Sunday, November 21, 2010

Q Tips


Another open thread where readers can weigh in with NPR related comments.

32 comments:

gDog said...

Normally I'd like to sleep in a bit on Sunday, but Liane got my civic responsibility all fired up with her long segment on how Walmart will be open at midnight. After all, whose child wouldn't like to help puppies learn to swim? The Barbie Puppy Swim School could be one of this year's top-selling toys.

Anonymous said...

thank you for this site. I wish media matter would link to it!

Anonymous said...

I'm waiting for NPR to "investigate" this interesting bit of BS:

2005: Michael Chertoff, as head of Homeland Security, orders the first batch of porno scanners from a company called Rapiscan Systems. After his departure, Chertoff gave dozens of interviews using his government credentials to promote the device. What he didn’t tell people was that Rapiscan was one of the clients of his consulting company, The Chertoff group.

Instead we have a clueless panelist on Wait! Wait! wondering what "the big deal is". And I loved the Hillary reply when asked if she would submit (what an "interesting" choice of words lol) to this BS. She said, "Not if I could help it" and then laughed at the peasants who HAVE no choice.

I guess it is stuff like this that will delay my being "approved" by WHYY's NewsWorks.

And Murrey? I think you do a hell of a job! And this despite what others (unwilling to give up their names) might say. In the interest of full disclosure my own name is Edward D. Kriner or edk.

and lastly? Love the word verification. So like a pirate, "Aye my pretties . . ."

edk

Anonymous said...

Listen (if you can) to Steve Inkseep today, 11/22/2010 educating listeners regarding deficit and debt: "Primer: The Difference Between Deficits And Debts."

Inskeep's unique quality is in simultaneously displaying deceit a conceit during his "interviews."

informedveteran said...

I hope NPR doesn't give Chalmers the ZINN treatment. I just might lose it.

The Boss of You said...

My normal morning listening is a repeat so I've decided to listen to ME. Anyone catch the Valentine to the gulf oil industry this AM? Oh, lordy, unquestioned industry representations abound.

informedveteran said...

gDog, I thought you were joking about that Barbie Puppy Swim School.

NPR sure does have an ”interest” in covering Walmart. I know they have to show their love to their overlords – I mean sponsors – but damn! Imagine if they covered the wars this much........

Porter Melmoth said...

RIP Chalmers Johnson.

I met him once, and had a brief but excellent chat. At the time, he was primarily a Japan expert, but I was always delighted that he took on the Neocon monolith, et al. I never heard any Neocon calling Johnson a liar, which is today's version of an admission of guilt.

He had a lot of guts, and instead of squandering his experience by remaining a Perle-like insider, he used his knowledge for trenchant critiques.

Fortunately, he leaves a powerful legacy, as his 'Blowback' and other books show.

As a tribute, DN! is rebroadcasting one of his best interviews. Worth reviewing, certainly.

Anonymous said...

"What he didn’t tell people was that Rapiscan was one of the clients of his consulting company, The Chertoff group."

That's precisely the way all this "security' stuff works.

It's the old "revolving door" between government bureucrats and contractors.

It's bad enough that the door is revolving, but evry couple years they actually replace it with a brand new revolving door: literally.

A few years ago, "puffer machines" were touted as "the answer' to finding hidden explosives.

...Until it was found that they did not work the way they claimed (fell far short of their claims, actually) and had to be removed from airports.

So they were replaced with the latest panacea: backscatter x rays and millimeter wave machines.

problem is, these machines are TOTALLY ineffective when it comes to finding stuff in body cavities (mouth, anus, or surgically implanted).

That's no secret.

drug smugglers have been hiding stuff up their butts (and swallowing stuff) for ages, so why the TSA would think the terrorists would not try it is beyond me.

So, essentially what we have is (above all) a system set up to "calm the public's fears" (by selling them a lot of PR bullshit about what the devices are capable of doing, put out by the very companies that make the machines) -- a system that makes a few people very rich in the process.

That's it.

It's all show.

None of this stuff makes the public safer.

But it sure as hell carries a high price tag -- and not just with regard to $$.

I'm talking loss of civil liberties.

And the safety issues are a whole other ball of wax.

backscatter x ray machines are fairly "low dose" and, on paper at least, "safe" for the "average person" as long as they are operating properly.

That's a big IF.

When you are talking about x raying people, the damned things have to effectively be FAIL-SAFE.

