Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Q Tips

NPR related comments are always welcomed...play ball!


Anonymous said...

Ted williams? Ted Williams? Here's a guy that could read the writing on a fast ball as it came to him. The only similarity between Williams and NPR is the disdain they h(e)old for people in general. If NPR was anywhere as competent at what they do as Williams was at what he did . . . I'd throw 'em some cash and never visit this site again.


Jay Schiavone said...

NPR and Ted Williams are similar in that the are both disembodied cracked, frozen heads. The difference is that Williams may possibly be revived someday.

Anonymous said...

Wonder when NPR will tell us that what couldn't possibly be happening (radiation reaching US) is indeed happening (though at what are called extremely low levels). And I wonder if that means that when NPR claims that there is no cause for concern I should start lining my apartment with about 4 feet of lead?


geoff said...

This morning the 3 minutes of local news in SoCal was about digital signage. Never mind that California's Master Plan for Higher Education is being dismantled and that teachers are being laid off in droves. Apparently this is not a concern for the insulated general Manager, Jennifer Ferro, whose great claim to fame is producing Good Food. Hell, Minnesota has a much better home grown programming. http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2011/03/28/midmorning1/ , for instance.

Anonymous said...

More vacuous garbage on the nuclear crisis from NPR (Eliza Barclay and Jon Hamilton):

"The presence of water with high radiation levels makes many tasks around the plant more dangerous.

Ya think? (no, I don't suppose John and Eliza do)

The NPR article continues:
"Radioactivity on the surface of water found just outside the turbine building of the Unit 2 reactor is particularly high, at over 1,000 millisieverts per hour. That's more than four times the amount of radiation the [Japanse] government considers safe for workers,"

Ah, but just "ever so slightly" more, right?

Actually, the so called "safe" limit the Japanese government has set for workers -- 250 millisiverts -- is the cumulative total that the workers are allowed to receive OVER A FULL YEAR.


So, those workers can basically spend 15 minutes ***TOTAL *** (out of a full year) in the vicinity of that "hot" water before they exceed the "safe" limit set by the government -- which was actually raised recently because some of the workers at the plant had ALREADY blown by their original yearly limit(Convenient, no? When they exceed their yearly limit, just raise it). BTW, the US NRC has set the YEARLY limit for nuclear power workers at just 50 millisievert (and the recommended limit for the public above background is 1 millisievert)

Let's put this in context, shall we?

From the EPA document Radiation Protection: health Effects
I have multiplied the exposure in rem by 10 to get the exposure in millisievert

From the EPA:

Exposure (millisievert)
50-100 changes in blood chemistry
500 nausea hours
550 fatigue
700 vomiting
750 hair loss 2-3 weeks
900 diarrhea
1000 hemorrhage
4000 possible death within 2 months
10,000 destruction of intestinal lining
internal bleeding
and death 1-2 weeks
20,000 damage to central nervous system
loss of consciousness; minutes
and death hours to days

//end EPA info

To put it simply, if one of those workers spends a SINGLE hour in close proximity to that radiation contaminated water that the NPR article referred to, they will almost certainly suffer some or all of the symptoms at or below "1000 hemorrhage" level.

If they spend 4 hours (cumulative), they will risk "possible death within 2 months"

Ten hours?
"destruction of intestinal lining
internal bleeding
and death 1-2 weeks"

To say nothing of the greatly increased probability of cancer over the long term. Even NPR has acknowledged (in a previous story though they never put 2 and 2 together) that a single 1 sievert dose increases lifetime cancer risk by 4%.

see also, Facts and Information About radiation Exposure

0.1 mSv/yr: increased risk of death from radiation induced cancer about 1 in 1,000,000; i.e., one millimort

100 mSv/yr: death of radiation induced cancer increased by 0.8%, two 100 mSv doses 1.6%, etc."

///end of quotes

The upshot is that "safe level" and "nuclear radiation" are actually oxymoronic. All ionizing radiation is dangerous.

As EPA says:

"There is no firm basis for setting a "safe" level of exposure above background for stochastic [eg, cancer over long term] effects. ...any increase in radiation exposure is accompanied by an increased risk of stochastic effects."

Anonymous said...

