Sunday, June 08, 2008

More Selfless Amnesia

Listening to NPR, I sometimes have those Winston Smith moments. Yesterday NPR producer Davar Ardalan presented a piece on her grandmother, who worked in Iran as an officer in the US Navy and public health nurse. Her grandmother was part of Truman's "Point Four Program" (a sort of precursor to USAID). The story was interesting enough, but amazingly there was not one mention of the 1953 CIA-led US-British coup against Iran's democracy.

However, Aradalan did mention that her grandmother did not live to see the 1979 revolution or the US embassy takeover.

Given the context of the times (near daily threats of US or Israeli attacks on Iran), the fact that the 1953 coup became the boilerplate for other bloody CIA coups (esp. Guatemala and Chile), and the obvious blowback of destabilization, tyranny and war that the 1953 coup continues to produce, you might think that some mention of it would come into the essay. It's an obvious chance to educate an American audience that continues to be ill-informed about Iran. Also, on a personal level I wondered "What did her grandmother think of the coup?" and "Was she involved in any way?" etc.

And that is precisely the point. Nothing. 1953? What 1953? Instead, talk about selfless Americans bringing the light of civilization to the backward Iranians in the 1950s and be sure to mention those radicals of the 1979 Revolution and the US Embassy takeover. Leave the audience with all their prejudices reinforced and their ignorance intact. When that is the goal, NPR is pretty darn effective.

(Click on graphic for source.)


larry, dfh said...

This sort of irony is normal for npr. They've run stories about how the US is 'modernizing' the Iraqi judiciary. Amazing, we're telling the descendants of Hammurabi about the law! And neo-propaganda recitation thinks this is all groovy.
I found an old book "The Birth of Civilization in the Near East", by Henri Frankfort, Doubleday, 1950. He wrote about flint-edged scythes and the first instances of collective agriculture, in communities of huts named Mosel and Basra. This is where it all began in the Old World, folks, and instead of respecting and learning from it, we had to destroy it.

Anonymous said...

This should be kept on the front page of this website:

The president of NPR for the last ten years is a man who came over from the State Department/CIA propaganda stations, Radio Liberty/Radio Free Europe.

Former All Things Considered host, Sanford Ungar, spent two years as head of Voice of America.

NPR is Voice of America for Americans and so is PBS.

These are not alternatives to the big tv network which propagandize the non-reading classes. NPR and PBS are propaganda for Americans who might read some and need to be steered in more subtle ways.

nash said...

I was still below voting age when the 1979 embassy takeover happened, but I remember getting the impression from the media that the anger had come from nowhere -- just a bunch of crazy Arab-ish people, angry and raving for no good reason. I don't remember when I first heard about the anti-Mossadegh coup, but (a) it was MANY years after 1979 and (b) it sure as hell wasn't from NPR. Or from any other corporate/mainstream outlet.

All the news that fits...a certain conveniently oversimplified worldview.

Categorical Aperitif

Anonymous said...

Funny thing happened this morning, listening to NPR in texas on my commute to work: at 9:15 or so, in the middle of the daily international news, a story about Pakistan was being broadcast and then suddenly got cutoff right after 'Pakistan', to be replaced by some placating music selections and an announcer with the most soothing voice in the whole organization, telling listeners that the program got switched over for an unexplained reason. Hmm...

Just google 'Pakistan, June 8' and you might get a whiff of the story they chose not to broadcast this morning... but why, exactly?

Anonymous said...

NPR in Texas interrupted Pakistan story on June 8?


Impeachment is in the air.
The US is going to need a new puppet before too long.

Musharraf to be impeached if he does not resigns: Zardari
Hindustan Times, June 8, 2008 Sunday 2:12 PM EST
Medina, June 8 -- Pakistan People's Party Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari has said that if President Pervez Musharraf does not quit the power the Parliament may impeach him under democratic process.

Anonymous said...

NPR presents the accepted memes of the corporate media in the most stylish and well-written ways possible.

Larry Yates

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

Right, Lar. That still don't make it any good! ;-)