Monday, February 15, 2010

Q Tips

NPR related comments welcomed.


Boulder Dude said...

Big laugher today.

Cokie said that the Red Cross called Water Boarding "Terrorism" (wtf?) as opposed to "Torture". Wow, those rules against calling Water Boarding torture are really getting out of hand over there at NPR.

John D. said...

Not a laugher exactly, but the newsreader at the top of each hour this morning twice described the deaths of Afghan civilians over the weekend as a "setback" for the U.S. military.

I'm sure it's inconvenient for the military. Even more so for the dead and their families.

larry, dfh said...

Another typically stoopid totn on Monday. There was this long section on congress with ron elving and mickey edwards; objectivity lacking, of course. Talk and talk about the lack of health care reform in the deadlocked congress, not a single word about the $$ given by insurance companies to rope-a-dope the whole process, or their record profits, or their 30% fee hikes. No, for these fools it's all about the ideology-driven partisanship; nothing about the $$ driven agenda. At the end of the segment they were discussing how maybe a Fer-Real filibuster would be interesting. Edwards so proudly chimed in how his recent article in Atlantic suggested just that. Christ on a friggin' stick: every web site I've read in the last 4 4 years has been harping on the lack of a real filibuster, and here comes MR. Aw-shucks taking credit for this novel idea. I tried to contact edwards through his gig at the University of MD, no address or e-mail provided. Keep on pontificating, my good men; when they bring out the guillotine, you'll wonder what it's for.

Anonymous said...

Try reaching Edwards at the Aspen Institute. ;)


larry, dfh said...

Actually, Grace, I did just that. This is what I wrote:
Dear Mr. Edwards,
The discussion this afternoon focusing on attempted health care reform and the
filibuster seemed to me to be incomplete and even misleading. There was no
discussion of political donations, there was no mention of the employment of
senator spouses by industries with interest in health care legislation. These
topics in particular can help explain why nothing substantial for the citizenry
will be done as regards health care. The narrative of 60 votes has been used as
an excuse for too long. When called to do so, the Senators from states with
substantial insurance (Nelson, Lieberman) and pharma (Bayh, Lieberman) interests
stopped any legislative improvements. I don't mean to even suggest that the
Republicans didn't do their best to show their loyalty to insurance and pharma
largess. The whole discussion this afternoon about 'Reality Filibusters' is one
that's been going on for several years at every website I visit. In fact, the
only example of an actual filibuster in the last few years, of which I'm
familiar, has been Dodd's attempt to stop the FISA Act; an attempt which was
endorsed by all the major Democratic presidential candidates. Discussing the
possibility of a real filibuster at this late date strikes me as almost
disingenuous. It seems that the whole purpose of the 'Talk of the Nation'
segment was to give a reassuring view of the political situation, as if an
'excess of partisanship' would be more palatable than the more populist
interpretation of: they never intended to get anything done.
Respectfully, blah blah

and this is what he wrote me, not 2 hours later:
actually, i, too, was disappointed in the program, albeit for a different
reason. the producers had asked me to come to the studio to discuss the rise in
partisanship and how it might be addressed. i found myself trying to avoid
getting pulled into the health care issue only because i felt i had been asked
to focus on the broader, procedural, problem. at times i felt that was pulling
me into a position where i was peripheral to the discussion. in retrospect, i
would have probably been better served to forget about the topic i had been
assigned and engage more fully in the topic that was emerging. you've come to a
conclusion about the 'purpose' of the program; you're ahead of me; i left the
studio having no real idea what the purpose had been.
.....I was actually pretty sad after I wrote him, because I realized that the purpose of these npr shows, and the sleepy, reassuring voices of the hosts, is in fact to make us feel secure, and not ripped off. The fact that he replied, and seemed to understand my take on the whole affair, is reassuring, at least a bit.

goopDoggy said...

.....I was actually pretty sad after I wrote him, because I realized that the purpose of these npr shows, and the sleepy, reassuring voices of the hosts, is in fact to make us feel secure, and not ripped off. The fact that he replied, and seemed to understand my take on the whole affair, is reassuring, at least a bit.

Moyers valued his opinions enough to invite him onto his show. It's interesting to compare the totn show with Moyer's.

goopDoggy said...

