Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Q Tips

NPR related comments welcomed.


Random Passerby said...

Let me guess: You're a male blogger. I can tell because you've got nothing about women's issues at all.

Here's something to start with:

Kevan Smith said...

I heard that story. It's typical for NPR to point out these problems in other countries while ignoring the same problems in the U.S. Also, I kept expecting them to say "For examples of Italian pin-up calendars, go to out website."

Anonymous said...

I'm a woman, and come *here* to read critiques of NPR. There are blogs that deal with women's issues, and I go *there* to read about them.


(Mara, is that you???)

Woody (Tokin Librul/Rogue Scholar/ Helluvafella!) said...

Tom Gjelten is such a whore. Or a tool. Or a

His "report" on John Brennan, the CIA official tabbed by St. Barry to oversee the transition in Intelligence (and probably CIA Director), but who was outed by the left-blogosphere as an enthusiastic acolyte and apologist of torture, rendition and other 'enhanced' interrogation techniques, was about as fact-free as anything crafted hitherto to cover Bushevik misdemeanors over the last 8 years.

Fools and tools, all of 'em.

Anonymous said...

Woody, didja see that Feinstein and Wyden are now backtracking on torture? What did we just have an election about, anyway? Bueller, anyone?

Anonymous said...

Rough quote: Obama might be seen as waifish because he's younger than everyone around him.

Now, there's deep analysis, Juan.

Btw, Woody. Nowhere is the "Republican says Earth flat: Opinions differ as to shape of Earth" style of journalism more apparent than on NPR. You never want to call out BS (from any political party) because that would be--what? too much like the BBC?

Woody (Tokin Librul/Rogue Scholar/ Helluvafella!) said...

I am so used to being patronized by NPR, I almost never notice anymore. I enjoyed it when Bob Edwards' rich baritone semi-snarkily reminded me of my occasional ignorance. It is, indeed, not a terribly surprising attitude for an instrument of so resolutely a paternalistic (not to say patriarchic?) an institution.

But on Day-To-Day, today, the reading of the letters by editor (fill in the blanks) reminded me of nothing so much as the principal of an elementary school reproving unruly students for their lame attempts at humor, simultaneously supporting and endorsing a teacher who had somehow drawn down the wrath of her class...

The subject was the NPR position on Auto Bail-outs, which faithfully echoes the "establishment/conventional wisdom" that auto industry workers make too much money, cost too much money, and aren't worth the money they're paid and what they cost because the quality of the product is so poor.

The sub-text of the campaign is of course to provide the conditions of possibility under which it becomes possible to discuss eliminating the UAW--or at least rendering it impotent and irrelevant...

marcusorealus said...

Today on Morning Edition, Tom Gjelten wrote an encomium piece that defended Brennan and by extension the use of torture. Gjelten stated two glaring lies/falsehoods in his story: 1) that opposition by "liberal-bloggers" was due to Brennan's taint or guilt-by-association with Tenet rather than Brennan's well-documented and explicitly stated role in, support of, and defense of torture. See Glenn Greenwald's impressive account for Brennan's numerous statements defending the use of torture and rendition. Here's one example from CBS news:
Mr. BRENNAN: There have been a lot of information that has come out from these interrogation procedures that the agency has in fact used against the real hard-core terrorists. It has saved lives. And let's not forget, these are hardened terrorists who have been responsible for 9/11, who have shown no remorse at all for the deaths of 3,000 innocents.
2) Gjelten falsely said that, "The psychologists cited Brennan's service as a senior CIA official under former agency Director George Tenet, who approved coercive interrogation methods, plus interviews Brennan gave in which he appeared to stop short of explicitly rejecting those methods." The letter by the 200 psychologists in Brennan's own words were:
I think George [Tenet] had two concerns. One is to make sure that there was that legal justification, as well as protection for CIA officers who are going to be engaged in some of these things, so that they would not be then prosecuted or held liable for actions that were being directed by the administration. So we want to make sure the findings and other things were done probably with the appropriate Department of Justice review.
Where in the world does Gjelten get “stopping short of explicitly rejecting those methods” from this statement? Maybe he didn’t count on listeners sourcing the information, but this is no defense. This is an explicit and self-stated defense of torture with a concern for culpability of the torturer, not an ambiguous non-rejection of the methods. It is clear that Brennan central concern is to ensure the protection of the perpetrators. In this context, isn't NPR's face-saving journalism in defense of a torturer also a defense of torture itself? How do you justify this? Does this serve the public or the status quo?

Finally, Did Gjelten violate NPR's policy around the use of unnamed sources in his report? He cited an unnamed transition team member who said, "Everyone here has a ton of respect for him." Gjelten said that this person "preferred to remain anonymous".
Doesn't public radio’s national news organizations “urge caution when handling unnamed sources”? NPR News policy says “the grant of anonymity should be a last resort,” given only when the anonymous interviewee is essential to the report or might face economic or physical harm for their comments. Was this comment in support of Brennan “cautious”, a “last resort”, was it a personally dangerous admission for the unnamed official, or was it even remotely essential to the story? To me, it seems like a cheap journalistic tactic to support Gjeten's central claim about Brennan, namely his respectability. It also does seem like a rather cowardly endorsement of Brennan, since when do you need anonymity to make an endorsement? How is this not a misuse of unnamed sources? Doesn’t this undermine the important need for anonymity for say whistleblowers? If you know that anonymous sources are used to justify the status quo or undermine critiques, would you, as a whistleblower seem comfortable using the same reports? Finally, the statement about “wishing to remain anonymous” was curiously or suspiciously omitted from the NPR printed transcript.

Woody (Tokin Librul/Rogue Scholar/ Helluvafella!) said...

On the half-hour headlines just now, the reader (?who cares?) announced that Richard Shelby of Alabama was skeptical about a Big Three bail-out.

Nary a word about the fact that the collapse of the big 3 would improve the standing of the (non-unionized) Honda and Hyundai plants in Shelby's state...

Anonymous said...

Didja see that Feinstein and Wyden are now backtracking on torture?"

My guess is that Obama is behind this (or more precisely, Obama's advisers)

How else can one explain the reversal?

Both Feinstein and Wyden were previously unequivocal about the fact that the CIA should follow the Army Field manual on interrogations.

Now they are waffling. I find it hard to believe that they would be saying this stuff without the OK of Obama.

I can't say as i am surprised.

Obama is a politician, after all.

That's what politicians do: they make -- and break -- promises.

usually they at least wait until they get in office before they start breaking their campaign promises.