That is a very difficult thing to achieve in practice. In fact, it's basically impossible.

And since the impacts of X rays are cumulative, one really has to take into account the effect over a long period and to consider the effects on exceptional cases like pregnant women and very small children.

There are LOTS of instances of things that were "thought to be safe" that turned out not to be because of some unforseen circumstance -- eg, a "failure mode" of the machine that was not anticipated by its designers/manufactuers.

When you are talking about x rays, "failure mode' can mean "death."

gDog said...

informed did a search for Walmart at NPR got "Showing 1 - 10 of about 1,360 results" That's quite a lot of consciousness raising! The most recent now is the story from a couple of weeks ago,

"Among Benefits For Walmart Workers: A Degree"
Jeez, good thing those workers aren't in a union, huh!

informedveteran said...

Heres an additional hour of Chalmers Johnson and TheRealNews has their 4 part interview from 10/08 up today also. Or, if you prefer “vintage” news you can check out ATC from October 12, 2001.

informedveteran said...

edk

"Whats the big deal" seems to be a growing theme.

NPR’s in depth coverage of the scanner fiasco has produced this puff piece titled “Flyers, Politicians Riled Up Over Scans, Pat-Downs” . It glosses over any substantive issues like radiation, privacy, Chertoff, effectiveness, etc. and ends with repeating the corporate propaganda of how anti-business Obama is, then pondering Palin’s chances of running in 2012.

My favorite part is the first line “Now, even as the U.S. faces the threat from North Korea, it is trying to guard against threats to airplanes.” Apparently the distant threat of possible radiation from N. Korea trumps ACTUAL radiation from Uncle Sam.

gDog said...

Here's another puff piece frustratingly lacking in any real information:

For-Profit Colleges Try To Polish Their Image

Let's turn now to a crackdown here in the U.S. on for-profit colleges and universities. New federal rules will pressure them to make sure students graduate, get jobs and repay their student loans.

No mention of the details of how the "gainful employment" component of the legislation will limit the banks/for-profit college's gouging of government-guaranteed student loans that is leading to a huge debt bubble rivaling the mortgage scandal. And of course not a word about how Republicans opposed the "government takeover" of student loans that it guarantees in another giant give-away to banks - after being laundered through the for-profit higher-ed swindle. No mention of Corinthian's shameless, misleading campaign to paint the regulations as denying the very under-privileged students they're swindling out of their money (and out of a real education).

Finally, in what is surely an NPR signature style, they twist the dagger at the end:

ABRAMSON: One thing remains unclear: what will happen to students who can't get into for-profit schools that once took all comers? If they turn to community colleges, they may find waiting lists at schools hit by budget cuts. So the effort to crack down on schools could leave a lot of struggling students in the lurch.

Got that? It's Harkin and the Democrats who are screwing the students and denying them an education. Sheeshareesharooo.

Anonymous said...

The Therac-25 is the textbook case of an x ray machine "failure mode" that killed people.

The backscatter machines they use in airports are also subject to both hardware and software "glitches' that could expose the person to much higher doses than were intended.

Not only that, they deposit the dose in a very thin layer (the skin) so it is effectively concentrated.

They have NOT been properly tested.

Anyone who is thinking of going through these things should read what some actual experts say (read this letter from USC scientists) and NOt simply take the word of a bunch of nitwits at TSA, most o f whom could not get a real scientific job if their life depended on it.

Anonymous said...

NPR: Helping to show the world that in America sheep CAN fly!

edk

Anonymous said...

From the fluff piece on airport screening:

INSKEEP: Now I want to make sure I understand the 80 percent figure you gave. The TSA is saying that 80 percent of the people go through these high tech scanners?

ROBERTS: No, 80 percent of the people say it's fine with them to have enhanced security.


///

Not sure where they get these poll numbers.

it's probably safe to assume that they don't do aks passengers what they think when the screeners are touching their junk.

and let me make sure I understand the 80% figure.

The obvious question to me (but then I'm not a celebrity "journalist") would be "what does "80 percent of the people say it's fine with them to have enhanced security" have to do specifically with the question of x ray scanning and pat downs?

One can be for "enhanced security" (over allowing people to go on planes with knives and box cutters, for example), but that does not mean one agrees with everything TSA does.

Finally, I always get a laugh out of the sign-off.

INSKEEP: This is NPR News

What a clown.

Porter Melmoth said...

Indeed, 'This is NPR "News"' is Narcissistic Personality Radio's license to hurl BS in any form.

