Wednesday, August 31, 2005

NPR, Party Mouthpiece (A new feature)

I listen to NPR a lot (and I'm a New England Yankee, and I like good coffee, and I drive a fuel-efficient car, and I fit a lot of the other stereotypes of educated Americans that for perverse reasons have managed to be given a negative spin in the US media). National Public Radio is a favorite target of the right for its alleged liberal spin, and I'll grant that some of their programming has a notably leftish sensibility. For example, This American Life, a fantastic program, treats homosexuality as a fact of life and treats gays as normal people with valid stories to tell - clearly this is part of the left wing agenda of acceptance and respect for your fellow person.

However, and it is a big however, the news division of NPR often echoes the party line of the current administration without even a nod toward the notion that they are presenting unvarnished propaganda. Case in point: today the news announcer has been repeating every half hour that the president is returning to the White House to "lead the recovery effort" from the devastating Hurricane Katrina in the New Orleans/ Mississippi Gulf Coast region. Clearly, the president is returning to the White House to be seen to lead the recovery effort - the actual work that he will contribute to the effort, beyond making some phone calls and issuing some statements, will be nothing compared to the people who are actually hired to lead the real recovery, such as the director of FEMA and the governors of Louisiana and Mississippi.

There is a difference between leadership and showmanship. We're getting the latter, but the White House claims we're getting the former, and NPR echoes the party line. I'm reminded of nothing so much as the evening news in Kenya during the long autocratic Moi regime - every night the news would begin with the magnificent things our glorious leader was doing on behalf of the good citizens of his country.

NPR is guilty of repeated "Dear Leader" coverage. Look to this blog to document the more egregious examples as they arise.


Blogger universally speaking said...

Very nice analogy drawn, comparing Pres. Bush to former Kenyan president Moi. It hadn't struck me, but the moment you connected the actions of the two, it fit beautifully. Bravo!

8:43 PM  

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