Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Q Tips

NPR related comments welcomed.


informedveteran said...

Don't you just love the irony of our entire national news media being so concerned about unintended consequences of the Mubarak regime "stepping down"? Where was all this concern that "bad things could happen" when we barreled into Iraq to remove Saddam?

larry, dfh said...

Tensofthousands, tensofthousands. That's the mantra, despite the elaboration that crowds have never been larger. Will these folks ever just ditch the cue-cards?

Patrick Lynch said...

Or the other ridiculous irony of the media and especially NPR for failing to mention that there is extremely little difference if any between Egypt and the United States when it comes to economic inequality. The very economic inequality that led to the revolt in the first place. They keep acting as though those things only happen "over there".

The media frets over religious extremism over there but seems perfectly fine with it in our own country. Arrogant blindness.

Anonymous said...

What NPR would say if they had one shred of integrity left (but never will because they don't)

"Sheik al-Torture': Washington's New Man in Cairo"

Washington's "orderly transition" road map - fully supported by Tel Aviv and European capitals - is a facelift. Mubarak stepping down has become an afterthought; the already anointed successor is Vice President Omar Suleiman, the former head of the Mukhabarta, whom the protesters call "Sheik al-Torture".

But of course, no one at NPR (including faux liberals like Terry Grotesque) would ever use the "T word" to describe someone like Suleiman who is doing the bidding of the US government.

NPR's mantra: "It's not fried, it's 'Sheik'n Bake' and I helped."

Porter Melmoth said...

A major ingredient in NPR's role as a provider of propaganda is to keep things dumbed-down, while appearing to sound intellectual and discerning. Toss in a bit of fun with the 'depressing' stuff, and you've hooked your target audience.

When you've got a pompous blowhard like Blob Siegel as your intellectual heavyweight, and any number of other mediocre talents on your roster, you can inflict your own standards on the public, who think that they're getting the best there is.

For all the world travel and experience the NPR biggies have had, it's absolutely stunning how starkly stupid they sound. For example, this morn Renaay questioned an Egyptian author who was obviously a very together person. Nevertheless, to be true to herself and to 'relate' with her target audience, Renaay had an attitude that made you wonder if her next question would be something like, 'Do you people actually have toilets in Egypt?'. Despite these qualities, Renaay isn't the absolute worst of the NPR-niks, but when she goes into the I've'-never-been-past-the-doorway-of-my-favorite-boutique ditziness, that too is a powerful tool in the NPR propaganda machine. And the interviewees, usually grateful for a chance for some 'public' airtime (not knowing of how it'll all be edited and packaged later on), are almost always polite and sincere. I'm sure that off the air, NPR ties to butter up this kind of interviewee, so as to get best behavior out of them, with no funny business allowed.

I mean, when have we EVER heard an argumentative or even slightly discordant interviewee on NPR? They just aren't allowed. And when someone raises their voice, they're relegated to a soundbyte that implies that they are either a Chomskyite (sorta like a Trotskyite maybe?) or a screaming Islamofashionista. NPR knows how to use passive-aggressiveness to serve Das Propagandenspiele Programmen (sorry for the lame attempt at Goebbels-sprach).

Anyway, there was actually an 'old' style or shall we say Zwerdling-style segment today from one of the NPR-niks named Debbie that profiled the use of meditation at an Alabama prison. The story was even-handed and without NPR baggage. It was also interesting. However, it was a feature story.

My point being, why did NPR get so obsessed with their news programs being of the 'magazine' format? BBC Radio, which they had no choice but to emulate in the early days (but I'm sure they think now that they've surpassed BBC and are so much BETTER), long ago divided itself into four divisions, each having a specific goal audience (e.g. Radio 3 is classical music, etc.). In other words, feature stories have their place and are not necessarily mixed in with 'hard' news. Of course, NPR thinks they're pretty good at providing a 'balanced diet' of hard-ass news, bouncy (or 'edifying') features, and 'witty commentary' (the latter being The Blob's term).

But what am I thinking? BBC is Big Gub'munt owned & operated - a socialist tool, while NPR is owned by 'the people'. I guess that explains everything.

Porter Melmoth said...

