Media postsWednesday April 05, 2017
'Tension Between Immigrants and...?'
Can no one on NPR talk straight? Just say what is?
Shaving this morning, I listened to a segment on “The Takeaway,” out of NYC, about designing the public library of the future, and how they're community centers and what have you; and at one point host John Hockenberry began to ask this question:
There's been so much talk about the tension between immigrants and...
He paused, and I'm thinking: Pres. Trump? The Trump administration? The GOP? America Firsters? Reactionary SOBs? What's he going to say? I'm trying to help him along in my head. And he finally gets it out:
... and ... uh ... the, uh, authorities, the people who want to deport them...
The message of the piece is ultimately pro-immigrant, but c'mon, people. Call a Trump a Trump.
NPR Reduces Nunes' Actions to 'Partisan Bickering'
NPR's reporting pissed me off again this morning. I've come to expect it now. I expect them to display rotten journalistic instincts; to lean way too far to accommodate the right.
This morning the discussion between host David Greene and national security correspondent Mary Louise Kelly was supposed to be clarify (“take a deep breath here” Greene said at the outset) the congressional investigations into connections between Russia and the Trump administration. But Greene and Kelly shot themselves in the foot immediately:
GREENE: Let's start with this House investigation. They had the director of the FBI come testify. It seemed like they were making a whole lot of progress, then they just descended into partisan bickering. Is that a...
KELLY: A partisan bar brawl, as I've taken to calling it...
GREENE: Partisan bar brawl. Yeah.
KELLY: (Laughter) Yeah.
GREENE: I mean, can that committee actually credibly get back on track?
Partisan bickering. Partisan bar brawl.
Are you effin' kidding me?
The Republican head of the intelligence committee, Devin Nunes, acts in an unprecedented and unethical manner by working with the Trump adminstration rather than his own committee, by sharing intel with the people he's supposedly investigating, and by holding a press conference at the White House that toes the Trump line ... and this is reduced to “partisan bickering”? Even though members of his own party, including John McCain, are perplexed by, and have condemned him for, his actions?
Man, am I sick of this. The GOP knows that if they gum up the works, it's generally reported as “partisan squabble,” and readers/listeners wind up with a “plague on both yer houses” attitude. It allows the GOP to be bad actors, as Nunes is here, and get away with it.
What's worse is the knowing smirk in Greene's and Kelly's voices. Looks like those clowns in Congress did it again. What-a-bunch-of-clowns. It's so lazy. And it never gets at what the story is.
Yes, eventually Kelly mentioned Nunes, but that aspect of the story was couched in the usual language of false equivalence. Almost everyone agrees that Nunes acted unethically, and that his counterpart, Adam Schiff (D-CA) acted honorably, but, on NPR, the White House says this is a “witch hunt” and Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA), a moderate Republican, says the whole thing is too “politicized,” so ... that's that.
What a bunch of clowns.
The Media Trump Wants But Doesn't Have (Yet)
Anthony Kuhn has been a journalist in China for years, but this month he became a viral sensation for asking a question about President Xi Jingping's “megaregion plans” around Beijing and the relocation of businesses/residents there. Video of his question at a government press conference went viral for a number of reasons: 1) he speaks Chinese like a native; 2) he seemed concerned about Beijing citizens; 3) the question was more pointed/critical than what the domestic press normally asks.
On NPR, Kuhn writes the following:
All Chinese media are nominally state-owned, and the government has increasingly leaned on journalists to “correctly guide public opinion” to the conclusions that the government prefers.
China's leaders acknowledge that the press has a watchdog role, which they call “supervision by public opinion.” But since the heyday of investigative Chinese journalism, much of it done by metropolitan tabloids in the 1990s and early 2000s, the government has muzzled many of the country's more independent media outlets and forced many journalists either to censor themselves or quit the business.
