Friday, September 25, 2009

Q Tips

NPR related comments welcomed.


Porter Melmoth said...

Retreads from the past coupla posts, FYI...

I just heard Robert Q. Smith's assessment of Oliver Stone's Hugo Chavez film. You think WE'RE snotty at this blog? Smith couldn't help but mock and snipe and complain. 'Stone didn't even ask Chavez one challenging question!' he moans.

Listen Smith, Stone's not doing public broadcasting. He's doing an independent film. That means he can make a film of Chavez' cufflink collection if he wants to. At NPR, the home of consistently challenging questions, I guess the serious reporters there just don't remember stuff like that.

The bottom line is that NPR is an institution of contempt for Chavez, and it made them squirm to see Chavez having a good time at the film's premiere. Stone and Chavez were entirely unruffled.

Sorry Smith, you're probably seething because Inskreep scored the Ahmadinejad interview this morning, and you got stuck with having to cover a social occasion.


Speaking of Steven's Ahmadinejad interview, it was a classic example of NPR attempting to take a moral highground that it has only occupied because it is expedient for them to do so (e.g. they've hardly been trail blazers in such areas).

Expecting to one-up the conceited prez of Columbia Univ, who attempted to put the Iranian leader in his place last time, Inskreep cooly adopted a meddlesome tack, expecting his interviewee to come clean or something.

Now I'm not a big Ahmadinejad fan (I've said before that he is a too-perfect villain for Neocon needs; I've even speculated that he's a CIA plant to make Iran eligible for 'regime change'!), but I'd like to see an impartial journalist from Iran investigating as to why and how the 2000 presidential election turned out the way it did.

We get to meddle in other countries' affairs because we can, but what about the reverse? Well, empires are pretty hard to crack into, even in their decline.

a.m. said...

This morning Scott Simon squirted himself a generous handful of oily self-regard and worked himself into a fine froth of moral vanity over U.S. military policy in Afghanistan. This was vintage Simon: pointing out to the morally benighted (us) some atrocious abuse of human rights in the world that only he has the keen moral insight to descry, generally in the interest of lending support to some morally questionable U.S. policy that is enthusiastically supported by the entire Washington media punditocracy and the military establishment. Such was the case in this matter: a cadre of generals is clamoring for more troops for Afghanistan, as are the most revered and "serious" of opinion column writers and Sunday show pundits. How brave of Scott, then, to wade valiantly into hostile waters and declare his support for the same exact policy! And how noble to reduce a complex debate over a policy that has cost many, many lives to a simplistic dispute between those with fine moral sentiments and those who lack them. It was this same appeal to noble sentiments that led to the debacle in Iraq and the loss of hundreds of thousands of lives. But no matter--if the same occurs again in Afghanistan, as seems to be likely, at least Scott will be able to console himself, in on-air editorials delivered with sighing, pained gravitas, that his own moral instincts are unimpeachably correct and good. Assuring us of that is always, always Simon's foremost concern.

Hibbidy said...

Continued poor coverage of the health care overhaul on Thursday with Senate Republican obstructionist John Boehner interview. If everyone weren't bought and paid for the Democrats could have rammed a single payer plan through without the Republicans support but NPR will never point that out since they are paid off too. I was waiting for the Kaiser research foundation "rebuttal" after Boehner's lengthy speech disguised as interview.

gopalope said...

How brave of Scott, then, to wade valiantly into hostile waters and declare his support for the same exact policy! And how noble to reduce a complex debate over a policy that has cost many, many lives to a simplistic dispute between those with fine moral sentiments and those who lack them.

Well said!
In the interview with Nader, (moist flushable) Scott is his typically insufferable caddish self, asserting that the interview is "one novelist to another" and asking a bunch of dumb questions, like, "What's wrong with the national anthem?" While Nader explains this plot element as a decoy - an act of misdirection by right wing shock jocks "Bush Bimbo" and "Pawn Vanity." Snott voices over, derisively, "Yeah, that was real clever." I guess you wouldn't want to offend such close colleagues in your own profession.

