Sunday, September 16, 2007

Knees, Teeth, Vistas and Distractions

Entertaining the Masses

I had one of those "I'm living in the Roman Empire" moments Friday morning. Morning Edition dedicated more than four minutes to the intricacies of the knee problems that have ended Greg Oden's upcoming NBA rookie season. Every damn detail about his knee and imminent surgery was covered. If only NPR News had been around 2000 years ago to do such masterly coverage of the superstars of the Colosseum.

Dental Metaphors

The Good Ol' CIA with Mary Louise Kelly. The CIA has a new director of clandestine intelligence, Mike Sulick. "Michael Sulick is an old school spy's spy...he cut his teeth in Asia and Latin America." Around the CIA Kelly tells us, "delight is the word I keep hearing." Fair enough that Sulick is not a complete know-nothing partisan appointment like Porter Goss was, but this shiny gloss on the disgusting CIA is more than I can stomach. Kelly likes that phrase "cut his teeth" but I think when talking of the CIA in Latin America "sharpened his fangs" would be more accurate.

That Vast Expanse between Right and Far Right

By Friday afternoon, NPR turns to some experts. Melissa Block tells us, "for some analysis...we turn to our political observers: E. J. Dionne is a columnist with the Washington Post and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. Rich Lowry is editor of the National Review." Ah yes, the range of opinion from center right to goosestep. For an antidote to this blather Glen Greenwald has some strong medicine.

Scott Simon for the Defense

On Saturday Simon talked to Democratic Senator Dodd. Dodd's father was a lawyer who assisted in the prosecution of Nazi war criminals at Nuremberg, and Sen. Dodd has published a book of his father's letters from Nuremberg. About why he published the book, Dodd said an amazing thing: " motivation on this came with the decision by Congress to support the Military Commissions Act which stripped Habeus Corpus, basically restored the idea of torture in interrogations...." This is stunning; a senior Senator and presidential candidate has published the Nuremberg Trial letters of his father because the actions of the Congress and President are such a fundamental assault on humanity and the rule of law that they bear comparison to the crimes of the Nazis. Wow! And guess what Simon's reaction is? Does he mention Bush's violation of Nuremberg's supreme crime - aggressive war? Not a chance. He completely ignores Dodd's statement and focuses in on Dodd's father's troubling statements about the trial becoming a "Jewish Trial" and then oozes over the sentimental aspect of the letters (which were written to Dodd's mother). Saturday morning's prince of schmaltz and distraction strikes again.

1 comment:

Porter Melmoth said...

Yes, the Simonizing of Sen. Dodd's book made me blanch - to use the Senator's own term. When Scotty gets whispery when dealing with a 'touchy' subject, he thinks he has such power over his interviewee. There's that self-righteous tone in his quietude, as if he's standing by to watch the interviewee hang themselves with their own words. It's a subtle, even sadistic technique. Sen. Dodd didn't sucker for it, but I think he was thrown a bit by SS's hangup on the Jewish question. Dodd repeated that he 'blanched' when he read his father's letter because he probably felt that the point, which had already been made, was still being flogged by SS. I'm sure the senator was relieved when the interview was behind him. As for Simon, I suspect he felt he'd done his Simon Wiesenthal Duty of the Week, rooting out another Anti-Semite for all to see.