Saturday, December 30, 2006

Shoveling Shuster

This morning's piece on the "history" of Saddam Hussein presented by Mike Shuster is a dishonest charade of journalism - but as is often the case on NPR - not without a few choice bits of unintended irony (For instance, Shuster might as well be describing US foreign policy instead of Saddam Hussein's life when he says it "was permeated by violence – in wars, in coups successful and unsuccessful, in assassination, treachery and terrorism.")

NPR's audacity in broadcasting this misinformation is something to behold. Shuster mentions Hussein's attempt to assassinate Iraqi leader Qasim in 1959, but doesn't mention the CIA's active role in the affair. He talks about Hussein not being a "household" word until Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990, but he doesn't mention is that Hussein was a much-favored household word in Reagan-Bush administrations that were very supportive of the dictator (and his lethal chemistry) throughout the 1980s. Shuster also fails to mention US ambassador to Iraq, April Glaspie's green light given to Hussein for his "blitzkrieg" invasion of Kuwait. Shuster describes the inhuman post-Gulf War UN sanctions with their death toll of half a million Iraqi children (which even Madeline Albright endorsed and did not dispute) as nothing but "an international propaganda struggle." Shuster even has the gall to try and justify the Bush-Cheney campaign of lies leading to the US invasion of Iraq by blaming it on Hussein's intransigence.

For a remarkable contrast let me highly recommend Juan Cole's post today on Informed Comment that lays out a readable, documented, and cogent history of the US-Hussein dictatorship and the amazing slide show by Eric Blumrich at (this link was also highlighted by Juan Cole).


Porter Melmoth said...

Yes, I happened to catch Schuster's ultra-selective 'history' as well, and I was indeed waiting for any reference to US cooperation with Saddam's regime, usually represented by the Rumsfeld handshake. But of course, NPR wimped out of any 'controversial' aspects of our sorry record.

In the sound archives out there somewhere is a pithy statement, made some time ago, from Bill Clinton, who said that Saddam was a regional strong man 'who didn't stay bought'. (Sorry, can’t reference where and when he made that statement.) I dare anyone to challenge just that one statement, that reveals so much about the US-Saddam relationship and its mafia-method overtones. But of course, the embarrassment factor is so strong that Clinton had to be silenced. How about a quadruple bypass operation to simmer him down? Ah, sweet conspiracy theory!
You'd think that even right-leaning NPR might be interested in that Clintonian sound-byte, but no, as usual, the truth is too scary for the upper middle class bozos of NPR, both on-air and behind the scenes.

Speaking of behind the scenes, who the hell ARE the editors at NPR? Who are the 'Deciders' who make these crass editorial decisions? It isn't just hacks like Schuster.

larry, dfh said...

..who the hell ARE the editors at NPR? Who are the 'Deciders' who make these crass editorial decisions? It isn't just hacks like Schuster.
Start with the advertisers.

Kevan said...

I learn something new or find a great link just about every time I visit this blog. Thanks!

As far as NPR editors, I think they just trim stories for time constraints. I sincerely believe that no one at NPR is employed as a fact checker for what winds up on the air.

The latest On The Media repeats Brooke's story about the recent NPR in-house demographic survey. According to her, it's over 500 jam-packed pages! I'd love to get my hands on it. (You can email it to if you want to help a brother out.) I often think that NPR shapes its news coverage based more on target audience than journalistic concerns. Just like the other networks.

larry, dfh said...

Another link with some interesting infomationL

Mytwords said...

Great Fisk link. Thanks.