Friday, March 28, 2008

Editor’s Note: There was a time when PBS and NPR had a much deeper commitment to the public good, taking on difficult or controversial topics – like apartheid in South Africa or the Iran-Contra lawlessness of the Reagan years – when the corporate news media shied away.

But a sustained right-wing strategy to pressure their government subsidies has had a telling effect, as PBS and NPR serve up thinner and thinner journalistic gruel, more to the liking of the powers-that-be. In this guest essay, media critic Norman Solomon observes this tedious pattern at NPR:

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 antiwar, 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...[Open in new window]


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