast, Richest Hill Episode 08: The Art Of The Superfund Deal.

During the 48-minute podcast, Saks criticized the “reign” of President Donald Trump and questioned the agendas of his appointees.

Washington Examiner columnist Paul Bedard noted that “Wheeler, for example, is often referred to in media reports as a former coal industry lobbyist, but his prior work in Washington on environmental issues — his first job was as director of EPA’s Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics — is typically ignored.”

After airing some of Wheeler’s quotes, Saks said, “Having a chance to speak directly with Administrator Wheeler was unsettling. He comes off as a decent enough guy who can’t wait to visit Glacier National Park and isn’t out to get the planet. His neighborly Midwestern demeanor temporarily distracted me from the fact that he’s now in charge of regulating the polluting industries he’s staunchly defended.”

Wheeler said: “She interviewed me for 45 minutes, and she ran 12 minutes of the interview, apparently. And she said I made ‘unsubstantiated claims,’ but she didn’t say what the claims were. She said that it was ‘unsettling’ to talk to me. I don’t care if she was unsettled to talk to me or not. It was unsettling to talk to an NPR reporter.”

He also criticized the reporter for not telling her audience that a critic she included was a former EPA contractor dumped by the agency.

“Wouldn’t you think if you were a real journalist, wouldn’t you have to disclose the fact that this person she’s interviewing has a bone to pick against the EPA for no longer being hired,” Wheeler said.

Wheeler said that it’s time to again move to take away public funding for the outlets, which have strong support in liberal media and political worlds.

“They certainly are a sacred cow that needs to be slaughtered,” said Wheeler.

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