I realized that the purpose of these npr shows, and the sleepy, reassuring voices of the hosts, is in fact to make us feel secure, and not ripped off.

Yeah Scott Simon as much as says this in the third of the video clips posted here.

The distribution system is going to change [..] and people are not going to put up with the relation they used to have with the media [..] what we're hoping to do is to use whatever [trust] we have to [..] amuse, provide company for people in the lonely hours of the night, be with people during times of national tragedy, pass along a joke.

Notably absent from his list are the hope to

(1) investigate

(2) report the truth

Check out my post on SS at

Grace said...

I am surprised he responded that quickly. Good for you for writing him!

I am going to miss Moyers.
No one can ever replace him.
I want you to know I never even noticed Scot Simon until you posted about him, as I never listen on Saturday mornings!
Now that I know what foolish things he says and tweets (baubles!)I thoroughly object to the $300k+ he receives to cajole and misinform, when programs like Democracy Now could air in his place.
God forbid I ever suffer from loneliness or insomnia that I would turn to moist wipe!

Anonymous said...

Just read it.
Love the photo too!


Boulder Dude said...

Today on Nice Polite Republican radio, we have two stories that fall in the catagory of "Rich Like Me", one of those bizzaro things that happens when your entire on air staff makes upwards of 300k, then tend to "Feel the Pain" of people just tike them.

First we have Laurie Souva, former parasitic real estate broker.

And next we have Ms. Penney, a greed head that was ripped off by Madoff, and someone that we the great unwashed are supposed to feel sympathy for simply because she had to sell one of her houses.

larry, dfh said...

In contrast to what BD wrote about,
'On Point'
had a guest hostess, Jane Clayson, who had a segment about unemployment. This was the first time on npr that I heard about the depth and stratification of this depression. There were no rosey stories, no 'suck it up' attitude, no strength through deprivation, and no mocking joyous tones from the hostess. It was just straight, scary statistics. I've seen some of it in the industrial park where I work; I've seen it in the dramatic fall-off in truck traffic when I travel, but I had never heard it on npr until Tuesday morning.

Anonymous said...

Alicia Shepard outdoes herself:

"It was the commentary by Horowitz that led Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR), a left-leaning media watchdog group, to initiate a campaign that resulted in over 1,600 emails, over 100 phone calls and 108 comments on Others complained on air."

How does Shepard know that all those "1,600 emails, over 100 phone calls and 108 comments on" were a result of the FAIR campaign?

Shepard is either stupid or dishonest.

Take your pick, but I don't think she's stupid.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Somebody from Denver e-mailed TotN and asked why Isreal was allowed to have nuclear weapons but Iran was not. The answer (Neal did state that "every time" we do a show about this subject this question arises) is: Isreal is a moral democracy! Just like America.

Actually I have had the happy occassion of taking a break from NPR listening in order to shovel 40 inches of snow. Enjoy reading the comments here and the links.


Anonymous said...

is it possible that the reason Horowitz's view of Zinn was "missing supporting evidence" is that his "point of view" on Zinn is--to put it mildly--crazy?" -- Eric Alterman

I guess Alterman has not heard.

NPR's stated goal is to present "all" views. Presumably, that includes the crazy ones.

Alterman is a little late to the party in recognizing NPR's lean to the right to appease the nut-balls like Horowitz.

He says "we don't need another Fox". True enough, but unfortunately, we've already got two (one of them publicly funded).

Anonymous said...

Re: Alterman

When I read and posted it to NPRCheck today, I thought his critique and analysis was fairly limp. Then I read some of the comments, and found that many readers felt the same way.

Alterman takes the Ombot at her word here, when she is obviously playing loose with the facts. Reaction to the obit was almost instantaneous in several media sources. That NPR attributes the deluge to an "action alert" is gutless spin. FAIR is factually right that NPR did not crucify Buckley, Roberts and Novak, but clearly listeners didn't really need to know that to appreciate that the hatchet job done to Zinn was journalistic malpractice.

NPRCheck author and many posters here, at the NPR Ombot site, and around the web saw through that bit of defensive propaganda. Does Alterman think that his readers are a bunch of left-leaning, mouth-breathers? Probably not. But it seems to me he's being a bit to deferential to media brethren. In other words, he may just be writing a fair and balanced commentary.

