Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Q Tips

NPR related comments encouraged and appreciated.


Juan "Toss" Ensalada said...


Robert Siegel of All Things Considered pimps Pimco.

Of course, Siegel (or one of his editors or producers) probably forgot to read the WaPo story.

Or the Talking Points Memo critique about how many "news" organization pimped the same financial whore (win-win-win).

This is a really brilliant example of journalisms heard mentality.


Grimblebee said...

"Axis of Evil" Special on ME this morning: First a laughable report on North Korea's rocket launch in which everyone interviewed basically says "It looks like a satellite, smells like a satellite, we have nothing to worry about" and reporter says: Be very afraid, it could be a missile aimed right at US!

Then on to Iran, where some ultraconservative nudnick blathers on and on about how if Iran would just stop being "confrontational" and accept our Benevolent Leaders peaceful overtures (while ignoring of course the sanctions and all that fiction about nuclear programs), we would all be fine.


Woody (Tokin Librul/Rogue Scholar/ Helluvafella!) said...

This morning, I posted on one of my blogs--Walled-In Pond--a sort of reverie on the Wan Williams/Focks Nuts connection...

Woody (Tokin Librul/Rogue Scholar/ Helluvafella!) said...

JET It is difficult not to regard Robert Siegel as both a pimp and a whoor...he does both so well..

Juan "Toss" Ensalada said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Juan "Toss" Ensalada said...


HA! Siegel IS versitile. I will give you that!

In this case, Siegel is the Pimco pimp. And Bill Gross is the whore -- the quote whore -- providing us with the perfect tidbit, "win-win-win."

So, in reality, Siegel pimps Pimco to the audience, after he visits with Bill Gross. Thus, I'd might say that Siegel is first "the john," and second, the "pimp".

Versatile INDEED! He's a regular contortionist!


WarOnWarOff said...

Ooooh, just checked the comments over at the NPR website, Juan! Y'all NAILED Siegel but GOOD.

Anonymous said...

You know, it just occurred to me, MTW.

NPR is not all bad.

like its older Foxy sister it has one redeeming quality:

It actually acts as a good basis for debunking.

Your analysis applied to their "news" yields some very informative stuff.

It's actually not a bad way to learn the truth... if you have the time, patience (and plugged nose) to wade through all the manure.

Its kind of like learning physics by learning all false theories (many of them proposed by quacks cranks) that did not work.

Though, quite unlike the case with NPR and news, in most physics classes, you also tend to learn (at least every so often) the theories that are "correct" (ie, do explain the known facts)*

*I used to teach physics so I am speaking from experience, or at least i hope so. :)

Anonymous said...

hey, MTW, you've got company in the "NPR checking" department.

I think I may start a related website: "NPR(Up)Chuck(and die)"

Published on Wednesday, March 25, 2009 by CommonDreams.org
"On Health Care, Diane Rehm Makes Me Sick" -- by Russell Mokhiber

She makes me sick too. Her program is the usual think tank wanker propagandist garbage.

And on the even more depressing side of things, NPR has actually gained market share (ie, a share of the nitwits, of which there are millions in this country) and is more popular than ever.

but don't despair, blogs like yours are whittling away at the mainstream media's credibility. And George Bush did, after all, go from over a 90 % approval rating (immediately after 9/11) down to around 30% (the nitwit base: the Republican political equivalent of what we term "zero point energy" in physics)

Anonymous said...

As Chalmers Johnson said, "I don't read the New York Times to learn the news, I read it to learn the lies."

Paraphrasing, but that's pretty close to the above point.

Anonymous said...

I should make it clear, the comments after
by Russell Mokhiber are not Russell's but mine.

Rehhm makes Russell sick and me too.

And I'm sure we aren't alone.

I suspect that Diane Rehm is kind of like the plague in that regard.

Anonymous said...

As Chalmers Johnson said, "I don't read the New York Times to learn the news, I read it to learn the lies."

Don't have to read far...

From the "Paper of (broken) Record": All the News that's hit to print".

Sorry, that's a typo. my finger missed the key, fonest it did.

Dear A.I.G., I Quit!

I wonder: If an overpaid AIG executive (forgive the redundancy) cries about his "lost bonus" in an empty office with no one around to hear him, does he make a sound?

This gets more absurd by the day. This guy works for a company that would no longer exist were it not for the largesse of the American public.

no bonus? Give me an ....ing break. If not for the tax payer bailout, this guy and everyone else at AIG would be out on their arses.

