Sep
01
2009

NPR Boosts 'Dominance of Private Health Insurance'

Analyzing "The Art of Framing at NPR" on his NPR Check blog, Mytwords (8/29/09) thinks that "there are many ways you could frame the role of Sen. Kent Conrad, one of the gang of six senators who are working very hard to preserve the profitable dominance of private health insurance in the U.S.–such as "marvel[ing] at why six senators representing less than 3 percent of the U.S. population are controlling the fate of health insurance reform," or possibly by taking a serious "look at the obscene amounts of campaign cash flowing into these senators' coffers from the for-profit health insurance […]

Aug
10
2009

U.S. Paramilitary Murder Doesn't Rate on NPR

National Public Radio monitor mytwords (NPR Check, 8/9/09) has observed what he dubs a "Blackwater Blackout" on the publicly funded "alternative" to corporate radio: On Tuesday, August 4 Jeremy Scahill broke the story about two sworn statements implicating Blackwater (now Xe) founder Erik Prince in the murder of employees or former employees who were cooperating in the federal investigation of Blackwater. He also revealed that sworn statements indicated that Blackwater was organized and run as an anti-Muslim, Christian identity paramilitary force. By any measure this is a major news story. It was picked up by ABC, Boston Herald, CNN, the […]

Aug
05
2009

NPR Debate: 'False Distortion' vs. 'Fact-Based Statement'

NPR Check blogger mytwords has taken the time (8/4/09) to closely "consider [Scott] Horsely's verbal sleight of hand" on National Public Radio's August 4 Morning Edition: He equates a completely false distortion–characterizing the tepid Democratic health reform proposals as "government-run healthcare" in opposition to "the free market"–with a completely fact-based statement–"we have a system today that works well for the insurance industry but it doesn't work well for you [the public]." Yes, the system works well (insurance profits more than quadrupled from 2000 to 2007) but not for the public, which pays more for less and suffers about 22,000 deaths […]

Jul
06
2009

NPR Ombud Dodges 'Torture' Reporting Critic

Salon's Glenn Greenwald has an update (7/2/09, ad-viewing required) on "several noteworthy developments since I wrote on Tuesday about the refusal of NPR's ombudsman, Alicia Shepard, to be interviewed by me about NPR's ban on using the word 'torture' to describe the Bush administration's interrogation tactics": Given the utter vapidity of her rationale ("there are two sides to the issue. And I'm not sure, why is it so important to call something torture?"), I was momentarily amazed to learn that she actually teaches "Media Ethics" to graduate students at Georgetown University…. NPR's "torture" ban and its ombudsman's incoherent defense of […]

Jul
02
2009

NPR's Single-Payer-Free Healthcare Reportage

Critiquing some more of National Public Radio's healthcare reportage, blogger Mytwords (NPR Check, 6/29/09) highlights Julie Rovner of Morning Edition "reporting this morning for the private health insurance lobby": "The healthcare cost debate pretty much comes down to this: 'You can't cut costs without hurting someone.'" Rovner then backs up her "analysis" with "a little Meet the Press sound-bite from Fred Thompson"–"The only way to really save cost is to have rationing or it can be done by a cram-down by the government and take it out of the hides of doctors, hospitals": Rovner's report mainly serves to highlight and […]

Jun
20
2009

NPR Airs 'All Important [Underwritten] Views'

Linking to a Felice Pace piece of June 14 that connects the near-absence of single-payer-focused NPR reportage to millions of dollars in underwriting the broadcaster has received from insurance industry heavies, NPR Check's Mytwords (6/17/09) includes his own comment left under Weekend Edition Saturday's "Health Care Reform From The Insurer's Perspective" segment: Congratulations NPR–as a "public" news station you have done a great service by providing a voice to the voiceless: the health insurance industry, which lacks the funds and connections to get its message out. After yesterday's Republican slant on the public plan from [Mara] Liasson, [Julie] Rovner and […]

