Sunday, January 27, 2008

Leave Your Memory at the Door

A visitor to this blog left the following comment in the open thread below:
NPR had a piece on the death of Indonesia's former President Mohammed Suharto, which, though its complete and utter omission, verified the public's general ignorance as truth: That the United States government, and specifically the CIA, had no role whatsoever to play in his criminal rule, or in massive number of murders his regime perpetrated in the name of "anti-communism". And the US certainly didn't give the go-ahead to Suharto's invasion and slaughter of East Timor.
As this reader points out Nurse Michael Sullivan's report on Weekend Edition Sunday is so contemptuous of the historical record as to be criminal. Oh, Sullivan does mention that "many accuse Suharto of unleashing one of the greatest mass killings of the twentieth century - the deaths of more than half a million suspected Indonesian communists and ethnic Chinese," but you'd never know that the US was directly involved in planning and executing this mass murder or in approving and supporting the East Timor genocide (see this page from ETAN if you want to explore links on this).

The basic thrust of the piece was that in spite of being a pathological murderer and torturer Suharto did a lot of good for Indonesia - improving health, education and the economy. (Yeah, and Stalin essentially industrialized the Soviet Union, too.)


Porter Melmoth said...

And don't forget Hitler and his autobahns! And that Imelda Marcos provided all that employment for shoemakers (mostly in Italy). And there was Chairman Mao's Great Leap Forward (of which the only halfway positive part was the introduction of the pinyin system).

My God, there are enough facts in all these cases to make objective summing-up possible without much 'interpretation' (e.g. Sullivan's 'many accuse...' statement).

Michael Sullivan has always SOUNDED reasonably intelligent, but what did he do, kiss the ring of the Suharto Family or something? Come to think of it, he's always projected a sort of superiority that has been hard to pin down - except in reports like this.

Q: Why can't NPR people just tell the facts that have added up, especially when summing up a career retrospectively? And why can't it be, like, uh, in a balanced and fair manner (because Fair 'n Balanced (TM) has been appropriated by Fox & Furry Friends)? Why does all this SPIN have to occur from a so-called news organization?

A: Because, kid, that's the way the higher-ups want it. Now shut up and get back to your obedient listening.

Porter Melmoth said...

I have to confess: it's cold and wintry outside - what better way to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon than to pop Naturally Petulant Radical's public pustules with a battering ram?

Perhaps that's laying it on a bit thick... It's just that NPR's NPR-ishness is so bland, a feller's gotta spice 'er up a bit.

Have a super rest-of-the-weekend, all.