After reading about as much Zinnful commentary as I can regarding NPRs most recent stain, it finally dawned on me why NPR did such a lousy job. The analysis is very simple, so if I am treading on someone's idea here, please accept my apology upfront.

First, NPR doesn't know diddly about Howard Zinn, because the the mainstreamers there view him as some polemical peon. There is probably nobody at NPR who has read one of his books recently without voicing complete elitist skepticism.

Second, NPR assigned the story to some backup reporter who was simultaneously ill-informed and rushed; and therefore, sloppy. Keyes probably had to read about Zinn on Wikipedia and then check the NPR list of usual quote whores they get to fill in warm chairs for stories whose themes and perspectives have been preordained.

Third, the producer and audio editor for the story probably had no idea who Howard Zinn was. They probably thought he was a German-Jewish farmer who originated the Zinfandel grape in Croatia before fleeing the Nazi Holocaust.

Fourth, the NPR News Editor (if there actually was one reviewing Keyes' work) let the obit fly, as stories like this are not really "hard news;" thus they require less editorial oversight.

Fifth and finally, when NPR has a shell of a story and is under deadline to do breaking news -- something that NPR has never done well or prided itself on doing well -- they approach the as a political one; he said, she said, opinion-balancing "objectivity."

NPR has many problems, not the least of them is the nonsensical, political balancing act they perform. But simple structural problems of doing journalism affect this corporate behemoth as much as anything else; that and their obvious elite snobbery which denies that NPRs critics -- the people from whose perspective Zinn wrote and for whom he wrote -- could actually identify bias when they hear it.

How dare we criticize The Canon!

Anonymous said...

NPR has many problems, not the least of them is the nonsensical, political balancing act they perform. But simple structural problems of doing journalism affect this corporate behemoth as much as anything else;"

As we know from the comical Fox claim, "balance' is sometimes a ruse.

There might be cases where NPR is using it legitimately, but I don't believe for one second that this is one of them.

Whoever had Horowitz on to air his "views" knew full well the kinds of things that he would say.

In other words, this "balance act' falls in the "ruse" category.

And if the number of complaints is any indication, the ruse is a transparent as the claim they were all "responses' to some FAIR campaign.

NPR management may not realize it, but people are starting to recognize the BS that NPR is spewing for what it is.

poor Vivian Schiller.

As Warren Zevon said, "The **it has hit the fan"

larry, dfh said...

The reason, I feel, the Zinn was slammed in his obit is because his writings were Populist in nature, and No Poor Rascals doesn't cater to those who don't have secret ubs accounts, or who can't afford a mercedez. Diminish Populism, that's their goal. That's probably why the producer or director, or whoever, slipped keyes the card with horrorwitz's contact info.
But I want to write about barbara bradley-haggerty's tongue bath of the right rev. sung young moon. The discussion of moon's daughter's taking over the empire, 'keeping it in the family' was never mentioned. Moon's one of the wealthiest people on earth, and in good haggerty fashion, the pious and powerful are meant to be praised. Nothing to see here, just a harmless little cult.
Compare this with the treatment of Zinn: kiss up to the powerful, kick the powerless down. It's sooo npr.

goopFish said...

Moon's one of the wealthiest people on earth, and in good haggerty fashion, the pious and powerful are meant to be praised.

Yeah, she sure gave his moon a tongue bath. That was sickening.

goopDoggy said...

I should say "her" moon, now, huh? Or simply Moon's moon.

Anonymous said...

Diminish Populism, that's their goal."

I think that's it exactly.

NPR does not like anything that smells like populism.

That's why they bash Kucinich.

It's why they bash Nader.

It's why they won't give economist and bank fraud expert William Black or economist Joe Stiglitz the time of day.

it's also why Adumb davidson treated Elizabeth Warren with such disrespect when he interviewed her.

It's also why NPR barely mentioned single payer.

It's also why they were fear monger leaders for the Wall Street bailout, claiming that if Wall Street banks did not get what they asked for, it would be great Depression II.

NPR is elitism run amok.

Anonymous said...

Check out this photo of Moon being "crowned" in the halls of congress with many of our fine whory pols in attendance!!


