Friday, March 09, 2007

The Iranian Threat to...South America!

Thursday was a real stinker! Whether it was the militaristic thrill of "the suck" (see previous post), the surge into Sadr City portrayed more as a delivery of Girl Scout cookies than the military operation of an occupying army, or the coverage of "softer gentler" Bush trip to South America.

Consider Morning Edition's story on the Bush trip to South America. NPR prominently featured Bush touting the figure of $1.6 billion in aid to Latin America as being mostly "social justice money." There was absolutely no attempt made by NPR to challenge this statement or analyze the numbers (this report from the Library of Congress shows that a lot of the money goes to "anti-drug" programs and "stabilization" efforts.) And, it goes without saying, there was no historical context provided regarding the violent nature of US aid to the region as in Colombia. A serious look at US aid, as in this lengthy article, would reveal the many contradictory effects of aid (e.g. how food aid - food dumping - often is part of the agricultural subsidies that undermine farmers in the recipient countries).

All this was bad enough, but the whole framing of the debate in the story was ridiculously narrow. There were Bush and Bush loyalists, such as U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Thomas Shannon, arguing that the Administration is simply handing out aid for altruistic reasons. The opposing opinion was that this generous aid was too little, too late to counter what Steve Inskeep called "anti-American government's on the rise." The shining moment of this piece had to be Renee Montagne grimly reminding us that "other lawmakers, including Rep. Ron Klein, a Democrat from Florida, warned that the Bush administration has been ignoring the region at its peril — that it's not just Chavez making inroads, but Iran as well."

IRAN! - of course!


Porter Melmoth said...

Tone of Voice Observation #862727:
I noticed this (Friday) morning on ME, Steverino's distinct distaste over the fact that there is strong protestation in Sao Paulo over Bush's visit. In his very brief and superficial description of what the protesters were up to, his voice betrayed a strong disapproval of any such activity. In principle, this is a subtlety that should just be written off as typical of NPR now, but I found it to be a particularly blatant example of the worthless type of journalism he practices. That is, prejudicial indications via tone of voice in lieu of words. Plus, it is a stark contrast to his chucklesome and playful tumblings through practically every other story.
Nevertheless, the NPR Lords thought we would be suitably mollified by running a story right afterwards about unfortunate Brazilians who have been trapped in a system of near slave labor. Julie 'Amorphous' McCarthy toiled to get the story out, and it seemed a worthy effort, but I'm not knowledgeable enough about that situation to discern any questionable aspects in her report. I'm wary of Julie! Mytwords, any thoughts?

Mytwords said...

Yes I heard that smug, superior tone too...

The Brazilian slavery piece was moving, yes. One of those pieces that seems harmless enough, but left me wondering about the context of globalization, fast food, etc. - I recall that the workers were often enslaved on ranches...