Simon's unctuous sanctimonious moral posturing doesn't last long on the box Saturday morning, but I managed to catch that much. After changing to the classical music station I had to get a whole lot of flushable wipes to clean up around the radio.

Anonymous said...

There are two types who find Scott Simon (and NPR in general) appealing:

Those who are convinced they are already better (smarter, more "informed", wittier, etc) than everyone else (this includes NPR announcers like Simon, Inskeep, Norris, Gross, Davidson, etc) and those who are convinced that if they listen to NPR long enough, they will become better than everyone else.

Haven't heard him since I left the Boston area, but Jay Severin used to call his listeners the "Best and the Brightest" (and they ate it up).

NPR plays the same game with their own listeners, though they are a little more subtle about it (just a little).

gope said...

Hoorors, a teacher quality series is launched.

"over the next year NPR will explore [efforts to improve teacher quality.] We'll take a look at the latest crop of teachers entering the profession. NPR's education correspondents, Claudio Sanchez and Larry Abramson are in the studio."

Sanchez is described as a "former elementary and middle school teacher" - but apparently, not since 1984, as his bio implies. He has some award for reporting on the student loan crisis. (good thing that problem got solved, thanks to his reporting) and favors the disaster that was "educational entrepreneurs" in Chicago. Great. In the pocket with Arne Duncan Donut Know Much About Education.♫

As for Abramson, he's been covering the war on terror since working for the VOA, so he'll be a reliable fount of idiocy...well, we'll see...

LH: Ed reformers have been talking about improving teacher quality for years, what's different now?

CS: Now it's really urgent! Just like it was in the 50's ad 60's and 80's and 90's! A teacher has to show subject matter competency and now there's serious money!

LH: How much money is actually going towards teachers.

LA: Teacher Incentive Fund (TIF) which Bush started and Democrats hate despite how great it is and now even Democrats have to admit they were wrong all along.

MY COMMENT: One of the goals of the TIF is "Creating sustainable performance-based compensation systems." You know what that means. That means we're going to end the practice of paying teachers for not doing squat. 'Bout time, huh? Boy, if only we'd thought of that in the 50's!

LA: TIF is not a ground up effort in changing the way teachers are trained.

gope said...

LH: Claudio, talk a little about the teacher's colleges. Is some of this reform aimed at them?

CS: Certainly, there are roughly something like 1300 colleges, and I've had people tell me that only 50 are doing a good job.

MY COMMENT: I've had people tell me that Claudio Sanchez is a really crappy journalist because he doesn't know the first thing about sourcing. Has anyone at NPR every studied journalistic ethics?! This is just such utter propaganda, it's jaw dropping. Sure, I think there's lots of room for improvement in teacher colleges (don't get me started on Cal State, for instance) but this is just really hacksterism passing as journalism. They clearly have the privatization agenda driving them, as is made clear when you get further into the "discussion."

CS: The pressure is not just coming from the outside, it's coming from the inside as well. The National Council of Accrediting Teacher's Colleges for example now says they're to require that these colleges are relevant.

MY COMMENT: If you read the NCATE paper on this you'll find that it's not as specious as Sanchez suggests. It's just recommending more residency with on-the-job stuctured supervision.

LH: How about efforts to attract people from outside the teaching profession?

MY COMMENT: While we're at it, let's get some surgeons from outside the medical profession. And maybe some journalists at NPR who have no idea about journalism. Oh, wait...

LA: This is an area of great hope. This isn't necessarily a profession that you need to join right out of college and some of the most promising teachers are people who've switched careers. You see in all these privately run non-profits, like the New Teacher Project, The Boston Teacher Residency, Chicago Teaching Fellows that Sec. Arne Duncan was involved with, that they are actually - even tho they're relatively sjmall ciompared to the 4 million teachers in this country - they actually are pushing revolutionary change that is infecting the Teacher's colleges which are taking direction from these residency programs.

LH: You mentioned pay being tied to performance. Do you think that's going to happen?

MY COMMENT: The plaintive edge in Lianne's voice makes it very clear that this is something she really wishes would happen and believe would happen if teachers weren't so obstinate. This is a journalistic demerit and, as such, I expect NPR will cut her pay.

