Friday, November 23, 2007

Squeezably Soft


Did you know that "in the past the United States has been particularly good at exporting hope"? Those were the words of Joseph Nye (intellectual from Harvard) and inventor of the concept of "Smart Power." Yes indeed, millions of civilians from Haiti, Iran, Vietnam, Angola, Mozambique, Guatemala, etc....are resting in peace from all that hope that the US brought them.

People often confuse NPR's occasional critique's of the Bush extremist imperialism with a leftist critique of imperialism in general - it is a fatal mistake. See this earlier post for how devoted NPR is to the US imperial role in the world. Of course to sell this requires some serious distortions of history and fact as the quote from Nye above reveals.

On Thanksgiving morning, as part of NPR's series on American Power, Renee Montagne reveals a lot about how distorted history can get on NPR. After Nye critiques Bush foreign policy for relying far too much on the use of force, and contrasts it with the "soft" power of past years, she says, "So you're saying under, in at least the last few years under the Reagan Administration that there was a nice balance between hard and soft power?"

Holy crap! So the criminals of the Reagan years spreading civil war, torture, rape and genocide thoughout Africa and Latin America had found "a nice balance." Nye, agrees that Reagan was "very adept at combining hard and soft power."

Montagne isn't through though. She then goes on to contrast the evil Chinese with the saintly US efforts around the world:
"China...engaging in Latin America, in Africa, in the Middle East. New markets, oil deals, forgiving debt....its soft power depends to some extent on its willingness and ability in the world to act functionally without morals, not put any conditions on its aid or make demands about human rights when it comes in with its products."
Honestly, as I type this transcription I almost can't believe that I'm not making it up; it's that profoundly dishonest and ridiculous. But Nye can only concur, with "That's true."

3 comments:

Porter Melmoth said...

I think this kind of segment on NPR bothers me the most. When both host and 'expert' blatantly select what they want history to be, and then come across as edifying the public, the result is, as we all know, nothing short of propaganda. We can joke about it, complain about it, write NPR and unload about it (and get back the same form message that says 'how difficult' it is to tell the news - never mind the simplicity of truth), but the acute problem is, NPR continues to indulge in propagandistic practices, and with increasing frequency and depth.

As Bush/Cheney should be impeached for gross abuse of power, NPR News should also undergo a similar treatment for similar offences. First, it should be spun off into the private sector, where it could go to the highest bidder, probably Murdoch. Unlike the WSJ, he would probably gut it and discard 90% of it as it now exists. I know I would. Failing that, a Democratic administration should scrap the existing structure, de-network-ize it, and return the service to individual stations. Taxpayers would approve. Any of these and other plans would give NPR their deserved comeuppance, and we wouldn’t have to be exposed to their toxic propaganda ANY MORE.

larry, dfh said...

The broadcast frequencies are more valuable than the staff or capital. And the frequencies (below 92), for the time being, are specifically set aside for non-profits. I prefer the French revolution solution, myself...nothing personal, just to make sure you won't do it again.

big!pink!fuzzy!bunny! said...

What ghastly revisionism.
Hypocrisy, thy name is NPR McNews.