The only thing good about NPR's coverage of recent events -- including the nuclear crisis in Japan -- is that the folks at NPR are making total fools of themselves for all to see.

Anyone with a brain can see how dishonest and/or incompetent these folks are.

When the "journalists" at NPR are actually comparing the YEARLY cumulative radiation dose limit set by the Japanese government for the nuclear plant workers (250 millisievert)to an HOURLY radiation dose (1000 millisieverts per hour) found at the Fukushima plants, you know it's long past time to simply turn off NPR (and keep it off)

Without accounting for the WILDLY different time scales -- which introduces a factor of 8760 ( for hours in a year), such a comparison is simply stupid beyond belief.

This is not even junior high level journalism.

Mytwords said...

Oh snap! I hoped the reference to Ted Williams would redound to the excellence of the community of NPR Checkers who can handle the NPR spitballs, fastballs and curveballs and knock them out of the park...

Mytwords said...

Amazing...Morning Edition had a feature on the torture and abuse of Bradley Manning--NOT!. Of course NPR (and PBS) have a deep look into the dirt of Manning's personal life. Same slimy garbage that Auntie Lianne shoveled out on Assange... At least General Warlove loved it!

geoff said...

Yeah, Anonymous, the radiation nonsense is glowing turd. Check out Gov. Responds to Nuclear Accident by Trying to Raise Acceptable Radiation Levels and Pretending That Radiation is Good For Us. That's our NPR. My verification word is feces.

Anonymous said...

This just in: "NPR reaches new low -- this one waaaaaay below sea level"

Movie Mutants Give A Face To Our Nuclear Fears (by Neda Ulaby)

"Within the first few days of the threefold tragedy in Japan, Wikipedia trend-spotters noticed a startling spike in searches ... for "Godzilla."

"Radiation needed a face in the 1950s ... and the monster in 'Godzilla' provided a horrible external representation of what that could be."

////end NPR quotes

I don't even know what to say.

"Wikipedia trend-spotters"???!

Are those like the folks who read the tabloids to look for the latest fads among the hollywood crowd?

"noticed a startling spike in searches ... for "Godzilla."

I wonder, What would be considered "startling"?

..and I seriously doubt that many people even KNOW about a link between Godzilla and radiation.

I didn't. I always thought he was just a big old ape they found in the deep dark jungles of Africa.

This article is just further proof that the folks at NPR basically have way too much time on their hands and are just writing stuff for the sake of getting a pay check.

Defund the whole thing -- member stations and all.

Anonymous said...

Oh, wait.

That was king Kong.

Never mind.

Anonymous said...

More garbage from NPR

"Fighting Fire With Electricity? It Can Happen Say Researchers" (by Eyder Peralta)

While that may be an interesting novelty that works on a very small scale in a very well controlled [ie contrived] situation, it's hard to see how it would ever work in practice for the real fires that firemen face on a daily basis -- eg, for a building fire -- especially not in the way they describe, using a small backpack powered electrical source.

It's just more sensationalism from National Puffery Radio.

Nuclear reactors are/have been melting down in Japan (see this Guardian report which is real journalism, unlike the crap on NPR) and NPR is talking about "Mr. Electric's magical wand". Same as it ever was.

"This is NPR. We report crap. You eat it up [and then donate money, sucker]"


Given that next to "punching hippies", NPR's second favorite past time is slamming public school teachers.

Can anyone doubt this will not get any coverage at NPR?

Turns out it looks like NPR's "Saint" Michelle Rhee of the DC Schools, wasn't that successful, she just overlooked cheating.

"When standardized test scores soared in D.C., were the gains real?"
By Jack Gillum and Marisol Bello, USA TODAY

"A USA TODAY investigation, based on documents and data secured under D.C.'s Freedom of Information Act, found that for the past three school years most of Noyes' classrooms had extraordinarily high numbers of erasures on standardized tests. The consistent pattern was that wrong answers were erased and changed to right ones.

Noyes is one of 103 public schools here that have had erasure rates that surpassed D.C. averages at least once since 2008. That's more than half of D.C. schools.'


Anonymous said...

"The consistent pattern was that wrong answers were erased and changed to right ones."

Isn't that NPR's method of operation?

