A thread runs through NPR news. Any history unfavorable to US foreign policy is completely ignored even when that history is essential to understanding the story that NPR is reporting. Saturday morning I woke up to hear an NPR story about an apparent narco-crime assassination involving government officials in Guatemala and El Salvador--and yet there was no mention of the policies of institutional violence and drug-dealing that the US inflicted on El Salvador and Guatemala - especially in the 1980s.
This got me to thinking of a few other very recent stories missing a little background. Indeed, again on Saturday morning Julie McCarthy talked to musician Gilberto Gil of Brazil. A lot was made of his time in jail in 1968 and the military dictatorship in Brazil in the 1960s--but there was not even a mention made of the role of the US in advising the dictatorship in torture techniques (seems relevant to events today) or in fostering police-torture states throughout South America during those years.
And then just the day before (Friday morning) there was a powerful story about the rise of violently, repressive Islamic fundamentalism in Gaza. It is an unnerving situation, and yet I was struck at how there was no mention of Israel's role in fostering the rise of Hamas, or the US role in fostering the rise of radical Islamic fundamentalism throughout the Middle East in general. That would be uncomfortable territory--wouldn't it?
It's provocative to consider how often NPR news presents its stories utterly devoid of truthful historical context. I'd love to know how this happens-who makes the decisions, where in the process does it happen, just how is the sausage made?