And these clwons have the gall to tell us they are "owed" something? That it "isn't fair"?

Life isn't fair. get over it.

Anonymous said...

A couple comments regarding coverage of economic crisis:

1. TAL had a show a few weeks ago explaining the "banking problem" (toxic assets, balance sheets, etc.) Actually, it was very nicely done overall. But then they just couldn't finish it off, without playing the "it's really all our fault" card. They talked about the rise of the household debt to GDP ratio to 100% and said that was the "real problem", not bankers or regulators, or unbridled financial risk-taking by large institutions. No, the "real problem" was that "we" (read: middle-class and working class Americans) have been "living too high on the hog for too long". Basically repeating that long-discredited myth that the rise in household debt has been fueled by irresponsible consumption and credit card sprees, not by shrinking wages and rising living and health care costs.

2. Did you hear Marketplace a few days ago re: commentary on AIG bonus controversy? They invited two talking heads in to comment on whether it was a "distraction" or not. One woman, Heidi someone from WSJ, claimed it was a "complete distraction" and the result of a "populist circus". The "balancing voice" was a man who said it "is and isn't a distraction", but again even when arguing it isn't a distraction, seemed to be from the viewpoint of vested interests. Where was a "balancing voice" similar to Glenn Greenwald in his recent post "The virtues of public anger and the need for more"??

Maine Owl said...



Did Hagerty notice that these nice people are raising babies for cannon fodder (for both shooting AND political war)?

Anonymous said...

The AIG bonus scanadal is a distraction, but not for the reason most government officials and media people have in mind.

They think we the uninformed peons are getting hung up on our anger and that we should simply be more rational and get on with the Geithner plan to distribute hundreds of billions more in tax dollars to the companies that got us into this mess.

The bonuses (which are really small potatoes in the grand scehem of things) are taking the focus off the GIANT scam that is going down: using hundrerds of billions of tax dollars to bail out companies like AIG so that companies like Goldman Sachs and BofA lose precisely nothing on their bad investments (ie, so they get back 100 cents on every dollar they have invested in worthless junk) .

Eliot Spitzer and others have laid it all out for everyone to see. Anyone who wishes to, that is.

Anonymous said...

And on the even more depressing side of things, NPR has actually gained market share (ie, a share of the nitwits, of which there are millions in this country) and is more popular than ever. (anon post)

At the same time they are not able to keep up with their fundraising efforts according to the report I heard. But not to worry - the slide toward only "good news" and positive outlook reporting will no doubt result in lots of money coming in. WHYY is going almost nothing but positive news/spin/entertainment.

More inane laughter from male hosts is sure to draw the big cash.


Juan "Toss" Ensalada said...


Regarding NPR ratings bump, several items:

Comparing Arbitron to Neilson ratings (NPR to Good Morning America) is about as insipid as it gets. Some say, "apples to oranges." I'd say, more like "apples to bananas" or "apples to potatoes." And, anyone who makes the comparison is journalism's equivalent of a typing monkey.

As for Arbitron's math, I'd sure like to see how they calculate NPR listenership across media markets. However, since reportage of the data (and its calculations) is so restricted for non-profit used, it is unlikely that anyone will every dig into the math that deeply, especially when NPR can simply say, "Our numbers are up. Hooray for us."

The WaPo article regarding NPR numbers does state that this "shift" is likely due to the election cycle and the recent economic disaster. As I have said many times, "Nothing helps NPR ratings like bad news." However, just like the last time NPR numbers rose (9/11/2001), the numbers will eventually level, and ultimately fall off -- something that few journos reported over the past few years. NPR and member station numbers have been trending downward beginning in 2003-2004, if you believe Arbitron stats. However, almost every time you heard reportage about NPR since that time, few people (if any) have mentioned that NPR's ratings have trended steadily DOWNWARD for the past 5-6 years. Articles simply stated the current listeners as an ordinal comparison to other radio shows like Rush Limbaugh: #1 Limbaugh, #2 Morning Editions, #3 All Things Considered.

