I don't listen to NPR often enough anymore to get the semi-regular delving into stupidity that I used to. It's not the news itself, it's how some of those boneheads mangle things in their reporting.
A few years ago, a guy was beaten to death with a baseball bat. I don't even remember the details. The thing I do remember was the whitebread NPR mouthpiece who had to tell us ignorant listeners that "wassup, nigga?" is the equivalent of "hail fellow well-met!" (apparently it had some bearing upon the trial of the killers). Hearing this hopelessly white "reporter" trying to say "wassup, nigga?" had me laughing for hours afterward. Think of the silly liberal white guy neighbor on "The Jeffersons" (or was it "Good Times"?), so desperate to show how hip and involved he was, who couldn't even say "right on!" properly.
What reminded me of that was this post, Ten Things I Hate About NPR.
Until my own example above, though, my previous "dumbest thing I've heard on NPR" happened back in the late 90s. Some reporter woman went to a little village in South America, some place where people make their own clothes and such. She's looking over a rug or blanket woven by the old woman she's interviewing and suddenly pops out with something along the lines of, "What about this, it looks kind of primitive, did you make this?" Sheesh. Stay classy!
I think that's when I started thinking that there's not so much a liberal or conservative bias in certain areas of reporting, so much as a stupid or ignorant bias. Reporters go to reporting school or whatever, and seem to suddenly think that they know more about stuff than most people. If they know so much, why do they get so much WRONG in the stories they report on?
MSNBC used to run a late-night "investigative report" show--your basic "video clip" show where some voice-over type reads a script while all sorts of exciting things are going on. In their "Are air shows DANGEROUS?" offering, they showed clips of aircraft doing all sorts of cool stuff, including crashing in exciting fireballs that seem to engulf a terrified audience. Makes for good TV, I suppose, but the person who cut the video and the numbskull who narrated should have gotten together to make sure they had some details right.
The narrator tells us that every stunt you see is made up of one or more of the three basic maneuvers--the loop, the roll, and the spin. Sounds good--but what they SHOWED as he's talking is a loop, a roll, and a roll. The supposedly-spinning plane was performing the same maneuver as the previous one, but at a different angle and direction. It's not like they didn't have footage of it--they apparently just didn't know enough about airplanes to tell the difference.
So how are these people qualified to tell me about airplanes, let alone air show safety?
They're not--but they know that. The so-called "investigation" was never intended to be anything more than a clip-show, like the "most exciting police chases EVER!!! Volume 3" stuff. Its real purpose is to get you to watch so that maybe you'll sit through the commercials. They can bring in a few experts to shine it up, but it's not really supposed to be educational or informative.
Could it be that NPR--and most of what passes for "news"--is more of the same?
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