Monday, July 06, 2009

Q Tips

NPR related comments welcomed.

25 comments:

JayV said...

Well, I see that FAIR has also chimed in on Shepard's refusal to chat with Greenwald

http://www.fair.org/blog/2009/07/06/npr-ombud-dodges-torture-reporting-critic/

Kevan Smith said...

My latest comment on the torture thing:

I was just looking at some back story on NPR and torture.

In 2007, Anne Garrels interviewed prisoners who had been interrogated by the Mahdi Army. Garrels said “the three detainees had clearly been tortured.” She then went on to detail their confessions as if they were credible.

Many NPR listeners then complained, prompting Ombdudsman Alicia Shepard to write at the time, “evidence obtained through torture is not credible, nor is it good journalistic practice.”

Now, she’s written that what constitutes torture is a matter for debate because some officials claim “waterboarding terrorism suspects was necessary to protect the nation's security.”

So, what I’m wondering is, if torture produces no credible evidence, how does torturing people protect the nation’s security?

Juan "Toss" Ensalada said...

KS-

Nice bit of logic. However, because of NPR's constant spin, the centrifugal force prevents good information from penetrating. Either that or maybe it's because its dense, uncritical mass. Maybe both?

-JET

boog!poonk!fizzy!binny! said...

Oh for true, Juan. Lots of machinery in play, with the prime objective of obfuscation, deflection, projection and jus' plain ol' fallin' in a pile of *ahem* and comin' out smellin' like a rose (if only in their own inpenetrable estimation).

b!p!f!PS! said...

Oh, this AM blearily half-awoke to headlines (my only self-sanctioned exposure to "them"). Didn't catch the whole dispatch, but the voiceprint was registering as just another one of those patented NPR she-males; well shiver me timbers, the sign-off id'ed as our esteemed, highly decorated Maj-Gen Ann Garrels!

It's just scary stuff tryin' to distinguish the goylz from th' boyz on there.

b!p!M III said...

On the other side of the broadcast spectrum, "NOW on PBS" o'er the weekend past participated in an experiment in miniature as a demonstration how sea ice helps to buffer a rise in water temperature, and after that ice melts... well the graph told the tale succinctly enough. Jr High science, what better way to bring the point home!

Now were this dire topic covered on All Thinktanks Considered or Mourning Sedation they'd have featured "balance" from some corporate-groomed nay-sayer to explain away how water in its frozen state has an inherently liberal bias.

biggerbox said...

Was I dreaming, or did Morning Edition do an entire piece on the public option in the health care bill by using a third-grade level analogy with flying on an airliner to Healthytown?

I don't know which is more upsetting, that they feel that their listeners need to have things explained to them like slow children, that their 'dumbed down' analogy was wrong and misleading, or that it was the ENTIRE STORY.

I've grown used to them using stupid analogies as a way to introduce more serious stories, but to have the silly analogy be the whole thing? What the frack?

Plus, if you are an adult who has been following the issues, you realize that health insurance isn't even close to something like an airline ticket, and that using airlines as a metaphor for insurance companies is completely misleading. And "Healthytown"? Seriously?

So now it's National Pediatric Radio?

Anonymous said...

Alicia Shepard my be the Queen of Newspeak but Obama is the king:

In a pair of separate interviews, President Obama defended his administration's response to the economic crisis in the wake of Vice President Joe Biden's remark Sunday that "we misread how bad the economy was."

"I would actually -- rather than say misread, we had incomplete information," President Obama told NBC News' Chuck Todd.


Got that?
"Incomplete information"

As if it is actually possible in economics (or anything else) to have "complete information".

Besides, the primary reason Obama and his team of economic geniuses got it so wrong (they predicted unemployment would already have peaked at 8% when it has already blown far past that and stands at 9.5% with no peak in sight) is that they refused to listen to people who actually understand economics (Nobel laureates Paul Krugman and joe Stiglitz)


Obama is the guy who campaigned "leveling with" the American people.

Anonymous said...

Come to think of it, perhaps Obama meant "leveling the American people" rather than "leveling with the American people".

Porter Melmoth said...

"So now it's National Pediatric Radio?"

Never was this oft-used phrase so applicable: 'When I was no longer a child, I put away childish things.'
(best used by Burt Lancaster in 'Elmer Gantry')

Anonymous said...

Besides, the primary reason Obama and his team of economic geniuses got it so wrong (they predicted unemployment would already have peaked at 8% when it has already blown far past that and stands at 9.5% with no peak in sight) is that they refused to listen to people who actually understand economics (Nobel laureates Paul Krugman and joe Stiglitz)


If I remember right the so-callled stress tests for banks were based on a scenario of 8.8% unemployment. I'll bet NPR's crack Capitalist Squad is out asking how this unemployment figure of 9.5% (and rising) might affect banks. I am waiting Planet Money/MarketPlace.

edk

Anonymous said...

That was then:

Stated with reference to the Anne Garrels interview of individuals who had been "tortured" (according to garrels herself):

“evidence obtained through torture is not credible, nor is it good journalistic practice.” -- NPR ombudsman Alicia Shepard

This is now:

Stated as an excuse for why NPR does not use torture to describe waterboarding and other "harsh interrogation methods" used by the Bush administration:

"To me, it makes more sense to describe the techniques and skip the characterization." -- Alicia Shepard

Shepard is nothing if not inconsistent.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if NPR will get around to investigating the current status of Bush Strategic Doctrine which amounts to "We reserve the right to nuke anyone that is, may become, or even thinks about challenging US hegemony".

