Saturday, November 27, 2010

NPR fluffs while others miss the point

If there's anything worse than Iraq being covered, it's Iraq being covered poorly. Kelly McEvers has a story for NPR that we're linking to because I finally just wanted to get off the phone with an NPR friend and said, "Fine, we'll link to it. But I will share my thoughts." In the course of the conversation, as I shared what a piece of ____ Kelly's 'reported,' it was pointed out that two Fridays ago, she had a 'real report' and I blew that off.

I blew that off?

As I remember the report, McEvers is telling listeners at the start that they -- like she -- won't know what's true and what's not. That's a report? Why don't we all just let our minds run free with fantasies and call that 'reporting'. I don't dislike McEvers but I'm not going to break my neck trying to include a 'report' which even the reporter can't verify. That wasn't a report, it was a what-if.

In her latest, amidst all the violence and chaos and turmoil, McEvers wants to break in and announce that Saddam Hussein's yacht has been returned to Iraq.

That's not even bad travel writing. That's just crap and serves no one. Considering what a ___ poor job NPR has done on the targeting of Iraqi Christians, they really don't have time for these 'lifestyle' pieces.

In the public e-mail there are 15 people insisting that Iraq War veteran Charles Whittington has not been treated badly. In a snapshot this week, the only one he's mentioned in, I noted that there wasn't room for more.

So let's make room for more.

Charles Whittington is a private citizen whose actions include turning in a paper for a class and then allowing the student newspaper to run the essay. None of which ever gave the junior college the right to speak of him to the press. They have done so. Repeatedly. They have not said, "We have a student whose name we're not disclosing due to his right to privacy." They have gladly and publicly named him. Repeatedly. He could sue their asses off right now. There was never a reason for them to 'go public' with the details of his assignment and they're 'concerns,' let alone to go public with his name.

Grasp it, if a college student had committed no crime and officials are worried about his or her sanity, they have no right to discuss said student in public, to identify him or her or anything else.

That junior college should be praying that Charles Whittington has no interest in suing them because their remarks to the press are in violation of his right to privacy, their remarks have painted him as a potential monster who could go on a rampage -- a portrayal that insults veterans everywhere, by the way -- so don't try sending me any of your excuses of how the poor little junior college was just doing its job to protect its students.

Charles Whittington is one of their students. He was not protected. Their entire public statements about the matter should have been restricted to "No comment." Having failed to uphold his privacy in a climate that has portrayed him as a potential campus shooter, they better pray Whittington doesn't decide to sue them.

If you're still not getting it, read what the college has said publicly:

The violent and inflammatory content of Mr Whittington's article raised some red flags we felt we needed to address in this post-Virginia Tech era. We have an obligation to maintain a safe and comfortable learning environment for the diverse population of nearly 74,000 students we serve.

Their duty to 'maintain a safe and comfortable learning environment' includes not tarring any of their students. The administrators should be forced to explain how a student's suspension became news, how and why the junior college felt comfortable naming him, commenting on him, likening him to the Virginia Tech shooter, which is what they just did above.

They should explain who they thought they were helping in doing the above. And no judge is going to side with them that they were helping their student body because their remarks were made AFTER they had suspended him. After he was barred from the campus. No one's interest was served in the remarks the officials repeatedly made and, in fact, Charles Whittington's interests and name were harmed.

The quote appears in northsunm32's piece at All Voices which is an even-handed look at what happened.

The following community sites updated last night and today:

And we'll close with this from Sherwood Ross' "Why Poverty Is Spreading Across America" (OpEdNews):

Pockets of poverty, like the sores of some malignant disease, are spreading across America, as its states and cities go broke and bankrupt.
“Camden, New Jersey, stands as a warning of what huge pockets of America could turn into,” The Nation magazine reports in its Nov. 22nd issue. In fact, it has already happened, it is happening all over, and there is no signal on the horizon that poverty and blight will not continue to spread. It is not that Americans are lazy and shiftless; rather, they are reeling from betrayal---for they have been betrayed both by their employers, who have shown not an ounce of loyalty to their work forces, and they have been betrayed by their Federal government, which has lied the nation into costly criminal wars.
“Camden is the poster child of postindustrial decay,” writes Chris Hedges, the former foreign correspondent for The New York Times. “It stands as a warning of what huge pockets of the United States could turn into as we cement into place a permanent underclass of the unemployed, slash state and federal services in a desperate bid to cut massive deficits, watch cities and states go bankrupt and struggle to adjust to a stark neofeudalism in which the working and middle classes are decimated.” In an article titled “City of Ruins,” Hedges reports that 70 percent of Camden's high school students drop out, that the city's unemployment rate is probably 30 to 40 percent, and that its dangerous streets “are filled with the unemployed.”
What is thriving in Camden is prostitution, the drug trade and crime. “There are perhaps a hundred open-air drug markets, most run by gangs like the Bloods, the Latin Kings, Los Nietos and MS-13,” Hedges writes. “Knots of young men in black leather jackets and baggy sweatshirts sell weed and crack to clients, many of whom drive in from the suburbs. The drug trade is one of the city's few thriving businesses...Camden is awash in guns...” (and) in 2009 had the highest crime rate in the nation with 2,333 violent crimes per 1,000 population vs. a national average of just 455, Wikipedia reported.
Camden is no isolated example. More than half of its residents, 52 percent, live in poverty. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2006 ranked it fourth highest among cities with under 250,00 residents as 35.6 percent of its population lived in poverty. It followed Brownsville, Tex., 40.6%; and College Station, Tex., 37.3%. Other poverty-struck cities were Edinburg, Tex., 35.4%; Bloomington,Ind., 34.7%; Flint, Mich., 34.1%; Kalamazoo, Mich., 33.4; Florence-Graham, Ca. (in Los Angeles County), 33.0%; Gary, Ind., 32.8%; and Muncie, Ind., 32.6%
The poverty rates of major cities show similar patterns of despair.

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oh boy it never ends