Anonymous said...

"Third, the producer and audio editor for the story probably had no idea who Howard Zinn was. They probably thought he was a German-Jewish farmer who originated the Zinfandel grape in Croatia before fleeing the Nazi Holocaust."

That's too good!

Anonymous said...

The Myth of Preemptive War was a frightening read when you consider how far down the slippery slope we are now.
I tried to post there but it vanished(yes,I am an idiot at these things!).
You are being generous calling SS an MFW!!


Woody (Tokin Librul/Rogue Scholar/ Helluvafella!) said...

Why is NPR encouraging and facilitating the rejuvenation of the Unification fucking Church?

I guess they are probably paying Babbs Hagg a salary, but what a waste of protoplasm and bnadwidth!

Anonymous said...

Why is NPR encouraging and facilitating the rejuvenation of the Unification fucking Church?"

Could it be because Moon has boatloads of money and boatloads of political influence?

or maybe it's just because (like NPR) Moon is tight -- like a hand in a glove, (or, given Moon's weird beliefs, a something in a something) -- with the Fundamentalist Christian's in this country.

RepubLiecan said...

Speaking of presenting wide ranging and surprising opinions, do you think NPR will ever air this opinion (from a Democratic Underground post): Dr. Hajo Meyer speaks on the plight of Palestinians at hands of Israel and the obligation of Jews to speak against such treatment?

The direct link to the YouTube video is here

Most likely they won't, but they might find time to ask a neoconservative to call Dr. Meyer an anti-semite.

Glenn Greenwald and Juan Cole wrote recently about the frequent tactic of labeling those who object to either Israel's treatment of the Palestinians or uncritical support for anything Israel does as being anti-semitic.


The Boss of You said...

Media Matters calls it accurately that NPR proliferates 'both sides to blame for DC gridlock' meme. (It's in the first update)

Boulder Dude said...

Ummm, no, it is not Populism that NPR hates, it is Leftist Populism, Leftist Ideals, Leftist Economic Policies, so simply put, like all the rest of the DC Villagers, for NPR it is all about Punching Hippies.

In fact, NPR loves Populism, as long as it involves Teabaggers, beloved Icons of the right, or anything else that folks like David Broder, David Brooks, Jaun Williams, Mara Liasson, or Cokie Roberts say is "serious" or "reasonable".

I mean, look at all the love lavished on the Teabaggers and those behind the Teabagger astroturfing movement that NPR has given since last summer.

Then look at Don Gonyea's smear of Sen. Frankin, or that the only time that Paul Krugman is given any air time is as part of an Obit of his friend, or how no Left Think Tanks, Pundit's, or figures are even allowed on air to "Balance" any of the right wingers.

Nope, for NPR the "Left" starts at Zombie St. Ronnie's left pinky and ends Eisenhowers right pinky, everything else just has a great big "Punch Me" sign on it.

Anonymous said...


AMEN, brother!

Anonymous said...

Kuntslercast Episode #77. 18:45 into the podcast: critique of NPR (ATC and NPRs business reporting). POW!

Don said...

NPRs Krulwich would rather be kute than korrect.

Don Pasqueda

Nate Bowman said...

I've been giving some thought to the populism issue since the Zinn dis and the ombudsman's dismissal of his views as leftist.

What I've come up with is that populism is ok to cover as long as it doesn't threaten corporatist agendas. So, though it's true that the tea partyers have morphed into mainly a right-wing group, they were not originally a media darling because Ron Paul threatens corporatist interests.

Something like that. I'm not done thinking about it.

Boulder Dude said...


Good point, but I think that since Ron Paul was backed by what the Corportist MSM saw as unwashed freaks, that there was no way that they would give them the time of day.

But now that the Teabaggers are funded, backed and steered by those very same Corportist entities, in the very long tradition of one party or the other co-opting a populist movement to serve it's needs, so now this is a "Populist" movement worth wasting broadcast time on.

Anonymous said...

Babbs claimed that Moon "dabbled" in Conservative politics.


Anonymous said...

