Thursday, June 05, 2008

Open Thread

NPR related comments welcomed.


benoit balz said...

Guy Raz "Roman Chariot" Propoaganda 5/31/2008

Dear Sir or Madam,

Where in God's name was the news value in Guy Raz's puff-piece last Saturday (A Day in the Life of a Four-Star General, Weekend Edition Saturday, May 31, 2008)?

Guy Raz, in fact, did not even begin to give NPR listeners "a glimpse into what a day's work is like for a four-star general known as a combatant commander." He didn't tell listeners much of anything about the General.

The Roman Chariot and empire references were bizarre. What was that story doing on the air? What a strange listening experience!

And it's ridiculous that the NPR ombudsman will not address the question: "Who at NPR comes up with the propagandistic, puff-piece military story ideas?" The frequency of these type of stories has suggested (for years now) to your listeners that there must be a fast-track for these pieces. And the embarrassing and blatant stuff keeps coming. Why?


Benoit Balz
New York, NY

6/4/08 11:03 PM

Porter Melmoth said...

I'm so happy that, by way of doing This Old House in Karachi, Steve Inscreep is finally discovering that yes, poverty does still exist, but just outside the rim of his privileged, jet-set, elitist world. It was a huge blow to him, and it really bummed him out. Bouncy Renee's keeping his spirits up though, because when he comes back to DC, he'll be light years away from all that nasty stuff that goes on in bad old, mad old Karachi.

Here's a guy who gains access to the Mayor of Karachi, then squanders the opportunity by reducing his statements to a couple of soundbytes, leaving the mayor as a one-dimensional nobody, and then he wraps things up by making some disapproving comments about a hapless group of individuals who are, yes, poverty-stricken. Welcome to the real world, Stevie. And when I say world, I mean it's a world-wide condition.

I pray that the pavements of Bombay, Delhi, Madras, Calcutta, Rangoon, Bangkok, Jakarta, Hanoi, and the South Bronx will not be darkened by this Inscreepy entity. He and NPR are all WRONG for this kind of reporting. Their method is like picking at scabs via robotic control while sitting back in an isolated, germ-free environment, pontificating in 'Entertainment Tonight' terms about how screwed up everything is (while trying to sound terribly intelligent about it all, of course).

Now, if Philip Reeves were doing this series (and he has done many fine reports in similar environments), I daresay, we'd be getting a more essential picture of what the series is trying to accomplish. But it wouldn't be juiced up enough or sexed up enough, or sensational enough, plus, it wouldn't lack the perspectives that Inscreep can't even pick up on, because he's so busy motormouthing that he can't be anything but the most superficial of reporters. So Phil, be glad you didn't get slapped with this assignment. Let Inscreep do his dance so we can put it all behind us and move on. Fortunately, much of radio is pretty forgettable, and it slides into obscurity pretty fast.

My point of this caterwauling? Pots love to call kettles black, but the doofus entity that is NPR doesn't seem to know what that means.

Flávio Américo dos Reis said...

Good job, Benoit. Maybe if more people like you wrote them, they'd get the message that all that ra-ra-ra mililitarism and cheerleading is not appreciated.

I am sick and tired of their endless promotion of war and militarism.

So the more people write them, the sooner they will get the message and knock it off.

Anonymous said...

Tonight's atc had an incredibly vicious and inaccurate hit job by mara llliasson on those horrible Clintons. She's quite the harpy when she gets going. She makes Hillary seem like Capt. Kangaroo. I'm really sick and tired of llliasson.

artes moriendi said...

Another of Mara Liasson's scandalously unprofessional anti-Clinton screeds aired this afternoon--heavy on snarky gloating over Clinton's loss; selective, highly tendendious quotes from Clinton skeptics in the Democratic party about HRC's putatively appalling conduct during the campaign; tired pokes and jabs at Bill Clinton's temper that could have been lifted straight from FOX news; and governessy "pointers" about how the Clintons can both repair their "tarnished" images after the primary season is over (as if it were the responsibility of any journalist to offer character "refurbishment" advice to a politician she's reporting on). The entire premise of the piece--that HRC's failure to immediately concede to Obama after the primaries on Tuesday is a treacherous blow to Obama's chances of winning the election as the Democratic nominee--was highly specious to begin with, based on a few grousing remarks from unhappy Democratic party operatives. From start to finish the piece was nothing more than a thinly veiled invective against two politicians for whom Liasson has never attempted to disguise her utter loathing and contempt. It should never have made it on the air. And the most disgusting thing about it is that no one will never call her on this lazy, irresponsible tripe--because anything goes with the Clintons.

