Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Q Tips

NPR related comments, critiques and observations are always welcomed.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Fair and Balanced from 1% Radio

Last Monday (3/19/12) on Morning Edition, Steve Inskeep and Sylvia Poggioli presented a casebook study in NPR's contempt for popular democracy and its use of false equivalency to smear leftists.  I heard this report last Monday, but was headed off for a vacation and so am posting on it late.

Poggioli was reporting on the economic crisis in Greece and how it has upended the political system there.   Inskeep introduces the report with this little frame:
"the old political system is collapsing and extremist parties are rising in popularity."
Early in the report Poggioli reports on a demonstration by the police officers' union against the austerity measures approved by the Greek Parliament.  She comments,
"They ominously waved their handcuffs at Parliament, shouting take your bailout plan and get out of here."
She does tell us that the head of the union "accused Greece's international lenders of plundering his country and even called for their arrest." Yes, so extreme and unhinged; why would anyone think that the international financiers are plundering Greece?

Poggioli presents poll results showing that "the four small leftist parties are ahead by 43 percent and could win a majority and in theory form a governing coalition."  Poggioli then states the following completely antidemocratic idea as if it were basic commonsense: "That terrifies Greece's creditors, some of whom have questioned the wisdom of holding elections."

Apparently, "the four small leftist parties" are the left side of the "extremist parties" that Inskeep warned of in the opening.  Equating these leftists with the extreme right, Poggioli states,
"And it's not just the left that's gaining popularity. So are two new far-right movements. One is the ultranationalist and neo-fascist Golden Dawn, which preaches the superiority of the white race.....Its bookshop is filled with tracts on Nazism and sells t-shirts of Hitler."
Brilliant really, how a neo-fascist, supremacist party which sells Hitler t-shirts is put on the same footing as leftist parties that oppose the austerity measures.  In case your not convinced that Poggioli and NPR want listeners to equate leftist parties (and individuals) who oppose 1% predatory, job-killing rule with Nazi-loving genocidal rightists, here's Poggioli to hammer home the point:
 "At the other end of the political spectrum, one of the parties doing well in the polls is far-left Syriza that wants to re-negotiate the terms of the bailout."
Indeed, the oh-so-scary leftist SYRIZA party which wants to "re-negotiate the terms" (such extremism!) of the rapacious and suicidal "bailout" package being forced on Greece by the international banking community (with Germany in the lead) is on the other end of the spectrum from a genocidal, Hitler adoring party!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The 1% Whisperer on Poor Countries: It's Their Fault

The graphic comes courtesy of the Planet Monkeys. Thanks!

 Seems like the stupider you are, the more willing your are to shill for the uber-wealthy, the more you praise exploitation and income inequality, the more you attack social welfare programs and ignore war spending, then the more likely you are to get air-time on NPR.

So, of course, I was suspicious when on Friday afternoon, Mr. Davidson, the intrepid "journalist" who always seems to put his mouth where the money is, emerged from his Planet O' Money to sing the praises of a book which Davidson claims answers a question that has supposedly stymied economists for "centuries": "Why are some nations rich, while others are poor?"

The book, Why Nations Fail, actually appears to have some very interesting things to say about "extractive institutions," which anyone - except for a total Wall Street sycophant - might think would apply to dynamics in the US, especially given that the finance industry essentially controls the US government.  Furthermore, anyone with the even the slightest historical sense would look at some of the poorest nations in the world and have to admit that European and US colonialism/imperialism has "blessed" them with just those vile "extractive institutions" which guarantee endemic poverty.  Apparently Mr. Davidson is bereft of any such historical awareness, since the role of Europe and the US in imposing misery on Africa and Central and South America respectively is never mentioned.

So just what does NPR's 1% lovin' Planet Monkey have to say about the book?  Here it is:
"The key difference between rich countries and poor ones is the degree to which a country has institutions that keep a small elite from grabbing all the wealth." (I wonder where one could find "a small elite...grabbing all the wealth"?)

And Davidson continues,

"This can seem discouraging but their message does offer hope. Poverty is not the inevitable result of bad geography, bad culture, bad history. It's the result of us: of the ways that people choose to organize their societies. And that means we can change things." (Seems like I recall someone else selling HOPE and CHANGE under the banner of not looking backwards.)

Yes we can!

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

The Eyes of Mara

On February 22, 2012, when Jake Tapper, ABC senior White House correspondent, asked how the Obama administration's praise for serious journalism in Syria could "square with the fact that this administration has been so aggressively trying to stop aggressive journalism in the United States by using the Espionage Act to take whistle blowers to court" - journalists of conscience like Glenn Greenwald took note.  Readers of this blog were quick to point out that in the video clip of the interchange, NPR's National Pundit of the Right - Mara Liasson - could barely contain her scorn.  Enjoy!