Saturday, January 15, 2011

Learned Helplessness

NPR and it's stealth Xtian-extremist, Barbara Bradley-Hagerty [yes, her!], must think its listeners are like the poor dogs of Martin Seligman's learned helplessness experiments: after being subjected to pain that they cannot control, they simply lie there and whimper when subjected to shock after shock - even when a way of escaping is provided.

Fortunately, listeners are not always as ignorant as NPR must think they are. On Thursday's ATC, Bradley Hagerty reported on the Army's "Spiritual Fitness" test, and kept the focus solely on the legal/Constitutional issues of the story, while completely ignoring very important facts and context that are essential to a full understanding of the case. Fortunately some of the commenters at the NPR site were not about to let her distort the history of the case.

One listener, providing the relevant link wrote:
"NPR left out a major part of this story, which was reported last week by and then reported by Countdown with Keith Olbermann. The person who is responsible for coming up with this crazy idea is Martin Seligman, who was also the inspiration for the CIA's torture program."
The listener noted that no credit was given to for the story.

Another listener, complimenting the mention of the piece, noted that had covered the war-profiteering and slippery ethics of Martin Seligman angle of this story even earlier. Unsurprisingly, NPR and Bradley Hagerty, made no mention of this either.

Understandably, to fully cover this story, NPR would have to violate its own tortuous Torture-That's-Not-Torture policy. Readers here are under no such restraints and should feel free to read more about Seligman's "unwitting" involvement in the Bush era (now Obama era) torture programs. Martin Seligman's rejection of being complicit with torture is interesting, Scott Horton's Q&A with Jane Mayer is helpful, and Andrew Sullivan's ruminations are worth looking at, too.

I should note that General Warlove appreciated Ms. Bradley Hagerty's narrow focus.


Anonymous said...

NPR plagiarizes as a standard practice.

No surprise there.

Anonymous said...

Almost 4 minutes of "coverage" by Scott Simonizer and Eleanor Beardedlady of the popular uprising in Tunisia that overthrew their 23 year dictator AND not a single mention of the role played by wikileaks in leaking cables that called Tunusia a police state.

Once again, it is NPR propaganda by omission, something at which Simon and other NPR hosts seem to really excel.

Simon is almost certainly aware of the wikileaks connection here because it is ALL over the news (even the AP article on NPR's site mentions it).

Anonymous said...

Here's the link to the Simon piece.

Patrick Lynch said...

After reading the blog link about BBH, is there anyone at NPR who doesn't have a conflict of interest?

I had already read the Truthout piece on the spiritual fitness test and knowing how NPR does things am extremely grateful I didn't hear the ATC piece. I've cut All Things Considered completely out of my life.

Having already read most of the linked articles, hearing the actual NPR broadcast would have been enraging for their sins of omission.

Anonymous said...

NPR and many of those in Washington (including Obama) push what Glenn Greenwald refers to as

vapid notions of "civility" a means of justifying what they're actually advocating (we may be defending repulsive and destructive ideas -- we're cheering on wars and insisting on legal immunity for torturers -- but at least we're doing it in a soft-spoken manner while sitting in plush think tank conference rooms with name plates and pitchers of water, which entitles us to respect and deference).
//end Greenwald quote

I would add that they also use similarly vapid notions of "class warfare" and of "patriotism" and of "security" and of "original intent" (of the Founding fathers) "as a means of justifying what they're actually advocating".

In other words, rather than address legitimate concerns, these fine folks cut the conversation short by labeling (and often libeling) any who dare to criticize them.

Anonymous said...

RE: calls for "civility"

Of course, Obama is one of those calling for "civility", after dramatically stepping up drone attacks in the Afghan and Pakistan theaters, which has killed HUNDREDS of civilians whose only crime was being in the "wrong place".

How "civil" was that?

Obama also suggested last year ("jokingly" of course) that he might send a "predator drone" after the Jonas Brothers if they went anywhere near his daughters.

How "civil" is that, to actually joke about such things?

Obama got a Nobel Peace Prize and has just been called a "patriot" by John McCain.

Not all of us view such things as either Peace Prize worthy OR "patriotic".