Sunday, November 13, 2011

Suck It Up! from the NPR Suck-ups


The few times I've listened to NPR lately, I've noticed something interesting.  Instead of examining how deliberate US policies and practices of the last 40 years (and most dramatically of the past 10-15 years) have created stunning rates of poverty and extreme income inequality in the US (40th from the bottom out of 140 countries according to the CIA!), NPR is featuring stories that assert that people suffering from the effects of policies redistributing wealth upwards were "spoiled" by having better incomes in the past and need to accept the reality of working harder for less so that the rich can continue to enrich themselves.

Two recent features caught my attention:
The Maine mill work feature had a few comments from residents about how low current wages are and how difficult it is to support a family on them, but the report was dominated by locals with such comments as:
"They're spoiled. They're spoiled. They got so used to the bigger paychecks. They don't know how to live without.....it's better than nothing, she says, which is what she had as a kid...Folks today, she says, need to learn how to make do with less."
and
"This might be a good thing for this town. They've had things easy for a long time. They've got all of these toys. They have the snowmobiles, they own a camp. You know, it's - people, I think, should pare back anyway in what they do. You know, a little attitude adjustment, you know?"
The NPR reporter on this story, Tovia Smith, offers her editorial approval of these attitudes, commenting that "It's a kind of bravado that's not uncommon up here in this cold, northern corner of New England, where folks are as hardy as they are frugal, and making do is a kind of badge of honor."

The Saturday story on college grads scoffs at students who study "softer and more qualitative majors" such as literature, psychology, etc., and simply accepts that the university experience should be a kind of trade school experience aimed at landing a well-paying job.  Not a word about the importance of a free (or even affordable), liberal higher education to the health of any democratic society.  Instead of spending any time investigating why student debt has skyrocketed and who is benefiting from this scam, NPR's Jackie Leyden ends her report with this condescending bit of wisdom:
"So maybe it comes down to changing your expectations about what life is really all about..." 
Indeed!


16 comments:

Anonymous said...

The Saturday story on college grads scoffs at students who study "softer and more qualitative majors" such as literature, psychology, etc.

Yeah, all those English majors should have been learning how to write propaganda pieces (like "journalism" majors do) rather than analyze Shakespeare.

Where I went to university, the journalism major (which they actually called "communications") was a joke and everyone knew it. As a result it attracted a combination of the laziest and dumbest folks on the planet.

The type of folks you hear on NPR, who are the dregs of the dumb brew.

larry, dfh said...

My eldest son graduated last spring with a major in Biology from Cornell. He couldn't get a job in the Boston area, possibly because there are already so many out of work experienced scientists. He is fortunate to be working in the lab where he did undergraduate research. At the graduation ceremony, the president very proudly exclaimed that 47% of the graduating class had either jobs or graduate school to go to; up from 42% the previous year! Imagine that, paying all that money for an 'education' and getting less than a One in Two chance at a job!
My business partner's daughter goes to Smith College. She has a friend who graduated last Spring with an Honors degree in Chemistry. She is also back in North Hampton working in the laboratory where she did undergraduate research, not having been able to get a job.
And then I heard over the weekend about Children's Hospital in Philly, where whole departments are low-paid Chinese imports. It is not surprising that 1% radio has turned against the less affluent: 3 years ago there were segments about silver linings. And the less affluent don't give to keep the propaganda going. It seems 1% radio's sole purpose is to reassure the comfortable.

Anonymous said...

this entire financial "crisis" was engineered by the banksters and fraudsters (imo) in order to drive down wages and hence costs (and that's a pillar of capitalism : what does it take to increase profits?) and destroy the public sector unions, The next one will be done to get that SS money. After the Demoocratic "HOover" gets done we will be screaming for them to "Just take it all back; everything from my SS to my medi-care to my entiresociql saftey net. What choice do we have? The entire economy (at least the banks) are in trouble.

NPR is helping to define the new normal $11/hr jobs indeed!

edk

Patrick Lynch said...

And then there is this abomination from NPR's Adam Davidson of Planet Oligarchy:

Stick it to the middle class

gDog said...

History is littered with hulks of societies which perished under the weight of its over-educated citizens. Too much science and math for the ordinary Joe, combined with excess indulgence in story-telling and play-acting, song and dance is the death knell for societies that might have thrived were its people more properly bound by debt peonage, superstition and sub-subsistence wages on the plantation and in the mines.

Anonymous said...

NPR is one big Dunning-Kruger circle jerk.

