Saturday, January 24, 2009

Q Tips

NPR related comments welcomed.


Kevan Smith said...

NPR Ombudsman's latest is "NPR's Arab-Israeli War Coverage." Guess the conclusions.

Anonymous said...

Weekend Edition Saturday's segment with Juan Williams discussing how partisan Obama is being is particularly nauseating.

It wraps up by referencing the Jon Stewart segment about how both Bush and Obama used phrases about "freedom" in their inaugurations, as if a President should do anything else. Somehow, it was implied this was a sign that Obama was (hypocritically) moving toward Bush's positions now that he is President, and NOT delivering change as promised.

Of course, discussing the world of difference between what Bush meant by the word and what Obama means was somehow missing... much less pointing out how hypocritical Bush was in using those words.

Lucky Monkey said...

Weekend Edition's Scott Simon and Daniel Shore were joking about placing the Gitmo detainees at Alcatraz, but .. wait for it.. That would not go over to well because it's Nancy Pelosi's District! Yuck yuck, yuck, chuckle, guffaw, chortle, cough, wheeze.

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

BiggerBox: I found it ver' eenteresteeing that there was, over all on the blogs I frequent, ver' leet-ul eenterest in discussing what while I was watching it was almost lung-collapsingly funny.

Not only is the rhetoric of the two leaders remarkably similar, but so is the rhetoric of their partisans.

Madison Wilburs said...

Why is weekend edition the worst offender? Are there more casual listeners who don't want their sensibilities threatened?

RepubLiecan said...

I was so fortunate to tune into the Weekend Edition Saturday segment with Yawn Williams and Scott the Sermonizer or I wouldn't have learned that Yawn has written THE definitive work chronicling the civil rights movement. Well, according to lil' Scotty anyway.

Hubertg said...

NPR has 'constricted' reporting.
Dennis Blair is a perfect example.
Economic Hitmen roam the globe with consequences going unreported.
The National Security State has run wild. Corporate influence in Congress has become an invisible demon referred to only in passing.
Information is only sketched about the perpetrators of our financial ruin. Political meddling abroad and foreign relations activity is barely mentioned, and never to any extent or detail. Reporting on foreign trade policy doesn't exist.
Comparisons of the voting records of Congress is omitted by media. Our military missions/installations around the planet never receive media attention. Ambassadors to foreign countries and their missions are ignored by the media....When was the last time you heard anything come out of the Council on Foreign Affairs??...For the most part, what does receive attention creates plenty of low value noise as a distraction from the essence of the truly vital information...I could fill this blogspot with subjects the American people are kept ignorant of by design.

Anonymous said...

NPR has 'constricted' reporting."

I think "rep-stricted" would be a better word, since it is clearly intentional.

In other words, it is "Propaganda" by another name.

From the NPR management on down to people like Garrels, Gonyea and Inskeep, NPR is quite purposely presenting a certain view in order to keep their donors happy (and to perpetuate their own cushy jobs).

What they are doing is a CRIME because they receive public funding and Congress has forbidden use of public funds for propaganda.

These are not journalists. They are CRIMINALS. They belong in jail.

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

Anonymous, sir/madam, please recall that, of necessity and by definition, ALL public communication between the State and its constituents is 'propaganda.'

The primary purpose of a State's communications with its constituents is to manipulate consent for State policies.

NPR is, of course, no more nor mo less what Althusser called an "ISA," an institutional State Apparatus, than NBC or Faux or any other corporate media outlet.

This is no less true of other IPAs, such as the schools, corporate communications of all kinds including advertizing and public relations, and all 'religious' organizations operating to influence public discourse...

In the CorpoRat State, corporate media are the State Media.

I know it doesn't help the public imbalance, because there is no way to undo the last 3 or 4 DECADES of (what they in the media call) "consolidation," without a Constitutional Amendment, and that ain't gonna happen anywhere in the 21st Century Murkin political culture. The Bosses--the 'consolidators'--are having vapors at the mere indefinite, probably unachievable restitution of the "Fairness doctrine."

It'sS NOT PERFECT, but the Netz represent the best chance of creating a universal discourse community. Which is why there is so much pressure to consign them to the care of the CorpoRat part of the CorpoRat State. I frankly doubt that this can be forestalled for very long. The corpoRats gobbled up radio and tv within a decade, each. The Netz has so far outlived either one of its antecedents in retaining its inherent liberatory potential.

The trick is going to be how to sustain it.