PS: I wonder if NPR interviewed the woman (or even mentioned her) who was the head of the English-language Nile TV and walked off her job to join the protesters because she couldn't be part of the propaganda machine any more? Al Jazeera had an excellent interview with her.

Patrick Lynch said...


I heard the Renay MonFeign interview this morning and thought you were being kind in your description. It was a textbook example of that really annoying tone of voice one of them gets when they think they're asking particularly insightful questions.

Apparently MonFeign can't handle when someone is more composed and smarter than she is. It made her evident shallowness all the more embarrassing.

When it comes to crushing any interview subject who might possibly have uttered something discordant, Inskreep is the morning master. It's been awhile since I've heard anyone try.

Patrick Lynch said...

To expand a little on my tone of voice comment, the more that tone of "I'm so insightful" is being used, the more spectacularly stupid the question will be. Inskreep's interview with the president of Iran would be a good example. Pretty much everything that comes out of MeShill's, the Blob's and the Blockhead's mouth too. I especially cringe when Scott Simon does this on Saturday mornings.

Porter Melmoth said...

Without kidding Patrick, insightful comments indeed.

Inskreep's perfected what he thinks is his trademark weapon: that little pause he makes before delivering his punch (or more frequently, his punchline). Yet another frustrated standup comic on NPR.

Nobody's telling him he can't be an egomaniac as he exercises his vast powers.

bpfb said...

And guys, don't forget that little tongue-clack they do as a precursor (or as Blobby McRootypoop might intone "preceeeuurseeuur."

Porter Melmoth said...

We can always rely on a big pink fuzzy bunny to accurately transliterate NPR patois into good clear English.

Mytwords said...

re Patrick Lynch "...ridiculous irony of the media and especially NPR for failing to mention that there is extremely little difference if any between Egypt and the United States...
Glenzilla nails that one.

Mytwords said...

Be sure to check out Temple of Doom Raston's piece on yesterday's ATC. Block opens it with

"Thirty years ago, political violence in Egypt helped give birth to a movement that later became al-Qaida....how al-Qaida got its start in the early days of the Mubarak regime."

Temple-Raston adds her insights: "So at some level, Egypt helped create the terrorism problem the U.S. is fighting now."

You had to wonder how long before NPR would raise the OMG al-Qaida BS...These NPR clowns have no shame...

I'm still waiting for their story on al-Qaeda's real daddy - bloody Ron.

miranda said...

Silly me. And I thought al Quaeda was created by the CIA.

Porter Melmoth said...

In the recent 'Velvet Gjelten' post, Mr. Lynch brought up a name that I had not previously known, though the name's VOICE has plagued we sufferers for practically a Reagan Century now.

It's FRANK TAVARES, that reedy, insufferable punishment voice who does all the blatant acknowledgments that betray just how riddled with Corporates NPR is.

And then - and then, I dared go to his profile. Wow -what a guy!


I wonder if he'd be willing to do a few 'grueling' sessions naming sincere individuals who've forked over for NPR even though they're being foreclosed on? I wonder how much you have to give before Frank condescends to go out over the airways with the name?

How d'ya like that burp-rag of a tie? Blood & guts all over it, if you ask me! It just came out of his mouth seconds before the photo was taken - one of Frank's favorite gags. And you know what? It helps keep his voice in tune!

Apparently the gang at NPR think he's really GOOD. Typical NPR bad taste. He must be a pretty nice guy, in spite of the nasally nauseating way he inflicts NPR's true nature on the audience. (Hey, maybe he's actually one of 'us', what with the sickening way he tosses corporate words around, maybe it turns people OFF of NPR and their Masters . . . ?)

I'm reminded of the Woody Allen gag where in a chain gang jail, prisoners are punished by having to go into the 'sweat box' for 12 hours with a life insurance agent. To me that would be Frank Tavares.

In all seriousness, he's such an unspeakably awful element of NPR that previously I could scarcely dare give utterance to a reference to him. Now that it has been done, I hope never to do so again, as I'm sure you all will be glad of.

Anonymous said...


Speaking of "old style" public radio.

Scott Carrier (a guy I know from Utah, where I used to live) is a good example of a REAL radio journalist.

