FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

National Pentagon Radio (NPR) Watch

by JOHN V. WALSH

Friday brought another report of the civil war in Syria by Kelly McEvers of NPR’s Morning Edition.

The opening summary tells us that rebels “captured a third major border crossing between Syria and Turkey. The rebels are trying to restore services to a recently liberated town.”  Let’s hold on right there.  “Liberated town”?    According to Miriam Webster’s online dictionary, the first definition of  “liberate,” is to set at liberty: free.; specifically : to free (as a country) from domination by a foreign power.”  (The phrase “domination by a foreign power” is more than a touch ironic, given the role of the U.S., Turkey, Israel and the Gulf Cooperation Council in bankrolling and supplying the rebels. )  One need not even probe into the connotations of “liberate” which by its very denotation tells us that liberation is the work of the “good guys.”  Right there in a subtle, or not so subtle, way, National Pentagon Radio is taking sides.  And it is not too far into the reportage before journalist ace Kelly McEvers repeats the formulation: “Inside the building, we sit down with Abu Azzam, one of the rebel commanders who helped liberate the border crossing (with Turkey, Jw) and the town beyond.”

So what kind of “liberation” has come to this town of about 20,000 people called Tal Abyad?  As we get deeper into the story, the “liberation” becomes ever stranger.  McEvers reports: “Once inside the town, the only civilians we see are a handful of people in a pickup truck, and they’re on their way out. The bakeries have reopened, but apparently just to make bread for the fighters. One of two functioning stores clearly caters to the rebels, too. Otherwise, the town is almost completely empty….Our guide, Abu Yazen, shows us the blackened, pockmarked government buildings that were taken by the rebels. We ask Abu Yazen why the town is so empty. He says it’s because 80 percent of the people in town actually sided with the government, not with the rebels (emphasis, jw)….What happens when those 80 percent of the people come back and they want their houses back? What’s going to happen to them?”….The guide Yazen replies and McEvers offers the translation,  “Those who have blood on their hands will be tried, he says. The others will come back and help us build a new country.”  Hardly a reassuring invitation to those who have fled from the “liberation” of their town.

McEvers hastily concludes her piece: “Someone rushes in to tell us they’ve spotted a column of trucks with mounted machine guns that belong to the regime’s army.  (Soundbite of truck motor)   We have to hurry out of town before we know the end of the story.”  The operative term this time is “regime.”  The routine usage on NPR is that official enemies have “regimes,” so both Iran and Syria routinely have regimes but Israel, for example, has a “government.”    Here we must look at the connotation of the word; and as Wikipedia informs us under “modern usage,”: “While the word regime originates as a synomym for any form of government, modern usage often gives the term a negative connotation…” (There was a time when the antiwar movement referred to the “Bush regime,” but that usage has gone missing with the ascension of Obama, the candidate of the “progressive” Democrats.)

This sort of vocabulary is not trivial as George Orwell long ago pointed out.  It is usage which, repeated endlessly, reinforces the idea of who the good guys are and who the bad guys are.  Such propaganda molds opinions and is preparation for war and conflict.

If you have examples of such biased reports or discussions from NPR, please send them to me at John.Endwar@gmail.com . Besides Morning Edition and All Things Considered, Neal Conan’s Talk of the Nation, which reaches millions, appears to offer plenty of low hanging fruit.  I am interested not only in bias based on word choice, but also outright falsification and coverage of only one side of an issue, often using two guests who in fact agree on basics which go unquestioned, a very effective form of propaganda.  China bashing, Russia bashing, Iran bashing and Muslim bashing are especially worth being on the lookout for. 

 Let us see whether we can move NPR to change its ways.


 

 

John V. Walsh can be reached at John.Endwar@gmail.com

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
July 01, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
Hillary: Ordinarily Awful or Uncommonly Awful?
Rob Urie
Liberal Pragmatism and the End of Political Possibility
Pam Martens
Clinton Says Wall Street Banks Aren’t the Threat, But Her Platform Writers Think They are
Michael Hudson
The Silence of the Left: Brexit, Euro-Austerity and the T-TIP
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
Marx on Financial Bubbles: Much Keener Insights Than Contemporary Economists
Evan Jones
Ancillary Lessons from Brexit
Jason Hirthler
Washington’s Not-So-Invisible Hand: It’s Not Economics, It’s Empire
Mike Whitney
Another Fed Fiasco: U.S. Bond Yields Fall to Record Lows
Aidan O'Brien
Brexit: the English and Welsh Enlightenment
Jeremy R. Hammond
How Turkey’s Reconciliation Deal with Israel Harms the Palestinians
Margaret Kimberley
Beneficial Chaos: the Good News About Brexit
Phyllis Bennis
From Paris to Istanbul, More ‘War on Terror’ Means More Terrorist Attacks
Dan Bacher
Ventura Oil Spill Highlights Big Oil Regulatory Capture
Ishmael Reed
OJ and Jeffrey Toobin: Black Bogeyman Auctioneer
Ron Jacobs
Let There Be Rock
Ajamu Baraka
Paris, Orlando and Turkey: Displacing the Narrative of Western Innocence
Pete Dolack
Brexit Will Only Count If Everybody Leaves the EU
Robert Fantina
The First Amendment, BDS and Third-Party Candidates
Julian Vigo
Xenophobia in the UK
David Rosen
Whatever Happened to Utopia?
Andre Vltchek
Brexit – Let the UK Screw Itself!
Jonathan Latham
107 Nobel Laureate Attack on Greenpeace Traced Back to Biotech PR Operators
Steve Horn
Fracked Gas LNG Exports Were Centerpiece In Promotion of Panama Canal Expansion, Documents Reveal
Robert Koehler
The Right to Bear Courage
Colin Todhunter
Pro-GMO Spin Masquerading as Science Courtesy of “Shameful White Men of Privilege”
Eoin Higgins
Running on Empty: Sanders’s Influence on the Democratic Party Platform
Binoy Kampmark
Who is Special Now? The Mythology Behind the US-British Relationship
Mark B. Baldwin
Russia to the Grexit?
Andrew Wimmer
Killer Grief
Manuel E. Yepe
Sanders, Socialism and the New Times
Franklin Lamb
ISIS is Gone, But Its Barbarity Still Haunts Palmyra
Mark Weisbrot
A Policy of Non-Intervention in Venezuela Would be a Welcome Change
Matthew Stevenson
Larry Cameron Explains Brexit
Cesar Chelala
How Tobacco Became the Opium War of the 21st Century
Joseph Natoli
How We Reached the Point Where We Can’t Hear Each Other
Andrew Stewart
Skip “Hamilton” and Read Gore Vidal’s “Burr”
George Wuerthner
Ranching and the Future of the Sage Grouse
Thomas Knapp
Yes, a GOP Delegate Revolt is Possible
Gilbert Mercier
Democracy Is Dead
Missy Comley Beattie
A Big F#*K You to Voters
Charles R. Larson
Mychal Denzel Smith’s “Invisible Man, Got the Whole World Watching: a Young Black Man’s Education”
Barbara Nimri Aziz
Four Morning Ducks
David Yearsley
Where the Sidewalk Ends: Walking the Bad Streets of Houston’s Super-Elites
Christopher Brauchli
Educating Kansas
Andy Piascik
The Hills of Connecticut: Where Theatre and Life Became One
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail