Tuesday, March 10, 2009

From the Bart Simpson School of Journalism

Whew! talk about dumb. On ATC NPR reported on Obama's lifting of the stem cell research ban and played some decent clips of President Obama speaking to scientists who loudly cheered him. Michele Norris then turns to Joe Palca, one of NPR's expert science reporters to ask, "Now why did this order on scientific integrity draw cheers from the crowd?"

Seems like Norris must have woken Joe up from a nap or interrupted him during an intense round of Tetris. He answers:
"Well, I think Aretha Franklin captured the idea when she said, 'R-E-S-P-E-C-T.' I think scientists have spent the last eight years feeling dissed. That's the way they felt; it wasn't true a hundred percent of the time, but that was the gestalt in the scientific community. And I think now they're saying, they're hearing a president say, 'We love you, and we respect your ideas,' and you know - that feels good."
They actually pay this guy? Does he have access to Lexis-Nexis? Does he read anything these days? A very short search turns up reams of factual material about the Bush administrations dismal record on science from beginning to end; and it has nothing to do with how scientists feel. And to frame Obama's stance on science as "we love you" is pathetic.

The comment beneath the web story nails this one and is worth a look.


Anonymous said...

Thank you, Mytwords, I heard this piece too and just about gagged. What a stupid question -- why were they cheering when Obama said the integrity of science would again be respected and untainted by ideology? DUH! And the shallow "analysis" that followed, complete with dumb pop culture reference -- well, it's about what we've come to expect from these characters, but it still amazes.

Anonymous said...

"Now why did this order on scientific integrity draw cheers from the crowd?"

Couldn't have anything to do with what Union of Concerned Scientists said here, could it?


I want an NPR job. You know, the kind of job where you can talk like a complete idiot every day of the weak and still get paid a 6 figure salary.

Anonymous said...

I noticed Joe Palca has a PhD in psychology (a pseudo-science, at best and quackmire, at worst).

That explains the reference to "gestalt" and other psychobabble.

Juan "Toss" Ensalada said...

Not that it as an excuse for Palca, but NPR's "technique" of using host-driven news is a BIG part of NPR's problem. Their chatty banter insults educated listeners in an attempt to gain a wider, and younger audience demographic. I have started referring to it as hot, "host-on-host action," and "soft-core journalism." When will NPR realize that the only thing they are really garnering is a scorn from us who know better?

Anonymous said...

Made me wonder if Mee-shill's response to the 'dis'-interview was "Fo' shizzle" (noting later in the 'official' comments section that Juan beat me to the punch, dawg). In observing this dumbed-down degradation of semantics I had to draw a parallel to the doctor's professional diagnosis in the film 'Idiocracy': "Your sh-t's all f-ed up, Scro'!"

And it would be just like their tried-and-true rut to actually sound-clip referenced soul number at segment's end, just for reinforcement; and no, I'll refrain from reviewing the archive for validation - so wait wait don't bleepin' tell me.

Hubertg said...

George didn't need science because God was speaking to him. Obama got the call too but he is still weighing his options. Investigative journalism is all but dead,....under the circumstances Jon Stewart is looking pretty good these days.

Anonymous said...

Did NPR delete the comment, I don't see it any more?

Based on my personal experience, they seem to be deleting comments about their coverage claiming its inappropriate.

Anonymous said...

Aye that, Grumps. A tad thin-skinned they are, one would surmise?

(all my favorite music curmudgeons had gotten their profiles banned - my my, they're so sensitive)

Juan "Toss" Ensalada said...


I had one of my aliases banned by UnPR - for posting links to information regarding NPR's own layoffs last fall! How's that for ironic -- NPR listener gets "news" about NPR, post it on the NPR blog and gets banned. 2 hours AFTER I got banned, NPR swapped out an ATC story in the line-up which was, a hurried story from David Folkenf*k about -- THE LAYOFFS!

My guess is that NPR had to wait for The Washington Post to run the story online BEFORE NPR could acutally corroberate its own news. What do you expect from our source of aggregated "official" news?