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The dog that didn't bark in the night

I've said before that I listen to NPR on the weekends. Some shows are pure entertainment (Car Talk, Wait Wait Don't Tell Me), while others are for informational value. I am a fan of long-form journalism, and Weekend Edition Sunday is at least good listening material. But lately I've noticed more and more elements of bias and creative omissions in their reports.

This morning, Liane Hansen interviewed C. J. Chivers, a New York Times correstpondent. Chivers has an article in the most recent issue of Esquire on the Beslan School Massacre of September, 2004, as well as the aftermath. Chivers' account was riveting, filled with the kinds of details that ought to horrify most people. But as they talked, I was listening for certain key elements -- elements that were never brought up.

For one, the terrorists were described as "Chechen separatists," but no further explanation. No description of their goals, their past actions towards achieving it, nothing.

And most significantly, not once did I hear the word "Islamic" or "Muslim" uttered by either Hansen or Chivers.

I hate to toss around such terms as "white-washing," but I can't think of a better description of this. By this account, the hostage-takers apparently did the whole thing just for the hell of it.


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Comments (13)

Well, maybe they are afraid... (Below threshold)

Well, maybe they are afraid of being attacked, if only in the courts by a group like CAIR or IBL.
I seem to recall a poster here treading lightly on the issue of a Mosque in Boston recently.

Or, it could just be liberals love of multicuturalism and not being judgmental (unless the culture being judged is westen, anglo and capitalist).

Who today knows Timothy McV... (Below threshold)

Who today knows Timothy McVeigh's religion?

and who cares? Judge him by what he did, not where he was born.

Interesting that you are ju... (Below threshold)
Dan Patterson:

Interesting that you are just now finding a bias in the NPR reportage. NPR's very lineage speaks to the righteous indignation of academic elitists raging against the "military-industrial complex", or a breathless review of "Our Bodies Our Selves". A pillar of white guilt that sucks money out of the treasury and offloads its own guilt onto its listeners a few times a year with t-shirts and mugs, bumper stickers for the anti-car Volvo commanders, and a warm sense of self-satisfaction that you the contributor isn't at all like the 'rest of them'. Oh no. Not at all.

"Pubadick Brooodcahsting, my dear fellow, is an expensive and necessary buffer against the misuse of news". With NPR you'll hear what happened on the world stage but only through the filter of an academic tower with a smattering of curiousity that some people just don't see Che Guevara as a hero! You will hear some very talented very white musicians from Minnesota trying very hard to find soul as they massacre a Robert Johnson tune. You'll hear a soft-voiced interviewer searching for the nuanced meaning of a Viet Nam veteran's bond with his long-gone brothers-in-arms. A sympathetic discussion of Palestinian terror campaigning and a glowing report on Jimmy Carter's legacy is likely. But you will not find unbiased reporting of the world's events.

Dan Patterson
Arrogant Infidel

Hmmmm."Sa... (Below threshold)


"Saudi Men Who Rode School Bus Arrested"

Two Saudi men were arrested Friday after they boarded a school bus and rode to Wharton High School in New Tampa.

Students on the bus became alarmed, as did the bus driver, who called ahead. Hillsborough County sheriff's deputies met the bus at the school and detained the men. No one was injured and nothing out of line occurred on the bus, deputies said.

Mana Saleh Almanajam, 23, who lives in Apt. 302 in The Point apartments, and Shaker Mohsen Alsidran, 20 Monticello Gardens, Apt. 304-A, each were charged with trespassing on school property. Both remained in Orient Road Jail on Friday evening. Bail for each was set at $250.

"Both defendants gave several versions of the reason they took a school bus to a high school," said Hillsborough County sheriff's spokesman J.D. Callaway.

"They said they wanted to go to Wharton to look around, and then they said they wanted to go there to have some fun, and then they said they wanted to enroll in the English classes there," Callaway said. ...

Protein Wisdom

A trial run for a new Beslan?

Hmmmm.Who... (Below threshold)


Who today knows Timothy McVeigh's religion?

1. McVeigh didn't conduct the Oklahoma bombing because of religion.

2. Beslan was conducted in large part because of religion.

That's the difference.

Who today knows Timothy ... (Below threshold)
James Cloninger:

Who today knows Timothy McVeigh's religion?
and who cares? Judge him by what he did, not where he was born.

A Roman Catholic, but the point being that he didn't use the cloak of his religion to explain his actions, nor does the Catholic religion call for terrorism for failure to be Catholic.

He was one man (or two, if you include Terry Nichols) who wanted to wage a war against the government. He was a rabid anti-govermentalist. He was born in New York State.

We did judge and sentence him on his actions. There were no RCs excusing his actions, nor libertarians either (as he was).

However, the religion of Islam, as policy set out by the leading Imans, DO excuse the behaviour of their bombers. And there, is the point.

I see ed beat me to it, his... (Below threshold)
James Cloninger:

I see ed beat me to it, his was more succinct.

"But lately I've noticed mo... (Below threshold)

"But lately I've noticed more and more elements of bias and creative omissions in their reports."

So did I...in 2000. I began listening to NPR in 1976 with the inauguration of a public radio station in my area. For 8-10 I was enthralled with the oh-so-knowing "New Yorker"-style feelings it gave me, and I was convinved I was superior in intellect, taste and discernment merely because I listened to NPR some 6 hours a day. And I supported NPR financially. I gave. Boy, did I answer the many calls. Spring, Fall, in-between. NPR tee-shirts and coffee-cups abound in my abode.

