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NPR, the CIA and Corporatism

Photo by Todd Huffman | CC by 2.0

In her five-minute interview with Ursula Wilder, a CIA psychologist whose job there is debriefing returning spies, NPR’s Mary Louise Kelly (their alleged National Security Correspondent) spoke of what makes someone who reveals state secrets tick. Kelly failed big-time to probe Wilder about whether she ever thought an insider might ever have a patriotic motivation to inform the public of illegal behavior on the part of the agency. Based on Wilders’ profile of leakers, the answer would surely have been No, but it sure would have been nice to ask.

Instead, the official story is simple. Each and every leaker, Wilder maintained, suffers from some DSM psychopathy, such as impulsiveness, narcissism or drug addiction, often compounded by exigencies such as marital discord or gambling debts. Leaks all stem from character defects, Wilder says—and Kelly doesn’t contradict—not to blowback by thwarted careerists or misdeeds the agency wants to disappear. She also neglected to point out that leaks should only happen when authorized by superiors, but Kelly didn’t ask about that kind either.

Wilder’s job description implies she treats agents for PTSD but she probably doesn’t admit to it. Wants the world to think they’re all so well motivated, trained, equipped, and managed as to be impervious to shock and awe. If they’re stressed, it’s likely that their personal lives are out of control, their problems self-inflicted. Any time you have a problem with power, the problem is you. Hear for yourself.

How many set pieces does NPR owe agencies as the price of access? I would put that to NPR, but speaking of blowback, the network is having none of it. In early 2016 its website turned off listener comments and disappeared all existing ones. They said it was getting out hand; so full of trolls that moderators couldn’t keep up, too expensive to manage. So now to register a reaction to an NPR story or bad attitude, you go to their Facebook page, something I would never do and hope you won’t either, unless you enjoy having Facebook monitor you words for threats, mine your news preferences and expressed attitudes, augment your profile, and then package it for advertisers and spooks.

It’s not just the government’s bum that NPR wipes. The network’s reporters are often found astroturfing for corporate interests, a good example being, as told by Alternet, a 2013 Planet Money/This American Life story about an alleged epidemic of Social Security disability scams full of bogus statistics that was red meat for the right, and a 2010 NPR report that viewed Greece’s debt crisis through the self-interested eyes of bond fund managers.

NPR’s point man for the financial sector is Adam Davidson, capo of the Planet Money Mob. He’s been taken to task for securing Ally Bank (formerly GMAC) as the sole underwriter for Planet Money, not that he cares. Also for accepting speaking fees from financial service firms the show may report on. Which reports were done, which ones were never done, and at whose behest would be nice to know.

Thus goeth corporatism, the mode of organization imposed on most of humanity, established at the behest of its most august members, ordering us all according to our worthiness, having defined the term to suit their purposes. As water seeks its own level, corruption creeps into the body politic to metastasize throughout society and its institutions.

News organizations make up a good part of our immune system, hence the drive to incorporate them into the scheme of things. Yet in the face of all this exist many small publishers, producers, and broadcasters that manage to resist cooptation. And despite concerted efforts to lull them into complacency, in fact nearly everywhere the ranks of the un-brainwashed are growing. That’s because almost as soon as one realizes the nature of corporatism, one becomes immune. And having halted the spread of the disease within yourself, you can go forth to immunize others. When there are enough of you, start an anti-corporatism movement. Just don’t corporatize it.