Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Impatience of the Chattering Classes

This morning on that show they sensibly call 'Morning Edition', I heard relentlessly upbeat Renee interview an Iraqi fellow in Baghdad who works for NPR, describing life in the city 5 years after the invasion. I got the sense that he wanted to gush with all the bloody details, but knowing NPR as he no doubt does, and knowing of their hi-tech editing skills, he delivered a pretty much G-rated rundown. Toward the end he was sufficiently warmed up to start gushing, but that's when the editing no doubt kicked in. When he mentioned a detail regarding a tiny improvement of some kind, Renee responded with something like: 'Well, then things are just a LITTLE better, aren't they?' As if, 'What have you REALLY got to whine about, you poor thing? Raw, untreated sewage is no longer drying in the street. Can't you just be happy with that?', and it was delivered with all the slightly bemused impatience of a Bev Hills soccer mom who's tut-tutting her Filipina nanny for being five minutes late so that she can rush off to the mall.

I don't need this crap. I want my news delivered soberly and without all this 'magazine' approach. I know this is 'NPR Critique 101' stuff, but I'm getting demoralized again.

I'd really like to see how Renee would handle her trips to the mall if LA were being bombed daily and occupied by invading troops. I know, it's a banal comparison (warfare of a different kind exists in LA, don't we know), but her ditziness, so willingly and proudly displayed, is wholly representative of her type and class.

Because of their increasing exclusivity of audience targeting, NPR should be banished to the wilderness of satellite radio, where it can atrophy and thus expire. Even Murdoch wouldn't bother with that.

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