Back on June 8, 2009 NPR's ombudsman wrote, "I'm a big fan of blogs and of reading listener opinions. I plan on updating my own blog more frequently over the next few months." Alicia Shepard's more frequent posts have been illuminating, to say the least. If you want to get a glimpse into how establishment media (in this case NPR) justifies its subservience to power Shepard's posts are a great place to start:
- In June, there was her attempt (and even worse follow-up attempt) to justify NPR's refusal to call torture torture when carried out by US agents.
- On July 8th, Shepard claims that an insultingly stupid piece about the health care "public plan" was a "laudable attempt."
- By July 14th Shepard touts NPR's excellence based on - not content, accuracy, courage, or depth, but - the perceptions of a listeners survey! For Shepard, it's all about views: "...most listeners who contact us appear to fit into the liberal category, and many complain that NPR's reporting does not mirror their views."
- On July 20th Shepard is praising Cronkite for making Watergate a story when others wouldn't because he "sensed there was something more to the story than a third-rate burglary." It never occurs to Shepard that such praise rings pretty hollow when her employer can't even sense "something more" when the story is right in their face (e.g. fixed intelligence, vote caging, FISA lawbreaking, detainees tortured to death, etc).
"The decision not to devote a lot of attention to single-payer, I'm told, is based on pragmatism.And that brings us to this morning's report from...yep...Julie Rovner about "Providing Better Health Care for Less Money." This is the second major feature (the first was on June 29, 2009) that NPR has devoted to the supposed wonders of providing great Insurance Industry Care for less money. A quick look at the sources for this morning's report shows that the Insurance Industrial Complex definitely knows how to set the table.
'This issue is not getting a lot of attention from NPR because it's simply not on the table in Congress,' said Julie Rovner, NPR's lead reporter covering the health care overhaul."
Rovner's star expert in the report is Don Berwick of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI). On NPR's website, you also can see that the other experts for this report were Elliot Fisher of the Dartmouth Institute (him again), Dr. Atul Gawande of Brigham and Women's Hospital (a founding member of the Blue-Cross loving Partners Healthcare - a "non-profit" association whose CEO pulled down a cool $1.37 million in 2007 - from IRS 990 at Guidestar)
Looking into Berwick and the IHI is also eye-opening. Take a look at the lower part of the IHI page describing "donors" to its programs - its 5 million lives campaign received over $5 million from Blue Cross and Blue Shield. IHI has also been pretty good to Don Berwick - to the tune of $637,000 in 2008 - from IRS 990 at Guidestar)
NPR's health care coverage is definitely based on pragmatism - it just all depends what (and how much) is on the table.