Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Q Tips

NPR related comments welcomed.


Anonymous said...

For years I have been turning the radio off when the NPR types I could not stand came on. Mean old lady Cokie? Off. Fox apologist Juan? Off. Querulous Mara? Off. Creepy Scott? Off. The emperor of twee pretentious bullshit Ira? Off.

Then I realized that I couldn't think of a reason to turn it on. Maybe Car Talk, if I remember.

Porter Melmoth said...

Way too much self-congratulatory laffter on C-Talk.

Anonymous said...

Yes, that can be annoying. But I have never heard them justify torture.

miranda said...

I recommend listening to today's TOTN when available, in which Iran's dastardly nuclear ambitions are discussed. NeoConan actually speaks with Middle East expert Juan Cole, responding to Cole's well-reasoned refutations of the prevailing propaganda with lots of huffy sputtering. "But...but...they lied!"

I think I heard NeoConan's other guest, Charles Duelfer -- who was instrumental in the WMD deception coverup -- tell a caller who asked about Israel's nuclear arms and differential treatment of Iran: "Life isn't fair, especially in international relations."


Porter Melmoth said...

"But I have never heard them justify torture."

I wonder what the non-news people at NPR tend to think about that very issue...

I heard Imus talking about his firing over his racial remarks, (at C&L) and he basically said that when you work for the big boys, you obey and play their game. He thought his getting sacked was appropriate because he stepped over the line. But when it's the big boys who are writing the script, you either go along or resign. Any NPR resignations yet?

I'm still waiting.

The problem with credible voices like Juan Cole appearing on NPR, Fox, etc. is that the hosts, instead of letting them present, strategize in order to discredit them. Sounds like that's what NeoConan the Barbarian thought he had the balls to do. NPR fancies that they're pretty good at 'intellectual swaggering'.

Maine Owl said...

GREAT podcast takedown of NPR corporate decision making: No Agenda For Sunday September 20th 2009, starts about 1:06:50 into the show.

Adam Curry: "They are HOLES, complete HOLES, and you SHOULD NOT be listening to them."

Also there was some mocking abuse for comments last month by Kathy Griffin on Bill Maher's HBO (Griffin: "NPR is the National Public Treasure").

Good fun!

geoff said...

Vivian Shiller: "Underwriting, or commercials, or whatever you want to call it."

Anonymous said...

Vivian Shiller: "Underwriting, or commercials, or whatever you want to call it."

Prostitution by another name.

Maine Owl said...

Q: "NPR laid off in excess of 60 workers but it's moving to grand new digs..."

Shiller: "" [about the layoffs]

byg!pynk!fuuzy!buuny! said...

I know that symptom, Anon. Even got tired of Cluck & Crack guffawin' themselves silly over their own nyuks.

Nowadays, I just like to take lil' potshots at 'em as a way to get my good-faith membership pledges back.

b!p!f!ps! said...

To clarify - potshots at"'em" being the entire (dis)organization. The Tap-ass Bros in and of themselves are fairly - just fairly - innocuous by comparison.

larry, dfh said...

Any NPR resignations yet?
Sarah Shayes? She was interviewed on npr in Philly, and she just referred to their and her having 'different ideas', or some such cloaked terms for 'you gotta be kidding'. Except for Moyers, she's the only one in public broadcasting who turned away from the madness.
And Big!Pink!Whatever!, Mike McGrath, although determinedly annoying, has a great show, imo.

Porter Melmoth said...

Sarah Chayes is a noble exception. She is all about integrity. I'm sure she's viewed as a pariah and a traitor to the Neocon Public Resolutions. Bless her, she's doing purposeful and gutsy on-the-ground efforts in Afghanistan, away from the corruption. I get the feeling that she's a very fulfilled person, and with a clear conscience.

(I'd like her to chuck her honorable good manners for a few minutes and tell it like it was with her sleazy NPR S.O.B.s...)

geoff said...

NPR is getting into visual displays of qualitative information, on their web site, at least. Perhaps they'll use this venue to get more photographs from the war going.

Anonymous said...

