Thursday, November 13, 2008

A Lot of Awful Work Has Been Done

...or "an awful lot of work has to be done" to shut down Guantanamo - so says former Air Force lawyer and current Duke professor, Scott Silliman. It is telling that on the day after the release of a report on the "shattered lives" of released Guantanamo detainees, NPR and Jackie Northam are doing the awful work of convincing listeners that closing the prison camp will be a lot more complicated than they might have thought "during the heady days of the presidential campaign...[when as Northam reminds us] Obama spoke with easy assurance about his plans for Guantanamo Bay and the handling of terror suspects...."

Listen in vain to NPR's report for anyone mentioning torture, war crimes, violations of international law at Guantanamo. Conveniently, with such acts unmentioned, the issue of accountability and restitution never comes up. For Northam the only important issue is the difficulties that closing Guantanamo will present for the US government, "specifically what to do with the roughly 250 prisoners still held at Guantanamo."

To articulate the quandries of the poor, befuddled US government, who better to turn to than US government/military insiders such as Scott Silliman (see above), Commander Glen Sulmasy (of the Coast Guard Academy), and Matthew Waxman (of the Pentagon, State Department and Hoover Institution). One outsider, Vincent Warren with the Center for Constitutional Rights is mentioned for a very brief comment on favorable international attitudes to the new Obama administration. Here's how the cast performed:
Listening to this NPR story I wondered when we will hear from about Gitmo from someone at Amnesty International, or the ACLU, or the Center for Constitutional Rights (to actually talk about their work). Maybe it will be tomorrow...or the day after that...or...

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

A lot of work has to be done to close down NPR too, but that does not mean we should not do it. :)

NPR has more in common with Gitmo than they would like to admit.

After all, it was NPR reporter Ann Garrels who "interviewed" (and NPR managment who aired) the words of two Iraqi's who had clearly (clear even to garrels) been tortured.

After a wave of criticism from viewers, Garrels, Inskeep and others defended the piece (and changed the subject) rather than admit it was wrong to air the piece period.

NPR's ombudsman called a spade a spade, rightly saying that "evidence obtained through torture is not credible, nor is it good journalistic practice."

But she can be forgiven. She was new at NPR and did not yet understand the game.

She has learned it since and now plays on par with the best of them at NPR.

BTW, Northam used to be a good reporter -- just a few short years ago.

Sadly, she has degenerated into the same old same old at NPR.

It seems to happen to everyone at NPR eventually.

I guess that is what fear of losing one's job will do.

Steve Byan said...

I turned on NPR's ME during the morning commute. Thirty seconds later, after Northam stated that "for many, Guantanamo has become a powerful symbol of injustice, primarily because of the open-ended detentions". After shouting "and because of the @#$%@ing torture!" I had to shut of the radio.

Perhaps Northam would be professional enough to provide sourcing for her claim?

Porter Melmoth said...

Indeed the 'for many' technique - that is, generic references which are utilized in the NPR School, serve as 'good enough' to get the job done. In radio, a non-visual medium, you can't see the reporter's face, so you can't tell whether they're lying or not. Thus, we have to read into inflection, nuance, and tone.

NPR Speak is, however, a dead giveaway to the BS within.