They do that all the time...the "erasing" part, that is (but not "changing to the right answers", unfortunately).

oh, they update stuff all the time, to be sure, but the updates are nearly always still wrong.

"Erasure and update" is an on-going process at NPR, like breathing.

If they ever did manage to get it right (about as likely as that the Fukushima nuclear plant will magically stop releasing radiation and start producing usable power again), NPR's reason to exist would cease.

NPR's purpose is not to report truth, but to keep the "debate" going (and the dollars rolling in).


Re: Manning Reporting

Good points Mytwords, when I heard the story I thought the same. I believe in my debate call it was called "poisoning the well" fallacy.

NPR News has a history of pointing out the salacious details of the lives of people conservatives don't like.

Here's two stories on the economist Keynes, note the irrelevant aside about his personal life:



Here's NPR doing the same thing to a Federal Judge that made a ruling conservatives didn't like:


I would point out that in numerous stories about Jesse Helms death not mention was made of his segregationist past or illegitimate child.

Anonymous said...

Radiation Rises in Seawater Near Fukushima Plant by Justin McCurry in Tokyo, Guardian UK)

"The country's nuclear and industrial safety agency, Nisa, said radioactive iodine-131 at 3,355 times the legal limit had been identified in the sea about 300 yards south of the plant, although officials have yet to determine how it got there."

"On Tuesday, a US engineer who helped install reactors at the plant said he believed the radioactive core in unit 2 may have melted through the bottom of its containment vessel and on to a concrete floor.

//end quotes

Nothing to worry about, right?

...as National Propaganda Radio continues to downplay the risk.

Anonymous said...

NPR gives Bradely Manning the John David Stutts treatment.

Anonymous said...

I heard the hit piece on Bradley Manning too (but didn't see the PBS show) Disgusting. It was as if they were saying: his "patriotism" was in question; the reason he did this was unresolved sexuality or family issues; that he did it because he got "foreign" training in school at some point and probably a few other insidious points I'm forgetting. The piece ends totally incongruously (with regard to the rest of the story and everything NPR will report, or not, about Manning): maybe, incredibly (literally not to be believed per NPR), he did it because he felt it was his duty to expose the corruption, lies and destructive effects of US policy, as he saw it.

larry, dfh said...

Right before the Godzilla story on m.e. was the 'serious' section about The Radiation. So they brought on an expert, from R.P.I., and rather than trying to get information as to what is happening in and because of Japan, the conversation was steered toward Radon in peoples' basements. An expert was brought in, only to have him contribute to the ker-fluff; misusing his expertise to gloss-over actually having to inform the public. THe segment ended after Re-Nay tried to get her guest to admit that Radon exposure was no big deal, and he emphasized that it was 'best to minimize one's exposure'.
Re-Nay did her S-4-0 job: filling 5 minutes of air time with absolutely nothing.

Porter Melmoth said...

Hey folks, I just got back from a couple weeks in NYC (one acronym that actually stands for something), without a single Nothing Public Radio moment. I’m chipper as a Central Park squirrel, and more mature than ever to dump NPR for good.

(Continued over at my blog, if you've got a New York minute...:)


Porter Melmoth said...

Larry, a PS to:

"Re-Nay did her S-4-0 job: filling 5 minutes of air time with absolutely nothing."

National. Public. Radiation.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone here the Phyllis Schlafly interview tell me more? As a woman and a woman of color how did the host let her say what she said with no response?

Anonymous said...

larry dfh says they brought on an expert, from R.P.I., and rather than trying to get information as to what is happening in and because of Japan, the conversation was steered toward Radon in peoples' basements."

Yes, indeed.

NPR is performing the old switcheroo.

Their previous articles (eg, this one, which quoted the same RPI "expert" [Caracappa] ) were all about risks to those in Japan, which NPR has consistently been low-balling.

And, in my opinion, anything that the so called "RPI expert" says is suspect.

His previous calculations for the dose from a glass of milk were substantially in error.

He was using an incorrect dose coefficient for I-131.

