Thursday, January 20, 2011

Q Tips

NPR related comments welcomed.


Porter Melmoth said...

(Composite post from previous Q-Tips; sorry for duplication.)

Diane Rehm this morn: top brass showcase of CPB, PBS and NPR.


Mini-review for those of you who won't be tracking this one down:

The DR show was wincingly predictable. Viv was shilling at her usual high level of evasive action. DR's questions were pretty softball, and she failed to follow up, but at least some notions were brought out into the open.

The top brass basically just gave a 101-level PR course on 'what we are and what we do', and of course they're doing it brilliantly, and on the cheap, too! Very, very little of substance was examined, particularly CONTENT.

Someone complained about salaries (e.g. The Simonizer), but of course Viv said that, compared to 'commercial' media, NPR's salaries were not at all excessive. Yawn.

Viv's only emotion was as a mother tiger protecting her Mara-baby.

A Texas congressman chimed in with why public funding for broadcasting, no matter how small it is, has to be cut back, along with everything else. He was low key and compliant with DR Politeness. The top brass were protected from sparring with him, as only DR dealt with him. DR also noted that he was the only Congressman (out of 30 calls) who agreed to come on the show.

As a supporter of equality issues, I always hoped that women, once they ascended to positions of power, wouldn't simply ape men as far as power tactics are concerned. I know many women are compelled to conform, but in this case, it looks like women will be doing the dirty work as the (mostly) Corporate guys sit back and watch the show.

Like the tobacco and automotive CEO's, these three are girding themselves for battle on The Hill. ('We're selecting our outfits'.) No doubt one of their favorite bluebirds, Andie Seabrook, will be safely covering the clashes for NPR believers.


Just one more yak:

Why does The Beardsley, witnessing the Tunisian revolution, apparently firsthand, sound like she's just been watching the stupidest, most sophomoric movie, and she's going to imply how trivial it all is via a snotty drawl? Just WHY does she have to talk like that? She sounds like a spoiled, tiresome, and tedious brat, entirely self-serving and distracting. Even at pervy NPR central control, is there NOBODY who's maybe, you know, finding her delivery a trifle, you know, stupid and sophomoric-sounding? Well, perhaps because her actual reportage is fairly straightforward, but still!!

I know, I'm too touchy, but sometimes style out-trumps substance in the transmission of 'news'. If you're going to attempt top-drawer news-gathering, you just can't have reporters with stumbling-block characteristics. REPORTERS SHOULD NEVER INFLICT THEIR PERSONAL CHARACTERISTICS ON THE CONVEYANCE OF NEWS! Of course, I imagine that such fuddy-duddy notions don't apply at loftier-than-anyone-else NPR. Like the Neocons, they think they're 'above' the banalities of History.

PS: On DN! Juan Cole said that the Western media were basically ignoring the Tunisia revolution. He did not mention NPR at any time.

Patrick Lynch said...

I agree with the style/irritating reporter over substance comment. There are so many of them, that I doubt that to the NPR powers that be, Beardsley stands out much to them. I find that the more irritating the "reporter" the more likely I will automatically tune out what he/she is saying unless I very deliberately focus past the irritation and listen to the content such as it is.

The usual result of that is my irritation just doubles.

In my opinion, the complaints about salaries are justified. When you compare what these bozos are paid compared to the member station news reading counterparts, the disparity is obscene. Add to that, these overpaid shills are the ones hat in hand begging for more dollars to keep their precious NPR going. I don't need to ask if they have any shame, I know for a fact already that they don't.

bpfb said...

Am reminded of that most cogent, archived Melmothian idiom:

"... having sex with their own voice."

Porter Melmoth said...

Egads, b!...b!, I'd forgotten about that, even though, now that you mention it, I'm reminded daily...!

Anonymous said...

The probability of being an NPR host increases in direct proportion to the obnoxiousness of one's voice and demeanor: hence people like Meeeeeeeeeeshellll Noooooris (who actually says her name like that several times a minute)

And if the people at NPR "could be making much more in "commercial" radio (and NPR isn't?), why don't they?

I'll tell you why.

These are the rejects from journalism.

