Monday, July 20, 2009

Q Tips

NPR related comments welcomed.


Anonymous said...

After all that praise on the weekend NPR shows, especially Sunday evenings.

Norman Solomnn on Cronkite and the Vietmnam War:

Porter Melmoth said...

I guess in this case I'd rather have Cronkite's minimal effort of protest instead of continued complicitness.

I remember the show when it came out, and it was a big deal.
After all, media back then may have been purer in several ways, but network news always tended to go with the government. WC's gesture was surprising, and from one who had indeed been pro-war - by his own admission, forthrightly stated - is, to my mind, significant and worthy of praise.

The corporate pressure exerted on on-air persons in the media is all-powerful. Cronkite's gesture might have questionable elements when viewed in retrospect, but I scarcely think you'd hear such a thing coming from NPR (or CBS) now, especially in regards to Afghanistan.

Porter Melmoth said...

Check out MeeShill over at C&L:

Mytwords said...

I thought Democracy Now! had an excellent feature on Cronkite which featured the complexities of the man - his shortcomings, but also his very admirable qualities as a news person.

geoff said...

WC's transition from Rough Rider to peace advocate is notable for the trajectory from gung-ho "let's saddle up the nukes and have at 'em" to a more world weary "war sucks" realization. His successor, Dan Rather, did something similar, transitioning from "Tell me where to sign up, President Bush" right after 9/11 to doing the National Guard story some 2 or 3 years later. Rather was rather more skewered for that than WC ever was.

Anonymous said...

MeeShill my bull
These are words
That make me wanna swill
My MeShill

I hate you, I hate you, I hate you.
That's all I want to say.
Until I find a way
I will say the only words I know that
You'll understand.

MeeShill my bull
These are words
That make me wanna swill
My Meshill

I need to, I need to, I need to.
I need to climb a tree,
Whenever I listen to thee.
Until I do I'm hoping you will
Know what I mean.

I hate you...

I want you, I want you, I want you...(to shut up)
I think you know by now
I'll get to you somehow.
Until I do I'm telling you so
You'll understand.

MeeShill my bull
These are words
That make me wanna swill
My MeShill

I will say the only words I know that
You'll understand, my MeShill.

Anonymous said...

I was listening to a three minute car commercial this morning on WHYY and then realized it was a "news story". Here I was under the impression it was a commercial for Camaros. And this one is so neat-o they even had a guy swear that a Porsche owner blew the horn at him so the Porsche owner could take a picture of the Camaro (described as "21st century sports car")! But hey, what's good for GM is good for NPR and USA. Especially those billions you all gave us so we could produce throw-back models. Now, when you drive down the road you can more easily imagine it is 1955 and America rules the world. Thank you GM. Thank you America. And special kudos to NPR for making me aware of this superb car made by superb American technology.


Anonymous said...

Propaganda on NPR:

Two girls decide to form support group in California to help teens with parents deployed. Talked em up real good but . . .

Father is Lt. Col and mother is Treasurer of base family support groups. That's Hern

Kaylei Deakin Mother is Major. These are kids trying to get into service acadamies. NPR treats them like this is not only two kids not liking the BS they were hearing (war is bad parents immoral for warring) and deciding they would go the all American way - set up a center for "victims" and hope for the best. And National Propaganda radio is only to happy to help out.

Could be legit but NPR is soooo illegitimate at this point . . .


Porter Melmoth said...

Significant Annoying NPR Trend #304:

Weaving 'genial/gentle' comedy throughout the presumably hardass news shows.

This is nothing new, of course, but the effect is becoming more pronounced. Especially nauseating is when that Papa Bear of NPR, your professorial Scholar of the Air, Dr. Blob Siegel, gets all bubbly-cuddly with some chocolate-y attempt at humor, to comfort your afternoon drive before the segue into the NATO Heroes in Af-Pak story can proceed.

Viv the Shill-er must be pushing for more of this sort of thing, to keep the captured audience's radios welded to the given NPR spot on the dial.

geoff said...

Port - I will be requiring some dental work after listening to Inskeep snark about how the budget cuts in CA are so sever the reporters must now be using typewriters. Oh, ha ha ha! Oh, how about I reach into his rib cage, fetch out some heart muscle (assuming there is any) and feed it to him?

Porter Melmoth said...

Yes Gope, I have cracked molars and ingrown eyeteeth from the long centuries of toxic NPRadiation exposure. Brings the best out in us, huh?

Anonymous said...

david Kestenbaum speculates about why Lehman brothers was allowed to fail (when companies like Goldman Sachs were later bailed out.)

