Friday, February 11, 2011

Tank Diving with Jackie Northam

Jackie Northam is one of the worst of the Think Tank Scrapers at NPR. She gained early recognition on this blog for her tanking prowess way back in Oct. 2006, again in Dec. 2006 and March 2007, and was still going strong in March 2009. So on Thursday morning when I heard that Northam was covering US and Israeli talks focusing on Egypt, I wondered how deep her think tank plunge would go. I think she may have set a new low mark in this area.

Northam's first "expert" is Robert Danin of the Council on Foreign Relations. The most stellar part of his bio has to be his role as
"Former head, Office of the Quartet Representative, Tony Blair, in Jerusalem" (Tony Blair...ouch!).
Danin also has been employed and recognized by the US State Department with "Superior and Meritorious Honor Awards."

Northam's second guest, Aaron David Miller, from the Woodrow Wilson Center is also a standard State Department award winning expert. As Miller's bio indicates:
"...he served at the Department of State as an advisor to six secretaries of state, where he helped formulate U.S. policy on the Middle East and the Arab-Israel peace process....received the department's Distinguished, Superior, and Meritorious Honor Awards."
But it is Northam's third expert that sets a new low standard. To bring in the Israeli perspective Northam features Dan Schueftan, a professor who has made the following classy and nuanced remarks:
  • "The Arabs are the biggest failure in the history of the human race.”
  • "While Israel sends while sends a sophisticated satellite into space, the Arabs come up with a new kind of hummus." "
  • "There is nothing more fucked up under the sun than the Palestinians."
  • "The Palestinians are a repulsive part of the Middle East, let’s leave those ratbags."
  • "All over the Arab world they fire shots at weddings in order to prove that they have at least one thing that is hard and functional and can shoot."
How's that for a diverse line-up? And what do these three have to say about the situation in Egypt?
  • Danin makes the relatively innocuous comment that "There have been a few comments out of Israel, but for the most part they're keeping quiet, and that is wise."
  • Miller also contributes a rather dull observation: "I think the administration is doing a lot of hand-holding and minding of the Israelis. But then again, why would the Israelis bet on our assurances?" Later his comments expose his State Department roots, noting that "The critical point will come once the transition is secured and once a process of political reform is underway, to see exactly how constraining the new Egypt is to American interests, how hostile it may be toward Israeli interests."
  • Schueftan - speaking like the Neocon that he is - rails "There has been almost unanimity here in understanding the significance of the American policy vis-a-vis Egypt, namely you can't trust the Americans. More specifically, you can't trust Barack Obama.
Of all the substantive reflections and analyses that one could find on the effects that the Egyptian uprising might have on Israel and US behaviors in the region, this lousy lineup is the best that Northam and NPR can offer.


informedveteren said...

"Tank Scrapers" Ha! I needed that laugh. Reminds me of the weird prehistoric creature in my 55 gallon tank whose only job is to suck the green (or slimy brown) algae off the glass. Actually it also eats the "recycled" green algae wafers that come out the other end of my giant goldfish.

Porter Melmoth said...

Thanks for REMINDING us that Jackie Nothing's still busy as a Neocon soldier in the trenches.

She obviously aspires to be the female equivalent of Tommy Gjelten at NPR, as her insistent style and self-importance imply a 'why would you ever question anything I say' attitude.

Her Af-Pak 'reporting' was nothing short of profound embedding, with the performance of all sorts of humiliating acts while there to get 'the story'.

NPR of course wants to be ahead of the game when Egypt goes south (which they're of course hoping will happen) so that they can be at the forefront of the 'I told you so' crowd. We of course expect the people of Egypt to prove them wrong.

Murdoch's gonna be able to pick up what's left of NPR for a song...

gDog said...

Here's Shueftan on Al Jaz opining that the universal/international jurisdiction against war crimes is left wing propaganda because any left wing radical can appeal to "a judge who is not qualified to deal with these issues" and any judge can then rule that war crimes are war crimes. About 7 minutes in. "The very fact that someone has been detained and accused of war crimes is perceived as a victory by these left wing crazies," he says (paraphrase). "It will make international relations impossible."

This sounds a lot like NPR logic. Whatever stands in the way of the war machine is just leftwing propaganda. Even if it's established law.

Anonymous said...

The people who work at think tanks are the ones who were not smart enough to get jobs as real intellectuals at universities.

Just as the folks at NPR were not smart enough to get real journalism jobs.

The Ayn Rand idiots gotta stick together.

Mytwords said...

Speaking of Tom Gjelten (re Porter) how about his piece on Fri ATC where, for his expert sources, he dredges us not one, but two(!) old spooks (colleagues?) from the CIA: Paul Pillar and Reuel Marc Gerecht.

Anonymous said...

From the Gjelten piece:

"Like the people of Egypt, the Obama administration has had to wait patiently for events there to reach a climax."

The idea that Obama, Clinton and others "waited" to see what would happen is certainly not supported by the facts.

Perhaps Gjelten thinks it is just "coincidence" that Omar Suleiman (Mubarak's Torturer in Chief) was "chosen" as VP just a few weeks ago?

And that up until just a day before Mubarak "stepped down", Obama and Clinton were emphasizing the need for "stability" and a "smooth transition" headed by Suleiman?

The Obama administration had their fingers all over this pie.

It's just that the Egyptian people could see through their completely transparent (and cynical) efforts to impose a "replacement" for Mubarak (Suleiman) who was inextricably tied to Mubarak.

Obama had a REAL opportunity to make a break with past practices and support democratic efforts but instead, he stuck with the traditional "script".

Obama may be fooling the American public (and folks like Gjelten) with his efforts to "hide" his behind the scenes role in recent weeks but he sure did not fool the Egyptians.

And Gjelten is either too stupid or too dishonest to admit it.

Porter Melmoth said...

And this morn Jackie Nothing was back to do some more Neocon BS presented by climbing-the-NPR-ladder Oddie Corniche.

Nothing's one and only 'expert' was some spooky dude from that Institute for Strategic (Neocon) Studies.

It was more of the usual: the Egyptian revelation is sure to fail. (It MUST fail).

These people should be arrested for sedition.

And that Jackie! Look at her picture. She's GOT to be a nice person, who wouldn't DREAM of steering us the wrong way. And she’s an ‘oot’-saying Canadian, too. We can trust her certainty, her obvious integrity, can't we?

Gjelten's like Fox News: at least we know where he's coming from. Jackie's more devious. She's NPR's secret weapon in appealing to women listeners who want so much to trust NPR.


Anonymous said...

Anyone else notice that NPR has not even mentioned the creepy stuff that Glenn Greenwald THINK Progress and others have documented about Aaron Barr and the security firm he works for HB Gary?

Oh, to be sure, NPR just reported on the efforts of HB Gary to investigate the wikileaks supporting hacker group Anonymous, but they did not mention the other stuff.

More of the usual "propaganda through omission" by NPR (which they have raised to an art)

Defund NPR and all its member stations.

bpfb-bpfb (real fast) said...

Deceptive Bends, indeed!

Anonymous said...

Your analysis of NPR is pathetic. What have you done constructive? Easy to be a critic. Get a life.