The proper dose coefficient (that he should have used but did not) is for "thyroid" exposure because that is the body tissue that is most susceptible to I-131 (since the thyroid concentrates iodine )

The "calculations given in this NPR story are based on an assumption of
"20 million becquerels to yield a Sievert's worth of exposure" (see NPR article)

That's 20,000 becquerels to yield a dose of one millisievert

Or a "dose coefficient" of 1/20,000 milliSievert per becquerel = 0.00005 mSv/Bq

But as you can see on Table 3 in this FDA report (taken from ICRP publication 56), the proper coefficient for "thyroid" exposure to I-131 is a factor of 9 greater than that (0.00044 mSv/Bq ) for adults and a factor of about 70 greater (0.0036 mSv/Bq) for infants.

As a result, the calculations of the so-called "RPI expert" substantially underestimate the radiation doses.

Anonymous said...

IAEA suggests Japan widen exclusion zone near nuclear plant

But, but, but I don't understand.

National Plutonium Radio said the risk was "overblown".

By the way, the "IAEA suggests Japan widen exclusion zone" article has this to say:

"Contaminated milk was one of the biggest causes of thyroid cancers after the nuclear accident in Chernobyl because people near the plant kept drinking milk from local cows."

That's precisely why one MUST use the I-131 "thyroid" dose coefficient referred to above when considering the dose from a glass of milk (you know, the dose coefficient the "RPI expert" FAILED to use)

Anonymous said...

It was only a matter of time before NPR brought up looting after Katrina, as compared to the aftermath of the earthquake/tsunami:

In Japan, Scenes Of Much Destruction, Little Looting (by John Burnett)

"My translator, Chie Kobayashi, and I want to find out if local people have heard about burglaries after the tsunami. I remember some of the Katrina survivors in New Orleans who hauled off liquor bottles, Nike sneakers and flat-screen TVs.

"find out if local people have heard about"

"I remember"

Notice the pattern?

No hard data. Just trying to "extrapolate" broad generalities based on very limited "evidence" (hearsay, really)

Typical at NPR.

Look, I have no doubt that culture CAN have an impact on crime. Japan's violent crime rate is much lower than that of the US and that undoubtedly has something to do with the difference in the two cultures (that and gun control, which is also related to culture)

But these speculative stories based on little more than hearsay are just garbage.

Is this REALLY what passes for "journalism" on NPR these days?

Good grief.

It's worse than I had even imagined.

Anonymous said...

By the way, how much do you suppose NPR donors are paying per day to have John Burnett traipsing around the Japanese countryside looking for people whose neighbor's girlfriends sister-in-law had a doughnut stolen from the front seat of her car?

Anyone looking for a reason to quit giving money to NPR need look no further.

You are literally THROWING your money away.

Anonymous said...

ukushima nuclear plant to be entombed in concrete as Japan admits it has lost battle with crippled reactors
By Richard Shears (DailyMail Online)

...but, but, but NPR and their "experts" assured it was was all overblown!??

From Daily mail:
"Radioactivity levels in the ocean 4,385 times above regulatory limit
Fisherman warned not to operate within 12 miles of plant"

"amounts of the cesium-137 isotope - which has a 30-year 'half life' - have also soared to 527 times the normal level.

Michael Friedlander, a U.S. based nuclear engineer, told CNN: 'That's the one I am worried about.

'Plankton absorbs the cesium, the fish eat the plankton, the bigger fish eat smaller fish - so every step you go up the food chain, the concentration of cesium gets higher.'"

Patrick Lynch said...

An additional comment on the John Burnett story. It struck me as I listened to it that he is quite likely the source of all these rumours about looting and burglary. He seemed almost desperate to find people acting like barbarians. I guess it isn't exciting to find generally unselfish people looking out for each other.

The story after that about the film score composers was probably bewildering to the subjects being interviewed as MonFeign used her tone of moral outrage on one of the composers as she could not comprehend why anyone would recast a Radiohead song into a choral piece sung by children which incidentally made the piece far better than the original. I didn't hear the whole piece as I was listening to my fiancee's comments about the Japanese looting story which she thought was stupid.

Anonymous said...


Some of the looting after katrina was undoubtedly real (documented with video footage from various news sources).

But my point above is that what Burnett is doing in this case is essentially drawing rather sweeping comparisons between the two cases based on what is not even close to being "scientific" evidence -- and simply assuming that "culture" is the deciding factor in what he PERCEIVES (based largely on hearsay evidence) to be a significant difference.

