Friday, January 11, 2008

By Way of an Explanation

Advocatus Diaboli

Deep in my heart I hate despots and priests.
Still more the genius who sucks up to them.

by Friedrich Hölderlin, 1797,
translated by David Young (used with his permission),
published in Margie, v. 6, 2007.

Thanks for the kind remarks about this blog. I don't plan on bowing out for ever -- BUT I am going to cut way back on how much I listen to NPR news. And I don't think I'll be back to posting on such a frequent basis any time soon.

I started this blog with the naive expectation that if the utter lack of impartiality and integrity of NPR news could be illustrated, carefully researched and documented then there would be a broad and significant group of NPR listeners who would reject the blather and outright propaganda that NPR serves up every day, and - who knows - might pester their local stations into cutting back on NPR news (or dropping it altogether). Alas, the NPR juggernaut seems to be gaining steam - like the war business , it's a growth industry. Frankly, I've also run into too many "liberals" and "educated" folk who think NPR is a fairly good and informative program no matter how much fact and documentation one confronts them with to the contrary. We do live in a country of amnesia and denial, don't we?

The work of listening and re-listening to NPR reports and then checking and cross-checking their unfounded assertions and misinformation has been a major time sink (not to mention a soul-killing exercise - even for an atheist!). I have a full time job in a library, I have two teenage sons who I love to death, a partner who likes to see me away from the computer once in a while, and a second profession as a poet. That doesn't leave much time for skittles and beer. I've put in a good year and a half at this because I think it's crucial to challenge the critical role that NPR plays in our country: making the most violent, sadistic, stupid and greedy US policies palatable, acceptable and refined for the college educated and "liberal" crowd - and eventually a younger, more hip generation of listeners.

The one great joy of this blog - and I really mean this - has been the fine community of readers and commentators who are in evidence here. I've become very fond of reading the wit, rants zingers, and insights of responders. I do know people read this blog. If you click on the sitemeter logo down below you can find out a lot of interesting stats: NPR Check is approaching 50,000 hits, someone at NPR reads it nearly everyday, and it gets a daily average of about 70-80 hits. BTW, NPR Check has also been picked up often by, a few less times by, and a couple of times on Crooks & Liars [much thanks to them].

Anyway, the archives will always be here and I encourage anyone to beg, borrow, or steal any and all posts that I've made or research I've done. Also feel free to steal any graphics I've made: you can find them in the side link.

With the elections rolling, the lastest Persian Gulf of Tonkin incident, the endless GWOT and zombified Iraq, etc. there's no doubt there will be more disgraceful coverage of it all on NPR. I'll just be listening and posting less; that's all...

O, and that's me in the picture.


Porter Melmoth said...

Well stated, sir. Your eloquence needs no further explanation. In the meantime, we abide, we abide...

Anonymous said...

Take as much time to recoup and rejuvenate as needed, just don't go all Billmon on us, burnout and vanish.

(that's not the first time I've thought of Billmon in visiting your site. It's probably the highest compliment I can think of when assessing a political or media oriented blog)

Anonymous said...

Yes yes, avast and aweigh. But livin' sure won't be as fun without a daily outlet to poke a well-intended stick at the overstuffed Network Prestige Receding pinata.

Or perhaps we should start a fund?... (where a contribution "in good faith" may have once gone to the object of our 'affections')

Speaking of, oh darn! Right now I'm missing Scott Tissue - he knows all those arse-wipes!

Anonymous said...

The other night I was listening to ThE World and Lisa Mullins was on (does she cash the checks from the Bush Department of Mis-information or is she simply working for nothing?) and introduced a segment on Iran.

They spent 30 seconds on the Iranian denial/rebuttal and 3+ minutes on snow in Iran!

Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more. I worked in Public Radio with KPFT in Houston in the early to mid 70's. At The Corporation for Public Broadcasting Convention in 1976, it became plain to me that the intent in DC (being promoted by K Street shills) was to make sure that it turned into Public Broadcasting for The Corporations.

While NPR seems to be so much more sophisticated and hip, more well thought out and deliberative than the crass commerciality and open Corporate bias of the commercial airwaves, no one should be fooled!