Another thing that Arbitron numbers could reveal, if reported with some context is to what degree NPR has increased its share at the expense of its member stations. For example, how many listeners are bypassing their member stations as NPR succeeds to end-around them by distributing their content via the NPR site, in many instances before member stations have broadcast those same shows over the airwaves in media markets across the country. I live in the Mountain Time Zone, but I work on East Coast Time for a company located in Washington DC. When I get up at 6:00 a.m., local time, I can stream Morning Edition -- without interruption -- via my computer. And, I have been doing this for about 3 years now. What is the real numerical effect, in audience, and cost, in dollars, to member stations for everyone who listens to NPR content in this way? Will the WaPo investigate and report about that? Will NPR tell its listeners about that? Will member stations complain to NPR about that?

NPR had better not be patting itself on the back to hard for its audience spike, because real systemic problems exist for radio -- both commercial and non-commercial. The biggest problem, noted in the WaPo article is that bad economic news, while it may have netted NPR some higher ratings, it didn't translate into more corporate support.

The irony with that fact is this. Had NPR been ahead of these financial and political disasters, by instead challenging much of the conventional, financial and political wisdom of the past 8 years, they could have increased listenership over the long term, while losing precious dollars from corporate underwriters in the short term. Then maybe we'd be all better off. As it stands now, NPR and its member stations are in a financial bind, and who are member stations appealing to bail them out? Individual supporters. Where are businesses during this time? Standing in line, waiting for a handout from taxpayers.

Pay you once, shame on you. Pay you twice, shame on me.


Juan "Toss" Ensalada said...


You are so funny, guffaw, guffaw, guffaw, chortle, snort, chortle, snort...

As for Morning/Weekend Edition...

And when it comes to laughter, Steve Inskeep and Scott Simon are BFFs.

As for This American Life...

I think Ira Glass and Adam Davidson are NPR's equivalent of the "Ambiguously Gay Duo." If you added Ari Shapiro, you could call it a "Trio."

Don't you just love the NPR "sound"?


Juan "Toss" Ensalada said...


Two recent observations regarding mis-matched NPR reporters and stories.

Tom Gjelten (national security) does a story about AIG.

Elizabeth Blair (arts) does a story about local government.

Seems to me that NPR cracks are starting to show. I guess Planet Monkey can't cover the entire economic and financial beat?


miranda said...


Thanks for the informative analyses of NPR's ratings "surge." Very, very interesting info.

Since you mentioned it, might I just say how much I loathe Ira Glass' "This American Life"? Hasn't that "style" (first-person stories narrated to a groovy backbeat) gotten a little tired? But NPR listeners think it's the hippest thing around; about ten years ago I had to attend his live stage show, and the beards-and-Rockports crowd came out in droves.

Juan "Toss" Ensalada said...


Thanks. You are correct TAL and Ira Glass are about as cool as my grandpa's cardigan.

As for Scott Simon and Steve Inskeep, they are about as hip as The Today Show, circa 1985. Koffee Klatch Krap.


bigz!pinkz!fuzzyz!bunnyz! said...

Yah yah, their numbers may be ostensibly growing... but so are their critics becoming exponentially vociverous.

And for the record, This American Drone lost me on day one - does EVERYBODY have to orate in that dull monotone to get on the show?!

Furthermore, I maintain that Jim Zoroly (sp? don't care) wins it for NPR She-Male of the Year, if I may be so petty.

gopol said...

I suffered through a bit of "This American Life" one these groovy hipsters who knows all about something because he went to college once is interviewing his nephew, who has apparently dropped out to pursue "ditch digging" as a career. Ostensibly, the point being cued was that to get a job in the new economy, you must have a college degree but I could smell it coming - the old switcheroo twist of story that makes these radio dramas so compelling! The WSJ economist expert lady brought in to mediate the discussion said that ditch digging is a skill that can't be outsourced and so why stay in college? Why go to night school? "There's nothing ever on she said. So I don't know why you bother."

Porter Melmoth said...

All the citations in this entry are sterling examples of how embarrassingly rinkydink the entity called NPR is. Let's face it again, folks, NPR is a stale dose of borax that washed up on the obscure shore of Banality Island. It just isn't very good radio, and what's more, its subversive qualities are not only a great disappointment but an insult to the public's potential intelligence.

Rx for NPR: scrap it and start over. Or just scrap it and leave it at that.

Woody (Tokin Librul/Rogue Scholar/ Helluvafella!) said...

I first heard Diane Rehm, where her brand of mindless, status quo quasi-centrism was regarded as the epitome of left/lib/rad/commie/fag approval.

Apart from the disphonia which afflicts her voice and makes her almost unlistenable to me, or I should say, even beyond that, I cannot listen to her because she never, ever finds anything to contradict, or to rebuke, from the reeking spew of the odious propagandists who are her stock-in-trade.

