Monday, September 28, 2009

Sneering, NPR Style

Reader Porter Melmoth commented below about Robert Smith's Friday ATC takedown on Oliver Stone's film about Hugo Chavez. Porter notes,
"I just heard Robert Smith's assessment of Oliver Stone's Hugo Chavez film. You think WE'RE snotty at this blog? Smith couldn't help but mock and snipe and complain. 'Stone didn't even ask Chavez one challenging question!' he moans."

Listen Smith, Stone's not doing public broadcasting. He's doing an independent film. That means he can make a film of Chavez' cufflink collection if he wants to. At NPR, the home of consistently challenging questions, I guess the serious reporters there just don't remember stuff like that."
It is a point well-taken. I heard the review, and was taken aback by Smith's snide and superior attitude. Here's a sample of Smith at his NPR best:

  • [on Chavez' attire] "chic tomato colored turtleneck"
  • "he [Oliver Stone] does dabble in documentaries"
  • "it might be difficult to call this movie a documentary"
  • "the most outlandish things that the US media has said about Hugo Chavez....Oliver Stone takes the film to the opposite an angel sent to save South America."
  • "Stone, the man famous for his conspiracy theories and questioning of the official story, never asks a single challenging question."
  • "he doesn't talk about the Amnesty International report criticizing the country for human rights abuses. Stone never interviews a single average citizen of Venezuela instead he jets around the region to talk to Chavez's allies and hang out with them."
  • "the point as always in an Oliver Stone film is that Oliver Stone keeps complete control. That's a trick that even Hugo Chavez might admire."

Well, how about those assertions? Since when is a turtle-neck chic? Dabbles in documentaries...does Smith fancy that NPR ever does more than dabble in journalism? The opposite extreme - as if praising Chavez is the same as claiming he's as bad as Bin Laden or as undemocratic as Castro. Doesn't ask a "challenging question" - not like NPR's history of challenging questions. Doesn't talk about the Amnesty report? Since when does NPR give a rats ass about Amnesty Reports (Colombia, Honduras, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, etc.)? Chavez's allies - I think Smith means virtually all the leaders of South America except for Uribe of Colombia. And what film director doesn't exercise complete control? Oh, but that little swipe helps him slur Chavez.

It is worth considering this piece of unoriginal, lazy and utterly predicable Chavez-bashing in light of Glenn Greenwald's latest piece on how the US corporate and corporate-loyal media treats "good guys" and "bad guys" around the world (even NPR gets a mention!)


larry, dfh said...

Who would fund a film if they thought the director wasn't in complete control? This interview is steeped in petty jealousy.

big!pink!fuzzy!bunnybarf! said...

I recollected when Bawwlb Edwards helmed ME (ha-ha, as in -'Shill) and was given an opportunity to sound off on Michael Moore's motion picture at the time (forget if it was [i]Columbine[/i] or [i]Fahrenheit[/i]) but the aforemention sneered "What's he trying to prove?"

Coming soon, NPR in partnership with TMZ!

miranda said...

b!p!f!b!: "Bawwlb" is exactly how he says it.

Brilliant analyses in the posts and comments. This site becomes more invaluable every day.

Porter Melmoth said...

Yes gang, NPR is almost too easy to critique these days, as their obviousness moves into potshot range, as it were.

I can just imagine Smith and his associates, planning to 'get' Oliver Stone some way. And because NPR is too lofty to do 'gotcha' attacks, why not do a snot-fest, which is wholly permitted?

I recall Joanne Silburned-out's sniveling hissy-fit about Michael Moore's 'Sicko'. It wasn't really that hissy, mainly because she is such a dreary personality, but one could detect the jealousy and contempt for Mike's film.

PS: For the record, Smith, you will be further enraged to know that Stone has also done what is probably a valuable historical document: filming his encounters with Castro, which have been virtually censored in the US and available only in PAL formats abroad, to save delicate 'Muricans from being corrupted by any satanic charms.

Porter Melmoth said...

'Bawwld' - I love that! I had forgotten...

It's right up there with Blob Siegel's pursed, curlicue piffling, Linda Werthenwhatever's attempts at sounding like Tallulah Bankhead or Kate Hepburn (class, dahling!), Susan Steeammbirg's down hominess in Joisey, Auntie Liane's spoiled middle child tones, and countless others.

What a miserable cast - MISERABLE.

Plea to Oliver Stone: rip NPR a new one with a searing drama set in a public broadcasting environment.

Plea to Michael Moore: make a riveting documentary on broadcast media; nakedness mandatory.

b! said...


Porter Melmoth said...

I mean 'Bawwlb', not 'Bawwld', of course, b!

My bald dimbulb is showing...