I'm not out to defend the Clintons here; they've disappointed me too deeply too many times in the past for me to be an unabashed fan or even a supporter. I'm just tired of NPR energetically engaging in the same tiresome pile-on Clinton-trashing at the same time that they eagerly assist in airbrushing the warts and pockmarks off Republican politicians who have done far more damage to our country than the Clintons ever did (to wit: Pam Fessler's recent execrable piece about John McCain's speech in Kenner, La.) and work assiduously to obscure the radicalism and lunacy of the past eight years. It's easy and it's lazy. And it's crap journalism. NPR: fire Mara Liasson now--and the editors and producers who enable her.

Porter Melmoth said...

I can only add that Mara Liarson moonlights as a minor but enthusiastic player at Fox News itself, where she regularly attempts to compete with the big boys: Brit Fume, Bill The Bloody Kristol, and Juan The Weakling Williams.

artes moriendi said...

I do know about Liasson's affiliation with FOX news, Melmoth--and Juan Williams'. Evidently "reports" like today's Clinton piece are the way Liasson earns her brownie points with the FOX crew; they show that she can be tuff on the libruls. Oddly enough, though Williams enjoys a comfy sinecure as an NPR "analyst" or "commentator," Liasson is still functioning semi-officially as a "reporter" at NPR, even though the strident opinion piece masquerading as a news story that aired today can scarcely be described as reporting at all. Perhaps they'd best drop the charade and grant her full "news analyst" pundit status, since filing a news story that meets basic journalistic standards seems to beyond her now.

I'll close with a word of grateful thanks for the hard work and sanity and sense of mytwords--and for the astute and amusing observations of commenters on this site.

Steve Byan said...

Mara was also on the board of the conservative think-tank Freedom House from 1997 through 2004, and was a Hoover Institute media fellow in 2003. I note that her NPR and Fox bios don't include these right-wing connections.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the information, Steve. There is an old 'parable': Why ascribe to malice what you can blame on incompetence? Well with liasson, it seems to be the other way around. This is a really disgusting situation.

Mytwords said...

More Mara
Read this slimy loyalty letter and see if you can find the "reporter's" signature at the bottom. Makes one wonder what it takes to get fired from NPR.

Flávio Américo dos Reis said...

Don't get me wrong--I like the Roosevelts. They did the only prudent thing available at the time to rescue the US economy (and Getúlio Vargas followed Roosevelt's lead in my country, Brazil).

Roosevelt followed John Maynard Keynes' idea that the govt. has to intervene in key sectors of the economy--the economy's commanding heights--to keep a country safe. History has borne this out: no country worth its salt has survived without some protection of its strategic industries, and don't let anyone tell you differently.

As for Mara "Liarsson," as some people call her, what can I say?

Why people still respect her as a "commentator" is beyond me. She is a shill, no doubt about it.

FDR and Getúlio Vargas were good friends. Both advanced workers' rights legislations in their respective countries--the prohibition of child labor, slavery, the 40-hour work week, the right to unionize, etc.--and both were reviled by their countries' elites.

Wall Street called FDR "that S.O.B.," and I'm sure elite Brazilians had equivalent epithets for Getúlio Vargas.

The irony of GV is that he did not--unlike so many other Latin American govts--surrender Japanese and German descent citizens to Roosevelt's detention camps.

Today, Brazil has the Western Hemispher's 2nd largest merchant navy (marine) after the US--thanks to the Nissei in Brazil. Argentina under the Peronists did not surrender its German or Japanese citizens to the US either (in Argentina, as well as other parts of Latin America, since the 18th century).

The Central American republics were a different story: anybody with a German or Japanes surname was handed over to the US, so that these republiquettes' governments could lay hold of their land. (I think this was the case with Perú, Venezuela, and Ecuador as well, although I am not sure. Don't quote me on it, though. I am sure that at least Brazil and Argentina didn't surrender their German and Japanese citizens to the US's holding camps.

(As an adult, I met with a fellow Latin American of German ancestry from Nicaragua who told me of that country's sorry history of "rendition" of its citizens to the US--so they--the Nica govt--could get a hold of their land.)