The press elsewhere, where a free press flouishes, is not constrained by the demands of manichean 'objectivity.' Papers and journals advertise their political affiliations. But there are more affiliations available because there are more parties for which the press performs as the public organs.

As a journalistic value, 'objectivity' is an invention of the two-party CorpoRat State. It was never articulated in such discussions as there were of the canons of journalism until Hearst tried it as a an advertizing slogan and weapon against the "partisan" Pulitzer.

d'Tocqueville never discusses an objective press. He is quite charmed, in the early and mid 19th Century by the range and energy of opinion in the American press. He honors it for its rawness.

Anonymous said...

Sunday's w.e. had alot of 'feel good about Iraq' sentiment. Included was a very mushy piece about how Iraqi students are now getting into U.S. universities so they can go back to Iraq and better their country. Of course it was NEVER mentioned that before the war, Iraq had the most educated population of any Arab country. The listener was (intentionally) left with the feeling that if it weren't for the gracious Americans, Iraq would be hopelessly lost to the unskilled, uneducated Arab masses.

Anonymous said...

Woody says NPR is, of course, no more nor mo less what Althusser called an "ISA," an institutional State Apparatus, than NBC or Faux or any other corporate media outlet."

There is a critical distinction between NPR and the others you name.

By virtue of the fact that NPR is funded by the government (NPR gets paid for its programming by NPR member stations who get government money), it IS truly an instrument of state propaganda.

The government funding aspect is not just an incidental thing.

Fox does not receive government money so they are entitled to air propaganda.

But NPR is NOT so entitled. In fact, they are forbidden quite literally and unambiguously BY LAW from doing so.

Every budget bill that Congress has passed in recent years contains a clause that strictly forbids the use of public funds for propaganda.

By airing propaganda, NPR is breaking that law.

That makes what NPR is doing qualitatively different from what the others are doing. It raises their propaganda to the level of "state propaganda"

Anonymous said...

VOA is government-funded propaganda. And, I think, there is a HUGE distinction between NPR and VOA. Just because public broadcasting receives direct payment (in varying degrees) from the CPB and subsidies from the FCC for public airwaves (bandwidth) doesn't mean that NPR is any more or less subsidized than "private, for-profit" broadcast entities. I am no NPR defender -- far from it -- but comparing apples to apples, as much as one can do, is both fair and balanced when gauging NPR against other media sources who all spout propaganda; government, corporate or otherwise.

Anonymous said...

This NPR piece contains some incredibly ridiculous quotes allowed to pass without reaction.

"Obama's Network Of Campaign Supporters Lives On," Peter Overby, Sunday ATC (1/25/2009)

But there are potential problems.

"This can backfire fairly easily," says James Thurber, director of the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies at American University in Washington, D.C.

He says members of Congress might not want to hear from the president's support base.

"If they overuse the list, if they flood the Hill with huge mobilization campaigns and it irritates people. … They have to be very careful the way they use this resource," Thurber says.

He also points out that the people who signed up for Obama's campaign might not all feel the same way about specific pieces of legislation.

Irritated by democracy, you bet. That's Congress and the whole establishment to be sure. But it didn't seem the slightest bit strange to Overby.

Hubertg said...

"Irritated by Democracy"....that's a good one...and, they sure are.
The corporatocracy views democracy as a pain in the ass. How in the hell is an Economic Hitman supposed to get anything done ? It is a tough sell to Congress trying to support a despotic junta when you have all these damn citizens screaming down your backside. The next thing you know fair and balanced news reporting comes along, and the whole thing is getting totally out of hand. "Irritated by Democracy" is an excellent way to say it ALL.

Anonymous said...


Check "Tell Me More" today for NPR's Gonzo Gonzales soapbox. He regrets mistakes made by "his staff" and is spinning that history will vindicate his pathetic tenure as AG (just like Bush and Dick?). An affront to American Democracy, an embarrassment to the American People, he was!

Anonymous said...

Just because public broadcasting receives direct payment (in varying degrees) from the CPB and subsidies from the FCC for public airwaves (bandwidth) doesn't mean that NPR is any more or less subsidized than "private, for-profit" broadcast entities."

So, just because NPR would cease to exist were it not for public funding "doesn't mean that NPR is any more or less subsidized than "private, for-profit" broadcast entities"?

Can't argue with that logic.

Kevan Smith said...

Learn to Wiki:

According to the 2005 financial statement, NPR makes just over half of its money from the fees and dues it charges member stations to receive programming, although some of this money originated at the CPB itself, in the form of pass-through grants to member stations.[11] About 2% of NPR's funding comes from bidding on government grants and programs, chiefly the Corporation for Public Broadcasting; the remainder comes from member station dues, foundation grants, and corporate underwriting. Typically, NPR member stations raise about one-third of their budget through on-air pledge drives, one-third from corporate underwriting, and one-third from grants from state governments, university grants, and grants from the CPB itself.