"Sarah Chayes has been living and working in Kandahar, Afghanistan since 2001, when she covered the fall of the Taliban for National Public Radio. In 2002 she decided to leave journalism to help rebuild the shattered country, whose fate will help determine the shape of the 21st century." -- from her own website

This illustrates the problem in a nutshell:

Dishonest, corrupt organizations like NPR drive away the good, honest, competent people and actually attract the incompetent scum, so after a while, that is all that remains.

With regard to NPR's new website: it is a new "pretty shell" top cover an otherwise ugly organization.

CEO Vivian Schiller is in charge and she is one of those people who is HEAVILY into PR (ie, for whom "perception" is everything).

What NPR REALLY needed for CEO was a REAL journalist who would cut out all the crap, fire all the nitwits and hire journalists interested in investigating and reporting truth.

Instead, in Schiller, they got a makeup artist to put lipstick on the pig.

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

CEO Vivian Schiller is in charge and she is one of those people who is HEAVILY into PR (ie, for whom "perception" is everything).

read sociologist Jacques Ellul, back in the '60s, who proclaimed that the only way for the modern state to communicate with its constituents was via propaganda, which is the 'not-so-nice' way of saying "public relations."

In the Corporat State, corporate media (corporation for public b'casting) are the State Media...as some wag somewhere put it onetime, iirc...

Bill the Cat said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I worked for years (not as a journalists) at a large member station/network, and I remember when I heard some news type discussing the Sarah Chayes defection. The consensus was that she had "gone native". My guess is that is the message or explanation that was conveyed to them from the NPR mothership.

Of course, this group of Busch-league, wannabes journalists (while hand-wringing about their own careers and credibility) didn't seem as concerned when one of their own took a cool, corporate, government or political gig working as a mouthpiece.

And, there-in lies the NPR explanation (and the theme of this blog). Work for the people, and you are a yutz. Work for the man? Meh.

Anonymous said...

Woody, you are entirely correct.

But I guess it just amazes me that NPR would be so blatant about the whole thing.

I mean, the people who hired Schiller did not even make an effort to make it appear that they were interested in journalism.

Schiller has no background AT ALL as a journalist. She has a degree in Russian studies, which makes her more suited for a job with the CIA than as a journalist. And her job at the NY Times was redesigning their website, for God's sake (which is ALL about PR, of course).

Kevin Klose may have been a VOA shill, but at least he had some actual journalistic background.

If there are any real journalists left at NPR, it seems to me that the hiring of Schiller would be the last straw that would make them quit.

Anonymous said...

NPR health care focus today is (a) wellness and (b) cost.

Meanwhile, more Americans die. Hey fatty, your insurance costs would be lower if you ate less and walked more! However, you still couldn't afford the premiums of a "healthy" person, so, why don't you just do yourslef (and all of us a favor) and die already!

Anonymous said...


i suspect the only photographs of the war we will be seeing from NPR are pictures of smiling Afghan children (playing with live hand grenades?)

A tangentially related note about the NPR home page:

Perhaps it is just a coincidence, but after a comment I made on this blog a week or so ago about the humorous juxtaposition of the Planet Money (or Planet monkey as the folks here call it) blog link right next to the Monkey See blog link, NPR has MOVED the Planet Monkey link! :)

You gotta wonder whether someone at NPR is reading this blog.

My guess is it is probably Alicia Shepard, cuz of all the nice things we say about her.

Anonymous said...

Here's pretty much the totality of Vivian Schiller's exposure to "journalism":

"[Vivian] Schiller was born to Ronald [Schiller], an editor at Reader's Digest..." -- Wikipedia

So, as Paul Harvey said, now you know...the rest of the story.

larry, dfh said...

I bet what we say about alicia schleptard is alot nicer than what the peons at npr say behind her back.

Anonymous said...

Planet Monkey See, Monkey Do!

NPR has been following the NYT and WaPo for so long, that to say their noses are shite brown is a fantastic understatement.

If you read Dean Baker at American Prospect everyday, you will see how often he takes the NYT to task. And everyday that he does, he could just as easily attack NPR for the very same reason.

Alan Greenspan in the NYT and then later on Planet Monkey is a classic case in point. I'll bet PM's alpha male, Adumb Davidson would be positively breathless while interviewing the Chief Defender of the Faith, Minister of Science and Head Orangutan, Dr. Zaius.


