Thursday, July 26, 2007

Today's Verdict On NPR

The facts show that:
- NPR just isn't a dependable, reliable news source any more.
- Corporate and other influences have brought to bear their agendas on NPR.
- They no longer fulfill their public mandate.
- They cater to a select audience.
- They conduct themselves like a commercial operation.
- Their approach is personality-based rather than informational.
- They have fully embraced entertainment and other attention-getting devices in their news shows.
- Their use of consultants and contributors is extremely limited, and is indicative of specific agendas.
- Their interpretation of news stories is also indicative of specific agendas and outlooks.
- Their objectivity and neutrality is extremely questionable.

And that's just a mild, preliminary assessment.

Speaking for myself, NPR is not a valid news source. Rather, it has become a victim of its own dubious development, worthy only of critical observation, but not of serious consideration. Good and helpful offerings still exist on NPR, of course, but the overarching credibility which should be guiding it is gone.

The truth must be sought elsewhere.

Friday, July 13, 2007

This, This Mathew Continetti-Type Person

It's interesting how this dude, recently seen on C-SPAN, not only apes his care-giver Bill 'Howdy-Doody' Kristol's brain waves, he's even been very successful in adopting the same speaking mannerisms. Like, that obvious way he's restraining himself from becoming OVERTLY snotty, but rattling along in that fake-modesty style, hesitating oh-so-slightly, so that he won't come off as too conceited, while trying to act serious at the same time.

I'd like to put in a word about the term 'chickenhawk'. I know that when it is applied to abominations such as this Continetti person, it implies cowardice, and I totally agree. But in the bird world, a chickenhawk is an aggressive hawk that nabs chickens and the like. I prefer SISSYHAWK as a label for this guy. Sissyhawks are aggressive fakes that pride themselves on spewing gobbledegook, but in fact are deeply unhappy people who are inflicting their self-loathing on others with a vengeance. Fat Fluffy Freddie Kagan, who 'designed' the Surge Flop, is another. They tend to be verbally adept, at least by mainstream media standards ('just fill the time slot, baby. Oh, and be fluent . . .') and they attempt techniques of intellectual intimidation.

Matt Continetti - welcome to the media fast lane! And prepare to get seared, roasted, broasted and mocked into obscurity.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Neocon Public Radio Makes Me A Sullen Camper. Or Does It?

Yeah, I know, why subject myself to National Public Radiation when it makes me so, so snarly? Maybe we can dispense with that question for the moment, because I don't have a good answer.

I may have said this before, but I think I have a higher tolerance right now because I have apparently 'evolved'. Not necessarily to a higher plane, but rather to a different stage of some kind. In short, I'm trying to look at NPR, the popular media, and the political scene in general with more of a scientific bent instead of an emotional one. If NPR be a mutating wad of smallpox cells down there in the Petri dish, well, I can certainly hover above it with magnifying glass and an eyedropper of bleach instead of planting my snout right into it and inhaling deeply, can't I? How else could the myriad of progressive observers, from David Corn to Chris Hedges to Noam Chomsky to Juan Cole handle the toxicity? They're scientists, that's how, and they're armed with the proper tools to not only protect themselves, but they're well prepared in keeping certain epidemics at bay. At least they’re trying to.

There's so much excellent and purposeful progressive material out there today, from books and articles to interviews and documentaries, that the right wingers can't keep up with all of it, and they certainly can't prove hardly any of it wrong. They just continue what they've always done: keeping truths obfuscated and keeping the fear up through sensationalism, denial, banal language, and basic lying.

One of the reasons I follow NPR is that it's certainly accessible and convenient. That's why radio found its place in the media world a long time ago. Tech development has essentially topped out, so it's all about content. That's one of the principal reasons why NPR was hijacked by the corporate world, aided and abetted by the neocon superstructure of like-minded groups and individuals. From my slightly-more-than-casual absorption of NPR, I think that neocon interests (a general term, naturally) have appropriated NPR simply because it reaches a demographic group which they covet. We know that neocon theory sprang from academia, but only a small wedge of it. In the 'lunge' mentality of corporate greed, (that wants what it wants and it wants it NOW), the hijacking of NPR has been very effective in wriggling its way into the educated elite of America that still purportedly 'thinks'. For those of you out there who work in academia (or 'academe', as the cooler ones say), how often do you hear 'I heard it on NPR . . .' as opposed to 'I saw it on Fox News . . .'?

Anyway, I get the feeling that neocon interests are very serious about roping in the middle class higher-educated crowd, not so much the frustrated and aging baby boomers (although they're handy for becoming more conservative the older they get), but of course the younger ones, who are infinitely more malleable and comfortable with a 'dumber-downed' society. After all, tomorrow belongs to them.

On the other hand, we could soon encounter a full-blown Iraq Effect, in which a whole damaged generation of young people finds itself compelled to go in different directions than any neocon or corporate entity wants. We shall see what that might entail soon enough, I should think . . .

And now for some petty little NPR-isms from recent mornings:

Saturday: Scott Simon interviewed Al Gore and showed himself to be much cooler than Ozone Man (remember that?) could ever be. I can't imagine squandering an opportunity to have a meaningful interview more. Scottie's in his own world, and more criticism than usual must be getting to him, because he's more and more defensive all the time. I notice that he closed his commentary segment with 'an old friend' singing lyrics about the Chicago Cub(bies) not having won a pennant 'since we dropped the bomb on Japan'. We're supposed to chuckle, of course. 'They chuckle,' Wallace Shawn rightly pointed out, when he was referring to neocons, Bushoids, and other sociopaths, who are so out of touch with reality that Marie Antoinette appears a radical socialist. Like the Wizard of Oz, they chuckle at catastrophe. But as we found out, the Wizard was only a man behind a curtain.

