Sunday, February 21, 2010

Q Tips

NPR related comments welcomed.


biggerbox said...

The greatest threat to my personal health is not the prospect that they might fail to pass a final bill in DC, but the massive spike in my blood pressure that comes when I listen to Morning Edition cover the topic. This morning Inskeep and Julie Rovner were openly contemptuous of the President's newly released plan, though they couldn't possibly have read it, since it had just been released. They clearly see the attempt to do something about our health care system to be a quixotic annoyance. I guess the NPR insurance plan must be pretty good; neither one was able to see past it to imagine all those people in dire need of some action.

And then we got Audie Cornish talking about the "massive rebellion" against a Federal plan from the states. Amidst all the voices opposed to what they imagined the federal plan would be, we heard only one guy pointing out that, in our system, federal law trumps state law. But that was undercut by an opponent with a legal theory he was itching to take to a conservative Supreme Court. Did Audie talk to anyone in favor of a federal plan, or anyone who is a qualified constitutional lawyer? Not that we heard.

gDog said...


And where are the proponents of the plan? Did they not ask to have their perspective aired on NPR? If they did, why was there request denied? If they didn't, well...I'm sure Ralph Nader could comment on that situation. And I'm sure Nader's available, if they want to talk to him.

Anonymous said...

They clearly see the attempt to do something about our health care system to be a quixotic annoyance. "

NPR reminds me more of Dick Cheney with each passing day.

Like Cheney, they don't even try to hide their contempt for most of the American public.

Like Cheney, they believe they are right and everyone else wrong.

And like Cheney, they will lie and cheat to get what they want.

gDog said...

Damn - there's a there where there ought be a their.

So here's a video of a public option advocate visiting the NPR picnic.

Don Pasqueda said...

For all of you readers and listeners who remember NPR taking underwriting payola from the American Natural Gas Alliance (ANGA), here is a story from Pacifica's Democracy Now that NPR will not cover.

gDog said...

In Manno Charlemagne: The Bob Marley Of Haiti, we are informed that

In 1990, Charlemagne played a huge role in helping Jean Bertrand-Aristide become Haiti's first democratically elected president. But less than a year later, Aristide was ousted by the military.

Those darn military. Some countries are just so brutal.

Then there's this:

Charlemagne can't stay in Miami while paying for the apartment in Port-au-Prince, so he let his house here go into foreclosure. He walks farther down the alley, still trembling. He says he's not sure he can finish playing tonight.

It's a sympathetic tone, but so many of the details just beg for further understanding. NPR's attitude is, "bad shit happens, isn't that a shame" - or - "Who me? Acknowledge that the US bankster/military complex is the source of havoc being wreaked on the world? Why, that might get me in trouble! But it is pitiable how bad shit happens."

Anonymous said...

What do you suppose the chance is that Planet Monkeybrains will report this ( Shooting Banks
Obama’s impotent assault on Wall Street
), actually written by an economist who they quote on a semi-regular basis (MIT's Simon Johnson)?

I'd say the chance is close to zero.

Despite the opportunity that it presents to bash Obama, Adumb Davidson, david Kestenabuam and the other libertarian ideologues certainly would not print anything that criticizes the hand that feeds them (big banks like Bank of America)

Anonymous said...

From NPR's site: "Vivian Schiller is President and CEO of NPR... began her career as a simultaneous Russian interpreter in the former Soviet Union, ...'

Is it just me or does that strike anyone else as odd?

She was not actually a journalist (she has a degree in Russian Literature and Studies), so how did she even get permission to work there before the fall of the Soviet Union?

The idea that Schiller was simply a "tour guide" (as has been claimed) is a bit implausible, to say the least.

Actually, with regard to questions about many of the principals at NPR, this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Call it conspiracy theory if you like, but why does there seem to be so little information about the background of some of these people? (Steve Inskeep is another)

gDog said...

As noted earlier, Inskeep grew up in Carmel, IN - a wealthy enclave near Indianapolis where people get rich selling health insurance to working stiffs like me. The median family income in Carmel is > $100k. The racial makeup of Carmel is 92.63% White. Inskeep attended college at Morehead in Kentucky. The racial makeup of Morehead is 94.25% White. What his degree was in is anybody's guess.

Don Pasqueda said...

Caucasian Studies...

Anonymous said...

The question I have is about the professional background of people like Schiller and Inskeep.

I find it puzzling that people with little to no background in journalism end up as principals in the largest "public" news organization in the country.

I just don't get it. How does someone like Schiller (whose previous job was developing the website for the NY Times) end up as CEO of NPR?

It's not only bizarre, but it begs serious questions about why she was selected rather than someone with a much more substantial background in journalism.

gDog said...

Alicia Shepard refers to NPR Managing Editor David Sweeney as the guy who picked Horowitz to opine on Zinn - good luck finding Sweeney's creds anywhere. A search of NPR for "David Sweeney" produces no bio. The earliest reference is this story he reported from Bagdad in 2004: Car Bomb Kills Dozens at Iraqi Recruiting Station. Then, two years later, a light hearted piece, Out, Damned Spot! which spread to a giant guffaw with A Widening Stain at NPR which led to his elevation to National Desk Editor later that year.

We next hear about Sweeney after his subsequent elevation to Managing Editor, when he issues a torture memo. According to Alicia, in her June 21, 2009 blog, Harsh Interrogation Techniques or Torture? the memo reads,

"So the memos are about torture even if they conclude the techniques are not torture, per se. However, we should not allow that usage to become generalized to the issue overall. The issue is not torture but interrogation techniques, perhaps harsh or extreme ones. Some consider them torture. Many call them torture. But we should say on this side of simply labeling them such."

Isn't that charming? Then of course, Activist Historian Howard Zinn's Obit Causes a Firestorm".

I challenge anyone to find a bio on Sweeney. He's just a character who walked straight out of a John le Carré novel, I think.

i ! i ! u ! u ! said...

^ Like they say, it's not in what you know but who you ... (ahem, ahem)

gDog said...

Oh - I did find a picture of him. This is linked to in my bloggy about Sweeney at Teamcheck:

Anonymous said...

gDog said...

Thanks, anon. This is what the Linked In site has:

David Sweeney’s Experience
* Managing Editor NPR
(Non-Profit; Broadcast Media industry)
June 2009 — Present (9 months)
* Deputy Managing Editor NPR
(Non-Profit; Broadcast Media industry)
December 2007 — May 2009 (1 year 6 months)
* Senior National Editor NPR
(Non-Profit; Broadcast Media industry)
October 2006 — December 2007 (1 year 3 months)
* Various BBC
(Public Company; BBC; Broadcast Media industry)
April 1987 — November 1993 (6 years 8 months)
* Various RTE
(Public Company; Media Production industry)
May 1985 — April 1987 (2 years )

David Sweeney’s Education
* Dublin Institute of Technology
Journalism 1983 — 1985

This is a bit odd, since he reported for NPR from Baghdad in 2004, part of the 13 year gap from 1993 to 2006 in his Linked In bio. When serving on a hiring committee, I've noted that a 13 year gap in a resume is generally frowned on, but then Sweeney was already working for NPR when they hired him...I wonder how that works.

Anonymous said...

At least Sweeney has a background as a journalist.

Schiller was a Russian Lit major and Inskeep was a 'sportscaster" before they were appointed to NPR.

Anonymous said...

NPR and its member stations hire their own. Like the mob, just fantastically less efficient.

Anonymous said...

IMHO, Schiller was hired from outside NPR (but from inside, just as with NPR's previous CEO).

Klose and Schiller are not as dis-similar as they may appear on the surface.

larry, dfh said...

Thursday with all the health-care related activity in DC, we get to hear way tto much from julie (kaiser) rovner. And she's all about polls: polls showing this and that, including onerom her bosses at kaiser. But strangely no mention of any polls on Single Payer or Public Option health care financing systems. Rovner described herself today as a 'policy wonk'; whereas I prefer the more accurate term 'corporatist jerk'. How can we create a policy that flies in the faces of 70% of the population? Step #1: misinform.

larry, dfh said...

But that's nothing compared to the tongue-bathing the israeli defense forces got from some frankel 'correspondent' over their use of British passports for 26 agents to kill one Palestinian. She closed the worship service with the words 'assassin glasses'.

katelint said...

Hey I think my comment was rejected. Is that possible?
I failed to keep a copy. Approximately:
As the comments on Zinngate have been closed, can the listeners be given a more generic forum in addition to the one limited to a specific topic such as the Ombudsman's health. Sometimes new evidence comes to light.

Anonymous said...

Never mind.
Worked the second time.

Nate Bowman said...


I have sometimes left comments in the current thread at the ombudsman's.

I start out by titling it Off Topic and it survives.

biggerbox said...

Arrgh. I heard Robert Siegel and Julie Rovner on ATC yesterday talking about the Obama/Lamar Alexander conflict. Alexander claimed premiums would go up, Obama said, no that's not what the analysis says. So, on ATC, Rovner says they are both right. Then goes on to discuss details that show that, actually, Obama was right and Alexander was not at all. At which point, instead of acknowledging that the Republican was wrong, or worse spreading BS, Siegel says "So, it's complicated."

(Ohmigod, now ME has Dana Milbank commenting on the summit? Shoot. Me. Now.)

Anonymous said...

Obama was right and Alexander was not at all."

Might be so, but actually (much as i hate to say it) John McCain was right that Obama's whole health care reform process has lacked transparency and has involved too much "back room dealing".

Anyone who would claim otherwise is just lying.

Obama was meeting with and making back room deals with Bill Tauzin (PhRMA) and health insurance execs before congress had even had a chance to "debate" the issue.

But instead of addressing McCain, Obama made the silly (stupid) remark that "We are not in campaign mode any more".

The irony!

These guys are ALL full of it, if you ask me.

Obama also makes stuff up when it suits his needs.

The guy is basically a con artist, as far as I can see (and i actually voted for him because i could not stand McCain)

Dina said...

On political junkie day, Wednesday, February 24, Neal Conan (TOTN) said, "We're delighted to report that he's (Dick Cheney) out of the hospital and doing much better..."

Unknown said...

I gave up NPR for lent. I must say, I am feeling less aggravated and more sane.

Anonymous said...

"NPR's Linda Gradstein’s husband was an Israeli sniper and may still be in the Israeli reserves. NPR refuses to disclose whether Gradstein herself is also an Israeli citizen, as are her children and husband."

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gDog said...

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Grace said...

Thanks Anon,
Counterpunch link to journalists connected to Israel is most enlightening!!
The bias towards Israel led me to cancel NYT a few years ago.
NPR should expose not only Gradstein's conflict, but those of the AP's that they use on their site.

Grace said...

What about the man on TOTN(I think)
that gave the "boundaries" and "checklist" for assassinating Israel's enemies?!
I wondered what that boundary included considering they are always on about "existential" threats.
Are politicians opposed to either recognizing or supporting Israel around the world, threats?
What if someone recognizes one of their assassins as a neighbor and reveals it, are they then targets?
Honestly, I don't believe boundaries exist for Israel firsters. It seems anything is alright if it extends Israel's power and reach.