Anonymous said...

"Economist Who Could Not See an $8 Trillion Housing Bubble Thinks That the Unemployment Rate Will Cross 10 Percent"

Unfortunately, Alan Greenspan is almost certainly right this time. But given his incredibly bad track record, is there any reason that his forecasts should be news at this point?

--Dean Baker

The NYT and NPR STILL use Greenspan as a credible source.


Anonymous said...

Greenspan's Congressional testimony just after the meltdown was classic:

"I found a flaw. I don't know how significant or permanent it is, but I've been very distressed by that fact."

What a moron.

People used to view him as a fincial genius but now he's just another hadbeen fool.

He really should just shut up becasue every time he opens his mouth it makes him look more like a guy whose real interest is perpetuating the myth of himself as a fincial oracle.

Greeenspan will go down in history as the guy who killed the American experiment in capitalism with his unregulated free-for all nonsense.

///Greenspan's testimony follows
"REP. HENRY WAXMAN: Do you feel that your ideology pushed you to make decisions that you wish you had not made?

ALAN GREENSPAN: Well, remember that what an ideology is, is a conceptual framework with the way people deal with reality. Everyone has one. You have to -- to exist, you need an ideology. The question is whether it is accurate or not.

And what I'm saying to you is, yes, I found a flaw. I don't know how significant or permanent it is, but I've been very distressed by that fact.

REP. HENRY WAXMAN: You found a flaw in the reality...

ALAN GREENSPAN: Flaw in the model that I perceived is the critical functioning structure that defines how the world works, so to speak. "

larry, dfh said...

Under reagan, greenschmuck engineered the cap on FICA, resulting in the largest regressive tax increase in history. As Fed chairman, he consistently opposed raises in the minimum wage, pushed the bush tax cuts, and crammed down hard every time wages were seen as increasing. He pretty much only coniidered wage increases as inflationary. Greenschmuck is an ayn randian turd, and his wife is a creepy bitch. That npr would treat the handmaiden of the of the ultra-rich with such deference shows how wantonly wannabe they really are.

Anonymous said...

As a group, the followers/worshipers of Ayn Rand are typically among the stupidest, most incompetent people on the planet.

But they all fashion themselves as geniuses and do not hesitate to let everyone else know this at every opportunity.

Greenspan fits that bill to a tee.

He reminds me of Squidward in Sponge Bob Squarepants. Both play the clarinet and both think they are smarter/more talented than they actually are.

geoff said...

Squidward is perfect for Alan Greenspiper. He's just a snake charmer hired by Wall St. and boy were the MSM charmed! I love the clarinet, but Greenspan's wordsmithing probably came from someone like William Safire (rest in Nattering Nabob Negative peace?)

Since the AfPak issue is so pivotal, it's interesting to consider the wonderland of paths from the banksters to the Military Industrial Congressional Complex. Through ABC, through NPR, through KBR and Raytheon/Cargill/Metlife and,, of course, back to Goldman/Sachs.

I paraphrase Barabara Lee on DN this AM:

We need to be honest about where we've been sending our tax dollars and certainly there has been corruption in Afghanistan. We're trying to pass health care for every man woman and child here. The best way to insure our national security interest is for Congress to exercise its Consitutional responsibility to declare war or not. It would be insane to declare war, so we should not.

Those that don't believe our democracy should survive even during national security don't understand what the essence of true American democracy is.

Anonymous said...

RE: Barabara Lee

Along with Dennis Kucinich, Lynn Woolsey, John Conyers, Bernie Sanders, Russ Feingold and a few others, Barbara Lee is one of the few real progressives left in Congress.

My own Rep (Rosa Delauro) and Senators (Dodd and Blabberman) are a joke.

Delauro votes pretty much the way her pal Pelosi wants her to (ostensibly because she feels a "special connection" with Pelosi, who is also an Italian American woman), Dodd is in the banker's back pocket and Blubberman, well, I can't even say what he is here lest I offend Karl Rove.

Incidentally, Dodd is actually behind in his race for re-election and I can say with certainty that i will vote against him (yes, that means voting for his Republican opponent). Dodd makes me sick.

