NPR, Syria and Language

by Billy Beren on October 3, 2012

NPR’s coverage of the Syrian civil war uses revealing words to describe events.  For example, “regime” is used to describe the Syrian government and “liberate” is used to describe the result of rebels taking a town.

However, the facts (even as reported by NPR) seem to tell a different, or at least much more murky, story.  Why are these words then used?  John Walsh provides some answers in his post National Pentagon Radio (NPR) Watch [].


A Thoreau Criticism of the Media

by Billy Beren on December 4, 2011

I came across this gem of a quote from Henry David Thoreau today:

…probably no country was ever ruled by so mean a class of tyrants as, with a few noble exceptions, are the editors of the periodical press in this country.  And as they live and rule only by their servility, and appealing to the worse, and not the better, nature of man, the people who read them are in the condition of the dog that returns to his vomit.

— Henry David Thoreau, from “Slavery in Massachusetts,” an address delivered at the Anti-Slavery Convention at Framingham, Mass, July 4, 1854.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.  Neither the advent of radio, television, cable, nor the Internet could improve our nation’s press.  What an apt way of thinking of ourselves when we read the NY Times, Washington Post, etc., or watch Fox, CNN, MS NBC, et. al. — “the dog that returns to his vomit.”

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What Kind of Watch Dog is the American Media?

November 30, 2011

Apparently, the kind that prefers criminals who are quiet enough not to disturb its slumber.  Being thrown the occasional reward for good behavior (i.e. ignoring bad behavior) is appreciated too. Glenn Greenwald explains our media’s love affair with being kept in the dark: the paradoxical mind and function of the standard establishment journalist: they proudly […]

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Alex Blumberg & NPR Out-Fox Their Listeners About America’s Debt

November 23, 2011

Today, NPR ran a piece by Alex Blumberg on its Planet Money segment entitled The National Debt: What The Left And Right Agree On.  Mr. Blumberg employed the tried & true formula for NPR reporting: 2 parts stupid + 1 part smug Let’s start with the 2 parts stupid: We learn from Mr. Blumberg’s piece […]

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NPR Fairy Tales About War Support

April 12, 2011

On today’s Talk of the Nation, NPR senior Washington editor Ron Elving made the following assertion: There are only marginal cuts in either the president’s budget or in the Ryan budget for defense. And I think the simplest way to answer that question is to say we are in two wars and a no-fly zone […]

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NBC Policy = “We Control the Message”

November 11, 2010

Is NBC’s suspension of Keith Olbermann for making political donations a farce?  This is where reliance on Wikipedia breaks down, providing two competing definitions. The first definition, which I link to below, and which for reasons apparent I refer to as capital ‘F’ farce says: In theatre, a farce is a comedy which aims to […]

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John Stewart Focuses on Media in Closing Speech

October 30, 2010

Today in John Stewart’s closing speech for the Rally to Restore Sanity, he focused on the failings of the media. The press is our immune system. If it overreacts to everything, we actually get sicker…and perhaps eczema.

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NY Times and Torture Euphenisms

October 26, 2010

Rob Beschizza over a BoingBoing observes that the NY Times continues its refusal to use the word torture: Reading the NYT’s stories about the Iraq War logs, I was struck by how it could get through such gruesome descriptions — fingers chopped off, chemicals splashed on prisoners — without using the word ‘torture.’

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WikiLeaks Coverage in Sweden

October 26, 2010

There has been a stark contrast between how US and world media are covering the recent publication by WikiLeaks of the Iraq War Logs. Mainstream US media outlets are more focused on the character and ethics of WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange.  US media also seems to be downplaying the US’s role in the […]

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NY Times Hit Piece on Julian Assange

October 25, 2010

Given 400,000 leaked documents about the Iraq war, on Saturday (October 23, 2010) the NY Times decided to lead with a hit piece against Julian Assange, Wiki Leaks founder:

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