If you've been following events recently, you know that NPR listeners are a bit pissed off at the assist NPR and its ombudsman have given to US torturers by refusing to call their actions that cause "severe physical or mental pain or suffering" torture. In her bumbling explanation of why torture is not torture, Ombudsman Shepard stated that she was against "using loaded language."
Of late I've noticed a descriptor that has become part of the working vocabulary of NPR staff. Can you spot it in these recent stories?
- Morning Edition, June 19, 2009 NPR's macho war guy, Tom Bowman is interviewing Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal, who is in charge of nearly 90,000 U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan, says, "Your experience is in the area of special operations. You're basically a hunter-killer. You've hunted down bad guys like Saddam Hussein...."
- Weekend Edition Sunday, July 5, 2009 Liane Hansen is interviewing RAND "expert" Christine Fair about the US Marine offensive in Afghanistan. Fair is talking about all the players involved in the poppy/narcotics trafficking and says "so you've got quite a mix of bad guys in this part of Afghanistan....a counterinsurgency approach is really not about killing the bad guys as much as it is about securing the population...."
- Morning Edition, July 6, 2009 Tom Gjelten is reporting on the CIA's recruitment of Wall Street "pros" and hands the microphone to a recent recruit whose pseudonym is Alex. With no irony - and of course no comment from Gjelten - Alex brags, "There's no question that an understanding of the global financial system and how money moves from place to place and sort of the economic motivations of the bad guys that we look at are all important skills that I've been able to transfer from investment banking."
or Captain America against the commies -
or Captain America, leader of US warnography in general
but, I think we all know where this stupid good guy versus bad guy crap leads, don't we [hurl alert!]-
After all just who are the "good guys" when it comes to handing over the Treasury to Goldman Sachs and friends, or to pulverizing Afghan civilians, or to the CIA and US military working some of its non-torture "harsh interrogation" magic on detainees?
I have a modest suggestion for NPR: every time one of its reporters or newsreaders uses the phrase "bad guys" or features a guest using it without any comment from the reporter, that person gets fined $1000 and has to give it to either Amnesty International, the ACLU, the Center For Constitutional Rights - or some other bunch of [hee, hee] good guys...