LA: It's happening really slowly and on the margins. The kinds of incentives that we're seeing are important and are a radical change in teacher contracts which are largely based on seniority. But, they still don't really impact the bulk of teacher compensation and I think it's going to be a long time before we see really meaningful change in that area.

CS: It's not just the concept of pay for performance, it's the really the evaluation process - what goes into determining what a good teacher is doing?

MY COMMENT: ...and the best tools they have for determining that are privately developed proprietary exams that may or may not have anything to do with teaching and learning. I have seen so many bright math students ruined by being trained to pass the AP's just sad.

gope said...

Sanchez' Entrepreneurs Transform Chicago Schools from a 8/19/08 is worth revisiting. So far, the project at Orr H.S. is not looking successful at all.

Only two of the transformation schools—Carver Military and Chicago Military in Bronzeville—saw more than a 1 percentage point increase in their ACT score since 2006. But as well, during this time the two schools have implemented a selective admissions process that also changed the caliber of the students entering.

Over the past year, there have been many indications that the $80 million High School Transformation was not the success that officials hoped. The first-year evaluation report pinpointed many implementation problems, such as high absenteeism among students and a need for better-prepared teachers. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which gave the district $21 million for the program, not only stopped funding it, but also pulled their support from future evaluation reports.


If you'd like a teacher-on-the-ground perspective of the corporate/bankster raiding of public schools listen to Jackson Potter here.

That Obama went for Duncan "I do turnaround donuts" instead of a proven reformer like Deborah Meier is sad. He should have listened to the parents and teachers in Chicago.

Anonymous said...

With regard to this comment "Certainly, there are roughly something like 1300 colleges, and I've had people tell me that only 50 are doing a good job."

I've also had people tell me that aliens visited area 51, but that don't make it so.

Do the NPR nitwits realize how stupid they sound when they use this "I've had some people tell me" propaganda technique?

If NPR based pay on merit, no one would get paid a red cent.

I agree with economist Dean Baker:
"if NPR likes unemployment so much, maybe we should give them some."

Starting with the CEO, Vivian Schiller, who went to Cornell. I also went to Cornell and quite frankly, she embarrasses the hell out of me.

gopadellic said...

I saw The Birds at Cornell. Was about 40 years ago. Damn. Good show, if you were on acid, maybe even if you weren't.

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

This morning Scott Simon squirted himself a generous handful of oily self-regard and worked himself into a fine froth of moral vanity over U.S. military policy in Afghanistan.

As a description of Snottie Scotie's quotidian demeanor, that--"squirting himself" with a generous dollop of oleaginous unctuousness and slimy self-regard (my trans)-- is SOOOOO right-on, I've stolen it without any apology.

Juan "Toss" Ensalada said...

Dear Listener;

Thank you for contacting the NPR Ombudsman. Our office invites you to sign up to have the weekly Ombudsman column sent to you. Enter your email address where prompted on the right-hand side of our webpage at

As for your email, we appreciate your thoughts regarding NPR's coverage of natural gas.

Making decisions about covering the events that impact our everyday lives is never easy. We make every attempt to ensure that the segments and stories you hear on NPR programming, and the attention devoted to them, are valid and appropriate.

We welcome praise, as well as criticism, and your thoughts will be taken into consideration. The Ombudsman is seriously looking into the gas/ shaling issue right now.


Office of the Ombudsman

biggest!pinkest!fuzziest!bunniest! said...

^ Wowz, I like that - providing a (fill in topic blank) here for some-a dat touchy-feely personalization! I've not witnessed such customer care since my last parlay with a voice-automaton over the phone.

geoff said...

Alicia's got her head so deep in the sand she's fracking bed rock.

Hey, I'm googlebone again!

Anonymous said...

Ombudsman is seriously looking into the gas/ shaling issue right now.

Shepard is full of gas and shaling for NPR's torture apologists.

Anonymous said...

Oil shale is swell,
Except it's hell,
If you live next door.

But who gives a frack
About the facts
When you're an NPR whore?