Wednesday, October 11, 2006

In Fairness to NPR

My previous post of this morning complaining about Anne Garrels' coverage of the John Hopkins report on civilian deaths in Iraq necessitates that I comment on the better coverage on this evening's ATC. Richard Harris (the fine science reporter for NPR) does an admirable job on covering the Hopkins study. He explains the methodology, reports that it was approved by by four independent reviewers, and interviews another researcher who comments on the validity of its procedures and conclusions. It is interesting that he does offer a dissenting view from Michael O'Hanlon, a pro-establishment Brookings Institute "scholar" who frequents NPR. I think that's fine; it's just too bad every report in which NPR is just rehashing the US government line doesn't have such a dissenting counterbalance.

There was another telling moment regarding the sad news of the Hopkins study. John Hendren reporting on the Pentagon's spin of the news (and Rumsfeld and Gen. Casey's dismissive response to the study) states "the poll does have credibility among pollsters; John Zogby of Zogby Research was on CNN earlier and he said 'I can’t vouch for it 100% but I can vouch for it 95%.'" To this admirable bit of reality from Hendren, Michele Norris says, "Hmmm...moving on to North Korea..." Talk about killing any possibility of follow-up.

This morning I recommened Juan Cole's post on this topic. Let me also recommend Helena Cobban's post from her Just World News blog.


xoites said...

Isn't it terribly sad how NPR has become a co-opted cheerleader for Bush? Half the time I am listening to a story and they start to pile on the propaganda and I turn off the radio in disgust. I do that when I hear George W. Bush speak. Seems I am hard pressed to tell the difference anymore.

my site:

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't call them cheerleaders, exactly, but they do pass on the rightwing talking points without challenge all the time.

I'm glad to hear that Harris did a good job with the John Hopkins' study. I've had my complaints with Harris in the past. He did an awful job reviewing "An Inconvenient Truth" in late May.

I got so fed up I wrote
a letter

To my great surprise, Harris
. But it was pure bunkum. Just the usual "Gore the exaggerator" meme mixed with global-warming denying talking points. He even sent me a scientific paper which he I don't think he even read.