Sunday, June 28, 2009

NPR and Torture: Why I'm Never Contributing to NPR

My car radio is tuned to NPR. The station also does classical music during the day, but then, during the hours I drive, it is pure NPR programming. Over the past eight years, I've found myself, quite often, screaming at the radio in frustration as torture is discussed and it is labeled with the Orwellian "enhanced interrogation techniques" or "harsh interrogation techniques." I've yelled, "No, it is TORTURE, call Torture, TORTURE!" Sadly, the radio never responds to my tirades.

Now, I see the formal explanation of why this is. NPR's Ombudsman has written a blog entry about NPR's avoidance of the word "torture" to describe torture. It is, to say the least, tortured logic. What is most telling is the admission in there that to NOT use torture is do adopt the government's position - all of this said while they explain how they cannot "take sides." Yet not using the word IS taking a side - that of the government. Unfortunatley, the side that is not taken is the truth.

This is utter bullshit. Glenn Greenwald, as linked above, takes NPR to task on this. I am very much looking forward to NPR's (likely bullshit) response. There really is only one right answer here. NPR should report the truth. It should not matter which "side" is hurt by it or which side uses the language. Objective reporting requires reporting the truth. Anything else is propeganda. Not using the word "torture" to describe torture is propeganda.

Over the years, I've heard many an NPR pledge drive. I did once contribute to NPR, though my labor, not through money, though it was 16 hours of labor, not a small investment. When it has come to money, I have not pledged, though I have always intended to - likely when I am no longer paying for child care. But no more. This Orwellian nonsense has killed any incentive I would have had to give them any of my hard-earned cash. Instead, I am going to call them on pledge weeks and tell them what I'm saying now - until they stop with the propeganda and actually accurately report torture as torture, I will NEVER give them a dime. And it isn't just on the torture issue, but all issues where they play these language games, adopting the Orwellian language, usually of the right-wing, to describe things. Real reporters report facts and don't care which side those facts hurt. NPR is nothing more than a propeganda organ for the right-wing so long as they adopt right-wing language over truth. (Same goes for any left-wing Orwellian language, though there is far less of that).

So NPR had better clean up its act, or no money from me. Somehow, I'm not expecting anything to change. Glenn is going to be either rationalized away or ignored. The rot in the MSM is too deep for anything to matter now. I expect the MSM ship is going to sink to the bottom and be replaced by something else - the inanity of the cable news is likely unfixable, given the way the MSM is structured and financed. But at least my voice is out there, for what it is worth.

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