Anonymous said...

Greenspan and Squidward even look the same (like the lamebrained goofballs that they both are)

Jay Schiavone said...

@Anonymous said...
RE: Barabara Lee

I used to have Rosa (the pollster's wife-- Rahm currently resides in her husband's DC house) but redistricting gave me Shays (good riddance) and now Himes. Jim was a VP at Goldman Sachs who worked in the Latin America division. Same as it ever was. How long before he sponsors a resolution to restore Zelaya to power?

Bill the Cat said...

"Another NPR Editorial on the Deficit Presented in the News Section"


Unfortunately, Dean Baker does not link to the NPR 'report' he's referring to.

Bill the Cat said...

Re: Dean Baker piece...

NPR picked up the story from AP.


larry, dfh said...

And when the repukes make gains in the house and senate in 2010, the 'story' will be that the voters were tired of the liberalism of the dems. Unless one votes 3rd party, a vote for a repuke will be used to statistically 'prove' that dem liberalism was to blame. You think anyone in teevee-land is gonna challenge that interpretation? The only way to have a statistical presence in showing disappointment with the dems, while not inadvertently supporting the repukes, is to vote 3rd party (at least until they're outlawed). A vote for a dem or a repuke is only a vote for who is on the top line of the 'campaign contribution' check.

Anonymous said...

The only way to have a statistical presence in showing disappointment with the dems, while not inadvertently supporting the repukes, is to vote 3rd party"

yeh, but after his taking millions of dollars in campaign contributions from wall Street, voting to repeal Glass-Steagall and recent lying about his role in banker bonuses, I REALLY want Dodd out and i am willing to make a sacrifice to make that happen (including voting for his Republican opponent, who can not be worse than Dodd)

larry, dfh said...

cutting off your nose to spite your face

Cougarhutch said...

Wow. An entire report by Ari Shapiro about the detention problem without once mentioning the option of following the rule of law. Disgusting!

Anonymous said...

For Alicia Shepard and Vivian Schiller and everyone else at NPR who has such trouble saying the "T" word:

"Kaplan SAT Prep: RT @JamilSmith Torture is to "harsh interrogation" as slavery is to "involuntary help".

Radical Sense said...

Seems only fair, since I am never loath to bitch in this space, that I should use it to congratulate NPR on a truly excellent piece.

On Tuesday's ATC, Alix Spiegel did twenty-minutes on the effects of fee-for-service medicine on the treatment choices made by doctors. It took the basic argument made by Atul Gawande in the New Yorker last June, and expanded it using the impeccable research of Jack Wennberg and his colleagues at Dartmouth.

Deal with this problem, then reclaim the $400 billion lost to private insurance overhead, and we could cut our $2.5 trillion annual health care bill in half.

Check it out!


Anonymous said...

The one thing that piece lacks is an assessment of how the various health care plans that have been proposed might address the problems associated with fee-for-service problem.

The way i see it, single payer is ideally suited to deal with the problem of too many tests and too many operations and other procedures because it would involve a single data-base that could be used to track all that stuff -- and presumably facilitate refusal to pay doctors who were clearly abusing the system (doctors would change their behaviors accordingly if they were not getting paid!)

But of course, for NPR even the mention of "Single payer" is torture. kind of like the mention of "torture".

a.m. said...

I was amazed by Ari Shapiro's report on the Obama administration's deliberations over its detainee policy on Thursday's ATC; it strengthened my conviction that NPR's present role is to transform ideas that were once considered repellent into pleasant, innocuous concepts that can be qualmlessly digested with one's morning latte. This was apparently the first of a two-part series; one can only hope that the second part will rely less heavily on Bushies and detention-friendly law professors and perhaps acknowledge that one of the main problems with indefinite detention is that it might, um, conflict with what our constitution says. Remember that little document? Shapiro's report, if I remember correctly, was followed by another piece of pro-escalation hucksterism by Mary Louise Kelly, who appears to be so beholden to her Pentagon sources that "DOD spokesperson" would serve as a more accurate job title for her than "reporter."

Anonymous said...

