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The Illusion of Diverse Opinion on NPR

Mytwords's picture
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[cross posted at NPR Check]

A reader of the NPR Check blog earlier noted his letter to the OMBOTsman regarding NPR's habit of always having supposedly liberal Daniel Schorr balanced out on every show by a more rightwing voice (can you say Foxista Juan Williams?).

This morning featured Juan Williams (and Scott Simon) parroting the right wing talking points on the Sotomayor nomination:

(Williams) "But on the face of it Scott, you'd have to say that her language - and if you took it for what it was worth - was racist."

That was the view from the right, but what about the liberal views on the weeks news? Consider these statements from Schorr talking with Simon later in the program:

  • "We have not witnessed a nuclear explosion in anger since 1945..."
  • "Nuclear weapons going steadily into more and more hands and not very responsible hands..."
  • "Probably the most immediate dangerous is what's called proliferation. Israel has already had to bomb an installation in Syria which apparently had North Korean help in getting a nuclear weapon."
  • "And so for the civilized world right now the immediate thing is to prevent further proliferation which may mean having to board and search ships at sea."

Holy smokes! However - civilized, responsible Schorr wasn't done yet. With a prompt from Simon, he's off an running on Iran:

(Simon): "Does the policy of extending a hand in friendship look a little naive this week?"
(Schorr): "I don't know if it looks, if it is naive, but it looks as though it's not getting very far..."

I'm not sure what hand of friendship Simon and Schorr are fantasizing about. Maybe they mean one of the AIPAC enriched palms of Dennis Ross - chief of Obama's non-diplomacy policy toward Iran.

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koshembos's picture
Submitted by koshembos on

Hand of friendship refers clearly to Iran and originally also to North Korea. Of all the dangers in the world it seems that you are worried about AIPAC. I don't think that Sotomayor is a racist, but your injecting AIPAC into a problem where it isn't ever mentioned may be.

Submitted by lambert on

I agree that AIPAC is a bit of stretch, but racist? Absurd. And no hiding behind "may be," please.

I had quite enough of incendiary and false charges of racism in the year 2008, thank you very much.

Davidson's picture
Submitted by Davidson on

Read Paul's post. He takes apart the whole racist attack on Sotomayor rather thoroughly. Even if you just look at that one sentence, how can the fact that she hopes that a Latina would make a better decision (in discrimination cases) more often than not be a "poor" choice of words? She's rather cautious, actually, to make certain she's expressing herself clearly and won't be misinterpreted.

I can't believe Gibbs said that and that Obama is basically implying she's to blame for misspeaking, which only serves to entrench the idea that Newt, Rush, and Ann have a point.

Submitted by lambert on

Brad DeLong:

On a related note, I find the “what if a white man said that?” move incredibly grating about 99 percent of the time it’s used, because it’s almost always a way of blotting out all the reasons that it would, in fact, be different. In the instance, it would be weird for a white man to say it because it’s probably not true that the experience of growing up as a white male in the United States specifically enhances one’s understanding of what it means to be a disfavored minority. In other words, it just wouldn’t be true or reasonable in this case—though it might be for a white male who grew up as a religious or ethnic minority somewhere else in the world. So yes, sometimes formally gramatically equivalent statements will have different connotations depending on whether it’s a white person speaking about whites or a Latino speaking about Latinos, because history happened. I realize this is, like, the worst racial injustice ever, but Republicans should realize how insanely tone-deaf they come across when they assert that Sotomayor’s is a “story of privilege” because she was “blessed by Providence with the precisely correct right race-gender two-fer for the moment”—as opposed to poor schmucks saddled with surnames like Bush, I suppose, who had to claw their way into the Ivies on their own merits.

Damon's picture
Submitted by Damon on

The whole comparing her to David Duke (as Limbaugh has done) and La Raza to the KKK (like Tancredo has done) is so fucking tone-deaf and insulting it's not even funny.

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