Over the years, the portion of the total NPR budget that comes from government has been decreasing. During the 1970s and early 1980s, the majority of NPR funding came from the federal government. Steps were being taken during the 1980s to completely wean NPR from government support, but the 1983 funding crisis forced the network to make immediate changes. More money to fund the NPR network was raised from listeners, charitable foundations and corporations, and less from the federal government. Major donors are listed on the NPR web site.

NPR would survive without government monies.

Anonymous said...

"NPR would survive without government monies."

That's overly simplistic.

Survive in what guise?

It is not at all clear that NPR member stations would continue to buy that programming if they received no public funding.

Given that they also have to pay for local programming, I suspect that many of them might actually cut out NPR news (very expensive) if they lost a significant fraction of their funding.

It is also not clear that corporate underwriters would continue to buy underwriting if a significant fraction of NPR members stations quit buying NPR's programming.

There is a snowball effect.

The comparison to VOA was especially hilarious, given Kevin Klose's background.

Anonymous said...

With regard to the Congressional prohibition on the use of public monies for propaganda, it matters not what fraction of NPR's budget is public.

Former NPR President Kevin Klose* ( former director of VOA and other pro-US propaganda dissemination worldwide) certainly understood that.

*Klose "used to be the director of all major worldwide US government propaganda dissemination broadcast media including VOA, Radio Liberty, Radio Free Europe, Radio Free Asia, Worldnet Television and the anti-Castro Radio/TV Marti." [1]. -- wikipedia

It is no exaggeration that Klose "transformed" NPR during his tenure. It will probably never be the same.

Some like myself think it is a real shame.

RepubLiecan said...

Remember when NPR used to report on Walmart's anti union practices or its negative effects on local retail businesses and communities? Heard much of that since Walmart became a corporate sponsor? The same applies to Microsoft and Archer, Daniels, Midland.

Since the Fall pledge campaign failed so miserably, my local NPR station is running another catchup session this week. Their claim is that the economic downturn caused donors to stop giving. Do you think it occurs to them that some of their former donors see them as no different or worse than the MSM?

Anonymous said...

Kevan Smith:

I worked in public broadcasting for more than 10 years for a member station. I am quite familiar with the funding, at ALL sorts of member stations. The miracle of Wikipedia is grand, however, I suspect that you have a Wikipedia's-level of knowledge of how member station funding is garnered by public radio stations, NPR-related ones, Pacifica radio stations and independent ones. Also, I am familiar with KK's associations with VOA. However, there are very clear differences between VOA, NPR, PBS, et al. I am a huge public broadcasting critic, which is why I am doing a Master's thesis on the subject. Since some of the posters here seem so investigative, how about a real apples to apples comparison of how for-profit companies receive government subsidies, and the true cost of that to the American taxpayers. Please feel free to Wiki all you want, but my guess is that real research is well outside the skill level of those who chose to comment. As for the author of this blog? NPRCheck does some solid analysis and commentary, which is why I will return here many times.

Anonymous said...

Kevan Smith:

Here is a great source for non-profit funding data, including NPR and public radio stations.

-Anon (who doesn't use Wikipedia for serious research)

Anonymous said...

NPR is simply another facet of the dominant culture attempting to present the most positive picture of America; it is as natural to most of the people there as breathing. They are not "forced" to drink the Kool-Aid. They have had it running in their veins from birth.

Anonymous said...

Kevin Smith:

You are entitled to your opinion that NPR would "survive" without public funding.

But it is still an opinion.

A raw breakdown of what fraction of funding comes from what source does not tell the whole story. Not even close.

As i pointed out, there is a snowball (ie, feedback) effect here that you have not taken into account (that you have not even acknowledged).

Let's do the experiment, shall we?

Let's cut off ALL public funding (national and state) for public radio (including NPR member stations) and see how the whole animal fares.

If NPR "survives", I'll admit I was wrong.

But all this talk of whether NPR would survive without public funding (and whether NPR is equivalent to VOA) is essentially a sidehsow.

My main point was that NPR should not be propagandizing since they receive public funding and Congress has an explicit ban in every budget bill that precludes such propagandizing. That is true no matter HOW much funding NPR receives.

Finally, the fact that you worked for public radio for 10 years does not make you an expert on funding.