That makes his ramblings little more than worthless nonsense, or "stupid", as your fiance' put it.


Over at Altercation, they do a break down of NPR's (not an)Ombudsman statements about journalism (scroll down):

"I recommend checking out NPR Ombudsman Alicia Shepard’s Washington Post webchat. It presents a near-perfect distillation of the current conventional wisdom about modern media ethics and its obsession with hiding reporters’ personal beliefs. Indeed, read through Shepard’s answers to the online questions and it becomes evident that her real beef with NPR executive Ron Schiller is his violation of this supposed code of journalistic omerta."

Pretty good description of NPR's "view from no where".


geoff said...

KCRW is the Santa Monica (SoCal) station with a repeater out here in the Coachella Valley, so I listen either to that one or KPCC (Pasadena City College), which also broadcasts out here. Neither one has any local news worth its salt. KCRW has Warren Olney, who started the program Which Way LA after the Rodney King riots - but its modus operandus is to get AEI idiots to debate Cato Institute idiots. Warren has responded to my complaints by saying, "But these are the experts, we need to hear them." Shit. KPCC has some lady who does something similar - neither one has a budget that provides for reporters to go to the state capital and find out what's going on. The net result is completely uninformed public too apathetic to even bother voting most of the time. VERY FRUSTRATING!

And when they get their 3 minutes of "local news" during the ATC or ME programs it's always with a tentative tremulous voice which you can sense is thinking to itself, "Gosh, I wish I had sonorous tonsils of a Rene Moneydame or Steve Ingotskeep."

Mytwords said...

This morning (Fri) makes THREE major NPR news features on a rally of "a few hundred" tea party extremists - I've posted it in my Tweets (see sidebar) and commented on NPR's site. Arrggggg.

Anonymous said...

The Ron Schiller affair showed that NPR is like the wife or girlfriend in an abusive relationship.

Anonymous said...

It's bad enough that NPR is low-balling the risks but now they are actually making disgusting jokes about it.

NPR is one scummy organization.

Got Radiation? Only Harmless Traces Found In U.S. Milk (by Adam Cole)

...and Adam Cole (yet another nitwit at NPR) is repeating the incorrect claim that was previously made by NPR's RPI "expert":

"Even tainted Japanese milk, one sample of which reportedly had over 1,500 becquerels per liter (50,000 times the amount found in Washington), would only be dangerous if you drank 58,000 glasses."

I debunked that claim of the so-called "expert" (which was off substantially because he was using an incorrect dose coefficient for iodine-131) here, here and here

Anonymous said...

Once again, NPR is "disappearing" stories.

Two stories by the same authors came out of AP today.

One was entitled "Japan nuke plant leaks radiation into groundwater"

But that story (which WAS on the NPR website but is no longer accessible) has now been "Displaced" by "Japan Utility Ordered To Review Radiation Figures"

The two articles give quite different impressions:

The first is quite alarming.

The second raises the question of whether the TEPCO numbers are reliable.

From "Japan nuke plant leaks radiation into groundwater" includes the following quotes:

"TOKYO, Japan -- Radiation exceeding government safety limits has seeped into groundwater under a tsunami-crippled Japanese nuclear plant, according to the operator, but experts said Friday that it was unlikely to contaminate drinking supplies.

"The groundwater contamination was found in concentrations 10,000 times higher than the government standard for the plant. The iodine-131, a radioactive substance that decays quickly, was nearly 50 feet (15 meters) below one of the reactors, according to TEPCO spokesman Naoyuki Matsumo."

But you can no longer read that story at NPR because NPR has broken the link!

If you go to this NPR page, which shows the results of an NPR site search on "leaks radiation into groundwater", it shows two articles with the same "base URL"


But the article from which the base URL was obviously taken
"Japan nuke plant leaks radiation into groundwater" is no longer accessible and the link for that article now takes you to the article

"Japan Utility Ordered To Review Radiation Figures"

Note the "ps=rs" after the URL.

Now, I have no problem with NPR reporting that some Japanese government officials have raised questions about the TEPCO numbers.

But PRESENT all the information.

None of this "disappearing" previous articles crap.