NPR's present role is to transform ideas that were once considered repellent into pleasant, innocuous concepts that can be qualmlessly digested with one's morning latte"


The folks at NPR have basically become "Overton window" shifters.

From the above wikipedia article:
"Overton described a method for moving that window, thereby including previously excluded ideas, while excluding previously acceptable ideas. The technique relies on people promoting ideas even less acceptable than the previous "outer fringe" ideas. That makes those old fringe ideas look less extreme, and thereby acceptable. The idea is that priming the public with fringe ideas intended to be and remain unacceptable, will make the real target ideas seem more acceptable by comparison."

If you talk enough about the possibility of killing people as an alternative to detention, then detaining them indefinitely seems downright cushy by comparison.

Porter Melmoth said...

"Seems only fair, since I am never loath to bitch in this space, that I should use it to congratulate NPR on a truly excellent piece."

David, many of us here have not shirked from praising NPR when praise is due. It's just that it doesn't happen often enough, especially when the big issues of the day are 'considered'. Just the whole Torture issue alone blacklists NPR is most respects, if you ask me.

On the other hand, I heard a perfectly reasonable profile of the new conductor of the LA Philharmonic this morning. He is a Venezuelan, and there wasn't one politicized reference. On the other hand, Chavez' support of cultural programs in Ven. made this fellow's career possible. Considering NPR's open hostility/smugness about Chavez, there's quite an irony there.

Porter Melmoth said...


For 'blacklists NPR is most respects'


'blacklists NPR in most respects'

And now, back to our show...

Anonymous said...

I should use it to congratulate NPR on a truly excellent piece."

First, NPR should not be congratulated.

The author of the piece should.

Second, good pieces appear on NPR from time to time DESPITE not because of NPR management and NPR official policy, and only then because they are deemed "safe".

In other words, you hear about the conductor but no reference is made to the fact of who made his career possible.

On the health care issue, no mention is made in the referenced piece about the obvious FACT that single payer would be (by far) the best way to prevent the kind of unnecessary procedures and tests that have made health care so expensive in this country.

Also, timing is often key with these pieces.

Why is NPR just now getting around to airing a piece about what's wrong with the health care system essentially AFTER the fix is in? (after Prez and Congress have already ruled out single payer as an option)

With NPR, you really have to watch what they DON'T say as much (if not more than0 what they do say.

You also have to ask yourself :why is NPR airing this now as opposed to six months or a year ago?

NPR is shrewd about their timing. they realize that you can only omit the obvious so long before people start to realize what is going on. At the same time, they realize that there are opportune moments to air stories that will have minimal impact on corporate donations.

So, for example, on Iraqi WMD (not!!) they waited around until all the other mainstream, media were admitting that "everyone missed the fact that Iraq had no WMD, don't blame us!"

Anonymous said...

In comment above

"there are opportune moments to air stories that will have minimal impact on corporate donations.'

should be

"there are opportune moments to air stories so that they will have minimal impact on corporate donations."

geoff said...

"innocuous concepts that can be qualmlessly digested with one's morning latte"

"Qualmless" is a great word for the way people are being indoctrinated by this VOA claptrap.
My NPR listening episodes are marked by sudden attacks of illness, faintness and nausea.

Porter Melmoth said...

NPR is getting more erotically charged over Obama's Nobel Peace Prize than they were over the Obama Olympics flop. MeeShill Norris is positively seductive, smokily inviting us into her boudoir of Doubt About Obama's Worthiness. Missy's there, too, just to make sure.

(Personally, I can only hope the Peace Prize will somehow aid in moving the Afghanistan debacle towards some kind of rapid wind-down.)

And Our Lady of Lourdes Garcia ambitiously pretends to cover the Middle Eastern reaction to the news, breathily telling us that Palestinians on the street do not think that Obama deserves the Nobel. Now really, can you imagine ANY Palestinian on the street putting ANY faith in ANYONE to successfully solve their ongoing hellish life?

Whatever anybody feels about the Prez getting the Nobel, NPR plainly advertises a dubiousness in their tone - even a disdain. No doubt they will entertain conspiracy theories as to how it all came about. It's all very Foxy and smug, in the great NPR tradition.