On NPR News what do you call a an outdoor prison camp where the 2000 inmates "live outside, sleeping on cots in hundreds of old canvas tents in the broiling summer heat and the chilly desert winter"? It's "the place called Tent City, Joe Arpaio's most famous invention" where "the idea is to make life tough and humiliating."
And when male inmates are forced to wear "a black and white striped uniform usually worn over pink underwear" that's just "the Sheriff's fashion creation" that inmates "model" for the NPR reporter.
Even when Robbins tells us that "for food the Sheriff serves the inmates green, as in fetid baloney sandwiches" the tone is humorously matter of fact.
I considered writing a parody of Ted Robbins' pro-police state report on Maricopa Sherrif Joe Arpaio, but it was just too depressing to try. His story is disgusting, and echoes the humorous euphemisms that torturers often use to describe their crimes.
It is telling that on a morning when anti-immigrant/nativist racism is making the news, NPR chooses to do a folksy send up of this anti-immigrant, racist, prisoner-abusing Sheriff, Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County in Arizona. CNN covered this creep back in 1999 - and the story has grotesque foreshadowing of Abu Ghraib - inmates exposed to hot and cold weather in run down tents and forced to where humiliating underwear. In fact the Maricopa Sheriff's office drew the attention of Amnesty International back in 1997 for abuses and reported torture with stun guns - and the intervention of the ACLU in 2007 for abuse to a quarantined TB patient. But on NPR Arpaio is introduced by Steve Inskeep as "a man enforcing laws at all costs..." and his perverted practices are described by Robbins as "either innovative or a throw-back to harsher times."
There are times when I think maybe I'm a bit too critical of NPR, and then they run a piece like this and I just think, why would anyone with a conscience want to support this mockery of journalism.