David Greene always speaks with a s#@*-eating grin on his face - perfect for covering any Russian ground yet untrod by his idol (and competitor) Garrels.

Anyway, Greene gave a quietly mocking 'report' of the save the tiger conference in St. Petersburg, and he couches it as a dubious enterprise just because Putin's involved. He even wants us to understand that there are delegations there from countries WHO DON'T LIKE THE USA, 'like Myanmar'. I notice that Greene and most of the American media indeed call Burma Myanmar - the spelling the corrupt ruling junta uses. The UN and the USA itself do not officially recognize 'Myanmar'. So what's the deal - political correctness?

Aside from the NPR BS factory, here's a site for sore ears/eyes:

http://bravenewconversations.com/

Some really fine things there.

NPR 'News': Increasingly irrelevant.

Porter Melmoth said...

In Buenos Aires, Amy Goodman defines DN!, and much else, and there's certainly an indictment of NPR News in there. (in English):

http://www.youtube.com/
watch?v=t-da7EWWhYM

larry, dfh said...

THis just in from standsfornothing radio: Rachel Martin "the aircraft carrier was sent after North Korea attacked a South Korean vessel". Well it isn't too difficult to see where standsfornothing radio will actually be standing in any (inevitable?) conflict with North Korea. Priming the disinformation pump, the first step in keep America number 1 in ignorance. Hey, we're also number 1 in Leadership, n'est ce pas?

Fred Baumgarten said...

Happy Thanksgiving, all.

Not that it's a trivial matter, but listening to NPR's Doualy Xaykaothao (I had to look that name up!) report on the "attack" in Korea has been, well, entertaining. Her breathless attempts to paint this as something on the order of 9/11 or a natural disaster (at one point she compared columns of smoke to "volcanoes") is comical.

Anonymous said...

I'm thankful for Matthew Murrey.

hnorr said...

Some of you folks may be interested in the following item, which I posted yesterday at http://mondoweiss.net/2010/11/nprs-holocaust-obsession.html:

NPR's Holocaust obsession

After waking up this morning to yet another Holocaust story on National Public Radio's Weekend Edition, I headed to npr.org's search page to check my impression that such stories been coming thick and fast lately. Narrowing my query to "Heard On Air" (excluding the blogs, Associated Press stories, and other things posted at the website), "Past Year," and "News" (the only NPR programs I regularly listen to), I found 20 stories, not including today's, that included the word "Holocaust." Comparing other historical phenomena with tragic consequences, I found 15 hits on the word "slavery," 11 on "native Americans," nine on "communism," five on "Rwanda genocide," one on "Armenian genocide," and one on "Ukrainian famine."

Suggestive as these results may be, such simple word searches don't get at the heart of the matter, because most of the hits are passing references within stories focused on current issues. But of the 21 stories that mention "Holocaust," six by my count were sustained, in-depth discussions of some aspect of the Nazi murder of the Jews more than 65 years ago: today's interview with an Israeli professor about his new book on one famous photograph from the Warsaw ghetto, an October 28 item on the role of German diplomats in the genocide, an August 28 piece on the Nazi Nuremberg laws, a July 23 analysis of the role of the French national railroad in the deportation of French Jews, an April 15 piece on the memories of American vets who helped liberate the Nazi concentration camps, and a March 9 segment entitled "Russian Village Haunted By A Hidden Holocaust Past."

By contrast, only one of the 15 stories that mention slavery was focused on the history of black slaves in the U.S. Not a single one of the stories with the phrase "native Americans" dealt with their dispossession and near-extermination. And so on with the other categories.

Also of note is that NPR's stories on the Holocaust talk almost exclusively about the murder of Jews. I spotted no references to the millions of non-Jews - Roma, gays, trade unionists, leftists, etc. - who were also killed in the camps, nor to the tens of millions of Polish and Russian civilians who died in the war.

For NPR, it seems, the Holocaust is the Chosen Tragedy.

hnorr said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
gDog said...

Someone here recently expressed some worry that Chalmers Johnson would get the Zinn treatment by NPR. I haven't listened to more that 2 minutes of NPR in days, so I thought I'd do a search to see how awful the coverage of Chalmers' recent death would be. Nada. Plenty of Liane expressing how to sing happily, though. And how to thrive through happiness. Makes me want to chirp right out of my feathers. The clear message: "don't worry about war without end and untenable imperial adventure with your tax dollars: be happy!"

