Sunday, December 17, 2006

Safe Indignation

I think it is right for NPR to highlight the grotesque nature of the Holocaust denial conference in Iran. Moral disgust seems appropriate, and that such a conference has been organized by the sitting president of a country is an indictment of that government. On Weekend Edition Saturday Scott Simon weighed in with his usual smarmy, self-righteous overtones, and then on Weekend Edition Sunday Daniel Schorr brought his indignation to the fore. Fair enough, but...how about getting beyond the obvious clear-cut issues and going into the terrain of discomfort? Consider Glenn Greenwald's Unclaimed Territory remarks on the media coverage of the conference in which he notes that the media should take sides when established facts demand it -- but not only in risk-free issues like denouncing Holocaust deniers.

When will NPR take a complex look at the full range of cynical manipulations of the Holocaust to further political agendas? What about defenders of the crimes of Israel who use the Holocaust to justify every wrong of the Israeli state and who paint every critic of Israel as an anti-Semite? Consider the lies and distortions offered by the Simon Wiesenthal Center in its campaign against Jimmy Carter's book on Palestine or note the rabid attacks on Carter from the likes of David Horowitz, Rush Limbaugh, and Glenn Beck. NPR could do a lot to rectify this situation by giving some airtime on its news broadcasts to Jimmy Carter (I'm still waiting) or dissenters such as Norman Finkelstein who has made the use of the Holocaust his life's work.

Or NPR could continue in "safe mode" with denunciations Holocaust deniers and with its miserable coverage of the injustices being committed by the US and Israel against the Palestinians.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

right on. In the shiny magic dream world of my mind, NPR would ask Norman Finkelstein to review Carter's book. That would heat up their corporate board and reader's mail box.

ulf said...

Good idea. And such a review has been written by Dr. Finkelstein:

http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?ItemID=11400

larry said...

Terry Gross had President Carter as a guest last week. Although her tone was certainly more outraged than with any of her previous pro-war guests, such as Kristol or Friedman or James Galbraith, she was courteous. Of course, Carter held his own in his plain, calm, and logical manner.

Mytwords said...

Carter was also on Tavis Smiley's show yesterday. I'm not a huge fan of Carter, but he was great--informed, unflappable, able to provide cogent answers--and not apologizing.