Monday, December 04, 2006

Colorful Bolton

So Bolton is finally going to be out of the UN. And after his lowly performance there, here's what NPR's Jackie Northam offers us: "John Bolton’s short tenure as ambassador to the UN was contentious, controversial, and thanks to his gift for pithy statements, colorful."

This is a pretty sad way to describe a figure like Bolton. Even a mainstream publication like MSNBC/Newsweek gives a far more informative and unflattering portrait of Bolton's shortcomings. Pithy statements? Colorful? Maybe Northam was thinking of the Bolton of July 2006 -- when his words had a distinctly blood-spattered tinge to them? Or perhaps pithy was how she interpreted the occasion mentioned in the MSNBC/Newsweek piece when he called a close ally of the US at the UN an "international civil servant" because the man dared to offer Bolton some helpful criticism?

Glib and shallow pieces like this stand in such stark contrast to what NPR is capable of offering - as in Daniel Zwerdling's rich, substantive, and humane piece on the mental health struggles of Iraq war veterans.

5 comments:

jules said...

Kudos to Zwerdling...that was an amazing, heartbreaking story! I hope it puts a goddamn bee in the goddamn military's bonnet.

larry said...

Yeah, but it could all have been avoided had NPR done the right thing from the beginning. Where were the stories of Viet Nam vets whose lives were wrecked by warfare? We've all seen such people, we've walked around them, stepped over them, and tried to forget about them for 40 years. We all knew what was coming; NPR's tears bring bitterness to my heart.

David said...

Again, great story, but journalism still within the limits of allowable debate.

Anonymous said...

I like to call NPR National Propaganda Radio. Keep up the exposing. Someone needs to do it! byetta

Willie Mink said...

This morning, on "Some Limited Number of Not-very-disturbing Things Considered," NPR was sort of patting itself on the back in its preface to a followup on Daniel's piece from the day before. Seems it had an influence on politicians who heard the story. There was a hint of something in the prefacer's voice, something like, "Cool, we got senators to listen, and to respond!" Which IS cool, it's true. But yeah, as Larry says, too little too late. Damn it.