Actually, Kestenbaum did not mention the latter fact, presumably because it is not convenient to either of his two theses:

Lehman was allowed to fail by treasury Sec Henry Paulson because 1) paulson thought bailing out Lehman would set a bad precedent "encouraging even riskier behavior down the road"
2) Lehman's CEO (Fuld) was cocky (as if most wall street CEO's are not?)

of course, kestenbaum leaves out the third possibility (the elephant in the room, as it were):

Paulson, who had made a several hundred million dollar fortune as CEO of Goldman Sachs had little incentive (you might say) to save a company (Lehman brothers) which was the primary competitor of his own former company (Goldman).

Kestenbaum's failure to even mention the fact that Lehman Brothers was a primary competitor of Goldman basically says it all.

As Matt Taibbi says in "Inside The Great American Bubble Machine: how Goldman Sachs has engineered every major market manipulation since the Great Depression

"It began in September of last year, when then-Treasury secretary Paulson made a momentous series of decisions. Although he had already engineered a rescue of Bear Stearns a few months before and helped bail out quasi-private lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Paulson elected to let Lehman Brothers — one of Goldman's last real competitors — collapse without intervention. ("Goldman's superhero status was left intact," says market analyst Eric Salzman, "and an investment-banking competitor, Lehman, goes away.") The very next day, Paulson greenlighted a massive, $85 billion bailout of AIG, which promptly turned around and repaid $13 billion it owed to Goldman. Thanks to the rescue effort, the bank ended up getting paid in full for its bad bets: By contrast, retired auto workers awaiting the Chrysler bailout will be lucky to receive 50 cents for every dollar they are owed.

//end Taibbi quote

Also read this
"Stearns Crucifies Paulson On Bailout Bait And Switch
Congressman grills former Treasury Secretary on massive conflicts of interest"

"Isn't there some point you should have recused yourself," asked Stearns, referring to Paulson's conflict of interest as former CEO of Goldman Sachs, adding that it was "outrageous" for Paulson to claim he "felt the pain of AIG".

Paulson's decision to bail out AIG resulted in a $13 billion payment to Goldman, while Goldman rival Lehman Brothers was allowed to collapse.

Porter Melmoth said...

I was strolling through some of the comments to NPR stories (helpfully linked by our Myt), and I was musing over the notion that, while NPR might regret opening up their website to commentary, I can't imagine them taking the negative/critical comments very seriously, or even paying attention to them. I can just imagine their fleet of commentary jockeys, scoffing their way through receiving them. Like, 'Oh, here's one from Billy Bubb again,' or 'And get a load of this crap from Grumpy Demo - he can't even spell!' (Apologies, GD, but you said it yourself...)

In short, I get the feeling that the feedback makes NPR feel even MORE superior, even MORE resolved in its present approach, and even MORE disdainful of the Great Unwashed, whom they no doubt write off even more as Get-A-Life masturbators.

But it is delightful to see such splendid feedback, and to the thoughtful commentators who deliver the goods time and again with justified critiques of the error known as NPR, I exhort you to TURN UP THE GAS!!!

Anonymous said...

More by NPR on Lehman brother's failure that includes a cryptic allusion to the context at the very end:

"Finally, [former Lehman exec] McDonald says, "The thing that really bothers me is that you allow Lehman to fail, but that hurts your bailing out Merrill and AIG." Allowing Lehman to fail, McDonald adds, cost the American taxpayers somewhere between $40 billion and $70 billion."
//end quote

No mention by Inskeep of the Goldman/Paulson link or the fact that Lehman was a primary competitor of Goldman or of the fact that Lehman was hardly alone in having made bad investments.

The primary question here is not why did Leahmn fail, but why it was allowed to fail when others like Goldman were saved?

To anyone who believes Goldman would have survived anyway, consider this: Goldman was "owed" some $13 billion dollars by AIG (basically insurance on its bad investments) and had AIG been allowed by Paulson to go under (like Lehman), i twould almost certainly have taken Goldman with it. That's not speculation, that's fact -- a fact that is rarely mentioned by the mainstream media (never by NPR, at least).

Anonymous said...

I get the feeling that the feedback makes NPR feel even MORE superior, even MORE resolved in its present approach, and even MORE disdainful of the Great Unwashed,"

I'm not sure about that.

It seems that if they really were disdainful, they would not even address the criticism, believing that it legitimizes the criticism somehow (which it does!)

I think the fact that NPR actually attempts to "address" their critics (albeit lamely) means their complacent slumber has been just a little bit "disturbed" by it.

geoff said...