Sunday: Scott Horsely did a piece on Ghouliani in Florida, that was nothing short of a love-fest. To say that the mayor 'stood up to terrorism' as a pat explanation for his virtue to be president, was nothing more than a sycophant's planning ahead to make a bid for the press secretary slot in a Rudy Administration. Ghouliani did nothing that a reasonably competent person in the mayorship wouldn't have done in a 9/11 situation. Nothing. In fact, there's plenty of evidence that he mucked much of it up. Obfuscation . . . keep the fear up . . . wah-de-doo-dah . . .

Doyle McManus from the 'LA Times' is one of many who are STILL making a big deal out of how long Bill Clinton's speeches were. They are still so bemused. Who says Attention Deficit Disorder is limited to little kids? He also referred to the ex-pres as 'too big to hide'. Uh, was he referring to Bill's (much trimmer) physical bulk, or his political standing? Funny! Funny! Droll. But funny! He recited this little quip with a smile on his face, and it had a rather smuggy effect that always seems to -


Ahem - well, those darn NPR-oids really know how to bug me, don't they? As Bush Senior would say in that slightly delicate way he had, 'Well for heaven's sake!'

Anyway, another thing: NPR's 'FBI Correspondent' Dina Temple-Raston tells Bob Smith about British surveillance cameras. She mentioned that sometimes such cameras can be used for spotting 'hot-looking women' and 'very good-looking' young ladies! She also said that 'the film' in video cameras can be used at evidence. Film/video - get it? Petty, I know.
Comical, though.

Lastly: I get such a kick - in fact, it makes me CHUCKLE - when some reporter or expert is about to deliver or has just delivered his/her spiel on some horrible, horrible subject, (say, Afghan civilians getting blown apart by US - er, NATO - air raids, or somethin' like that . . .) and when they're thanked for their contribution, they say 'My pleasure'. Ah, the pure pleasure of being in the Olympian clouds of today's exciting world of journalism!

- later

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Spending The 4th At NPR

I was half asleep when NPR did their patriotic duty and divvied up the Declaration of Independence for recitation amongst its usual all-stars. They read their bits with a self-importance that was, well, very NPR-like. Predictable, to say the least.

Anyway, a friend of mine, who listened more carefully than I did, noted that many of the complaints about George III, which make up much of the Declaration, can be handily applied to our own modern day (King) George. She wondered if some of the readers, judging from the tone of their voices, were picking up on this irony. Could there be a few covert 'liberals' at NPR, who exercise their subversive agendas by injecting a little sly 'satire' here and there?

It was all an early morning blur. Truth to tell, I was subconsciously distracted by the term 'Nina Totenbag', which was, I think, being marketed before all those references to the Kings George.

One admirable moment occurred amidst this dreary NPR soup. A marine who'd been in Iraq read his poem, 'The Cat'. It was simple, moving and profound in its anti-war message. After he finished the reading, all empty-headed Renee said was, 'Thank you for reading that.' Her use of the word 'that' to refer to this sensitive and powerful poem struck me as dismissive rather than appreciative. I guess this awkwardness was better than having her make some banal comment. Better to be left with the poem's power, and its message than to be returned to NPReality, with a thud. The inevitable musical interlude (which are more obnoxiously pushy than they used to be, no doubt to attract hipper listeners) accomplished that task without any voice pollution.

It was a few days before the 4th, but I can't leave off without commenting on Scott Simon's eagerly-anticipated return to Weekend Edition Saturday. We knew he'd have something to say about the joys of being an adoptive dad for the second time. We knew that it would be syrupy, perhaps intolerably so. We were right. Only Scottie can turn something wonderful into something so - so, I don't know - repulsive.

One good thing about Morning Edition: it's all over by 8AM at the latest. You can get on with your day with a spring in your step because, by surviving it, you actually dodge a bullet. You didn't commit some act of rage or crack open a bottle of Smirnoff as means of reaction or escape. You simply walk away.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

And Paul Came Once More Unto His Homeland

From the World Bank to the American Enterprise Institute, Wolfie now hangs his comb amongst hearty comrades.

The AEI: where homely, unsavory ersatz 'intellectuals' can gather, pose, preen, and indulge in their fascist fantasies, realizing them through mafia tactics via bozos like Dubya & Co., who are easy pushovers as far as the neocons are concerned. The stupefying egotism of Wolfie and his kind truly smacks of delusional grandeur. Like Hitler (everyone's favorite Worst Person Ever comparison), the neocons' 'philosophy' remains mired in primitive mediocrity, where banal and recessive 'theorizing', based on sullen revenge and greed, is grossly mistaken for forward-thinking preservation and protection policy.

Watch out: now Paulie can collude with Fat Fluffy Freddy Kagan (the bestest-selling 'author' of The Surge), on their next Excellent Psychopathic Adventure: to take a dump in Ahmadinejad's private toilet, and then order the former President of Iran to flush it. Think of the glory!

Would you buy a used war from this man?:,scholarID.99/scholar.asp

Cute, ain't he? And so well-spoken, too! I hope he and Paul don't get too jealous of one another. The business of dictating policy to the Bushoids probably gets pretty rivalrous sometimes. But hell, Paul's got so much experience under his belt (which supports hidden body armor at all times), he'll no doubt outclass Fat Freddy every time.

You CAN go home again, Paul. Come, take up the President's ear once again, and change the world!