On ATC tonight Melissa Block talks to Time magazine's managing editor Richard Stengel about the decision to name Vladimir Putin Time's Person of the Year. We get to hear Block describe "the icy, impassive eyes" of Putin on the magazine's cover. Later in the interview Stengel says, "you know the person who Putin could end up being like, Josef Stalin, was person of the year twice."
Okay. Hold it! Reality check needed. I really wanted Block to say, "Mr. Stengel, we know about the millions that Stalin murdered, and Putin is no Josef Stalin!" Alas, such correctives were not forthcoming. If this were an isolated event, I'd pass it off to a bit of careless hyperbole, but it fits the pattern of NPR carelessly exaggerating foes of the US establishment (Chavez, Castro, Ahmadinejad, etc.), while glossing over the grotesque faults of our own leaders and "friends." Funny, I don't recall NPR talking about Putin's icy eyes when Bush was covering for his carnage in Chechnya. Look, Putin is no friend of democracy; I know that, but comparing him to Stalin....give me a break.