Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Tea Party Radio

Fox News makes no bones about endorsing the extreme-right, proud-to-be-stupid Tea Party Express, but NPR is a bit more subtle in its pro-Tea Bagger coverage. Over the last three days it has provided this reactionary tour frequent, uncritical broadcasting time:

On Sunday's Weekend Edition Liane Hansen introduces NPR's Jay Brady who is traveling with this road show. In a completely uncritical report Brady makes these statements:
  • "Well, I've been to four rallies now, in two days, and talked with quite a few people. Most of them, I'd say they're over 40 years old, and in general, they appear to be folks who work pretty hard for a living." (unlike the dirty hippie crowd who show up at antiwar functions).
  • "And they talk about all kinds of issues....But I think the one thing that just about everyone had in common is that they feel like they're not being heard." (No mention of the really thoughtful signs about "dictator" Obama, and his birth certificate.)
  • [describing the "mood" at the rallies] "You know, they feel a lot like a small county fair. People are serious about what's being discussed at the rallies, but it seems like they're also there to have fun." (I can imagine time traveling Brady using the same description reporting on early 20th century lynchings.)
In case you didn't get enough of this poison tea, Jeff Brady is back on Monday morning, giving more love to these hard working, honest volk who no one listens to:
  • "A political action committee from California is sponsoring the bus tour...the Our Country Deserves Better PAC. The goal is to bring together different groups concerned about what he calls heavy handed government policies."
  • "At the tea party rally, there were few, if any, fans of Mr. Obama and plenty of critics."
  • "...There were also people holding signs criticizing government involvement in health care and excessive federal spending. The scene a few hours away in Ely was similar. This is a place where people are comfortable using language most others left behind with the end of the Cold War." [followed by a woman claiming "We don't need a communist nation. And that's what Obama's taking us to."]
  • "Tea Party Express Chief Strategist Sal Russo says people, who come to these rallies aren't super focused on specific issues. He says they are motivated by broad ideals."
  • "A lot of people attending these rallies say they feel left out, as if no one in Washington is listening to them anymore."
Of course Brady and the Morning Edition hosts offer no check to the utter insanity of claims of socialism or communism - on the contrary NPR lends respectability and legitimacy to the extremist ideology of the Tea Bagger movement through Brady's repetition of the claim to "broad ideals" and his earlier remarks about participants being "serious about what's being discussed."

Still not sold on the salt-of-the-earth charm and idealism of these Tea Party know-nothings? Well, Tuesday evening's spotlight on the singing darling of the tea party mob should win you over for sure. Gosh, but golly, not only is he spouting the Obamunist-communist stupidity and encouraging populist reactionary zeal, but "he's black, has a ponytail and wears an earring"! Brady assures us that
"what's surprising about Marcus is that while he can be a little pointed at times, he also appears to have a lot of fun" and "Marcus knows what he believes and he's sticking with it."
One really disturbing angle of NPR's favorable coverage of the public face of this movement, is how it completely ignores how similar the ideology and rhetoric of the Tea Bagger movement is to the resurgent militia movement. Also, as readers have noted, compare this positive saturation coverage of the Tea Party reactionaries to NPR's negative and non-coverage of the anti-war movement and you can't help but notice how far to the right NPR's editorial preferences lean...


Anonymous said...

This is quite mystifying. I heard the first two reports and got the impression that NPR was willfully ignoring the controversial aspects of the teabaggers -- details that have a been a feature of reports on this "movement" since it began in the spring. Did they think we weren't going to notice? Did they actually think we were going to say "Wow, those teabaggers are actually splendid fellows, not a bunch of cranks, racists, wingnuts and lunatics as we have been led to believe. Thanks NPR!"

Juan "Toss" Ensalada said...

Salts of the Earth -- with guns. I'm going to read "It Can't Happen Here" again.


Anonymous said...

It is no secret that NPR is run by Libertarian types so it is no surprise that they would support this kind of stuff on an ongoing basis.

The fact that NPR even covers these fruitcakes(when they regularly remain silent on far more important things like the fraud in the banking system that led to the meltdown, where all the bailout money has gone, downing street minutes (way back when), conflicts of interest of Senators and others opposing health care reform, etc, etc speaks volumes about NPR's biases.