Jun
17
2009

NPR's 'Sanitized, Propaganda-Laden' War Reportage

NPR Check blogger Mytwords has some advice (6/14/09) "in these times of austerity and job 'shedding' at NPR": "Instead of spending all the money it must take to embed a reporter like Tom Bowman with the U.S. military in Afghanistan, why not cut him out of the picture and just hand a microphone to one of the officers or commanders there?": Heck, if that's too expensive, why not just get on the Internets and pull some hard-hitting journalism from the military website of whatever unit Tom would have been embedded with? It sure would be a lot cheaper, even though […]

Jun
03
2009

U.S. Media Complicit in U.S. Intimidation of Media

Discussing (5/31/09) the "story on the two U.S. journalists detained in North Korea," NPR Check's Mytwords states clearly that it "deserves coverage, as did some coverage of [Roxana] Saberi's arrest in Iran (though not the wall to wall attention given by NPR)." But a reader's link to the L.A. Times' May 24 "article on another irregular (illegal?) detention of a journalist" sheds light on a glaring double standard: In this case the journalist was seized by U.S. forces and its allies. The reader noted the lack of NPR coverage on the abduction/detention of Ibrahim Jassam, complaining that NPR has voiced […]

May
28
2009

NPR: Ever Faithful to U.S. Empire

Dubbing National Public Radio "The Counterinsurgency Channel," blogger Mytwords (NPR Check, 5/28/09) takes issue with a May 27 All Things Considered report "meant to promote an aspect of U.S. counterinsurgency in Afghanistan–the training of Afghan police as part of Task Force Phoenix (what dumb ass names these operations anyway?)": The report opens with some great editorializing from Michele Norris: If American policy is ever to be successful in Afghanistan, it will be because of people like Army Major Jim Contreras; he's the top American police trainer in Helmand province in Southern Afghanistan. Afghan police are key to fighting insurgents: They […]

May
26
2009

'Self-Serving Propaganda'? No Problem on NPR

Wondering "why NPR decided it was appropriate to present Cheney's blatantly self-serving propaganda as anything remotely relevant to current policy," NPR Check contributor Brian (5/23/09) blogs about current president Barack Obama and former vice president Dick Cheney recently "attacking the policies of the other administration and defending their own positions in speeches." Even though each was given "in front of friendly audiences unable to challenge them," NPR's Morning Edition of May 22 "presented them as a face-to-face debate between the two men, alternating soundbites from each," and giving Cheney equal billing with the president in a piece titled "Obama, Cheney: […]

May
06
2009

NPR: 'Justifying and Sanitizing the U.S. Torture Regime'

Blogging on how May 4 and 5 broadcasts "feature NPR continuing its function of justifying and sanitizing the U.S. torture regime," dedicated public radio critic Mytwords (NPR Check, 5/5/09) plumbs the depths of NPR's aversion to "human rights or international law advocates or experts"–instead preferring "members or former members of various U.S. government agencies," even "the very ones implicated in formulating and carrying out torture": For a long time NPR news has minimized (June 2006), dismissed (February 2007), ignored (April 2007), covered over (October 2007) and collaborated with (December 2007) the use of torture by agencies and agents of the […]

May
02
2009

NPR's '5th Grade Math Exercise'

Critiquing the April 24 edition of NPR's "increasingly vacuous and self-indulgent" Planet Money show, blogger Brian (NPR Check, 4/24/09) notices that the "five long minutes" spent discussing "how long it would take to count to 165 million (the AIG executive bonuses), 45 billion (Bank of America's bailout so far), and 1.2 trillion (total estimated federal bailouts of banks so far)," came right after "a long week of severely deficient coverage of actual financial news" like "40 seconds Morning Edition spent pararaphrasing a New York Times article on the looming Chrysler bankruptcy": The sad thing is that it actually might have […]

Mar
27
2009

NPR's Salvadoran History Lesson

Proving that the Washington Post is not the only purportedly "liberal" outlet interested in whitewashing the dark history of U.S. involvement in Latin America, Mytwords (NPR Check, 3/23/09) has blogged NPR's March 21 episode of Weekend Edition Saturday, in which the show returned to the scene of the crimes of El Salvador's 1980s bloodbath–a U.S.-nurtured extreme-right orgy of torture and murder against organized labor, the poor, church leaders and leftists (and their families, friends, associates or potential associates). There were a few problems with the report. Jason Beaubien's reporting isn't great; he does a little plastic surgery on history, claiming […]