Saturday, April 07, 2007

Vocabulary Lesson for Scott Simon

In his chit chat with Daniel Schorr this morning Scott Simon had the following to say about the war spending bills passed in Congress: "...the struggle over an emergency spending bill that congressional Democrats have made hostage to some kind of timetable for withdrawal of troops from Iraq."

That is an interesting way to put it, "made hostage"...hmmm. Given that the US troops were sent into the deadly situation they are in on false premises and outright lies, it is a funny turn of phrase to use. Also given the images of hostages that have emerged from this sickening conflict, Scott Simon seems to need a little graphic refresher of what hostages are and what they aren't.

Here we see Iraqi insurgents holding hostages:

And here we see the US Senate in session:

I realize that for the ideologically challenged, it is a difficult distinction, but there is a difference!

1 comment:

Willie said...

Sorry for being off-topic, but the most recent open thread is pretty far down the page.

I just heard an NPR Sunday morning feature on Jane Stillwater, the "liberal" blogger who's been allowed to hang out and ask questions in the Baghdad's Green Zone. The NPR "reporter" mentioned conservative bloggers allowed to do so as well, then asked Jane what the difference was between their ideologically biased reporting and hers. Jane paused, then replied, "I don't know, I'll have to think about that." She then added that she thinks she's just reporting the truth.

I find this feature on Jane Stillwater, and especially this moment within it, another (ironic) example of NPR's own biased reporting. One thing that makes NPR so ickily smooth is their heavy editing. For instance, before airing most recorded speech, they run it through a software program that cuts out pauses, "uhs" and so on (to their credit, NPR itself did a report on this software program a couple of years ago). They also typically cut out prefatory comments, such as Jane's above, in which a person is trying to fill dead air while gathering their thoughts toward a good answer.

So, I find it revealing that NPR didn't do such things with Jane Stillwater's speaking style. The result was that she came across as less articulate, and thus less intelligent, than she would have had they edited her comments with their normal methods.

Finally, when the report ended by saying that during Jane's visit to Iraq she's been restricted to the Green Zone, the NPR reporter's sign-off words about that fact had a stronger double-meaning than they should have. That is, the NPR reporter ended by saying that Stillwater has to stay in the Green Zone, "the rest of Iraq beyond her grasp." With these words, NPR flatters its listeners by nudging them into picking up a supposedly clever double-meaning. But they also pull a fast one on them with their own subtly biased presentation of a blogger, which makes her come across as a goofy, woefully amateur "liberal," rather than someone who has the alternative insight to offer that Stillwater actually has.

BTW, here's Jane's blog:

I suppose another element here is the old media's jealousy over the new media's incursions into its reporting territories. Still, I doubt they'd cover a conservative blogger like Michelle Malkin this way.