The dumbest of the dumb imparting their "infinite wisdom" to the rest of us.

It used to bother me, but now I just find it kind of amusing (although I must admit I don't even listen most of the time).

Anonymous said...

And if you were wavering on this point, don't miss this morning's tongue-bath for Ayn Rand and her followers:

http://www.npr.org/2011/11/14/142245517/on-capitol-hill-rands-atlas-cant-be-shrugged-off

I think it's a shocking journalistic oversight to play a clip of her saying:

"I feel that it is terrible that you see destruction all around you, and that you are moving toward disaster until and unless all those welfare state conceptions have been reversed and rejected"

without mentioning that she herself took Social Security and Medicare benefits:

http://www.patiastephens.com/2010/12/05/ayn-rand-received-social-security-medicare

jaytingle said...

Tovia Smith makes it look easy when she extracts those sound-bites of working class self-hatred, perhaps too easy. Most likely she was bribing respondents with dog biscuits. Hungry people will become pretty cooperative when they are offered even meager relief.

Anonymous said...

"I am opposed to all forms of control. I am for an absolute, laissez-faire, free, unregulated economy." -- Ayn Rand

That also happens to be the philosophy of Alan Greenspan, of course.

It's interesting how Andrea Seabrook manages to claim that Ayn rand was right through the use of slective quotes.

..when in fact, the ACTUAL objective reality proves just the opposite: that she and her pal, Alan Greenspan were spectacularly and utterly wrong.

It's no real surprise that there are so many Ayn Rand worshiping fruitcakes at NPR. Rand herself 9and her pal greenspan) are shining examples of the those who are infected with Dunning-Kruger disease.

Anonymous said...

I thought the college grad story was pretty incoherent. Other than, that is, for the new global gospel of austerity. Time to pay for those sins, you profligate lot!

GRUMPY DEMO said...

Mean while in other NPR pandering to the Far Right News, did you know that pedophile is just like Gay Adoption?

Public Radio Host Uses Penn State Case to Debate Gays' Fitness as Parents

" To The Point, host Warren Olney chose to tackle the Penn State child rape scandal by devoting an entire show to the subject of whether or not gay and lesbian couples would make fit foster and adoptive parents."

[snip]

"Olney has issued a non-apology apology to anyone who mistakenly thought that a show about child abuse/same-sex adoption was actually a show about child abuse and same-sex adoption. I guess there's a very fine distinguishing line there that I'm failing to see."

For a little "background and context", NPR has run stories about how a uncredentialed Right Winger in Utah can "cure" Gays and how how good Christian Right Wingers supporters of Prop 8 in California were being terrorized by "teh Gay."

RomfordRob said...

Turned on ME/NPR this morning -- with due sense of loathing and dread --
and who was being given air-time on "public" radio -- ranting and raving at that particular moment? None other than Glen Beck (!!!) -- urging his supporters to read a certain right wing economic text!
Switched immediately to far-superior-but-still-sadly-lacking BBC World News -- Thanks Inskeep/Montagne -- That's all I need to know for today ...

Anonymous said...

This morning was filled with the usual crap which is why I don't listen. Yes, the were quoting Glen Beck on the wisdom of Frederick Hayek. But to be fair and balanced, tomorrow will be on Keynes.
But I kept listening because I thought I should find out their take on the raid of Zucotti Park. The "reporter", Margo Adler, was actually laughing at the protesters attempts to get back into the park. She was "surprised" at how upbeat they were. She was "shocked"when a protester said "this action doesn't matter. The Genie is out of the bottle." She's awful.

GRUMPY DEMO said...

The Media's Liberal Bias on display again:


"A study released this week of the four biggest newspapers in the United States said that in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, there was “a dramatic shift in coverage away from nearly a century of practice recognizing waterboarding as torture.” Study of Waterboarding Coverage Prompts a Debate in the Press - NYTimes.com

Anyone else notice that last week with the first Military Tribunal kangaroo court trial started NPR started calling waterboarding "torture" again?

During the last month pledge campaign my local NPR station kept claim it as a news "alternative" verse other sources.

Not.

Anonymous said...

you got to be dead to be included in this list of economic philosophers. Well, marx is dead. So . . .

I guess old karl won't get no 1% Radio Time cause he had the nasty habit of pointing out that a human's "worth" as measured in dollars was subject to human manipulation and was not the result of divine grace or disapproval. Or a mythical concept such as The self-interest of the human ego will make sure all's good in thre marketplace. As if!

edk

GRUMPY DEMO said...
This comment has been removed by the author.