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:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
December 09, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Nasty As They Wanna Be
Henry Giroux
Trump’s Second Gilded Age: Overcoming the Rule of Billionaires and Militarists
Andrew Levine
Trump’s Chumps: Victims of the Old Bait and Switch
Chris Welzenbach
The Forgotten Sneak Attack
Lewis Lapham
Hostile Takeover
Joshua Frank
This Week at CounterPunch: More Hollow Smears and Baseless Accusations
Paul Street
The Democrats Do Their Job, Again
Vijay Prashad
The Cuban Revolution: Defying Imperialism From Its Backyard
Michael Hudson - Sharmini Peries
Orwellian Economics
Erin McCarley
American Nazis and the Fight for US History
Mark Ames
The Anonymous Blacklist Promoted by the Washington Post Has Apparent Ties to Ukrainian Fascism and CIA Spying
Yoav Litvin
Resist or Conform: Lessons in Fortitude and Weakness From the Israeli Left
Conn Hallinan
India & Pakistan: the Unthinkable
Andrew Smolski
Third Coast Pillory: Nativism on the Left – A Realer Smith
Joshua Sperber
Trump in the Age of Identity Politics
Brandy Baker
Jill Stein Sees Russia From Her House
Katheryne Schulz
Report from Santiago de Cuba: Celebrating Fidel’s Rebellious Life
Nelson Valdes
Fidel and the Good People
Norman Solomon
McCarthy’s Smiling Ghost: Democrats Point the Finger at Russia
Renee Parsons
The Snowflake Nation and Trump on Immigration
Margaret Kimberley
Black Fear of Trump
Michael J. Sainato
A Pruitt Running Through It: Trump Kills Nearly Useless EPA With Nomination of Oil Industry Hack
Ron Jacobs
Surviving Hate and Death—The AIDS Crisis in 1980s USA
David Swanson
Virginia’s Constitution Needs Improving
Louis Proyect
Narcos and the Story of Colombia’s Unhappiness
Paul Atwood
War Has Been, is, and Will be the American Way of Life…Unless?
John Wight
Syria and the Bodyguard of Lies
Richard Hardigan
Anti-Semitism Awareness Act: Senate Bill Criminalizes Criticism of Israel
Kathy Kelly
See How We Live
David Macaray
Trump Picks his Secretary of Labor. Ho-Hum.
Howard Lisnoff
Interview with a Political Organizer
Yves Engler
BDS and Anti-Semitism
Adam Parsons
Home Truths About the Climate Emergency
Brian Cloughley
The Decline and Fall of Britain
Eamonn Fingleton
U.S. China Policy: Is Obama Schizoid?
Graham Peebles
Worldwide Air Pollution is Making us Ill
Joseph Natoli
Fake News is Subjective?
Andre Vltchek
Tough-Talking Philippine President Duterte
Binoy Kampmark
Total Surveillance: Snooping in the United Kingdom
Guillermo R. Gil
Vivirse la película: Willful Opposition to the Fiscal Control Board in Puerto Rico
Patrick Bond
South Africa’s Junk Credit Rating was Avoided, But at the Cost of Junk Analysis
Clancy Sigal
Investigate the Protesters! A Trial Balloon Filled With Poison Gas
Pierre Labossiere – Margaret Prescod
Human Rights and Alternative Media Delegation Report on Haiti’s Elections
Charles R. Larson
Review:  Helon Habila’s The Chibok Girls: the Boko Haram Kidnappings and Islamist Militancy in Nigeria
David Yearsley
Brahms and the Tears of Britain’s Oppressed
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail