Monday, January 08, 2007

The Wrong Side of History

From NPR's Code of Ethics and Practices:

1. Fairness means that we present all important views on a subject – and treat them even-handedly.....

2. Unbiased means that we separate our personal opinions – such as an individual's religious beliefs or political ideology – from the subjects we are covering. We do not approach any coverage with overt or hidden agendas.

This morning Steve Inskeep interviews freshman Senator Sherrod Brown and Inskeep keeps the focus on "free trade." Brown keeps emphasizing the need for "environmental and labor standards" in any trade agreements. Over and again he talks about the need for standards in global trade.

Steve Inskeep brings on Cokie Roberts and frames Brown's thoughtful comments as follows: "Cokie, is the notion of cracking down on free trade a winning issue for Democrats?" (Cracking down?) Cokie smugly responds, "’s a long term loser; it puts them essentially on the wrong side of history with globalization, and even though labor unions often lose in trade agreements – consumers gain...."

It's fine for Roberts to have her own US Chamber of Commerce opinions and ideology, but in is unprofessional, simple-minded and in clear violation of NPR's code of ethics for her to write off as "a long term loser" the global efforts of progressives to address problems of "free trade': sweat shops, fair labor standards, minimum wage, immigration, and greedy individualism.

What Cokie Roberts meant was that Senator Brown is on the wrong side of the wealthy and the powerful - something you could never accuse her of.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yeah, its really disorienting when old gargoyles like "Cokathustra" start using vaguely Marxian terms like "wrong side of history". And how is the Cokester supposed to be some sort of expert on international trade issues? Is her opinion one of those "important points of view" NPR's ethics are referring to (i.e. the conventional wisdom of the G'town cocktail party)?