Kevan Smith said...

Hmmm, NPR seems determined to redo an Obama administration budget so that it spends less money. They trot out people calling for cuts here, slashes there, all aimed at 'reducing the deficit.' But you know what I haven't heard proposed by anyone on NPR?* Cuts in military spending, the biggest part of the federal budget.

*OK, Barney Frank once, and he was sneered at.

Porter Melmoth said...

Indeed, Kevan, military-industrial spending is always the farting hog in the room, which everyone daintily overlooks. That's what confining two hideous wars to 'supplemental budgets' is all about.

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous at 12:26 pm:

You make a very good point. However, the reason the elites are concerned about populist anger over AIG bonuses is not because they need the public to "be more rational and get on with the Geithner plan". They don't need our support, as a majority of middle-income Americans already oppose more bailouts to financial industry, and 2/3 recognize it's going into the pockets of those who caused the problem in the first place.

The reason the elites are concerned about populist anger over AIG bonuses is because more people are waking up to the fact they've been pulling the strings all along for years, and that threatens the fact they don't need our support.

They're scared that all this populist rage might find itself organizing and getting chanelled into productive processes. They're scared people might start actually voicing themselves to their elected officials. They're afraid a populist/progressive movement like that 75-100 years ago might come about. They couldn't care less whether we're "on board" with the Geithner plan.

Anonymous said...

RE the AIG exec whose letter of resignation was printed inthe NY TIMES

I think Matt Taibbi's "letter to Jake DeSantis" has it about right:

"Consider yourself lucky [Jake]. But your company went belly-up and broke, almost certainly thanks in part to you, and now you don't get your bonus. So be a man and deal with it. The rest of us do, when we get bad breaks, and we've had a lot more of them than you. And stop whining. Jesus Christ."

"AIG Exec Whines About Public Anger, and Now We're Supposed to Pity Him? Yeah, Right"

By Matt Taibbi, AlterNet. Posted March 26, 2009.
//end quote

Here's my two cents:

I would only add one thing to Matt's letter: and "H" to "Jesus Christ"

Jesus H. Christ.

MTW: That's not profanity, but an appeal to the Lord (for strength to restrain ourselves from tearing our own hair out)

Anonymous said...

They couldn't care less whether we're "on board" with the Geithner plan."


And the real irony is that what they (Geithner, Obama and members of Congress on both sides of the aisle) have called a "distraction" (the bonus scandal) really is a distraction that works in their favor.
AS long as people keep watching the bonus ball bounce and have their anger focused on AIG execs, they will NOT focus their attention and anger on the REAL scam and the people in our government who are perpetrating it.

But I'd bet there are some VERY worried people in Washington right now, because this really has the potential to shake up the status quo in the White House and Congress.

EG Chris Dodd (who removed the bonus limiting language from the bailout bill at the "request" of geithner) is actually worried about getting re-elected, when, by all rights, he should have been a shoe in for another term.

Woody (Tokin Librul/Rogue Scholar/ Helluvafella!) said...

Mebbe it's just me, but I think that, in any kind of even just nominal 'democracy, NO candidate should be a "shoe-in" in her/his next campaign.

Every candidate should draw legitimate, viable opposition, every time, from WITHIN their own party...

Anonymous said...

I posted this in the "Lethal Contradictions" thread, but is directly applicable to the comment about the AIG bonus "distraction" and the comment that "They [geithner, Obama et al] couldn't care less whether we're "on board" with the Geithner plan."

These are the kinds of questions NPR (and the rest of the MSM in this country) NEVER asks:

"Who is pulling Geithner's strings?"

Hint: It ain't Obama and, as mentioned above, Geithner cut his teeth (and made his connections) at Kissinger Associates.

Like Bush before him, Obama has very little control over what happens. He's a puppet (despite his claims to the contrary: "I'm not a puppet, I'm a REAL boy").

It is no accident that Geithner and his puppetmaster Summers were "appointed" (or is it "anointed"?) by Obama.

These people move around on the world stage, but never really leave it (not even when they are "fired" , which happens very rarely anyway)

Finally, with regard to Chris Dodd (my senator) Like most other Senators. He's been in Congress FAR too long. That's the biggest problem of all, in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

Many of the non-news shows (as defined by NPR)will be discussed in my new book:

The Evil of Banality