Saturday, November 14, 2009

Q Tips

NPR related comments welcomed.


Grimblebee said...

Calling all Freudians: Is anyone else out there noticing a disturbing increase in the number of verbal slip-ups by NPR announcers?

Here was a particularly rich one from yesterday's ATC: "9/11 mastermind KSM, rather, alleged 9/11 mastermind...." Sorry I didn't catch who it was, and it might even been on my local affiliate. But still. I get the feeling we hear more and more of these screw-ups.

It's hard to visualize how a news reader could just casually miss an entire word like "alleged" in his script. I'm just sayin'.

gopolganger said...

Ian Hacking, in his book Rewriting the Soul, Hacking writes, ‘Freud had a passionate commitment to Truth, deep underlying truth, as a value. That ideological commitment is fully compatible with - may even demand -lying through one's teeth.'
In a NYT essay, researchers found that, while

Psychologists have studied deception from all sides and have found that it usually puts a psychological or physical strain on the person doing the dissembling. People with guilty knowledge — of a detail from a crime scene, for example — tend to show signs of stress, as measured by heart and skin sensors, under pointed questioning.

Lying about things that you wish were true, like that you got higher grades in school than you actually did, is actually relaxing, and

In that sense, fibs can reflect something close to the opposite of the frustration, insecurity and secretiveness that often fuel big lies. That may be why they can come so easily, add up so fast and for some people — especially around closing time — become indistinguishable from the truth.

I suspect that the script writers for NPR really wish that KSM was the mastermind of 911, that James Earl Ray shot MLK and Oswald was the lone gunman, that there were weapons of mass destruction on a hair trigger in Iraq, etc.

On the flip side of that coin, things that are true that they wish weren't true are easy to just not talk about. Is it true that Blackwater is fully operational in Pakistan? Read Part 3, Chapter 4 of 1984:

He had no difficulty in disposing of the fallacy, and he was in no danger of succumbing to it. He realized, nevertheless, that it ought never to have occurred to him. The mind should develop a blind spot whenever a dangerous thought presented itself. The process should be automatic, instinctive. Crimestop, they called it in Newspeak.

Anonymous said...

It's kinda like saying

"NPR is a legitimate news organization."

as opposed to the (much) more accurate:

"NPR is alleged by some experts (read: "think tank wankers") to be a legitimate news organization."

Anonymous said...

NPR in a nutshell:

Noam Chomsky: "If the voice of the people is heard, you'd better control what that voice says, meaning you have to control what they think. The method Otero mentions there is one of the major methods. One of the ways you control what people think is by creating the illusion that there's a debate going on, but making sure that that debate stays within very narrow margins. Namely, you have to make sure that both sides in the debate accept certain assumptions, and those assumptions turn out to be the propaganda system. As long as everyone accepts the propaganda system, then you can have a debate."

Anonymous said...

Here's more by Chomsky that describes NPR's listenership to a T:

"Propaganda very often works better for the educated than it does for the uneducated. This is true on many issues. There are a lot of reasons for this, one being that the educated receive more of the propaganda because they read more. Another thing is that they are the agents of propaganda. After all, their job is that of commissars; they're supposed to be the agents of the propaganda system so they believe it. It's very hard to say something unless you believe it. Other reasons are that, by and large, they are just part of the privileged elite so they share their interests and perceptions, whereas the general population is more marginalized. It, by and large, doesn't participate in the democratic system, which is overwhelmingly an elite game. People learn from their own lives to be skeptical, and in fact most of them are. There's a lot of skepticism and dissent and so on."


NPR is so successful because: they know how to set up the "debate" (they call it "balance" but it actually excludes most of the viewpoints) AND they have an audience who have "bought into" the terms of the debate (the educated elites who believe that reality is relative)

larry, dfh said...

And speaking of lies, and the motives for lying, this article pretty much sums up the REAL legacy of our levelling of Falujah, as opposed to the cheerful, giggly interview on atc a few years back with some jackass general who just happened to be hawking his book on the perfectness of the endeavor.

Anonymous said...