Real journalists like Carrier make the interviews about the people they are interviewing rather than about themselves.

What a revolutionary concept, no? -- one that the vast majority of the folks at NPR (especially people like Bob Siegel,Steve Inskeep, Michelle Norris, Kelemen, Cokie Roberts, Scott Simon) never learned.

geoff said...

Anon - That's for sure. Studs Terkel comes to mind. As much of a personality as he was, he was always more interested in finding out about his interviewee and didn't feel the need to couch that in terms of his father's definitions for the gradations of retardation, or whatever.

Russ Baker is another. Check out his latest on the Rumsfeld memoirs.

larry, dfh said...

Wednesday, 9Feb11, m.e.
Despite numerous

concerning the shootings of 2 motorcyclists in Pakistan by an American, npr insists on reading only state department cue cards, hoping to keep their target audience ignorant. The odious julie mccarthy not only fails to mention any pertinent information, such as:
-the Pakistanis killed were ISI agents
-the wife of one of them has taken her own life, stating that she feared justice would not be served,
but she also intentionally misleads, or shall we say LIES:
-murder is not subject to diplomatic immunity
-a person is considered a diplomat in a host country after their diplomatic credentials have been submitted to, and accepted by the government of the host country.
Mccarthy's piece was pure, shameful propaganda; shame is obviously an emotion not felt @ npr, where it would seem the main job criterion is to wait for
from the State Department.
Interestingly, a search of DemocracyNow! for 'Raymond Davis' gives no pertinent results.

Patrick Lynch said...


Not only did I read that Glenzilla piece, but if it's the post I commented in, I posted links back to several pieces here on the same subjects.

Porter Melmoth said...

I'm so glad that Glennzilla gets wide play in his commentary.

The supposedly 'liberal' NYT deserves to be 'checked' as much as NPR. Bill Keller's sickening whining about Julian Assange was a classic of NPR proportions.

As we know too well, the US is a past master in denial. That is, 'stuff happens' everywhere else but not in America - e.g. we don't 'do' torture, but yes we do 'do' torture, but in the American way, which is OK. Enter Bob Fisk's commentary on the manipulation of selective terminology.

This is typical behavior of an empire that has passed its prime.

This is all pretty elementary stuff if one is not predisposed to denial. During Britain's empire days, most Brits weren't interested in their empire at all. They were concerned about conditions at home because 99% of them did not share in the spoils. Marx and Engels studied conditions in Britain, not Russia or anywhere else. Mahatma Gandhi was shocked at the conditions of British millworkers.

But of course, with the help of NPR and the NYT, we can simply bypass history, because it doesn't apply to us - a classic Neocon notion that is very much alive.

geoff said...

Yeah, talk about bypassing history, this ME they were talking about Michelle Obama's love affair with Walmart and how Jackie Kennedy started a tradition of activist first ladies by renovating the WH. Eleanor Roosevelt, anyone?

Patrick Lynch said...

Let's see how NPR covers or more likely doesn't cover this story:



Verification word:credlie.

Anonymous said...

NPR is desperate to minimize the role played by wikileaks in what has happening in the Middle east (in Egypt, Tunisia, etc)

Reality Check: WikiLeaks Confirm, Don't Drive, Reasons For Protests

To kill a straw man, NPR says that "one editor [Ian Black, Middle East editor at The Guardian,]at a news outlet that's front-and-center in the publishing of those secrets says the leaks are not driving factors in the upheavals now underway in some nations."

They go on to quote him as saying
"The WikiLeaks revelations ... at most, provide confirmation that America ... knows what is really happening," he added. "Of course that doesn't always show the United States in a good light."

Unfortunately for NPR, no one ever claimed that Wikileaks had single-handedly brought about the revolution that is now sweeping countries like Egypt and Tunisia.

As others with a brain (which does not include anyone at NPR) have pointed out (eg, Elizabeth Dickinson in Foreign Policy Magazine)

As in the recent so-called "Twitter Revolutions" in Moldova and Iran, there was clearly lots wrong with Tunisia before Julian Assange ever got hold of the diplomatic cables. Rather, WikiLeaks acted as a catalyst: both a trigger and a tool for political outcry. Which is probably the best compliment one could give the whistle-blower site.

