Monday, August 24, 2009

Enhanced Absurdity from NPR

NPR's refusal to call torture torture when committed by the US or its agents leads to some unbelievably stupid statements. On the hourly news bulletins this morning the aptly named David Schaper states the following regarding the forthcoming report on CIA torture (forced out by a FOIA from the ACLU - not NPR):
"The report is expected to be harshly critical of the CIA's enhanced interrogation techniques used inside of the agencies secret will detail how agents used mock executions in their prisoner was allegedly threatened with a gun and a power drill."
Any simpleton can read the US Law on torture [ 18 U.S.C. § 2340 et seq. ] and see that torture is clearly defined as "threatened infliction of severe physical pain or suffering" or "the threat of imminent death." There is no gray area here - unless one's organization is committed to propaganda - it is not "harsh interrogation" or the disgusting "enhanced interrogation" that Schaper calls it. It's friggin' TORTURE.


Anonymous said...

The Kevin Whitelaw/Ari Shapiro piece on the justice department consideration of opening (not "re-opening' as their title indicates, since a real investigation was never opened to begin with) an investigation of Bush admin practices reads like a list of rationales why it is not a good idea.

I especially loved this comment by the White/Shapiro tag team:

If Holder decides to appoint a federal prosecutor to look into criminal charges, the result could be awkward for an intelligence agency that has been at the heart of the nation's battle against al-Qaida.

The underlying theme here, of course, is that we would not want to do anything (even if the law requires it) that might jeapordize the CIA's "battle against al-Qaida".

And God forbid that we ever put them in an "awkward' position.

Whitelaw/Shapiro also put a spin on the heavy use of waterboarding, saying it was never "intended" to be used as much as it was.

"It just got a little out of control. No biggy"

The CIA only waterboarded Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (9/11 "mastermind") 183 times in one month. (but I hear they got really good information after the 183rd time)

As anyone with a brain understands, "reassurances" (especially from the CIA) that "we won't use the procedure much and we will use it in a very controlled [and controlling] manner" are hardly the same as honest indications of "intentions".

It's the old "wink and nod" Presidential plausible deniability game.

It is time that people like Shapiro and Whitelaw are called out for what they are: biased propandists.

Anonymous said...

oops, should be "biased propagandists"

JayV said...

I've been attempting to listen to less NPR, but had the radio on this morning and hear that news report, too. I nearly had an accident when I heard "enhanced techniques." I think it's very important to be a critical listener of NPR, but when I find some lackluster reporting in practically every NPR news report, it becomes a pain indeed.

Anonymous said...

think it's very important to be a critical listener of NPR, but when I find some lackluster reporting in practically every NPR news report, it becomes a pain indeed."

The worst part of all is that it's not really what NPR reports contain that is most egregious. It's what they (quite purposely) leave out.

Unfortunately, it's really hard (basically impossible) to know if someone is omitting a key piece of information unless one has learned that from other news sources.

If NPR merely made honest mistakes from time to time, i would have no problem with that.

But their purposeful omission is highly deceptive and puts them (along with Fox) squarely in the category of "propaganda" rather than news.

Deception by omission is arguably the very worst kind because it is virtually impossible to detect without outside information.

Hubertg said...

Enhanced Absurdity from NPR...
"Behold a Pale Horse"

geoff said...

As long as they're going to torture us with enhanced absurdity techniques they may as well just read us Edward Lear.

There was an NPR of the Pentagon,
That had twenty ways to say "it's torture, man.";
They said them to snails,
And men big as whales,
Those ponderous People of Cent Com.

Hubertg said...

Perhaps we have sank out of necessity, to the lowest common denominator of The Inquisition.
America has pursued expansion to the point that we are the "Red Coats" of the current day....."off with their heads, and let them eat cake".

Anonymous said...

It's interesting how some real journalists have no qualms calling torture by its proper term while others (eg, NPR ombudsman Alicia Shepard and NPR CEO Vivian Schiller) resort to Bush administration propagandistic "newspeak" to avoid the appearance of criticizing the Bush gang.

If it quacks like a duck....

Anonymous said...

Today on WCPN (Cleveland), NPR CEO Vivian Schiller fell back on the Ombudsperson's excuse that a full description of acts is so much more informative and compelling than the "loaded" word "torture."