Fred Baumgarten said...

Visitors to this site may be interested in my new blog, with a hat tip to MYTWORDS, of course: NYT Check (www.nytcheck.blogspot.com), which I hope can fulfill a somewhat analogous role in documenting the rightward slant of the New York Times.

gDog said...

Fred, Ha! I find myself cursing NYT on a par with NPR. What was the article I saw yesterday...something about how Russia uses propaganda?

Patrick Lynch said...

John Insti (sp?) got me riled up with his somber intonation of how the only way we can avoid the Great Doom of Deficits is to follow the Catfood Commission's talking points to the letter as though it were fact. Never mind the continuation of lies about the true state of Social Security and how it has actually nothing to at all with deficit reduction. But the Republicans should be proud as Insti never fails to utter their talking points as though they were the gospel.

Interesting though, they had the lady before Insti going on about how we got to these deficits but I didn't catch her name. Insti on the other hand is right up there with Inskreep as far as I'm concerned. He's been right wing probably from the first moment he turned on an NPR tape recorder.

Patrick Lynch said...

The December 2010 issue of Commentary has a back page piece about NPR by Andrew Ferguson called They'll Always Have NPR. At first, I thought it was going to be a fairly critical piece until you get to this quote:

"This is why Air America was doomed from the start. It presumed that its audience saw itself as a mirror image of conservatives. But most liberals, to judge by the ratings were repulsed. With the shouting, the bellicosity, the opinions roaring back and forth-Air America was too, too ghastly. America already has talk radio for liberals; it's called NPR, and it offers fact-based analysis and impartial information exclusively. Opinions are what other people have."

Good thing I wasn't drinking something while reading this. I would have done a spit take on the spot and had to dry the magazine out. I think I'll see if I can get to this online and leave a comment if possible. Obviously, Mr. Ferguson doesn't actually listen to NPR.

Patrick Lynch said...

I just checked Commentary online and the article is not there, but this surprising piece was:

http://www.commentarymagazine.com/viewarticle.cfm/press-man--the-survey-says-whatever-you-want-it-to-say--15576

Below is my letter to the editor:

"Your latest article in the print edition "They'll Always Have NPR" seems to contradict what you are saying here. How can NPR be fact based when you are skewering them for not being so over some bogus social science. The mistake I submit you make sir is thinking that NPR is actually a liberal news source. They have been leaning to the right for at least ten years. They barely even hide it anymore. They report Republican talking points as though it were fact on a daily basis. You might want to read the NPR Check blog and spend some time at Fair.org and Glenn Greenwald at Salon.com if you think NPR is really a fact based liberal news outlet. To think NPR is being naive is itself naive. They know exactly what they are doing."

I don't expect a response to this of course. Another one down the rabbit hole of pushing back against the myth of liberal NPR.

Anonymous said...

NPR's holocaust-Israel-Jewish obsession is indeed irritating at the very least.
Every 2nd story is cheerleading some Israeli "artist", slamming Ahmadinejad, or moaning about the holocaust.
It can be assumed that the holocaust obsession is directly related to the political and financial goals of the people who produce and announce NPR and those whose interests they represent. The more the holocaust is presented as the moral negative polarity item par excellence, the less resistance to the political and social aims of the Israelis and their representatives in the US.

Porter Melmoth said...

Great points all along here, gang.

I think Chalmers would've considered NPR's 'neglect' of his passing as a high compliment.

In a new bid for a Daniel Pearl moment, and flogging A BOOK as well, Guy razzes some newlywed reporter who was kidnapped and stuck for a time in loathsome Pakistan (Most Dangerous Place In The World - TM, Pat. Pending). I wonder if the author thanks the Taliban in his Acknowledgments for giving him this opportunity to be on NPR and possibly on the NYT Bestest Seller Marketing List.

It's a different kind of war profiteering, isn't it?

Raz: 'I can't imagine how terrifying it must've been!'

Gee, I wonder if Raz can score an interview with the surviving members of a drone attack? But I bet their experiences couldn't possibly be as terrifying as that reporter guy's was.

informedveteran said...

"And that's why I like to be on a program like this. I don't believe in wasting my time." - Chalmers Johnson at the end of his last appearance on The Real News.

also

"JAY: Talk about Obama. Do you see some signs in Obama's foreign policy that give you some reason for optimism?


JOHNSON: No, I don't." 10/7/08

I guess getting it right gets you banished from NPR News fantasyland.