Anybody hear On The Media this week? In the letters section the response to Shepard's euphemisms was characterized thusly:

We had hundreds of responses to my interview with NPR ombudsman Alicia Shepard on the subject of using the word torture to describe water boarding. The nearly universal sentiment was outrage at a news organization's embracing of the Bush Administration euphamism "enhanced interrogation techniques." But the vast majority of commentors attribute NPR's policy not to excess caution but to collaboration, conspiracy and/or cowardice. This comment from Al Gomez was typical: "Once again the mask slips to reveal the hidden hand at work. National Pentagon Radio says it all."

Go Al!!!!!!!!!

masbrow said...

Just posted to the TOTN page:

This is ridiculous, The insurance companies DO NOT need any more of a forum to lie to us. as Kaiser himself told Nixon:"we make money by denying care". Get the foxes out of the chickenhouse!

Talk of the Nation with Neil Conan is almost useless unless you want to know what corporate/government elites think.

Anonymous said...

Anyone else get suspicious when we have 2 stories in one week that seem like military plants: the Pentagon Channel chef and yesterday's "military daughters" piece? Is the Pentagon propaganda unit working overtime?

geoff said...

And it was Zwerdling, wasn't it, doing the National Guard children piece? It's a really sad story and I think Zwerdling did what he could to bring out the sadness in it: that families are being split up and so people are trying to make connections outside the family to get that kind of support. It is actually sympathetic to the kids, I think.

It relates to the National Guard story that Dan Rather was fired for, in a way. The NG got utterly screwed by the Pentagon, and that doesn't come out in the story enough. The hopeful ending is what the Pentagon is paying for here, I guess - but the meat of the story is that NG families are getting screwed. I wonder how much Zwerdling gets control over post production?

Anonymous said...

The latest banana from "Planet Monkey": "In our story about pay this morning on Morning Edition, economist Robert Frank argues that humans have a tendency to overestimate their own achievements and capabilities in relation to others. It's called the Lake Wobegon effect. While it's great that we all feel good about ourselves, it's a problem for employers considering performance based pay. "

yeah, and for the people who work at Planet Monkey, it's the "Woebegonewild effect".

Davidson and Kestenbaum have got a serious case of Woebegonewilditis.

geoff said...

Consistent with a standing pattern of blaming the voters, Ina Jaffe's piece, Californians Want Change After Budget Impasse is full of describing the symptoms of the disease the Enronization of America has wrought and misattributing these to spurious causes such as voters who don't understand much. Thanks, but no thanks, for the unhelpful noise that only serves as a smokescreen of white phosphorus like poison broadcast over the airwaves to amplify the misinformation. The best 411 on what's happening in CA is provided by CUE. Shut off the radio and read that instead.

Jay Schiavone said...

dday at Calitics and at Diby's blog covers the California meltdown with great aplomb.
Blaming the voters is a symptom of frustration and resignation. The "election" (what was that?) that pushed out Gray Davis and swept in Arnold Schwartzenegger was a bellweather event that must have been designed to cause reasonable people to question the nature of democracy. The same citizens who drove that power transfer, the same people who later voted away the civil rights of homosexuals, those people have no means by which to raise taxes to address their budget shortfall. We will shortly see the results of this experiment in the laboratory of the Constitution.

dguzman said...

Did you hear this morning's Idiot-Innskeep piece on the professor who's written extensively about how the politics of Rap = the politics of empire (of COURSE he didn't call USA an empire, however!)? I was actually interested in what the guy had to say but couldn't hear it over Innskeep's constant and incredulous (I guess) laughter. What an asshole. The prof went along with it, kinda ignoring Innskeep, but I was thoroughly annoyed.

Anonymous said...

Here's what you get when you e-mail MarketPlace or any other NPR skit:

MARKETPLACE INFO.~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-Thank you for contacting Marketplace Productions. Everyday, we receive hundreds of messages from all over the world. Please be patient while we read your e-mail and get back to you with a response or more information. While we can't respond to everyone, we do read every e-mail.


Anonymous said...

Inskeep's dismissal of rap reminded me of former Harvard President Larry Summers dismissal of former Harvard Prof Cornel West's "rap" CD:
From wikipedia
"Summers also objected to West's production of a CD, the critically panned Sketches of My Culture, and to his political campaigning."

There was no racism involved in Summers' (special) "treatment" of West, of course.

or in this case, for that matter:

"Was Harvard Professor's Arrest Racially Motivated?"

Naw, you think?

The guy was arrested at his own house, for God's sake. The whole thing makes absolutely no sense except in the context of racial profiling.