It's exactly the kind of press Pres. Trump wants. And gets? Everyone applauded the German reporter last Friday for asking Trump about why he is scared of “diversity” in the news, dismissing anything he doesn't like as “Fake news,” and about his constant, unproven claims. It was a breath of fresh air. She all but asked, “Why do you keep lying?” It was a breath of fresh air because nobody else is saying that to his face. He dismissed her as “Fake news.”
Scarier: Andrew Marantz in The New Yorker on the right-wing blogs and jackass conservative sites that are increasingly making up the White House press corps.
Really, the kind of press he wants is the question.
NPR, Steve Inskeep, Pull Back from Tree to See Tree
On NPR this morning, Steve Inskeep promised that we would back away from all the blathering news stories for a moment “to see a theme many of them share.” He explained further: “It's like we're backing away from a tree to see the forest.”
That theme? That forest? “A conflict between core American values: religious freedom and equality.”
According to a back-and-forth with reporter Tom Gjelten, the most recent example of this conflict is a potential “draft executive order” coming out of the Trump White House (sorry, threw up a little in my mouth) that would bar the government from punishing people or institutions who hate the gays. No, Gjelten didn't say that. He said: “... who support marriage exclusively between one man and one woman.”
So we're back to that. Ted Cruz is also offering up legislation on same. Being a reader of Orwell and 1984, he calls his bill “The First Amendment Defense Act.”
It's a seven-minute piece. All about how to protect both equality and (religious) freedom.
And since, as Inskeep promised, we would get to see the forest, NPR backed up enough to see how this religious freedom argument factored in religions from all over the world. For example: What if a devout Muslim haberdasher didn't want to wait on an infidel?
No, sorry. NPR didn't mention Islam at all.
Oh right. But it did mention, say, the Jewish baker who didn't want to serve Catholics.
No. None of that.
Hinduism? Buddhists? Taoists? Sikhs? Mormans?
Yeah, no. It was exclusively about conservative Christians.
Helluva forest, NPR.
NPR Uncovers Three Trump Supporters Still Supporting Trump
I was listening to NPR Sunday morning when Lulu Garcia-Navarro interviewed three Trump supporters to see how they were doing three weeks into his presidency. Had they changed their minds about their man yet?
This was pre-Flynn resignation but judging from the talk I doubt today's national security crisis would've had an impact, either.
Sure, there were reservations, and a few down-home chuckles. But mostly they thought: Fasten your seatbelts, cuz he's going to make things happen. Direct quote: “He comes off as offensive, but I voted for him to get the job done, not to protect people's feelings.” How about to protect their lives? Or the American experiment? Or American values? Nothing.
The most offensive part was probably at the end when Garcia-Navarro asked sum-up questions. This is the exchange she had with Becky Ravenkamp, a farmer and educator from Hugo, Colorado:
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Becky, what are you worried about more broadly or what are you hopeful about?
RAVENKAMP: Well, I'm hopeful that when the administration is all in place and when the decisions are being made, that we can really get back to the heart of what makes us America. And I think for me this election was not just Republicans versus Democrats. It was the people versus Washington D.C. And I'm hopeful that, you know, maybe we sent a message with this election saying we are putting Washington, D.C., on notice, you need to start working for us instead of yourselves and that they're going to start behaving like the representatives that we elected and start compromising and working together to make this country move forward. If that happens, I think we're going to see the temperament turn around and Americans start joining together and coexisting, like Kevin said. I hope for that because I have children in this country.
I don't know where to begin. How do you parse delusions? That the last eight years wasn't what “made us America”? That she thought this last election wasn't “Republicans vs. Democrats”? That “the people” finally spoke? And that the message was to “start compromising and working together”? That's probably the most offensive of all. She and other voters just rewarded eight years of Republican obstructionism by electing more Republicans. If we can't co-exist, this is why: a great percentage of the country lives in a world devoid of logic and facts.
Much of the above also feels like code for “We finally got a white guy in the White House again.”
Follow-ups from Garcia-Navarro? None.