And at the very LEAST, NPR should place the latest "Japan Utility Ordered To Review Radiation Figures" in context to give some perspective.
For example, NPR should be looking at outside monitoring to see what it says about likely radiation levels coming from Fukushima.

If one does this, one finds that there is reason to believe that there IS INDEED a lot of radiation being released into the environment by the nuclear plants (is that really surprising given that several reactors have experienced at least partial meltdowns and that at least one of the containments may be cracked and that spent fuel pools lost coolant water for some time?)

Caesium fallout from Fukushima rivals Chernobyl and this IAEA says Fukushima fallout warrants more evacuation and this Fukushima radioactive fallout nears Chernobyl levels


Got to agree with MTWords.

While its bad enough to over-hype the Tea Birthers like NPR did. I think they may be even over stated the attendance numbers.

NPR said "hundreds" while Bloomberg reports "dozens of Tea Party supporters gathered outside the Capitol today."


Anonymous said...

By the way, still nothing from NPR on Rhee.

larry, dfh said...

yesterday morning I caught a whif of the propaganda as john negroponte mentioned 'slaughtering civilians', immediately followed by a c.i.a. asset at George Washington University mentioning the 'slaughtering of civilians', which happens to be the exact same phrase BHO has used. Leaving aside the absolute irony of john negroponte's concern for the 'slaughtering of civilians', when three 'experts' come up with the same tag line, one knows one's being had.


Following up on Larry's comment bout Negroponte. It's like NPR is having a contest to get every failed Bushie to comment on Libya, of course NPR never asked why Bush normalized relations with Libya (Anwer: "I'll take 'Thing Texas Oil Companies Want' for $300 Alex").

Anyone else notice failed expert Michale O'Hanlon was used again on yesterday's ATC.

Really NPR? Really? Using discredited (outside the Beltway at least) Michael O'Hanlon AGAIN?

"O'Hanlon and some other analysts are now no longer predicting a fight that will end in a matter of days or a matter of months, but possibly years."

Let's review Mr. O'Halon's record, he's now 3 for 3:

-He was wrong about Iraq.
-He was wrong about Afghanistan.
-He's now wrong about Libya.

(Bonus: He was also wrong on DADT too.)

Yet NPR will undoubtedly use him again and again no matter how many time he fails.

My guess is as long as an "expert" recites the GOP approved Right Wing pro-military meme of the day, they will be used by NPR as a source for "wisdom" on America's military exercises.

NPR would rather be Right Wing in its reporting than actually be right in the facts. Or does NPR just admire O'Hanlon perfection, he's always 100% wrong on everything. Maybe they just ran out of ex-Bushies to pontificate.

In NPR's defense, maybe it has a attraction to failed chicken hawk war cheerleaders: "I wish I knew how to quit you."

Glen Greenwald described O'Hanlon be:

[O'Hanlon] "specializes in establishing himself as a "testosterone-laden tough guy" by cheerleading for wars and urging that we send other people off to fight them -- all from the safety and comfort of his Brookings office."


Also, demi-rant: What's with NPR never, never, ever, mentioning Bush normalized relations with Libya and then sold him close to $50 million in weapons? Yeah, I know NPR is a memory hole.

It's Friday! Greetings to all my fellow "NPR Fools" for me it's on to some vino.

NPR.org nom de plume "Modest Egotist (Dances with typos)"

Anonymous said...

Ombots latest is hysterical. http://tinyurl.com/3pe6m4z

geoff said...

To Simonize: To airbrush as much real news out of a news "magazine" and frame what little remains in terms of righteous American Exceptionalism. Then stuff the yawning gaps with gaudy puff fluff.

geoff said...

Dr. Michio Kaku does a science program called "Explorations" which airs on Pacifica. Listen to his assessment of Fukushima to get a feeling of what honest, dispassionate reporting might sound like. It's the very first part of the program.

geoff said...

As to Sheepheard's histrionics

While it's never been my job to defend NPR, this is a moment when I will since I have a front row seat behind the scenes at NPR.

...but, all she has ever done is defend NPR. Maybe she does that part on a volunteer basis?

geoff said...

I hear ya, Grumps. O'hanlon sounds like a caricature of General Warlove.

Porter Melmoth said...