Every one of them has some sort of bizarre "quirk" about them that would disqualify them from most commercial stations. But on NPR, they actually seem to celebrate such stuff.

To say nothing of the fact that these NPR "Hosts" could not get and keep a real journalism job if their life depended on it.

Porter Melmoth said...

Spot on, Anon.

Indeed, ever since NPR hit the 'big time', the notion of them being second-string rejects has been sidelined, probably because NPR's niche audience doesn't think in terms of having that perspective. Nor should they have to. That's why I'm beating the NPR HAS A STRANGLEHOLD ON WHAT SHOULD BE ALTERNATIVE RADIO drum.

Also, these quirky rejects DO know how to spin a tale on radio (e.g. the art of being a blabbermouth, providing purposeful filler), and some can toss in a bit of creative writing talent as well – perfect for propagandistic possibilities. It is imperative that NPR cater to a 'reading' listenership - an elitist gimmick if there ever was one. Another requirement is that they should sound ‘intellectual’ when handed a script. Academic credentials are a must. And when it comes to MeeShill, it’s a triple threat of sexy, sophisticated, AND intellectual.

Loyalists to NPR possibly think that NPR as it is now is as good as it gets, because it's all that they CAN get.

It's like in North Korea, where all the radios only get one station.

I'll repeat one of my favorite lines, from the film 'The Insider', when Mike Wallace, played by Christopher Plummer, says: "I don't plan to spend the end of my days wandering in the wilderness of National Public Radio."

Porter Melmoth said...

Can't resist adding a perfect example of NPR's impossibly cool hipness.

This morn NPR's prize-winning Ari Shapiro did a little dream trip back to Portland OR, and packaged it in perfect condescending fashion for us.

Because Ari's a 'guest singer' for Portland's own Pink Martini (you can waste your YouTube quota hours while enjoying his superstar talents if you want to), that gives him license to showcase some spoofy Portland humor. I confess, the sophistication of the piece was WAY over my head, but if I just put in more effort, Ari will help me in my life's ambition to be cool and hip enough to understand the new NPR.

Well anyway, I don't live in Portland, but I know the city well and enjoy it immensely whenever I'm in town. There's also a sort of protectionist attitude there to maintain the progressive environment that they've so carefully fostered. It's unofficially summed up in the slogan 'Keep Portland Weird'. This is a city where the mayor basically told Homeland Security where to stuff it.

Thanks Ari, for helping to NOT keep Portland weird.

JayV said...

This was posted on a Burlington, VT political blog:

Press Release From Michelle Jeffery at Vermont Public Radio:

For Immediate Release:

VPR Joins National “170 Million Americans for Public Broadcasting” Campaign

Dear Colleagues,

Vermont Public Radio has joined with other public radio and television stations across the country in an unprecedented effort to harness the enthusiasm of the 170 million Americans who watch, listen to, or use the services and programming of public media each month.

View the full release and learn more about VPR’s involvement with the 170 Million Americans for Public Broadcasting campaign here:

Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions or needs.

Michelle Jeffery
Coordinator of Marketing& Communications
Vermont Public Radio

geoff said...

In Haitian Press Aggressively Hunt Their Prey, Jason Beaubien marks perhaps a new low for his journalistic integrity: of all the things to report on in Haiti, he highlights what he characterizes as the obnoxious nature of the Haitian press corp, which he then excuses as a symptom of an "emerging democrcacy." Wow.

Anonymous said...

"You can't fix the deficit or the national debt by killing NPR or National Endowment for the Humanities or the Arts." -- Disgraced Bush Sec of State General Colin Powell

While that is correct, does anyone even CARE (to say nothing of believe) what Powell thinks about anything?

After all his completely bogus fear mongering at the UN about Iraqi WMD (propaganda that NPR repeated without challenge or even the softest of questions), it's a wonder anyone will even give that guy the time of day (other than NPR, of course).

He has precisely ZERO credibility.

But of course, he still has an "in" with the elite power-brokers in Washington, because they know he is a complete tool and will do and say pretty much anything they tell him to do and say.