So, spare us the attacks on straw men, NPR, you stupid, dishonest hacks.

Your contempt for wikileaks is showing.

Anonymous said...

NPR is pulling out all the stops when it comes to making shameless plugs for Mubarak.

They have actually abandoned all pretense of objectivity and are now actively shilling for the man.

Funny. I don't seem to recall NPR worrying itself about possible fighting between religious sects in Iraq following Saddam Hussein's ouster.

National Propaganda Radio at its finest.

Porter Melmoth said...

Superb intelligent discussion on the US role in the Middle East, 'Pax Americana', including Seymour Hersh, in the excellent 'Empire' series on Al Jaz. (Check out Michael Moore, Chris Hedges and O. Stone on how Hollywood covers war on an earlier show.)


larry, dfh said...

Well, since blogger seemed to have removed my comment, twice, I'll re-post some of it.
Wed, 9Feb11 m.e. had a very deceptive and incomplete reading of State Department cue cards in reference to the detention of hired contractor
raymond davis
in Pakistan. Davis is a contractor for a private security firm without a landed address, i.e. probably a c.i.a. front. He is being held for murder of two ISI agents, a crime which is not covered by 'diplomatic immunity'. Also not mentioned in the State Department briefing by julie mccarthy: the wife of one of the victims took her own life, attesting to fears that 'justice' will no be served.
Regarding npr and the State Department/intelligence community,
pretty well sums it up.

Anonymous said...

NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro said protesters had become increasingly concerned in recent days of a "stealthy crackdown" by soldiers. Until recently, the army has remained neutral, but there have been reports that soldiers have begun harassing protesters in the past few days.

"Some of the people that have been trying to get in supplies to the square have disappeared only to re-emerge later with allegations that they have been mistreated by the army," Garcia-Navarro said.

from Egypt Holds Its Breath Ahead Of Mubarak's Speech

by NPR Staff and Wires


Not surprising that National Pro-Mubarak radio would continue their "hear no torture, see no torture" policy.
Garcia-Navarro must be reporting from Cairo with ear muffs and a blindfold on.

How about a reality check?

Egypt's Army 'Involved in Detentions and Torture'
"Military accused by human rights campaigners of targeting hundreds of anti-government protesters"

"The Guardian has spoken to detainees who say they have suffered extensive beatings and other abuses at the hands of the military in what appears to be an organised campaign of intimidation. Human rights groups have documented the use of electric shocks on some of those held by the army."
//end of Guardian, UK quote

geoff said...

The number of financial charlatons and scam artist who opine on NPR and Marketplace seems to be unending. This ME we have

1. More Rightward Tug on the Overton Window achieves Bipartisan Consensus

2. Banks Need More Leeway to Gouge Further on Mortgages

3. You Know the Banks are Doing What They Can Because a WSJ Editor With the Cadences of Reason Says So

There would be some juicy Wikileaks of Bank Execs cabling NPR execs except they don't need to cable each other because they're in bed together, well...figuratively cabling.

Porter Melmoth said...

Larry, the Davis case in Pakistan indicates that the US is in way over its head there. Ineptitude and stupidity on parade.

It would be interesting to see how the US would react if a supposedly diplomatically immune Pakistani fellow was supposedly mugged in Central Park and then blew away the muggers.

Any dude who's pulling a Wild West trip in Pakistan is definitely up to something, and he's probably doing it on behalf of CIA/Xe.

My condolences to the family of the slain/suicide, whose lives were ruined on this insane sidetrack of the American Empire's bunglings.

Kevan Smith said...

I know this is an NPR-related site, but ....

we should all shill for DN! reaping some big time awards for its Egypt coverage.

Anonymous said...

Well, the folks at National Pro-Mubarak Radio can breath a sigh of relief.

Looks like their main men Mubarak and Torture Master Suleiman are consolidating their stranglehold on power and may be able to beat the protesters (quite literally).

"Military Backs Mubarak As Fury Grows"

I bet NPR's management would like to see some more violence -- like Egyptian military gunning down defenseless protesters.

Good for the sensationalism factor -- and to engender fear in the American public and keep them in line...

Anonymous said...