If they could just cut the 5 minutes of Ham cooked in hard cider segment then . . . Oh wait, NPR listeners/contributors really do want to know about cider and ham because things like blowing the world up over competing economic systems makes most of their listeners barf.

edk

Anonymous said...

If I remember right the so-callled stress tests for banks were based on a scenario of 8.8% unemployment.

Somehow i doubt the unemployment rate even entered into the "stress test equations" [you know, the equivalent of E=mc^2 in physics] -- or if it did, it had a "0" multiplier in front of it (to make the math easier for those genius economists)

gopol said...

I think the derivatives were also left out of the stress test.

Anonymous said...

Anon & GOPOL:

Are you all sayin that NPR reported on the stress tests but the stress tests were . . . bogus? That can't be true cause the folks at Capital Central said they were valid.

edk

Anonymous said...

Compare the obituary of Robert McNamara on NPR to the one that appears in McClatchy (by Joseph Galloway)

Not once does NPR use the phrase "war criminal", not even as in "McNamara was considered a war criminal by many" [a fact].

As with 'torture", NPR seems to have a pronounced aversion (allergy?) to the terms "war criminal" and "war crimes", except when they are talking about people like Milosevic or Saddam Hussein of course.

Here's NPR's watered down version of what the "anti-war movement' thought of McNamara (as told by historian Douglas Brinkley, who works for James Baker Institute for Public Policy and calls McNamara "the all-purpose whipping boy" for Vietnam" [the poor dear])

"The anti-war movement saw him as a liar with blood on his hands who fudged facts, misinformed the president,"

My my, sounds pretty much like most of the people who pass through the White House (irrespective of who happens to be president)

Juan "Toss" Ensalada said...

@biggerbox,

Re: "Healthytown", by April Fulton, on Morning Edition today. "Freelancer" April Fulton's other work: Full of Freakin' Fluff!

JET

Anonymous said...

it is also interesting to contrast how NPR and galloway characterize Mcnamara's later years:

NPR "Robert McNamara spent the last chapter of his life striving mightily to atone for the sins — his sins — of Vietnam."

galloway:

"Back in 1990 I had a series of strange phone conversations with McMamara while doing research for my book We Were Soldiers Once And Young. McNamara prefaced every conversation with this: "I do not want to comment on the record for fear that I might distort history in the process." Then he would proceed to talk for an hour, doing precisely that with answers that were disingenuous in the extreme — when they were not bald-faced lies."

"When McNamara published his first book — filled with those distortions of history — Halberstam, at his own expense, set out on a journey following McNamara on his book tour around America as a one-man truth squad."

So, on the one hand (NPR version), we have a repentent mcNamara trying to atone for his sins and on the other (Galloway), we have a McNamara bent on twisting history to make himself appear in a better light.

I suppose NPR thinks they have to give the "balanced view".

Can you imagine how NPR would report on them if Stalin or Hitler had been Americans?

We'd have the NPR "balanced view":

According to some crackpot left wingers, "Hitler murdered 6 million Jews" (which some [Hitler, Goering, Goebells] would debate, so NPR will instead refer to this as "gas-induced enhanced sleep")

According to a Historian at the centrist think USS Enter (andwinna)prize Institute: "Hitler did wonders for the German economy (and the Holocaust is a hoax)"

gopol said...

juan & biggerbox,

The airplane analogy caught me in a loving embrace with my wife: we wilted in simultaneous shame at bearing witness to the utter wrongness of this analogy.

While April Fulton may be an expert on purchasing mattresses that feature "memory foam" and "latex toppers" that will "insulate you from a restless bed partner's every movement" - that she is allowed to opine on health care with this asinine analogy is just further evidence of the utter contempt the NPR program managers have for their audience.

larry, dfh said...

I heard the mcnamara obit. Never mentioned were his role in the Tokyo firebombing, or the number of Vietnamese killerd: 2million (not all und LBJ). Bob mac-the-knife was a bloody mother, but hey, he had important friends.

The Boss of You said...

Thank god someone has commented on the absurdity of the Healthyville 'story'. I post my outrages on my Facebook page and all I get is 'I like NPR.'

miranda said...

That figures. Facebook is the social-networking equivalent of NPR - bland and superficial.

Anonymous said...

theBoss:

"I post my outrages on my Facebook page and all I get is 'I like NPR."

The fact is, there are many people that do like NPR because in NPRville there are no unjust wars or brutality, no lying,scheming, double-dealing sacks of crap calling themselves "selfless servants of the people". No one goes hungry (unless it is a new "fad" sweeping the foodies) and we all have homes. The food we eat and the air we breath are pristine and that is guaranteed by Federal/State watchdogs.

And in NPRville one can simply close one's eyes and accept that all is right in the world.

edk

Anonymous said...

Alicia Shepard will be at the Newseum on Saturday to explain the role of Ombudsman. I e-mailed to object and wondered how they squared her statements about gathering intel and sadism.

edk