One of the ways you control what people think is by creating the illusion that there's a debate going on, but making sure that that debate stays within very narrow margins."-- Noam Chomsky

Dean baker pointed out a perfect example of how NPR "controls the debate" (baker's title even alludes to the propaganda technique being used)

NPR Keeps the Economic Choices on the Banks Narrow"
"Morning Edition introduced a piece that reported on the House Financial Services Committee plans to deal with too big to fail banks by telling listeners that we had a choice last fall between allowing huge financial institutions to fail, with substantial risks to the economy, or give them hundreds of billions of dollars to keep them afloat."

our government used the same technique last winter when they were supposedly "debating" what to do about the financial crisis.

the completely excluded the "receivership" option that baker alludes to and that was suggested at the time by economist and S&L bank fraud investigator William Black.

Ironically, Black talks about using receivership as a means of dealing with "control fraud" in the banks.

of course, the propaganda technique that NPR and others employ essentially amounts to "control fraud".

funny, if you think about it.

NPR (and Obama) played the same game ("control fraud") on the health care issue. they completely excluded single payer from the 'debate". In fact, NPR acted as if single payer did not even exist. Obama admitted that it existed (at least on paper) but painted it as completely impractical (and thus undoable).

Anonymous said...

One crucial element of 'control fraud" is that the person in charge of the organization (usually the CEO) carefully controls who is hired (and fired) in order to create an atmosphere where there is little to no dissent.

the people who disagree are either fired or "encouraged" to leave.

Advantage in hiring (and renewal of contracts) is given to those who toe the official line (eg, on the use of the word "torture").

What you end up with, of course, is an organization focused on (obsessed with) 'controlling the debate" (and generating corporate dollars).

gopolganger said...


I posted a partial transcript of an Interview with Larry Johnson about the capture and "interrogation" of KSM on TONT from 3/3/3 in the previous QTIPS. Mr. Johnson is a perfect exemplar of just such an organization: "Berg Associates, LLC," specializing in locating and recovering financial assets. You gotta wonder how many thousands of CIA front groups like this are out there.

Anonymous said...

Putting NPR into "receivership" might be a good way of addressing the current fraud that they are perpetrating on the public.

It should actually be a lot easier than in the case of the banks.

My guess is that there is already some legal "clause" in the CPB charter that allows Congress to take control from the CEO and other management if they do things that violate that charter or even violate the law: eg, use public dollars to produce and disseminate propaganda (which is forbidden by nearly every budget bill passed by Congress.)

As in the case of banks, an individual or individuals might be appointed to oversee the receivership and be in charge of essentially "cleaning house", firing those individuals like the CEO who are violating NPR's charter as part of CPB. Taking NPR out of receivership could be predicated on NPR meeting a predetermined set of goals and standards for reporting. I suspect that a lot of these are already in place but are merely being ignored/violated.

Receivership for NPR would have the advantage that that it would not affect the viability of the member stations (which are truly public radio) and would leave the overall NPR organization intact.

I suspect that the main affect of such a receivership would be on personnel at NPR. ie, a lot of them would probably be pink slipped, or at least told to get their act together.

I suspect that there are probably some real journalists who would be VERY happy with such a receivership, relieved, in fact, that someone had finally done something to restore the integrity of NPR as a news organization.

Grimblebee said...

Two things from this morning's WESUN:

- Say WHAT? CDC guy tells Lianne (who's appropriately if mildly surprised) that pregnant women and children are NOT the high-risk groups for H1N1. That's not an NPR thing per se, but still -- WTF?!

- From the Department of Prudish Intros: Lianne introduces a story with such a strong warning that some may find it "explicit" and "offensive" that I was prepared for guts or flying body parts or internal organs or vampires or.... But no, it was about the closing of a prostitution loophole in RI. The most explicit words were "sexual" and "spa."

I think that warning might better have been applied to the H1N1 story, or the right wing yahoo from Hawaii or....

Anonymous said...

"My guess is that there is already some legal "clause" in the CPB charter that allows Congress to take control from the CEO and other management if they do things that violate that charter or even violate the law: eg, use public dollars to produce"

Take a look at other programs which were or had the potential to alter the situation of people. You can start with legal aid and end at ACORN. If NPR was truly a "progressive" voice it would have lost its funding decades ago.