And then I became aware of and grew quickly tired of all the cultural and political assumptions that not only NPR but the local affiliates and associates made about NPR listeners. I found myself having to "listen defensively" to NPR, staying alert for analysis passing for a report of fact, unsupported factual statements and fuzzy or downright partisan sourcing of reports.

The political bias of NPR finally became undeniable during the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings, when its reporters clearly spun its coverage so as to support and bolster Anita Hill. NPR became part of the story, and yet insited on reporting it as if its reporters were pristine. (We later learned there were NPR reporters who were friends with Hill and didn't disclose this relationship or their participation in events supporting Hill. Afterwards they made cear they supported and beleived her.)

I noticed their editorializing in profiles of political figures, and disparate treatment based on whether NPR "liked" a politician. It's so common that I hardly npticed when NPR gave Teddy Kennedy the sacrifice/tragedy/duty angle in avoiding any questions of Kennedy's habitual abuse of privilege and hypocrisy. But even so I was shocked when I listened to the outrageously fawning profile of retirng Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun. The reporter bordered on deification of Blackmun for his "courageous" stands (ultra-liberal, of course) on the death penalty and abortion. It was embarrassing to listen,it was so favorably distorted. Senator Robert Byrd, Democrat from West Virginia, got the same glowing reviews and kid glove treatment. It was the "grand orator, fighting fo the commom man" style. "There was never a mention of his Klan days or his outrageou

In over 20 years of daily listening, I cannot recall a single ptofile of a remotely conservative figure which did not include a good handful of "gotchas" and ambush attempts, far less any love-ins of the type NPR reserved for icons of the left. Certainly nothing as idolatrous or obsequious as for the icons of the Democrats.

I finally was done with NPR programs altogether when it became impossible for me to listen to even Garrison Keillor's "A Prairie Home Companion" for more than five minutes (I am serious: he couldn't make five minutes ) without hearing Keillor mouth some angry, bitter diatribe disguised as humor aimed at George Bush, Southerners, conservatives or evangelical Christians. (This summer we get to look forward to Garrison Keillor's stories directed by Robert Altman: I'm sure that will be nothing more than a warm, witty sentimental look at small-town midwest life. What politcal message could possibly get into that, right?)

Because I'm offended by NPR's politicization of news, biased reporting and treatment of politcal figures, and gross abuse of public funds, I've gone from a solid supporter who gave NPR several hundred dollars a year, to somebody who will not listen to it at all, and gives that money to more deserving recipients. But NPR still wins because I'm suporting it anyway through my taxes.

Even with NPR's subtle and ... (Below threshold)

Even with NPR's subtle and sometimes not-so-subtle liberal bias, I still prefer their long-form journalism format to Fox News, and the difference is purely stylistic. I prefer to listen to the news delivered in a calm voice and in even, measured tones than to be shouted at or treated like a child who needs to be entertained.

And most significantly, ... (Below threshold)

And most significantly, not once did I hear the word "Islamic" or "Muslim" uttered by either Hansen or Chivers.

By this account, the hostage-takers apparently did the whole thing just for the hell of it.

Nice catch, Jay. Including this information would cause liberals to face realities they'd rather not. Therefore, in order not to offend such sensibilities, it is better to treat the Breslan episode as some sort of natural disaster. You know, sh*t happens. It's a tragedy, not an outrage.

Hold on there Lee, Ed and J... (Below threshold)

Hold on there Lee, Ed and James. Can you show me something that demonstrates McVeigh was a Catholic? I hear this a lot, but my recollection is that he specifically claimed he didn't believe in God.

Question from chat room: Does McVeigh have any spiritual-religious beliefs?

Lou Michel: McVeigh is agnostic. He doesn't believe in God, but he won't rule out the possibility. I asked him, "What if there is a heaven and hell?"

He said that once he crosses over the line from life to death, if there is something on the other side, he will -- and this is using his military jargon -- "adapt, improvise, and overcome." Death to him is all part of the adventure.

McVeigh apparently repeated this claim in an interview with The Guardian. Again, maybe there's evidence to the contrary I've missed. If so, could someone provide a link.

Hmmm.Hold... (Below threshold)


Hold on there Lee, Ed and James. Can you show me something that demonstrates McVeigh was a Catholic? I hear this a lot, but my recollection is that he specifically claimed he didn't believe in God.

Frankly I don't know what exact denomination of Christianity McVeigh was a part of. I believe that he became an atheist or agnostic. IMHO a lot of people point to McVeigh's past participation with Christianity as some sort of whitewash for muslim terrorists and a way to portray Christianity in general in a bad light.

But whether or not he was Catholic at some point? No idea.

WikiPedia: Timothy McVeigh

They have him down as an Irish Catholic. Which really doesn't mean anything really. Just because you were raised a Catholic doesn't mean you adhere to the Catholic faith.

*shrug* YMMV

Hold on there Lee, Ed an... (Below threshold)
James Cloninger:

Hold on there Lee, Ed and James. Can you show me something that demonstrates McVeigh was a Catholic?

Sure, no probs:


First sentence:
According to news reports, Timothy McVeigh, a lapsed Catholic, received the anointing of the sick, a Catholic sacrament, just minutes before his execution.






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