They promote the same limited, pre-picked choices and contrived options as the rest with a light dusting of pseudo-progressive pretension to render it all, like an enteric coated aspirin, less corrosive to our gut feelings.

Thank God for The Internet!!

R. Sam Smith

Unknown said...

Thanks for all that you've done, and it's good to hear that the blog will continue! I must say that I don't stop by as often as I used to, and that's because you helped wean me away from NPR. I don't listen to it much at all anymore, and so I don't come here as much for articulation of my dissatisfaction. Instead, I get Amy Goodman's Democracy Now! podcasts, and I listen to Doug Henwood, Robert McChesney, Harry Shearer, and others that way.

You've spelled out and factualized so many NPR stories that I vaguely knew were, basically, BS. You've done a noble thing, sir, and it's especially good to hear that someone at NPR reads along almost daily.

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry I didn't find your blog until now.

I quit listening in early 2003 when they put Robert Kagan on to promote the invasion.

I also detest the smirky tone that NPR broadcasters get when they say things like "most Americans feel that the PATRIOT Act doesn't affect their civil rights . . . but not everyone agrees.

Ding-ding: Pavlovian response called for: those who don't agree are, you know, a little bit . . . crazy, anti-Bush, tinfoil-hat.

You hear it in the tone of voice. I hate the NPR smirk.

Anonymous said...

Re: above remark... oh yeah, buddy! I could just mentally picture Meeee-chelle giving eyebrows to the mic whilst reciting "... but not everyone agrees."

Anonymous said...

Several times information retrieved from this blog led me to download the NPR piece and write a nasty letter. Your contribution in keeping these clowns a little more honest cannot be minimized. Also, the information you've provided about the good within NPR, such as Daniel Zwerdling, has been crucial to me in forming my impression of the direction management would like to take NPR. Precisely because this site is read at NPR is all the justification one needs to see the good you've done. They're not getting the truth they need to hear from their corporate goons, or from management.
And R. Sam Smith: I was in Houston in the mid-late '70's. KPFT was a raucous force in the city. Mandy in the Morning, Monterrey Jack Cheese, Lisa Lott, and the famous Ray Hill are what I remember. And thanks for the insight.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your excellent work. I just found your blog from CrooksandLiars on 12th January 2008.
I used to listen to NPR so called news from 1988 till around 2003 when I finally gave up.
I learned from MichaelMoore, TvNewsLies, CommonDream and nowadays mainly DemocracyNow.

I use What Liberal Media by Eric Alterman, The Decline and Fall of Public Broadcasting by David Barsamian and an FAIR 2004 study of NPR's guest list to try to convince others. You day by day coverage is excellent. Each of us builds a strong relationship with our radiolistening.
That is exactly what I used to tell myself. I used to give NPR $ because I thought they were better than the completely coorporate shills.
I now support Sam Seder, Mike Malloy and RandiRhodes on AirAmerica.
The BBC have been dumbed down to Blair and coorpoarte supporting and even more so with their recent 7k jobcuts.

masbrow said...

Mytwords, thanks for all you have done, and I hope you get some recuperation and come back to it eventually, as you are very good at it. It doesn't seem like it will ever effect NPR, since they seem to know which side their bread is buttered on, but it's still important to call them on their lies and distortions. Just this morning, while listening to them repeat with credulity Bush's remarks about trying to promote "peace and democracy" in the middle east,(hilarious,no?)I realized that this is never going to end. But for my part, I'll continue to post when I can, and soldier on!

Anonymous said...

I understand your wanting to rest and recuperate. It is a Sisyphean task. But you perform (and have performed) a useful service - especially when someone at NPR is actually reading the blog.

Yes, by all means, do get some R&R.

But don't fold this now. It was just beginning and I actually think that it would pick up steam with FAIR latching onto it and other outlets.

In the meantime, do make available the daily thread so we out here can fill in the blanks while you're away. Although, I do agree with many of the posters here, nobody does it better than you.

And you had just begun...


Anonymous said...

I add my thanks to you.
You have helped to create a community of minds here, which hopefully will carry on.

Ya done good.

Enjoy your family! Get some fresh air!

(formerly of Houston, also a Ray Hill fan)