I apologize for my ineptitude in doing this right but . . . it is a link to tear gas canisters made in USA (images). In one of her first reports nelson claimed she couldn't "verify" claims that tear gas used was made and sent to Egypt. Since the pictures showed up nothing more has been heard. And where is Scott simon to condemn the use of expired American tear gas against citizens of Egypt. Not so strangely silent of course.

NPR staff and talking stenographers at all levels are always "surprised" to learn that something only traitors, Liberals, and islamofascists point out is actually true. I think this is why they despise people like Howard Zinn and organizations like Wiki-Leaks. I don't doubt for a minute that Scott simon truly believes that USA is God's gift to the world (if they would only have the good sense to go along with the program). So for Simon to have to make a choice between believing what he can plainly see and what he has been "taught" there is no choice. and he never, ever has to come back and say: "Ooops, I was wrong about this".

Meanwhile at WHYY they want you to "show some love" to NPR and WHYY by sending some money (I think in the "real world" there's a pejoritive term for that sort of thinking money = love). They are still short 130k or 1/6 of "Dollar Bill" Marazzo's annual acknowledged salary.


Anonymous said...

RE: "tear gas canisters made in USA"

That's just the tip of the iceberg and hardly the worst part.

The entire Egyptian military is financed with American tax dollars (the tune of $2 billion a year).

That means EVERY gun, every bullet, every armored car, every tank, every jet, every torture session...well, you get the picture.

Every time a peaceful Egyptian demonstrator is brutalized or murdered, it has been bought and paid for with US tax dollars.

Personally, I don't want my hard earned taxes being used by thugs like Mubarak and Suleiman to torture and kill people in Egypt whose only crime is desiring to rid themselves of those who have raped, pillaged and brutalized their citizens for decades.

If Obama won't DEMAND that the thugs currently running things in Egypt (at a bare minimum, that includes Mubarak AND Suleiman) leave and allow the Egyptian PEOPLE to create the conditions under which REAL democracy can develop (ie, live up to his own lofty rhetoric) then Democrats and Independents should simply look for someone else to ACTUALLY represent us here in the US in 2012.

With each passing day, Obama is looking more and more like a smiley guy in a nice suit who knows how to read a teleprompter.

If it were not so tragic, it would be funny.

Anonymous said...


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Anonymous said...


When you SPEAK in platitudes and ACT in "our national interests" you end up looking like Obama and Biden and Clinton. I'd like to see what the official line on Egypt is.

"They" don't don't hate us cause we are "free", they hate us cause they are oppressed, repressed, and surpressed by allies of ours.


Porter Melmoth said...

The post-Pharaoh Hosni The First/Last Era is now in play.

I agree: DN! & Al Jaz have been exemplary. Steady, reliable, and spot on. NPR was worse than mediocre, despite relative 'neutral' reporting from Our Lady Lourdes.

Next: I expect NPR to concentrate on the Israeli side of things, now that they will take the center stage of Neocon concerns. They (Neocon/Corportists) couldn't care less about democracy in Egypt, as they have contempt for that approach.

bee-pee-eff-bee said...

Just flew in to my bunny in-hutch:

MoveOn.org cries "Save NPR and PBS"

with the cute quip:

"Congress must protect NPR and PBS and guarantee them permanent funding, free from political meddling."

Sorry. A little too late regarding that last part.

Anonymous said...

NPR coverage of the protests in Egypt has been nothing short of shameful.

And I'm going to have to say that I don't see Garcia-Navarro's reporting from Cairo as "neutral".

She clearly downplayed (presented as "hearsay") the efforts by Mubarak thugs to stir up trouble (and brutalize and murder protesters).

There is no excuse for that.

It's simply not what an honest journalist does -- period.

Journalists need to be held accountable not only for that they do report, but for what they choose to minimize and/or ignore.

NPR management and reporters have become "experts" at ignoring stuff when it does not jibe with their own (personal and organizational) goals (thereby avoiding inconvenient truths that will affect their bottom line.

Anonymous said...

NPR's idea of "neutrality" is to "balance" well-documented reality (eg, brutality by Mubarak thugs against protesters, documented by HRW) with total BS (eg, denials by Mubarak officials.)

