Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Lie that Won't Die

David Green's report today on President Bush's Press Conference was largely an exercise in stenography (which seems like hard work when you start trying to spell the stuff that comes out of Bush's mouth), but one heinous highlight was Bush's utterance of a falsehood that really has legs in the mainstream media, including NPR, which Green let pass without comment.

After Green said that Vladimir Putin was "not so sure that Iran is trying to build a nuclear bomb"(neither is the IAEA), Bush said, "We got a leader in Iran who has announced that he wants to destroy Israel, so I've told people that if yer instristed in avoiding World War III, it seems like you oughta be interstid in preventing them from have the knowledge necessary to make a nucular weapon." Bush's line, which has been widely disseminated as "Ahmadinejad wants to wipe Irael off the map", has been shown by Farsi scholars to be a mistranslation, as well as to have been taken out of context. This is indisputable, and should have been mentioned by Green.

But more importantly, the President of Iran has NO power over Iranian foreign policy, so it doesn't really matter what he thinks - at least not enough for Bush to start "World War III."

These are incontrovertible facts that I have never heard mentioned on NPR.
Hmmm, I wonder why that could be...?


Porter Melmoth said...

It is absolutely essential that Bush keep such lies alive. The last thing he wants is conciliatory gestures from Iran. The longing for a new, fresher war we can 'win' is now moving toward high gear. Such a war with Iran could, in the Bush/neocon view, vindicate ourselves 'out' of Iraq, as it were. Such grasping for a 'win' in Iran seems to be the final, climactic crap shoot of the Bush Administration. The great question is whether they will or can pull it off. To Cheney & Co., the stakes are high, but it's go for broke time.

larry, dfh said...

If there ever were any conciliatory gestures from Iran, we would never know about them. There were exactly those, several blatant cases, before the Iraq war. What they accomplished was guaranteeing that there were no WMDs, so that the attack would be safe.

oread the SSA said...

I thought NPR's responsibility to the public was to report what was said by politician X or what goverment is doing Y to their poplulation, not to create commentary on the news like current slanted shlock you see on every network station, down to the most podunk local news program.
It's not supposed to be edutainment, it's saying "here's a press conference, where Bush said this, and this guy said that, and then the conference ended". I fail to see bias. I see an effort to remove bias and speculation out of the reporting of events. Also, not everyone in the world is a liberal. Some are moderates. Some are conservatives. Does NPR not belong to them as well? Do they not deserve to hear news without snark or cattiness that is becoming increasingly common elsewhere?
Just my thoughts, and no, I am not a neocon. I just like NPR.
But I like what you do here, I think it's of utmost importance that the media, especially publicly funded media, to be kept in check. Good on ya!

Mytwords said...

Hey Oread the sea,

Glad to have your comments. You raise some very good points. I don't want to see NPR News get catty, snarky, loud, etc either. I don't even mind hearing about this or that press conference and what was said. But what drives me nuts is that NPR frequently comments on the news from a center-right standpoint. They include a host of "experts" from far-right groups like American Enterprise Institute, Washington Institute on Near East Policy, etc., but NEVER from folks like Howard Zinn, Noam Chomsky, Chalmers Johnson, Greg Palast, John Pilger, etc. I also think any news organization in a democracy has the duty to treat every statement by those in power with skepticism and to hold it up to investigative scrutiny. BTW, you don't sound like a neocon to me!

Porter Melmoth said...

Good comments, all. It's great to have imput from all sides.

woodenclouds said...


oread the ssa,

Since I notice in your profile that you are no longer 22 and are now 23 and since you like die bruck and dada et al, I am going to give you the benefit of the doubt and not come down too heavily with my pinking shears through the fabric of your preconceived ideas about the fundamental nature of NPR's motivations, missions or the "true nature" of what a reporter should report on as a person describes what in "reality" may be murder as: a "war on terror" or "getting rid of the terrorists" …”no child left behind” and so on and on.

Take what you've said in your comments, paraphrase it to yourself or to us for that matter and reflect on it a while. What if reporters just reported what they thought they "heard"...would that be the truth? Would what they thought they heard be what was meant or even said? Commentary is unavoidable when "repeating" since nothing happens twice.

btw, I like you


Porter Melmoth said...

In addition, speaking for myself, this is a welcome place to blow off steam about NPR. It's only because I'd like to see NPR succeed, and I'm wary of the directions its chosen to follow (most of which have to do with money). For a public service institution, that's a warning signal. This blog has pointed out hundreds of examples of things that are questionable, and they're only the ones that people have had the energy and time to point out.

As far as the snark factor is concerned, yes, I indulge in it sometimes (though I prefer to call it satire or even sardonicism). NPR deserves to have some darts thrown at it. NPR tends to either take itself too seriously, or else they come off as holier than thou. As Mytwords says, they've also retreated to a conspicuosly limited viewpoint on many matters, and if they still call themselves 'public' and 'non-profit', those limitations are subject to criticism from parties who actually care rather than accept without question.

I think snarkiness tends to pop up a lot these days, because people feel it's the only way to react or to be heard in the face of so many absurdities, disappointments and wrongheadedness that come at us so fast and furious every day. It's a crazy world. I should think that a media organization like NPR should be a beacon of sensibleness and reason amidst all this morass, and sometimes they are, but in tone and intent, I think they've lost their way.