treats us to the following on NPR and NARAL's ad:
As many of you know, I work out of the corner of my living room. While tapping away at my laptop, making profits by navigating the information superhighway, I faithfully listen to talk radio (Rush, Sean and sometimes O’Reilly). But most of the day I listen to classical music delivered by my local National Public Radio station, WSHU at Sacred Heart University. I find it’s good for my blood pressure and peace of mind.
News reports at the top of each hour come from the Washington DC-based NPR news organization. These reports interrupt the otherwise soothing flow of the “Three B’s” (Bach, Beethoven and Bartok). I take this hourly opportunity to monitor what passes for reportage among the self-proclaimed intelligentsia that inhabit NPR newsrooms.
I can’t say that I have completely analyzed NPR news coverage, but there are many trends that I notice in my daily listening. The first of which is that the Iraq war is covered as if NPR employs ambulance chasing lawyers hired by the terrorists. There’s a lot of one-sided yelling and outrageous claims of how dire and hopeless the situation has become.
It seems that all Iraqis do all day is stand in line so that they can be blown up by car bombs. All American soldiers are good for is cannon fodder for “insurgents”… with no end in sight. I was a young kid when Walter Cronkite would post the daily death toll during his coverage of the Viet Nam War but it seems that today’s reporting is extraordinarily similar, except that no one notices that the totals are much lower than they were in the ‘60’s.
The typical NPR war report is a recap from the on-the-scene reporter of what blew up where and how many Americans were killed. Afterwards, the news host (including Ann Taylor, no relation) will usually chronicle American fatalities “A total of 1,872 Americans have lost their lives since the start of the Iraq conflict in…”. And with that, NPR is done reporting on Iraq. “That’s the sum total of what’s happening folks, nothing else to see here, move along…”
Those of you who have followed this space in the past may recall that I rail against the type of reporting coming out of Iraq. Reporters rarely leave their Green Zone hotels. They rely on local stringers to actually collect on-the-street news, hopefully with footage of something blowing up, on fire or still smoldering. The practice is similar to local news: a burning house or wrecked vehicle is far more compelling video than anything else. I have made the analogy that Iraq reporting is equivalent to covering your community by standing outside the local hospital’s Emergency Room. Everyone is shooting each other, knifing each other or getting into car wrecks.
“It’s total chaos folks. The lawlessness, barbarity and human tragedy here in Scarsdale is never-ending! It’s not safe on the streets of Scarsdale and nothing can change that!. Oh the humanity!!”
Occasionally, NPR takes a break to pound on any number of George W. Bush’s domestic policies or appointments.
The Supreme Court nomination of John Roberts is a hot topic, of course. The first salvo from the left wing liberal action groups came from NARAL Pro-Choice America with their anti-Roberts ad. By now, Et Tu Blogites know the story. The ad isn’t merely a distortion, it’s been discredited as a loosely woven web of tissue-thin lies. NARAL withdrew the ad after about 48 hours. Here are two of the salient features of the ad:
The ad depicts a clinic that was bombed and says “America can't afford a justice whose ideology leads him to excuse violence against other Americans."
The ad claims that "Supreme Court nominee John Roberts filed court briefs supporting violent fringe groups and a convicted clinic bomber.”
What’s the truth?
Roberts specifically did not excuse violence against other Americans, quite the opposite actually.
Roberts wrote a “friend of the court” brief that advised against using an 1871 Civil Rights law to prevent blockage of abortion clinics. There wasn’t any support of any group, Roberts was giving legal advice on how this law couldn’t be used in a case.
The clinic was bombed seven years AFTER Roberts wrote the brief, yet the ad connected the two events.
The Factcheck.org web site states it quite simply: “The ad is false”. http://www.factcheck.org/article340.html
How did NPR report this story? Did NPR say that a political group lied, distorted and smeared a Federal Judge? Did NPR home in on the morality (or immorality) of using the mass media to falsely attack a Supreme Court nominee? Did NPR imply any outrage?
No, of course not. NPR reported the withdrawal of the ad “under pressure from conservatives”. It went on to re-state the incorrect main points of the NARAL ad WITHOUT MENTIONING THAT THE MAIN POINTS OF THE AD WERE FALSE AND THAT THIS WAS THE REASON FOR THE AD’S WITHDRAWAL.
The listener is left with the impression that NARAL simply folded from expected criticism on “the right”. Isn’t the news story the fact that NARAL lied about the nominee, accusing an innocent man of advocating “violence against other Americans”? Wouldn’t that be “the hook” of this news story?
What NPR managed to do was repeat the lies as if they were fact. If asked later, they can claim to have correctly reported that the ad was pulled from the air.
“That’s the sum total of what’s happening folks, nothing else to see here, move along…”
A sin of omission is still a sin.