NPR's faux/Fox "balance" meme has grown very old.

informedveteran said...

Democracy Now is right now streaming LIVE continuously.

Porter Melmoth said...

NPR seemed underwhelmed by the Egyptian transformation. (At DN!, I’ve never seen Amy Goodman so joyous). The Blob seemed much more entranced with CPAC and Mittens’ mild jokes. Natch.

Anonymous said...

NPR is not just underwhelmed by what happened in Egypt.

They are downright pissed.

Things did not go at all as they had thought they would (Mubarak staying in power), which completely ruined their plan to take the opportunity to "educate" the rest of us about how foreign policy is really done by the adults (like Hillary and Suleiman)

NPR has egg all over their face on this one and i doubt they will ever get it off.

As I see it, this is their last hurrah before the Republicans defund them and all of their member stations.

geoff said...

If the Republicans defund NPR I will eat my pocket protector, unless of course, the veal pen libs sucked into that abyss have no problem fully progressing to self-proclaimed regression in a newly constituted commercially explicit - in the oh so nouveau chic fashion of the post advertisial, now fully delusional class...something altogether too possible. Hey, maybe we're already there.

Patrick Lynch said...

As much as they carry on about defunding NPR and PBS, I don't think what passes for Republicans these days will actually do it once they see what an effective propaganda tool they have at their finger tips. That assumes of course they don't know that already. My take is actually that they do see it and only the inexperienced Tea Partiers are not on board yet.

Planet Money yesterday was an abomination for bringing on the guy who wants to return to the gold standard and then proceed to humiliate him using a "professor of economics" to make a fool of the guy. All done in that relentless sing songy condescending snarky tone of theirs. The set up was their usual level of shameful.

I haven't been listening to any Mubarak coverage later than what is on Morning Edition but I agree that they seem very pissed his actual resignation has throw them off script. Especially Inskreep. I agree we are going to hear a lot more propaganda from the neocon Israelis' so that as much fear mongering about Iran is allowed to have as much air time as they want.

A co-worker told me today that she's been enjoying Democracy Now on WRFL and that NPR and the rest of the mainstream media suffers in the comparison. I found that encouraging. I mentioned NPR Check to her.

Porter Melmoth said...

I did a few minutes of the Simonizer this morn, and he's really been discombobulated with post-Mubarak Egypt. Usually swaggeringly confident, the SS, like the rest of NPR, acts like they've just lost their patriarch.

What to do? Before Israel kicks in with their persecution trip, best to be a little condescending to all the euphoric Egyptians, but then get down to work on the negative. Like, stay tuned for the Brotherhood and all that.

Then it was with much relief that the SS could turn to mocking streetcars in American cities with an Eleanor Beardsley-style snottiness (she's a great influence, doncha know).

These are obvious times to trash most American media as not only worthless, but more harmful than ever.

One question though: it took 30 years for the long-suffering Egyptians to dump their patriarch. How long will Americans put up with their crappy media?

A dear friend of mine, a passionately progressive-thinking person through and through, thinks that the media are all-powerful and that they have the American public permanently under their thumbs. I disagree. I certainly agree about their power, but I just don't think it's what it was. Like the US itself, their power has peaked. Egypt has proven that things will go in different directions now. That's what's so exciting about the here and now.

I was also elated when Al Jazeera had that awful, awful Nicholas Burns on to comment on the Egyptian situation. The interviewer just didn't buy Burns' lullaby-voiced 'gentle' words, and made him look like the worthless 'kindler, gentler' imperialist that he is.

On the other hand, on the recent Al Jaz 'Empire' show with Sy Hersh, Thomas Pickering, old-school American imperialist that he is, was nevertheless hip to fact that change is in the wind, so get on board. At least he was posing as more progressive.

As for NPR, despite Viv's futile attempts to make them the hippest cats on the block, NPR's dinosaur fate is really showing. She's gonna have to sack all the old farts and go commercial if she wants to save that mess.

I mean, if you're mocking streetcars, which work astoundingly well in cities from Calcutta to Riga to Zurich to Portland (all of which I have personally used with great satisfaction), you're not only a bozo, you're not long for your position of 'influence'. Sorta like Pharaoh Hosni The Last.