Your tax dollars at work
NPR Watch: Rise and shine with Soccer Mom Public Radio
Had to drive into Missoula last week, and I flipped through the FM stations, trying to find something interesting. The choices around here are pop, rock, religious and NPR. As far as I know there are no full-time jazz or classical stations. Amazingly, the cheezy-phony pop/rock, constant-hype DJ with the cliche delivery is still around. One guy makes me feel like I'm in a Twilight Zone episode and I'm back in the 70s listening to a portable radio, back when they played music on the AM dial. cue jingle: “KJR, Seattle- channel ninety fiiiiiive!”
Sometimes I'll tune into NPR just to hear a radio voice without the high-intensity, sales-pitchy schtick. Hey, these NPR folks almost sound like real people! But that's the sales pitch, right? When I got a Costco card back in early fall, my intention was to buy the cheapest membership possible. I ended up buying the most expensive membership, with the new Costco credit card added on, of course, but this wasn't because of a slick, pushy salesman with a gift for gab and expensive watch, but just an average woman who convinced me in a very casual, indirect manner that I'd have to be some kind of slobbering moron to walk out of the Costco with just a standard membership. How'd she do this? By sounding calm, down-to-earth, likable and normal. Just like the pleasant voices on NPR's morning edition! Remember that old Don Henley tune, Dirty Laundry?
She can tell you 'bout the plane crash, with a gleam in her eye.
The NPR Karens can pitch the latest war with a breezy lilt in their voice.
In fact war was the topic when I tuned in on the way to Missoula. I didn't catch every part of the segment, but there was a short interview with an expert whose business it was to make sure recruitment efforts were such that there was always a steady flow of enlistees. “We need to be prepared now for our next war.” That is, it's not, “By maintaining a strong and ready national defense, we can prevent war,” but “We need fresh cannon fodder for our next imperial adventure.”
I said to Lukas, “can you imagine in any other country on earth, the announcer using that phrase, for our next war?”
Lukas laughed and said, “Yep. Only in America.” then he laughed harder and said he was trying to imagine such a broadcast in Germany. Yes, it would sound preposterous and insane in a German broadcast:
Für unseren nächsten Krieg!
but it sounds preposterous in any language, except American English- then it sounds normal, and the pleasant announcer doesn't flinch.
Spanish-language country war guy: para nuestra próxima guerra
likely reaction: “War, what war? What the hell are you talking about?”
in Japan: 私たちの次の戦争のためです。“Watashitachi no tsugi no sensō no tame ni”
likely reaction: “Our next war? Huuuh? Are you out of your mind?”
NPR war-guy guest: “for our next war.”
NPR Karen: “Yes, tell us about preparedness in our next war,” and it all sounds normal.
I kind of tuned out after that segment, and only heard bits and pieces as I was negotiating the curvy parts of the highway as it snaked into Missoula, traffic cruising along at 70. But I did catch that the next report was on a bill in the Montana senate to increase aid to postpartum mothers. In it the announcer dutifully used the term, “pregnant people” but then she slipped when she forgot to say 'people' again, but instead used the archaic and uninclusive term 'women' to refer to the pregnant people who would be effected by this new legislation. She'll be reprimanded for this insensitivity, we hope.
That was it for my NPR car-radio listening. I soon had another Karen Public Radio experience, however. I have the alarm on my clock radio to 'music' and the station that comes in clearest happens to be the public radio station. Lukas was visiting to help me with some stuff and as Stan is here with his family, Lukas had to room with me and sleep on the bunk bed, and he got the Morning Edition wake-up call. When Luke came in for breakfast, he was chuckling about the content of the show.
Xi Jinping was in Moscow trying to get Russia and Ukraine to agree to a cease-fire. The NPR announcers were in a tizzy, gravely worried that this political move could indeed lead to a cessation of bullets and bombs, and provide Russia with time to restructure, reorganize, and rearm.
Heaven forbid Russians and Ukranians stop shooting each other. A stoppage in the shooting will lead to more shooting, of course! Sorry Ivan. Sorry Vitali. You’ll have to die so that the Powers That Shouldn’t Be can save you.
This morning I awoke early but I stayed in bed and waited for the NPR alarm to kick in. I knew there’d be grist for this mill.
The first thing that came up was a piece on the dangers of A.I. being able to simulate humans. People can now make convincing fakes of faces, voices, etc. and it’s being used for nefarious ends! They mentioned how Pizza Gaters were using this technology to promote their crazy conspiracies. This is a perfect two-birds-one-stone story. First, guilt by false association: Pizza Gaters are the kind of people who create dangerous cyborgs that will lie, fleece and kill you! Pizza Gate is therefore totally unfounded. Second, A.I. tampering is something done not by your government or other ‘trusted’ entities, but by dangerous loonies who use words like ‘adrenochrome’, ‘spirit cooking’ and ‘Celine Dion’. We can trust A.I. in the hands of the government, but not in the hands of Alex Jones listeners. So we’ll need the government to crack down and police the whole thing.
After the special feature came the regular news:
local news: Apparently the judicial system in Montana is monitored by a sort of ombudsman, looking for corruption, unfairness, etc. in the courts. They pointed out that this position is filled by someone who is chosen by, wait for it, judges. Hah! Sort of like the old ombudsman at your local paper, hired by the newspaper itself, of course. Some schlub who comes in and shares donuts and coffee with all the editors, columnists, and reporters who work so tirelessly to defend the status quo. Yeah, he’s on your side!
Anyway, let’s be fair; I call this good reporting- the kind of thing we need from public radio (and private, for that matter).
national news: Seattle became the first U.S. city to add caste to its list of categories protected against discrimination. This law defines ‘caste’ as a social structure mostly associated with South Asian communities, many of whom live and work in Seattle. To the malcontents among my readers who might make some connection with this development and unrestrained immigration- first off, that’s a thought crime. Secondly, Seattle has great Indian food.
From the NPR piece: “As we become more diverse we have to understand that discrimination exists in other countries too.”
In all my world travels I never would have guessed.
international news: An interview with a geopolitics expert who will discuss the US plan to equip Australia with a bunch of shiny, new, nuclear submarines.
First, the setup: Sorry, we couldn’t reach said expert Fred Glazenberg in his DC office; he’s on the road, in New York City with a bunch of 10-yr. olds on a Model United Nations field trip! How’s it going? Well, those kids certainly do amaze. One boy just speculated on the possible reaction to a proposed UN resolution by the ambassador from Gabon. Ten-year olds these days! The NPR interviewer and DC expert share a hearty laugh! See, Fred’s just a regular, nice guy, hangin’ out with precocious fourth graders, so his opinion on the sale of nuclear subs and their deployment near China, with the capability of frying the entire earth with Polaris missiles is solid. There’s a three-football-field long homeless encampment in the field along the Clark Fork river in Missoula, but Australia needs billion-dollar doomsday subs for our Strangelove overlords, so everything’s good. Thanks for the interview, Fred!
All this crap dished up at 7:15 AM by your favorite soothing voice on NPR.
I think it would be a pretty easy thing, chronicling daily the BS coming from NPR. Maybe I'll start a series called NPR Watch- not daily though; my barf-bag budget is limited.
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