Sorry to ruin anyone’s post-Simonized glow of a Saturday, but here goes…

Yeah, I skimmed that limp ‘defense’ of NPR that Ms Shepherd made (even though she insists she doesn’t defend anyone but herself). Typical wimpy sullenness from a network that’s never been known for toughness or grit, except when self-promoted. (Aside: I find it curious that supposedly hip NPR retains the term ‘Ombudsman’ “with Alicia Shepherd”!!! - she does kind of talk like a guy - instead of the more PC ‘Ombudsperson’; their true conservatism is showing!) As usual (s)he sounds like a spoiled child whose ice cream cone has dropped in the dirt. Very NPR… The Om has spoken! Does anyone really care?

As usual, I’m left with the ‘how low broadcasting has sunk’ clichĂ©. That’s why I’m not bothering with direct NPR contact anymore. It’s tedious and boring, and so predictable. OF COURSE NPR’s gonna be lousy. That’s what they ARE.

I have to keep reminding myself: irreplaceable time is better utilized elsewhere. I would brand their home station as WOT (Waste of Time, natch). Right now the only thing NPR has going for it is their stranglehold on accessibility – the quick turn-on of the radio. But so what? You can get the NYT in Tuttle, ND, but readership is still tanking. People are moving on to other stuff.

In NPR’s case it’s content: cheesy personalities who aren’t lovable in the least, who now face irrelevance and unnecessary presence. Why should anyone be loyal? For the longest time they enjoyed a comfy little niche, but then they made the bid for the fast lane, where there just isn’t room enough for a diversity of players. NPR never was up to the task of posing as one of the Big Boys. They don’t have the ‘stuff’, either journalistically or in the sleaze department. Indeed, they’re sleazy, but not ‘smart’ sleazy. They think they’re smart, but in fact they’re just tiresome products of privilege that feel entitled to be regarded with not only respect, but astounding success as well. They rely on a reputation for ‘excellence’ that’s based on very few examples of quality. Even more glaring is that their alleged success has actually ruined them. High salaries have ensured that mediocrity runs from management all the way down.

Porter Melmoth said...


What’s more, NPR has become a very expensive operation to sustain. They used to be a good little earner of ‘alternative prestige’, with very low overhead. We know how readily this appealed to the Corporates as an avenue into ‘thinking people’s minds. However, it’s 2011 now. Cheney-ist no-sin deficit spending is vaporware, and Lloyd Blankfein & Co, still demand their bonuses. If the BBC has made massive cutbacks, and ABC hacked off a huge percentage of its news staff, why should NPR remain sacred? Time to dunk a tea bag in their Morning Edition mug and squeeze all the life out of it, as it were. Not even the Koch Brothers are gonna wanna fund some ramshackle outfit just for ‘prestige’ when they’ve got Fox News – or whatever OTHER, more odious mutation comes down the block - as more effective vehicles that reach far more people. That’s one of the very few good things about ruthless capitalism: sometimes the true rubbish withers and dies of its own accord.

NPR is fast becoming a mere annoyance that serious listeners won’t even bother with. With new apps appearing hourly via other devices (I’ve said it before), why would you even bother with NPR anymore? And with their supposed agent of rebirth and reinvention, Viv Shill-er now gone, who’s gonna be able to keep ‘em in the Promised Land high-rent district? Any upcoming clever media person with exciting ideas wouldn’t touch an NPR opportunity with an insulated hundred foot pole, except possibly as a Friedman Time Unit ‘learning experience’ before dumping it and moving on. What’s the alternative? Even MORE mediocre management, before it’s down-the-drain time, you can be sure.

(If I was an NPR exec, I’d at least have covert talks with Amy Goodman or equivalent, for ideas, if nothing else – and there WOULD be nothing else, I’m certain.)

Prediction for a future Wikipædia entry: ‘NPR was a mainstream media clip-joint that ran from c. 1970 to 2012…’ Or something like that. Of course the NPR superstar stalwarts will be bitter, and feel cheated, and wonder how it all happened. That’s the curse of NOT admitting that you’re in a competitive, commercial game: vanity, entitlement, and thinking you’re ‘special’ are all self-delusional. I almost feel sorry for them, but they as a unit – with very few exceptions – have failed. Time to get on with it.

