I remember how maddening it was in the 80s to hear the smug, self-congratulatory tone most US journalists took when comparing themselves to their Soviet counterparts—even while they themselves did nothing to expose the lies, corruption, and violence of the Reagan administration. This morning Scott Simon dipped into that well of puffery by praising the slain Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya as if he were in the same league as her. With no sense of irony he states, "She became a journalist, not a propagandist as in the days of Isvestia and Pravda, but a hard-digging investigative journalist of the kind not well known in Russia."
What does Scott Simon know about being "a hard-digging investigative journalist?" God knows he won’t get exposed to one on "Weakened" Edition Saturday. For that matter, what hard-digging investigative journalists are “well-known” in the US? Greg Palast? Juan Gonzalez, Amy Goodman, Dar Jamail, Seymour Hersh? Not exactly household words.
Then Simon plays Politkovskaya's last broadcast in which she challenges the very notions of "terrorism" and the "war on terrorism" in reference to Chechnya. She asks, "why do I put the word 'terrorism' in quotes? Because the vast majority of these people [detainees] have been appointed to be terrorists…this practice…had begun to produce more people who want to take revenge, i.e. potential terrorists.” Simon offers no awareness of how her report could equally apply to the US policy of creating potential terrorists through its own torture and detention policies.