Friday, March 28, 2008

NPR News: National Pentagon Radio?

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While the Iraqi government continued its large-scale military assault in
Basra, the NPR reporter’s voice from Iraq was unequivocal on the morning of
March 27: "There is no doubt that this operation needed to happen."

Such flat-out statements, uttered with journalistic tones and without
attribution, are routine for the U.S. media establishment. In the "War Made
Easy" documentary film, I put it this way: "If you’re pro-war, you’re
objective. But if you’re anti-war, you’re biased. And often, a news anchor
will get no flak at all for making statements that are supportive of a war
and wouldn’t dream of making a statement that’s against a war."

So it goes at NPR News, where -- on "Morning Edition" as well as the evening
program "All Things Considered" -- the sense and sensibilities tend to be
neatly aligned with the outlooks of official Washington. The critical
aspects of reporting largely amount to complaints about policy shortcomings
that are tactical; the underlying and shared assumptions are imperial.
Washington’s prerogatives are evident when the media window on the world is
tinted red-white-and-blue.


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