So that’s my send-off to you, NPR. No bitter obscenities necessary. No Ed Murrow sign-offs with good wishes, either. Lots more could be said, but you already know it all.

And ye who guard this blessed blog, strength to all for the job ahead, and best of Murrow luck!

Anonymous said...

It's clear as day that TEPCO is being pressured by the Japanese government to say that their radiation measurements might have been "wrong" (software glitches, etc).

In all seriousness, measuring radiation is really not difficult.

The idea that all the high radiation measurements are simply "errors" is just total bullshit.

The fact of the matter is, the Japanese government has a HUGE incentive to the lowball the magnitude of the Fukushima disaster.

Archtype said...

Liasson blames the internet! "This isn't something we'd pay attention to," she says.

I just did a quick search at npr.org. There are no less than 12 stories that have aired about Pastor Jones.

geoff said...

Searching for "Tea Party" at NPR produces about 2,090 results, including this mornings, From the Tea Party: Mixed Views on Libya which included this unchallenged gem akin to "Govt hands off my Medicare!":

David Show of Uniontown, Pa., said he doesn't like the U.S. taking a back seat to NATO.

"It's great to have the other countries involved with it, but when it boils down to it, we are the country that's done the great things in the world," he said. "We are the leaders, and that's a role we still have to have."

Contrast that with a search for Code Pink, which produces about 32 results.

Not a breath about how Fraud Suits Corporations to a Tea

Anonymous said...

NPR obviously thinks the Japan nuclear crisis is a big joke, actually entitling an article talking about radiation levels in milk "Got Radiation?" as a play on the Got Milk" commercial.

Is this how real journalists behave?

Is this the kind of "news" organization that should continue to get public money?


If you want to see how a real journalist handles this kind of crisis, read what John Vidal of the Guardian UK has to say. He puts it in context, noting that much of the information at this stage coming from official sources is NOT trustworthy:

Nuclear's green cheerleaders forget Chernobyl at our peril

"We still don't know the final outcome but to hear experts claiming that nuclear radiation is not that serious, or that this accident proves the need for nuclear power, is nothing short of disgraceful." -- John Vidal (Guardian, UK)

"The authorities reassure us by saying there is no immediate danger and a few absolutist environmentalists obsessed with nuclear power because of the urgency to limit emissions repeat the industry mantra that only a few people died at Chernobyl – the worst nuclear accident in history. Those who disagree are smeared and put in the same camp as climate change deniers."

"I prefer the words of Alexey Yablokov, member of the Russian academy of sciences, and adviser to President Gorbachev at the time of Chernobyl: "When you hear 'no immediate danger' [from nuclear radiation] then you should run away as far and as fast as you can."

Anonymous said...

I did not hear the Burnett looting "report," but linked is a trenchant take on the looting versus gov't malfeasance story in Katrina. Yes, parallel cases of gov't malfeasance might be the place a journalist could look in doing a cultural analysis of disaster management, where data could actually support the story.


Anonymous said...

Report on Social Security this morning (by Scott Horsley) and host comments were just awful (Mon. 4/4.

Without considering merits of and need for social security cuts now, NPR piece strived for a false equivalence that social security is a Democratic sacred cow. Included Sanders rant without any justification for his position. Wall Street financed Third Wave was included for the "rational" adult Democratic position.

At times I wonder how much of NPR's funding comes the financial sector "titans" that also fund Third Wave. But, actually, I don't think that is the source of the problem. NPR reporters and hosts are just stupider (unable to understand even moderately complex ideas) than we thought and reflect all of journalism's modern failings. (See Jay Rosen)

Anonymous said...

NPR "journalism" is basically "cookie cutter journalism."

They write an opening (shallow) introduction which indicates that there are "two sides" to the issue and then bring in (ideologically driven) "experts" to represent the two sides and just let them talk.

No probing questions and certainly no analysis.

The ombudsman and others at NPR get FAR more upset when their colleagues stray the slightest bit from this pattern than when they get a story completely wrong as with claims about Iraqi WMD that led to war.

In fact, when you stray, you get fired.

When you get it completely wrong, you just shrug it off with the excuse that "everyone did".