The fact that Colin Powell supports keeping NPR (as an outlet for government propaganda) is all the reason one needs to defund NPR and ALL of its member stations, IMHO.

geoff said...

Anon - Check out the video lecture and audience discussion at The Great American Bank Robbery,
by William K. Black

At about 40min you get an analysis of how and why failed/discredited politicians and regulators are promoted by the System. The whole neocon pantheon from Greenspan to ... Herbert Hoover, who could buy stock at half price.

Anonymous said...

The only thing I listen to on WHYY because i want to and like the show is, La Show. The rest i just listen as an exercise in how cultural hegemony is used. And this is even more interesting to me because it is America's "cubicle class" that falls prey. And they are always told they are intellectual, and smart, and they have a right to be here. But they fall for this BS without blinking an eye.


geoff said...

Yeah, NPR is so tiresome and boringly predictable in its propagandistic, freeway-injected drivel that it's hard to say anything new about it other than to continue documenting the ongoing travesty. Over at KCRW's LR&C I saw something a bit odd, though. They're advertising "limited ediction" apparel by Mr. Brainwash. Having recently seen the movie about street art, Exit Through the Gift Shop, about Thierry Guetta and Banksy in which Guetta reinvents himself as a street artist named Mr. Brainwash -- and, much to Banksy's surprise, becomes a darling of the Los Angeles art scene. Banksy, who is a real artist, has this to say about Mr. Brainwash: "I used to think that anybody could be an artist. I don't think that anymore."

Anonymous said...


Great interview.

I've seen other interviews of Black (eg, by Bill Moyers) and read some of the stuff he has written.

He's one smart fellow.

With minimal information, he is able to see through the fog and cut right to the chase.

People like Summers, Geithner and Obama must absolutely loathe him because he can smell a con a mile away.

Which, of course is why they have never consulted with him at all on the recent financial meltdown.

They KNOW he will find fraud -- and massive amounts of it.

And they also know that THEY are the ones who set the whole system up.

I find it almost incredible that Obama still enjoys such a high favorable rating among Democrats after the way he has handled the economic crisis.

If people can't see through him by now, they will never be able to do so.

I actually voted for the guy.

Con me once...

Anonymous said...

O course, the primary thing that allows Obama to maintain his high favorable rating with Democrats is that most of them have never even hear of William Black, thanks in no small part to NPR, with whom he is pretty much persona non grata, along with Ralph Nader, Ray McGovern and many others.

If you speak the truth NPR avoids you like the plague if at all feasible.

And if they can't avoid you, they attack you -- as they have done with Julian Assange.

Oh, their attacks are clever, to b sure: they attack by printing "he said/ she said" (mostly "she-said" in that case) -- ie, tabloid attacks that give them plausible deniability: "we wer only printing ALL views"

The Boss of You said...

12 noon top of hour news no mention of Egyptian protest.

Anonymous said...


More great news about NPR sponsor and Planet Monkey's sole financial supporter, Ally Bank.

From The Atlantic:

E-mails Suggest Bear Stearns Cheated Clients Out of Billions

"Former Bear Stearns mortgage executives who now run mortgage divisions of Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, and Ally Financial have been accused of cheating and defrauding investors through the mortgage securities they created and sold while at Bear. According to e-mails and internal audits, JPMorgan had known about this fraud since the spring of 2008, but hid it from the public eye through legal maneuvering. Last week a lawsuit filed in 2008 by mortgage insurer Ambac Assurance Corp against Bear Stearns and JPMorgan was unsealed. The lawsuit's supporting e-mails, going back as far as 2005, highlight Bear traders telling their superiors they were selling investors like Ambac a "sack of shit."

Don Q. Public

Patrick Lynch said...

This time, I didn't bother to turn on NPR to listen to the State of the Union address. Aside from all the usual reasons to be sickened by NPR's "analysis", I now react to the sound of Obama's voice the way I did Bush's.

A scan of the transcript makes me more glad I didn't listen or watch since it was obvious pandering to the Corpocracy.

informedveteran said...

I don't think I can stand to listen to the whole State of Delusion Address.

Why in the world does any republican have a problem with Obama? He is a "free market" right wing nut!