Last Wednesday, NPR's Morning Edition ran a strange story picking up on how George Washington University professor Mark Lynch blogged for Foreign Policy magazine on how rapper "beefs" are a metaphor for foreign policy. Jay-Z, on top of the rapper heap, is the U.S., whereby a challenging rapper like The Game could be Iran. It prompted this funny letter, read on the air the next day:
LINDA WERTHEIMER: One NPR listener wrote on our Web site: Jay-Z and The Game are like foreign policy? I can't wait to see how Britney Spears and the Pussycat Dolls are like cancer research, or how the reunion of New Kids on the Block parallels how Russia is again consolidating power. Can I search your archives for a story about how Bobby Sherman mirrored the Tet Offensive?
Here's a part of Morning Edition anchor Steve Inskeep's interview with Professor Lynch:
National Public Radio’s reporting on the George Tiller murder was perfect on Monday – in shutting out pro-life voices wanting to express regret. Reports on Morning Edition and on All Things Considered from Kansas City-based reporter Frank Morris lined up Tiller’s friends, lawyers, and customers to praise him.
Newsweek editor Jon Meacham brought his professorial tones to National Public Radio on Wednesday and Thursday’s Morning Edition, discussing the Obama and McCain memoirs and what they say about the candidates. The oddest moment came in Wednesday’s chat on Obama, when NPR anchor Steve Inskeep raised Franklin Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms – freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear, by which FDR meant global arms reductions. Inskeep explained "Obama seems to suggest that while they are all important, that freedom from want and freedom from fear are the things that have to come first."
Meacham agreed that these liberal conceptions of freedoms are more important, but stressing them is a "very conservative" argument coming from Obama: "Yes. If you are hungry, you're not that interested in freedom of the press. If you are impoverished, you are interested in keeping yourself warm against the cold, and it's harder to think in Jeffersonian rights-of-man terms. Once those first two freedoms are secured, the others tend to follow. It's a very conservative argument that without order, nothing else is possible."
NPR’s Morning Edition broadcast an interview with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday, lamenting her from the left. Co-host Steve Inskeep reported that a new vote on war funding "means Democrats get a reminder of something they have not accomplished. For a year and a half now they've tried and failed to end the war." Would that really be an "accomplishment"?
While the story aired current and dated declarations from Pelosi that Bush has his "head in the sand" to conditions in Iraq, NPR’s interviewer, KQED/San Francisco correspondent Scott Shafer, never asked if improvement in Iraq might have changed just which politicians look like they have a "head in the sand" to current conditions. But then, Shafer has a partisan background: he worked as a press secretary to San Francisco Mayor Art Agnos and as chief of staff to Gray Davis when he was the state of California’s comptroller.
Shafer made no acknowledgment anything has changed since 2006, that the surge happened and violence is way down, but only that the death toll surpassed 4,000:
One last State of the Union note. I found this introduction to an NPR interview with a Clinton speechwriter and a Reagan speechwriter on Monday's Morning Edition on a two-term president's last SOTU a little odd:
STEVE INSKEEP, anchor: It's a moment for any president to reflect on his accomplishments, as President Clinton did in his last State of the Union in 2000.
CLINTON: Never before has our nation enjoyed at once, so much prosperity and social progress with so little internal crisis and so few external threats.
How is it that NPR plays that clip thinking that it represents Clinton's accomplishments, instead of his utter cluelessness in retrospect about the gathering storm of 9/11?
National Public Radio's "Morning Edition" gave a report November 30 on misleading "green" products, charging companies with "The Six Sins of Greenwashing."
"You may have thought they were environmentally friendly just because the product says so, but some environmentalists think you're being ‘greenwashed,'" said host Steve Inskeep. "Is one of the sins just lying, then, basically?"
Scot Case of the environmental marketing firm TerraChoice conveyed that "the biggest sin [they] found ... was called ‘The Sin of the Hidden Tradeoff' for products that promote a single issue ... but there are a wide variety of environmental considerations."
TerraChoice evaluated 1,018 retail products for their environmental claims and only one was found to be without sin, while the rest were guilty of offenses like "The Sin of the Lesser of Two Evils," "The Sin of Fibbing" and "The Sin of No Proof."
President Bush traveling to Vietnam was guaranteed to bring out the Iraq-Vietnam comparisons, especially on National Public Radio. On Wednesday's "Morning Edition," co-host Steve Inskeep interviewed liberal author David Halberstam, who reported on Vietnam for the New York Times. Halberstam warned that we needed to withdraw from Iraq because it wasn't worth the death of "some kid in the Ohio National Guard" for an "undoable" goal.
National Public Radio provided publicity to the leftist website Salon.com on three shows Thursday for their release of previously unseen (if not notably different) pictures of American abuses at Abu Ghraib. Nowhere in their three dollops of publicity did NPR label Salon as liberal or left-wing, or explain that they oppose President Bush and the war in Iraq.