I had to laugh out loud when i read this part "I think the one thing that just about everyone had in common is that they feel like they're not being heard."

funny NPR never said that about the 70+% of the population when we had the Bush Cheney gang "leading us" (off the cliff).

or for that matter, NPR has never said that about those who favor Single payer, US out of Iraq and Afghanistan, prosecution of the Bush torturemeisters etc, etc.

NPR inevitably dismisses the latter as "disaffected liberals" [NPR's catch all phrase with anyone who disagrees with what Bush/Cheney did].

I remember first learning about "propaganda" techniques back in 7th grade social studies class and it occurs to me that NPR uses every single one of those techniques on a regular basis.

They are really different from Fox ONLY in degree (and only a couple degrees at that) and subtlety (NPR is a little more in your face -- just a little).

Anonymous said...

meant to say Fox is a little more in your face..

but now that i think about it, it's six of one, a half dozen of the other

Porter Melmoth said...

Yes indeed, NPR, Fox and their kind - the usual suspects - are doing their utmost to encourage people to abandon civilized behavior in favor of reactionary and sensational (thus, ratings-boosting) emotionalism.

My head-shaking cynicism reverts to: we are witnessing a civilization in rapid decline.

My occasions of optimism reply with: if we had a responsible media that preferred intelligence to profit, things need not go this way.

An idealistic humanitarian might say: these people (e.g. Teabaggers) need HELP, not enablement. The media is enabling them to make utter fools out of themselves.

Indeed, the militia movement represents the same kind of benighted mental perversions, rooted in selfishness, mind#@$*s, and deep personal unhappiness.

Nevertheless, my verdict after this mini-seminar: a civilization in decline.

I would consider it an honor to be proven wrong.

Anonymous said...

The real irony is most of those at NPR undoubtedly have nothing but contempt for most of these folks.

Can you imagine what Cokie Roberts, Steve Inskeep, Terry Gross and the others must say about the tea baggers in their private conversations?

They are basically using the tea baggers to further their own (libertarian) agenda.

The tea baggers are basically their proxies.

Porter Melmoth said...

Good point, Anon.

NPR-niks clearly have no choice but to be elitists. From Cokie's 'but the Democrats' to Ari's nasally inflections, everyone at NPR HQ looks down on the Great Unwashed with either amusement or repugnance.

Porter Melmoth said...

I can imagine my good Phil Reeves entering NPR HQ and thinking, 'Get me the hell out of here - NOW!'

A back alley in Bombay has more soul and more humanity than that sterile place...


This FOX-lite smooth jazz propaganda is really disturbing given the lack of any coverage on the broadcast side of the (14?) Teabaggers showing up gun a couple of weeks ago.

I bet the guys with guns were having a lot of fun too.

Anonymous said...

Here are the propaganda techniques used by NPR just for that tea bagger report:

"they appear to be folks who work pretty hard for a living."
(Plain Folks)

they are motivated by broad ideals."
(Glittering Generalities, Assertion)

"people are comfortable using language most others left behind with the end of the Cold War."

"We don't need a communist nation. And that's what Obama's taking us to."
(Testimonials, Name calling, Simplification, Pinpointing the enemy)

"The goal is to bring together different groups concerned about what he calls heavy handed government policies."
(Assertion, simplification, pinpointing the enemy )

Of course, the whole NPR report on the tea baggers is an example of the "Bandwagon" technique, since the goal is to make it appear that these people represent a much larger fraction of the American public than they do.

And NPR makes almost constant use of "card stacking" (here and elsewhere) when they omit highly relevant information (dictator Obama, birth certificate nonsense, etc)

Sadly, almost every "news" report that NPR produces is chock full of such examples of their use of these propaganda techniques.

Pathetically, they don't even try to hide their use of such techniques. Most of them are blatant.

beeeg!peeeenk!feeeezy!beeeeny! said...

So glad I have shunned NoPR for 'Teen Kid's News' - much more substance. Tee hee hee~

Anonymous said...

NPR exists only to "pacify" the American management class.


Cliff said...

I took photos of the Sacramento Tea Party Express event. Take a look at the photos: