Sunday, November 26, 2006

Of Guns and Presidents - The Presidents


NPR's Weekend Edition Sunday chose to highlight two books for its show today. One on the AK-47 and one on the lives of ex-Presidents. Both are telling as much for what is said as what is not said.

OF PRESIDENTS

NPR interviews Mark Updegrove, author of the book, Second Acts: Presidential Lives and Legacies After the White House. Now, I don't know about you, but my memory of Reagan's post presidency is how shamelessly he turned his status to a mulitmillion dollar cash machine in Japan. My recollection of George H. W. Bush (41) is that he also used his government experience and influence to cash-in - especially with the nasty Carlyle group. As for Nixon, who unfortunately was pardoned by his appointed Vice President Ford, he "rehabilitated" himself with just this kind of "feel good" media assistance. Now Carter, at least, does seem to put his name and status to some decent use in the world (e.g. the Carter Center).

Notice how Carter stands out from this crew. But here is what Andrea Seabrook says, "it seems like Carter, Bush, to some extent Reagan – although of course he battled Alzheimers in his post presidency - and now Bill Clinton - they all sort of center on human rights issues, poverty, health care. Is that the theme that seems to be rolling out?"

Human rights? Poverty? Health care? Reagan, Nixon, Bush?

All right, well maybe it's just that Seabrook is just profoundly ignorant and the author will gently set the record straight. So how does Updegrove respond? "You’re right, that is a common theme." So much for history.

1 comment:

Willie Mink said...

Arrrgh! NPR's coverage this morning of the Venezuelan elections really rankled. They focused mostly on Chavez's anti-imperialism stance and comments, but without going one single step toward explaining why Chavez would say such a thing. The implication was that he does so to get votes. They also honed in at length on the exotic, shoving aside newsworthy substance: "Gosh, the gas down here is so CHEAP!" They did mention Chavez's claims that the US is out to topple him, but again, no journalistic effort was made to investigate those claims. And then, of course, cue the perky music!