Saturday, October 03, 2009

Honest Debate - NPR Style

Last Saturday Scott Sermon made this claim about the US war in Afghanistan:
"There is honest debate now about whether the United States should commit more troops to Afghanistan, or withdraw them."
I'm not sure where Simon was hearing "an honest debate" - definitely not on NPR. A case in point was this Friday's ATC which featured a report from Don Gonyea on Obama's coming decision about troop levels in Afghanistan. Following the Thursday feature on Iran (see below) where NPR opted for a thoroughly discredited former UN inspector over one whom history has vindicated - NPR turns to the same playbook, aiming as low as possible in seeking an "expert" to weigh in on whether President Obama will, as Robert Siegel says, "approve a huge troop buildup there."

Most of the piece features ├╝ber-Neocon Eliot Cohen attacking the possibility that Obama might not follow the advice of General McChrystal to send 40,000 more soldiers to Afghanistan. The most unbelievable statement from Cohen was the following:
"If people come away from this thinking, well, the reason why he cut down the request from 40,000 to 25,000 is to make this more palatable for Nancy Pelosi, he has just created another set of problems for himself. And what's worse, he's created problems for our soldiers in the field."
Gonyea doesn't question or challenge this slur from a man who, in an homage to aggression, wrote in the WSJ in November of 2001, "the U.S. should continue to target regimes that sponsor terrorism. Iraq is the obvious candidate, having not only helped al Qaeda...." In April of 2002, Cohen also signed on to this kind of rubbish that contributed to the death of over 1,000,000 Iraqis and 4000 US soldiers:
Furthermore, Mr. President, we urge you to accelerate plans for removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq. As you have said, every day that Saddam Hussein remains in power brings closer the day when terrorists will have not just airplanes with which to attack us, but chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons, as well. It is now common knowledge that Saddam, along with Iran, is a funder and supporter of terrorism against Israel. Iraq has harbored terrorists...and it maintains links to the Al Qaeda network.
It is truly mind-blowing how NPR and the corporate media operates. No matter how dishonest, inaccurate, corrupt and servile history has proven certain characters to be - there is not only no accountability for previous behavior, but these figures are featured again and again as objective and disinterested experts. All Gonyea felt necessary to tell us about Cohen was this innocuous introduction: "Eliot Cohen is a professor at the School of Advanced International Studies in Washington." How charming...


Porter Melmoth said...

Despite this contemptuous NPR treatment, lusting after war porn, voices such as Lawrence Wilkerson, Daniel Ellsberg, Rory Stewart, and yes, George Will, are coming on strong.

gopolganger said...

Eliot Cohen's opinions have evolved over time, but his lust for war has remained constant. Glenzilla has commented on how Cohen once advocated for the draft (back in '82) because our volunteer army is too stupid and female.

That he replaced Zelikow (puppet master of the 911 commission) as Condi's legal counsel is telling. Zelikow is such a spook/manipulator that his voice sounds like it's had a audio scrambler surgically implanted.

Anonymous said...

"There is honest debate now about whether the United States should commit more troops to Afghanistan, or withdraw them."

Of course, the underlying theme here is that previous debates about -- or more precisely, "criticisms" of -- the war in Afghanistan (and Iraq) were dishonest (leveled, as it were by left wing nutcases, of course).

If anyone is dishonest, it is Simon.

And Inskeep, and Shepard and Norris and Schiller and the rest of the corporate shillers at NPR.

What these folks fail to realize is that they ARE destroying their own credibility among REAL journalists and REAL experts.

read or Listen to what one of those real journalists (Jeff Cohen) says about the corporate media, including NPR.

From Alternative Radio
Jeff Cohen is Executive Director of FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting), a media watch group based in New York. FAIR has published stinging reports on Nightline and MacNeil/Lehrer. FAIR charges that these two highly-touted TV news programs overwhelmingly rely on white male present and former government officials. Dissident and minority voices are consistently given short shrift. Cohen is also very critical of National Public Radio's Morning Edition and All Things Considered. He contends that NPR "has become more and more mainstream." Like Nightline and MacNeil/Lehrer, NPR churns up the same "golden rolodex" crowd of "experts."

Or read what economist Dean baker has written about NPR's economic reporting (amply documented on this blog).

NPR has become an absolute embarrassment for any REAL journalist (and there are still a few left at NPR).

Just imagine how difficult it must be for any real journalist at NPR to listen to the crap that so many of their idiotic colleagues spew on the air day in and day out.

gopolganger said...

Just imagine how difficult it must be for any real journalist at NPR to listen to the crap that so many of their idiotic colleagues spew on the air day in and day out.

Nobody does comment, though. Democracy Now very rarely mentions NPR, and it is very unusual for any newspaper or even cable news operation to acknowledge this behemoth of market share (the biggest, really.) It's sort of like the idiot/abusive step uncle who's always had that attic room and just gets worse and worse by degrees and so nobody wants to say, "Hey, how about we get this guy looked at? Mebbe a brain transplant or something?"

Anonymous said...

"Nobody does comment, though."

Right you are gopolganger. Almost nobody. There are a few notable exceptions -- like Cohen and Glenn Greenwald (whom I would also consider a journalist). And our gracious host on this blog (Matthew Murrey), of course!

I think it is really too bad that Amy Goodman does not comment on this because she is so widely respected (not that Greenwald and Murrey are not, but you know what I mean). I would give Goodman one demerit for not commenting because I think the only way NPR will ever change is if they are basically shamed into changing -- forced to change by the cadre of real journalists.

But certainly nobody at NPR comments (not even the few real journalists), which makes them complicit. Partners in crime (no exaggeration).

Actually, I would go so far as to say that there is a very basic contradiction in calling oneself a real journalist and working at NPR in its current form.

So i would qualify my comment above about there being a few real journalists at NPR.

An "NPR journalist" is an oxymoron -- and god knows there are a lot of oxymorons at NPR, "phonojournalists", corporate parrots.

Don Begoneaway (please) is one of the worst, a Bush parrot if ever there was one.