Did you know that Barbaro got laminitis in his left hind leg while his right leg was healing? Did you know that he recently had two pins inserted into his cannon bone and wore a brace-like structure? Did you know that Barbaro's initial medical treatment involved surgery, titanium plates, and over two dozen screws? If you don't you obviously have not been paying attention to NPR news in the last week. Just for the record here's how the coverage of Barbaro the dead race horse has broken down recently:
- ATC, 1/28/07 (2 minutes, 53 seconds).
- ME, 1/29/07 (3 minutes, 21 seconds).
- ATC, 1/29/07 (4 minutes, 31 seconds).
- ME, 1/30/07 (2 minutes, 17 seconds).
- ME, 1/30/07 (2 minutes, 43 seconds).
Over the course of three short days, that's 15 minutes and 45 seconds of news time devoted to a now dead race horse that has no meaningful effect on the lives of anyone on the planet.
But that wasn't enough for NPR and Scott Simon. This morning - for another 3 minutes and 9 tawdry seconds - Simon reveals that "when Barbaro broke down shortly after the start of last year's Preakness…I burst into tears." He continues his eulogy to the horse: "Barbaro touched something in millions of people…the will he displayed…Barbaro was an athlete, a champion, a performer. Champions carry the hopes of others....greatness died with him....God speed Barbaro."
For a bit of contrast, consider NPR's coverage of Khaled El-Masri, an innocent German kidnapped by the CIA, shipped off to Afghanistan, brutally tortured, and dumped back in Albania. On January 31, 2007 the German government issued arrest warrants for the CIA operatives responsible, and for this case that highlights the barbarism of our government agents NPR gives one 3 minute, 11 second report, and unlike the minutiae of Barbaro's surgery and demise all you'll hear on this report is "those named on the arrest warrant are charged with kidnapping and causing grievous bodily harm to Khalid El-Masri....He was picked up in Macedonia in late December 2003, taken to prison in Afghanistan, held there for nearly five months, then dropped off in Albania to find his way home...." That's it.
If you think it's unfair just focusing on the past week, feel free to look back at all NPR news' coverage of El-Masri's case. The most detail you will find is El-Masri speaking through his translator on November 28, 2006, "I was humiliated; I was beaten; I was drugged. And I was taken to Afghanistan against my will, and there they made it clear right from the onset, they said you are in a country where there is no rule of law.’ A month before that, ME aired a report lamenting how these foreign arrest warrants underscore "the legal threat faced by CIA officers overseas." Contrast NPR's scant coverage with the substance of this report from the Guardian.