Sullivan on his trip down the merry old Mekong gave a history of Cambodia starting with Ankor Wat unto the present. He never once mentioned the illegal bombing and invasion of Cambodia by Nixon. That's considered too "controversial" perhaps. Or maybe it is only people like Zinn might be aware of such blatant aggression from a "moral democracy". Maybe I'll drop an e-mail to Ombuds. Or maybe I'll just write a letter to Santa Claus.


Anonymous said...

here's my Ombuds message:

This guy gave a history of Cambodia which stretched from Ankor Wat to the present day but he omitted any reference to the illegal bombing and invasion of this country by America/Nixon. I suspect this part of "history" is way too painful for the tender sensibilities of the typical NPR supporter and the "gatekeepers" that guard said sensibilities.

I am awaiting an "explanation" from Ombuds. I suspect the 40" of snow will be a distant memory before I get anything from this exercise in futility.


Anonymous said...

Not sure that NPR has been all that keen to the teabagger movement.

They may cover it (begrudgingly) but I get the distinct impression that they hold their nose when they do so.

On a more serious note, Dean Baker continues to put the NPR Planet Moneky's (and most other economics reporters -- and working economists!) to shame.

Baker says (on grit TV interview) that the best (only?) way to fix the current system is to fire the people who got it wrong.

Hmm, what a novel idea.

I'm sure Kestenbaum and Davidson would object vehemently to that plan. They'd be gone in a heartbeat.

Anonymous said...

Babbs claimed that Moon "dabbled" in Conservative politics.

Like he "dabbled" (or is it dribbled?) in sex with his church followers?

bgi!pnki!fzzyu!bnnyu! said...


At least I can believe in Santa Claus~

Nate Bowman said...

boulder dude

I think we're on the same page.

I'm also trying to avoid my tendency to think that there is ONE reason. So, it's probably both pro-right and pro-corporatist, among others. And since it's hard to separate corporatism from the right, it's easy to conflate the two (though corporatism is of course much bigger than just the right).

I also bristle at the ombudsman's (and MSM's) constant framing of issues as left/right, Democrat/Republican, liberal/conservative, etc (though I love your standing up against the rightism at NPR). As a caller brought up on the Kojo Nnamdi show, libertarians, greens, socialists are completely left out of the discussion, except of course to ridicule them.

And thanks for the defense over at the ombudsman's blog.

Boulder Dude said...


Yeppers, it is exactly the same as the lack of discussion about Single Payer on NPR, because the DC Villagers decided it was a fringe idea, and thus not worth discussing.

Grace said...

I know a few of you will thrash me for this BUT I liked Ron Paul during the Bush terms. There were no teabaggers back then either.
He was shut out from the repugs and msm because he said, often, that government's role should be getting between citizens and corporations and defend our (citizens)rights.
He is harshly critical of the Dept of Ed because it is dumbing down the population and said
the Commerce Dept is protecting commerce not citizens. (I think of America's refusal to label GM foods.)
The Ron Paul that called the better part of the Fed govt a racket did not endear him to the Corporatists. His position on auditing the Federal Reserve and shutting down defense contractors would have gotten him whacked if he had been more popular prior to the rep primaries.
With the help of Fox the teabaggers were launched to grab his supporters but none of those ppl agree with any of Paul's policies(if they know what they are!) and are running 2 challengers against him.
I don't know if he has changed since the bagger movement began but I see them differently. Actually the baggers are corporatists (and idiots).

He was also opposed to war on drugs, for pot legalization and airwaves shouldn't have been sold to big media...internet open and free...

I liked that guy.

Grace said...

Reading these comments that very accurately outline NPR's myopic villager view point. A viewpoint that is all about exclusion, why is 'public" included in it's name? It is the opposite of what public radio should be.
They can't call torture by it's name, trash a historian and history, never allow anything other than a pro Israel view and can't even embrace Stieglitz.
Since they are actually no different than any other corporate backed media outlet that feeds us bs like "moral democracy" while always making the case for more war, they should not have "public" in their name. It is too Orwellian.

Nate Bowman said...


I agree with you more than you would think about Paul. And I feel somewhat similarly about Kucinich and a few others.

What I love is that they stand by their principles and, secondly (and as a result), show consistency.

As usual, Glenn Greenwald expresses what I think better than I can.

