Thursday, December 07, 2006

Cato Schmato

Robert Siegel talks to Brink Lindsey of the Cato Institute this evening on ATC. There are some standout statements in this piece:
  • Robert Siegel: "and you think that more of them [libertarians], perhaps wisely you say, might now be holding their nose and voting left with the Democrats...."
  • Brink Lindsey: "...people on the left are pining for the economic stability of the 1950s and are unreconciled to the more competitive more entrepreneurial more globalized economy that has emerged in the 80s and 90s and the current decade."
I hate to break it to NPR, but the Democrats are NOT LEFT! People who vote Democrat are NOT "voting left!" Yes there are a few good left-of-center Democrats (Dennis Kucinich and Barbara Lee come to mind), but the Democratic Party as a whole is a center-right party (most favor militarism, bloated defense spending, global military bases, exceptionalism in international law, predatory global corporatism, etc. ) Yes, they are, in general, to the left of the Republican Party when it comes to social values and to some regulatory easing of corporate excesses-but being left of far right doesn't make one a leftist!

I can assure Mr. Lindsey that no leftist I have ever known longs for the "economic stability" of the 1950s(???) And leftists aren't anti-globalization, in fact most leftists I know want equal global rights and protections for workers and wonder why corporations and capital can go wherever conditions are most favorable (repressive and cheap!), whereas workers who try to go where conditions are better are labeled "illegals."

If NPR thinks that the universe of political thought in the US is Democrat equals left, Republican equals right, then that explains a lot about how simplistic so much of their reporting and analysis is and how cozy NPR is with US power and hegemony -- which is too bad.


Kevan said...

That is exactly the false choice MSM loves to parrot: Democrat equals left, Republican equals right. Despite the fact that it falls apart immediately under any cursory examination, they stick to it. It's easy, convenient and serves their interests. Unfortunately, they seem to have most of us going right along with it.

Porter Melmoth said...

Well argued, all. This sort of reporting is the essence of NPR's descent into unreliability and preference for subtle and not-so-subtle futzing with truths.

I've taken a very informal survey of some students and staff on the campus where I work regarding NPR, and a significant percentage of them have noted that NPR has 'changed'. 'Yeah, what's up with them?' one student said.

Willie Mink said...

How nice to hear, Porter, that your students, first of all, even listen to NPR, and then second, that they realize there's something wrong with it. I hope that some of them were able to perceive and articulate the problem, namely that this "alternative" source has become just as fundamentally in support of an Orwellian status quo as the other MSM.

Great post, NPR Check!

seattlemartin said...

I've been listening to NPR since the mid-'80's, and they've never been 'liberal' in my mind, and certainly not progressive. I've noticed a subtle shift in the positionality of their stories since the early '90's, when they began focusing much more attention on financial and monetary issues, and began delivering stories with the words and phrases used by the Republicans.

NPR is now noticeably supportive or Republican policies, yet they are very subtle about it. They give Repugs a lot of leeway, and expect perfection from Democrats.

It's interesting to notice what a change in wording, emphasis, or tone of voice can do to change the meaning of a story.

I wish they were more like the BBC.