Tuesday, February 19, 2008


On NPR's ethics portion of its website it states that coverage must be fair. Here's NPR's statement:

"'Fair' means that we present all important views on a subject. This range of views may be encompassed in a single story on a controversial topic, or it may play out over a body of coverage or series of commentaries. But at all times the commitment to presenting all important views must be conscious and affirmative, and it must be timely if it is being accomplished over the course of more than one story."

Well, I've heard a lot of Cuba coverage in light of Castro's announced resignation. NPR has touted US government wishes for democracy, Bush demanding free and fair elections (!), human rights abuses, Codrescu's utterly one-sided rant against Castro, etc. Honestly, I don't have any problem with severe criticism of the Castro dictatorship and his human rights abuses. But I'm still waiting for the coverage of ALL important views on the subject - US state terror against Cuba, the Allende example of how the US treats socialists who build open societies, the human rights records of US trained and supported Latin American governments, the ruinous effects of the US embargo, the successes of health care and education in Cuba, etc. Something tells me I'll be waiting a long, long time.

If anyone hears some balanced reporting on Cuba on NPR news in the next several days, please post it to the comments section.


Anonymous said...

OK, this is about Chavez and not Castro... but...

I was surprised and satisfied with a "Talk of the Nation" program the other day on Chavez and modern Venezuela. Almost all of the credit goes to the guest, author/biographer Bart Jones (and Fernando Coronil) who did an excellent job in informing the NPR audience and politely countering Neil Conan (who automatically adopted the NPR/US mainstream media propaganda stance on Chavez). I think it was the first time I'd heard anything remotely fair or positive about Chavez on NPR.


Anonymous said...

Ok, Anon, I emailed Matt about this already.

And I am in utter shock.


Anonymous said...

Codrescu really surprised me with that little neocon display of his. No mention of Battista or the horrible serf-like conditions of most of Cuba's population before Castro. No mention that at one point the US might have negotiated with Castro early on (which he apparently wanted), had we had the foresight to do so. No, we stuck with our robber baron mentality supporting our rich, corrupt puppet cronies throughout Central and South America for years and years. And look, for all the grief and death and tragedy imposed upon that region, they are now turning away from us. Imagine that!

Porter Melmoth said...

There is plenty of documentation on how the US squandered its opportunities to deal with Castro in diplomatic ways early on. Everything after that has been sour grapes, fueled by the exiles who got squeezed out of their Battista-approved mafia empires. Castro will always be controversial, but the US, who should have known better, has bumbled along in truly spectacular ways.

Oh, but they weren't going to allow the Caribbean to 'go Commie'. Remember the Dominican Republic in '65? John McCain's dad led the charge that got 'em back on the Gringo track, as they'd been leaning a tad bit left - too left for DC's comfort. You know, SE Asia domino effect and all. That sort of reasoning dominated every aspect of US foreign policy at that time: Cold War 101. In my humble opinion though, the real reasons were the embryo of today's Neocon thinking: US economic hegemony at all cost, achieved and maintained by military might. Primitive, but effective.

By the way, that 'Fair' statement in NPR's 'Ethics' section is a perfect example of a corporate 'Mission Statement', peppered with Luntzian vagueness, designed to obfuscate and even intimidate. And perhaps most importantly, these statements are drafted by lawyers in order to cover NPR's ass in the event of any horrible controversy. Having NPR explain to us what fairness means is as absurd as Bush telling us how the US government works!

masbrow said...

Even though it took place in the middle of a sea of anti-Castro-pro-imperialist sentiment that is NPR,Codrescu's comments surprised me a little as well.(which in itself surprises me, at this point!)He has in the past provided some of the finer moments on NPR, with his Early work with them covering the Romanian Revolution and his constant employment of beautiful language,But I suppose he hasn't often dealt with political subjects to an extent that I could have predicted the knee-jerk anti-communism he spouted.

Maybe it's explained by his escape from the Romanian Communist regime?

Anonymous said...

... and tonight enough listeners shot back & told 'em what-for on this topic! - countering with many of the same points as were made here, cynical of USG smokescreening & jingoistic red-baiting (evidently they're not saving all their mail up for Thursdays anymore?)

Ahhhh, satisfying!

Anonymous said...

Fair is a bunch of two year olds screaming but his cookie is bigger than mine.

When/where did they dream that piece of swill up?

Hey Neocon Propaganda Radio! Try embracing FACTS as a ethic.

Yeah. Facts. That's what you ought to be covering - not "viewpoints".

Jeez! No wonder Neocon Propaganda Radio had gone down drain (the big round one below the throne).

What a bunch of self-serving drivel.

Anonymous said...

... and tonight enough listeners shot back & told 'em what-for on this topic!

Oh, blast it. I turned it off during the goddamned fortune cookie story and missed it. Just couldn't take anymore trivial puff.

Porter Melmoth said...

More Neocon Public Relations longing for a Neo-Cold War on Mourning Becomes Edition this morn. Whether it was babbling about this shot-down satellite (so that Russia and China don't get the Secret Sam Spy Parts (TM)), or Ted Kop-out in a China coal mine (yeah, I'll bet he REALLY went down two miles into a mine in a country with purportedly the world's worst safety record; but that's what's great about radio - the 'trust' factor!), plus there was some other crappy report about some sort of military porno or other. In the satellite story, Inscreep was determined to enact the NPR 'fairness' doctrine by pressing one (only one) suspicion inquiry: could the military be 'up to something' in this satellite turkey-shoot? Huh? COULD THEY? He didn't even ask the question himself - rather, he couched it in typical Neocon Protectionist Radio style: (paraphrase) 'SOME PEOPLE THINK the US may be up to something...' etc.
Flabbergasting as this stuff is, it shows an 'amateur-hour' approach to propaganda. NPR really isn't very clever, because they're so obvious. I predict that it will catch up with them, hopefully in an Obama future.