The sad thing is that their are so few politicians of conviction and passion around, that I have considered voting for someone with whom I have a lot of disagreements SIMPLY BECAUSE THEY SHOW THAT CONVICTION AND PASSION.

Unfortunately, I don't feel that that's sufficient reason to overcome the disagreements.

But I'm VERY tempted.

Nate Bowman said...


Speaking of not calling torture by its name, Ari Shapiro has a piece titled Terror Memos Didn't Violate Legal Ethics, Report Finds.

NPR turns defense (using the word torture) to offense (It has to do with TERRORISM! It is OK to do anything).

Anonymous said...


I agree with most POVs expressed here but with minor(objections):

I also like Ron Paul but I don't like the social Darwinism he seems to espouse. I believe we are all in this together and so I can not "abandon" some people as he seems to advocate.

I would vote for Kucinich but I got Joe Pitts.

I wish that all of us that are "disaffected" (including the TBParty) could jettison our two-party mindset. I vote Green because I am a Green and though I doubt they will ever rise above a local level of "power" I continue to support the Party.

Next week I will keep track of the "news" presented by WHYY (a wholly owned Fox subsidary) for the same time periods as during the fundraiser. I suspect that I will find another NPR - style bait and switch. They did more during the fundie to try to convince listeners and supporters that they got some kind of heavy-duty "news" organization going on by having more stories that are not simply repeated throughout the week.

Thanks to all of you that do what we do best: listen and think critically!


larry, dfh said...

edk: at least you'll be hearing less from ed cunningham and patrick stoner.

But the (lack of) healthcare discussion was truly because npr was paid to not say anything. Didn't julie rovner have actual financial ties to kaiser? Npr was dong what their 'sponsors' wanted them to do.

And as far as the tea-drinkers are concerned: anything to do with dick armey has got to be crooked.

Anonymous said...

Terror Memos Didn't Violate Legal Ethics, Report Finds.'

That's hilarious and says more about the "legal ethics" (are there any?) in this country than even abou the torture memo writers.

I'd have to say that the legal profession, like the accounting profession and the economics profession and the politics profession is ethically bankrupt.

Anonymous said...

RE: legal ethics

I'd have to say that (as with business) the "best" law schools (Harvard, Yale, etc) are directly responsible for the sad state of affairs with regard to legal ethics in this country.

With professors who have no ethics teaching the "best and the brightest", it's no surprise that we end up with the kind of unethical individuals we do.

I mean, Chief Supreme Court Justice John Roberts is a Harvard law school grad and he 9and his pal Alito) basically lied through his teeth (under oath) when he told the Senate that he would respect Supreme Court precedent and then turned around and threw out 100 years of precedents in the recent campaign-spending related ruling.

larry, dfh said...

I'm getting nauseous hearing the constant praise of the dead war profiteer on npr, including a gushingly dishonest bit on bbc, featuring john bolton. The hostess, lise ducette, asked bolton: is there anyone around now of his mettle? Let's see, a war-mongering, war profiteering, self-aggrandizing politico? Tony blair?

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Grace said...

I love Kucinich! The big problem supporting Paul, beyond his congressional seat, are the corporatists that want to use his policies not to change anything other than defund domestic programs while lavishing big bucks on the war industry and the ziocon banksters that control it.
I must have been dreaming when I posted the Paul praise!
I am hoping everyone I know will tell the DNC and DCCCC to f off when they call and give $$ directly to candidates that act in constituents interests. I am registered in Giffords district but am giving $$ to Grijalva b/c he is a progressive. Sadly, Giffords is an AIPAC slag.
I thought I'd support a speed bump over McCain yet the Arizona Dem(wits)can't even turn out a challenger to the old goat.
I despair!

Larry, even the BBC gets hammered hard by the neo zio cons....Tony Blair, good answer!

Nate Bowman said...

My favorite alternative to mainstream politics is Accountability Now, started by Glenn Greenwald and Jane Hamsher.

"Accountability Now PAC is a grassroots organization devoted to compelling real accountability in Washington by closing the gap between citizens and their elected representatives in Washington, DC."

Anonymous said...

It's interesting to compare NPR's story when Howard Zinn died to that for Alexander Haig.

Trash Zinn and idolize Haig.

no double standard there.

No indeed.

I can say one thing for NPR. They are predictable.