NPR related comments are welcomed, as always.
Sunday, April 24, 2011
As commenters note in the Q Tips section below, on Thursday morning NPR ran a piece about BP and the oil spill which asserted that the only real problem for BP - related to last year's oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico - was how it handled its public relations.
Elizabeth Shogren (featured in the graphic above) delivers NPR's public service commercial for BP. Her entire story is anchored on Glenn DaGian who is portrayed as a local Louisianan, whose roots and dedication are to the land and people of Louisiana. Shogren tells us that when meeting with people of southern Louisiana, "His accent told them he shared their roots." Late in the piece Shogren explains that though "BP's image is still in tatters, [r]etiree Glenn DaGian wants to help BP rescue it by pushing the company to do more to restore the Gulf Coast." She ends the report with this laugher: "DaGian says BP will start doing the right thing, or he'll become the company's biggest critic." That would be a change; what NPR and Shogren fail to mention is that DaGian's first loyalty is as a longtime paid
liar lobbyist for BP - and it's unclear if he is still employed in that capacity or not.
Shogren's piece is chocked full of statements about how presentation, not substance was the greatest problem for BP:
- [Shogren]"But DaGian's efforts were eclipsed by the company's PR missteps."
- [DaGian] "It seemed like every day he [Hayward] was making a new gaff. He didn't understand the animal that is the media. He didn't understand the public's perception of a foreigner in south Louisiana."
- [Shogren] "people familiar with BP's crisis control effort and outside experts say, early on, BP didn't have a PR strategy."
- [Shogren] "And BP insiders say the company's social media ramp-up helped counteract earlier PR failures."
It's interesting that given the ongoing tragedy of the BP oil disaster, NPR chooses to hone in on PR. Actual news organizations like Al Jazeera and even ABC have decided that getting horribly ill and dying from BP's reckless greed are important current stories. Not NPR. In fact, you can search NPR for any recent on-air stories about sickness in the Gulf and find nothing.
Equally disgraceful is the fact that NPR does nothing in this PR puff piece to put BP's criminal and deadly safety record in perspective. It's no surprise, just days after the BP blowout occurred, DemocracyNow! was reporting on BP's horrible safety record, while the NYT soon followed suit, and shortly thereafter ABC presented a major feature on the subject. NPR never presented a significant report on BP's record, but did mention it in a July 2010 story that contrasted Exxon's far better record with BP's. BP's record was so disgusting that a magazine like Fast Company felt motivated to put it in a nifty little graphic for perspective. Amazingly, if you look at that search of NPR, you will see a piece from June 2010 noting that Tony Hayward was doing great things for safety at BP when that pesky Gulf disaster thwarted his progress:
[NPR's Jim Zarroli] "Hayward also tried to address BP's poor safety record. The company had pleaded guilty to clean-air violations following an explosion and fire that killed 15 workers in Texas. But Armstrong says the company actually got through 2009 with no major safety violations."[Iain Armstrong] "I know this might sound crazy, but there actually is a much stronger culture towards safety. When you consider the track record in 2005 to 2008, it was a phenomenal change."
In that puff piece, all NPR reveals about Iain Armstrong is that he "is an analyst at Brewin Dolphin, an investment management firm in London." What they don't mention is that, according to this January 2010 Reuters article, "
Brewin Dolphin's top three energy holdings are Shell, which accounts for about 3 percent of its total investments, BP, which represents around 2.5 percent, and BG Group which is still only around 1 percent of its investments but growing."
The Reuters article also notes that back in Jan. 2010, Mr. Armstrong "also likes BG Group (BG.L) due to its fast upstream growth and BP (BP.L) after its recent cost-cutting programme."
If you want any truth about the energy corporations and their role in ruining the environment or pushing for war, then you'll have to look somewhere else besides NPR where war for oil is dismissed out of hand, and "Fracking" is advertised as a clean source for future energy needs. To regular readers of this blog, that will come as no surprise, but to some woefully informed liberals it might come as a bit of a shock.
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Sunday, April 17, 2011
The post below shows the disproportionate and favorable coverage that a puny rally of 100-200 Tea Party rightwingers generates on NPR. So what happened when, this past March, hundreds of anti-war protesters showed up at the White House and over 100 were arrested - including Daniel Ellsberg? On NPR, the public news outlet for the Ministry of Truth, it never happened. And what about when 27 anti-SOA protesters are arrested after a march of 100-200. Want to guess where that one goes on NPR? Memory hole again. All right, so maybe hundreds just doesn't show up on the radar when you're busy bootlicking the far right; how about thousands marching against war? Are you ready? Yep, NPR goes 0 for 3 when it comes to antiwar activism, even when it includes very large numbers, committed civil disobedience and large arrests.
FAIR has just done a great job pointing this out and suggests that you sign their petition. I have to add that NPR takes the general media's blackout of antiwar activism to a truly perverse level - not only do they newsbag the important stories of antiwar activism - they have the gall to take their own erased-news as evidence of a dead antiwar movement and pass it off as journalism.
Wednesday, April 06, 2011
Monday, April 04, 2011
(That's hapless Tea Reporter Don Gonyea)
It's no secret that like Fox News, NPR is Tea Party friendly turf - even fairly unbalanced Tea Partiers like Lori Medina of Dallas find NPR fair - well, duh. Given that a recent poll shows the Tea Party suck factor growing (almost as high as for Democrats and Republicans-see the poll here), and given that a recent Tea Party rally in Washington, DC drew a minuscule 100-200 participants (Politico and Slate have a couple of photos - you decide) - no wonder NPR felt obliged to provide amplified and robust coverage to this far right army of Dick. So what does a dinky little DC rally of hardcore rightwingers get on NPR?
- A Thursday ATC story featuring highlights of your speakers and a description of the Sen. Rand "Civil Rights" Paul and the unhinged Michele Bachmann as bringing "some star power."
- More Thursday amplification of Tea Party talking points from NPR's Frank James on the "It's All Politics" blog.
- An April Fool's Morning Edition feature with Tea Party fool, Audie Cornish, who explains that "It wasn't a big group less than 250 people. But they had a big voice."
- A Weekend Edition Sunday feature where some of those several hundred attendees get to weigh in on US foreign policy in Libya - "...when it boils down to it, we are the country that's done the great things in the world; we are the leaders, and that's a role we still have to have."
So what gives? Even if one concedes that the Tea Party represents a force in American politics, one can easily argue that a group like MoveOn represents an equally powerful force in electoral politics. So take a look at how on-air Tea Party coverage compares to on-air MoveOn coverage on NPR. That's 789 for the Tea Party compared to 106 for MoveOn - very fair, very balanced.