Anonymous said...

"Here's what you get when you e-mail MarketPlace or any other NPR skit:"

It's a waste of time contacting the people at NPR.

In fact, given the entrenched support for NPR in the Democratic Congress, the only thing that has any effect whatsoever on NPR might be a letter to a Republican member of Congress (eg, Joe Lieberman) that claims NPR is anti-Semitic.

Anonymous said...


"In fact, given the entrenched support for NPR in the Democratic Congress, the only thing that has any effect whatsoever on NPR might be a letter to a Republican member of Congress (eg, Joe Lieberman) that claims NPR is anti-Semitic"

I always point out to people that listen the "flaws" as i see them in NPR specifically and media in general. Does it do any "googd"? Don't know but at least two people tewll me they have sent money to other "good causes". I always suggest libraries.

But many people don't believe it. I think someone has already touched on this but . . . if NPR is the best that American media can come up with, I'm not surprised the Empire is falling.



Anonymous said...

I think one has to distinguish between criticism of NPR on the web and criticism sent to NPR specifically.

The former (eg, criticism of Alicia Shepard by MTW, Glenn Greenwald and others) is useful and may lead people to give their money elsewhere.

And, as i indicated, if you really want NPR put out of business entirely, the best "strategy" is actually to call them anti-Semitic (whether you happen to believe it or not). It's NPR's achilles heal, if you will and probably the ONLY thing that will have any effect.

geoff said...

Given that Palestinians are Semites, the shoe fits pretty well.

The Boss of You said...

Listening to a local NPR show here in the Pacific NW, the topic of the show for the hour was health care. The host mentioned that the station was given a directive from NPR central not to use the word 'reform', because it has a bad connotation. I can't remember what they're supposed to say or if the host even mentioned it, but talk about Newspeak.

Kevan Smith said...

@Boss: That's interesting, because NPR uses the phrase "health care reform" quite a bit. Do you have an URL for the show you were listening to?

Anonymous said...

The host mentioned that the station was given a directive from NPR central not to use the word 'reform', because it has a bad connotation"

yeah, it could give the impression that the changes might actually be good for ordinary Americans.

I believe what the "Central Committee" has actually instructed NPR member stations to say (the "Party line" if you will) is "Health Care Communism for the Proletariat" (HCCP)

Can't have that, can we?

Porter Melmoth said...

AAAAAdam Davidson is a LIAR.

He even admitted it, in an insufferable attempt at comedy, the Planet Moneygrubber freely said he lied to a Palestinian potato chip vendor, saying that his product 'had flavor', and then telling Madelyn Brand-X that he lied to the guy. Good journalistic practice, eh?

I'm not going to try and out-clever A.D. in his new 'Daily Show'-style aspirations in scoring listeners. It just shows how stupid the sophistication level is when NPR puts on its comedy cap. (Blob Siegel did an equally failed attempt at satire with his 'Onion' sketch - in the same hour!)

It seems that NPR is leaning heavily on their Planet Moneygrub connection, to reap big profits from 'Economics. Explained'.

The Boss of You said...

@Kevan: Here ya go:

If that doesn't work let me know and I'll try to get an archive link.

geoff said...

This KUOW program is interesting. In the interview with Howard Dean, I heard the obvious idea that I hadn't before: simply extend Medicare to the entire population. The bureaucratic infrastructure is already there!

The discussion is almost an hour, so I haven't gotten to part where the host describes NPR's strategy of "Don't say health care reform" but it's, as Cokie would say, "interesting," that the name of the site underwriting site of Johnson and Johnson is "healthreform" not "healthcarereform." It's all wordplay with these guys.

What do you get when you take the "care" our of "health care?" Yeah, right. And it's not rationing.

miranda said...

"the only thing that has any effect whatsoever on NPR might be a letter to a Republican member of Congress (eg, Joe Lieberman) that claims NPR is anti-Semitic."

Anonymous, thank you for the laugh. Lieberman=DINO (Democrat in Name Only).

The Boss of You said...

Yeah, sorry about that I just slapped down a link on kind of a busy day. If I had to guess the comment is on the last twenty minutes of the broadcast.

Even though, there's an NPR kind of smarminess to the host, Weekday has had some very good interviews. It's the only place outside of Air America, where I've heard and extensive discussion with David Iglesias, the fired US Attorney from New Mexico, and his counter-part in Seattle, whose name escapes me, who was also fired.

bee! said...

Oh, can't have NoPR & affiliates without that patented smarmy smugness, as though they flatulate frothy milk for your triple latte.