Thursday, June 05, 2008

Spying Out The Land: NPR Scouts Potential Markets and Opportunities For Their Corporate Masters, And With US Taxpayer Money

NPR is doing a series on big cities. You know, ones that US investors don't know anything about. Places where they can get their hooks in, in order to keep their 'edge' in the global economy, before China et al get there first. Ever the servant of the powerful and Bush-ish corporate mechanism that has made them flourish, NPR has obviously been obliged to publicize heretofore underknown places in the world, where the pickins' might be pretty promising in order to make a killing. First stop: Steve Inskeep of 'Morning Edition' perches in Karachi, Pakistan. Am I suspicious? Damn right.

After some radio listening . . .

I'm actually sampling a bit of Inscreep's Karachi findings, and getting a bitter kick out of his 'Renee, you won't believe how they DO things over here!!' approach. Lots to dissect, but I won't bother except to say that he profiles the corruption and the mafia nature of Karachi's administration as if it only applied to Karachi. Funny, everything he showed as dysfunctional in Karachi has been known to crop up in many, many American cities. Of course, when NPR discovers stuff for the first time, that means that it didn't exist before NPR discovered it.

And then . . .

One of the covers for the mission: to expose the violent corruption and illegal land and contracting deals going on in the Pakistani metropolis. A courageous local lawyer has already announced that her city is run by creeps and the mafia, but NPR gets to drill this fact in and take credit for discovering it. I'm so happy that, by way of doing 'This Old House' and examining some of these corrupt building sites in Karachi, Inscreep is finally discovering that yes, poverty does still exist, but just outside the rim of his privileged, jet-set, elitist world. It was a huge blow to him, and it really bummed him out. Bouncy Renee's keeping his spirits up though, because when he comes back to DC, he'll be light years away from all that nasty stuff that goes on in bad old, mad old Karachi.

Here's a guy who gains access to the Mayor of Karachi, then squanders the opportunity by reducing his statements to a couple of soundbytes, leaving the mayor as a one-dimensional nobody, and then he wraps things up by making some disapproving comments about a hapless group of individuals who are, yes, poverty-stricken. Welcome to the real world, Stevie. And when I say world, I mean it's a world-wide condition.

I pray that the pavements of Bombay, Delhi, Madras, Calcutta, Rangoon, Bangkok, Jakarta, Hanoi, and the South Bronx will not be darkened by this Inscreepy entity. He and NPR are all WRONG for this kind of reporting. Their method is like picking at scabs via robotic control while sitting back in an isolated, germ-free environment, pontificating in 'Entertainment Tonight' terms about how screwed up everything is (while trying to sound terribly intelligent about it all, of course).

Now, if Philip Reeves were doing this series (and he has done many fine reports in similar environments), I daresay, we'd be getting a more essential picture of what the series is trying to accomplish. But it wouldn't be juiced up enough or sexed up enough, or sensational enough, plus, it wouldn't lack the perspectives that Inscreep can't even pick up on, because he's so busy motormouthing that he can't be anything but the most superficial of reporters. So Phil, be glad you didn't get slapped with this assignment. Let Inscreep do his dance so we can put it all behind us and move on. Fortunately, much of radio is pretty forgettable, and it slides into obscurity pretty fast.

My point of this caterwauling? Pots love to call kettles black, but the doofus entity that is NPR doesn't seem to know what that means.

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