Thursday, April 15, 2010

R.I.P. NPR

When I left Michigan for North Carolina nearly two years ago, I also said goodbye to NPR. The lack of decent public radio in Asheville, as well as having only a five-minute commute meant my daily briefings in the car to and from work were a thing of the past.

Since moving back to Michigan, and having an hour commute as well, I've had a chance to get reacquainted with NPR and Michigan Radio.

I wasn't missing much.

The bullshit I heard on the radio today was infuriating. The show was “Here & Now” (from Boston's WBUR), and since today is April 15, they had a segment on taxes...and I quote, “When the money magically disappears from our checks, what happens to it?” I was immediately wary of what was to come, but the host introduced some guest from a “non-partisan tax research group” to break it down.

This host was already beginning to channel her inner-Sarah Palin, and the assclown she brought in as an expert guest might as well have been Glenn Beck or Grover Norquist. She asked him "how does the government spend that tax dollar?" And the first thing out of his mouth ass, is:
“Most of the money is transferred to...uh...other people.”

Now first of all, everyone knows the number one expenditure is defense. To reach his conclusion, this guy rounds defense spending down from the actual 23% to 20%, and then he lists social security (note: 20%) and medicare & medicaid (note: 19%) together, and somehow comes up with 56¢ (!) of that tax dollar going to “what the federal government calls entitlements.” And why explain that the spending on SS is mandatory and covered by its own dedicated stream, and goes to people that have already paid for it.

Even if there is somehow a case to be made for his math, his framing is pretty damn obvious—hard-working Americans are paying for lazy (and probably brown) people.

He also manages to get a dig in on how much government employees are paid. Nice.

Over the next few minutes, as he addresses other minutiae, he repeatedly beats on the welfare horse.
“[defense] is the next biggest chunk after that big 56% entitlement chunk...”

“...the vast fiscal flows out in entitlements...”

Then he proceeds to lament the deficit and points his finger Obama as the source of all of those problems.

He also references the Bush tax cuts a couple times (in a good way) and neglects to mention Obama has lowered taxes, and trots out the bogeyman of rates returning to Clinton-era rates if Obama lets the Bush cuts expire.

When the discussion turns to state taxes, it's more of the same, as he laments the progressive policies of some states who tax households above $200K more.

All the way through this the host nods along, occasionally parroting a point or two, and that's it.

Fuck that shit. That’s the kind of garbage I’d expect to see on Lou Dobbs.

And when I went to the npr.org site to find the link to this piece, I saw on the front page a bogus “he said/she said” regurgitation about whether the word “bailout” is fair to describe the Democrats finance reform. (Its not.) No analysis, no facts, no actual reference to the substance of the legislation. Just five or six quotes—the first batch all seem to be right from Frank Luntz's clubhouse.

Anyway. That's just a snip from today. I did hear an interesting discussion on the Supreme Court with Nina Totenberg later, but on balance, I am finding myself outraged at NPR far more than feeling informed.

3 comments:

Toast said...

I've been pretty hard on NPR recently, but I must say that the typical episode of Morning Edition or All Things Considered isn't this bad. Still the best way to get my non-blog news fix.

Smitty said...

As long as Steve Inskeep and Mara Liasson and that total fuckstick Juan Williams continue to work at NPR, I will be skeptical of their programming.

Normally, I do get some good news from them. But it's when they're allowed to do "analysis" that I get bent out of shape.

Leenie said...

Ever since they got rid of Day-to-Day and replaced it with Here and Now, I've been terribly dissapointed with mid-day programming on NPR. Its better to listen to that than to Fox News radio typically found in the states I'm traveling through.

it has seemed to go down hill lately, but I agree with Toast, ME and ATC isn't terrible, most of the time.