Monday, August 14, 2006

Cheerleading for (Certain) Democracies

One bad thing about weekends is there's no Democracy Now! to download. This is one hour essential to each of my weekdays. To keep the rhythm going on Saturdays and Sundays I recently started listening again to NPR (American National Public Radio), however I can only handle a brief listen before getting thoroughly fed up with its news programming. I used to listen nonstop to the NPR member station in Ithaca, New York in the late 90's, so I got to hear fantastic programs like Alternative Radio along with what I believed then to be decidedly non-commercial radio programming.

So what a surprise it was to tune in Sunday morning and hear an NPR member station broadcasting a program called "Newsweek On Air". Produced by Newsweek itself, within seconds I felt that I was actually hearing something akin to a video news release, a faked news story produced by a corporation or the government for the purpose of deceiving the listener into believing the segment was actually journalism rather than propoganda.

The very obviously very scripted interview I listened to sounded like nothing more than outright cheering for the empire. (This may be nothing new for some readers, but for my girlfriend and I it's an intrusion; we have constructed a television-free world for ourselves in which corporate pap disguised as fair, accurate, balanced, or true must be actively sought out for criticism.) Newsweek's imbecile guest---one of its magazine commentators---was telling the inane co-hosts that "Muslim culture" was, in fact, amenable to "democracy" because of all the, you know, important facets the two have in common. Like what? asked the inane co-hosts. Says the imbecile guest: like private property.

Earth to planet Earth: private property is not a facet of democracy. People with imperial agendas are always confusing democracy and capitalism. That is why whenever a population makes a democratic choice to reject some aspect of capitalism or empire, the Empire always complains about "threats to democracy."

The Vietnamese want communism? Bomb them. The Palestinians want the right to self-determination? Bomb them. Iran wants to nationalize its oil? Sponsor a coup. Transparent, highly monitored elections have occurred recently in Venezuela, Lebanon, and Palestine, in which opposition to empire has been proclaimed loudly by voters. No wonder there is such hostility among defenders of imperialism to these governments.

But then, what did the imbecile Newsweek commentator have to say about democracy in the Middle East? He talked about "successful" new democracies in Afghanistan and Iraq, and about advances in the Gulf States, Jordan, and Morocco (which I sort of think of as being in northwest Africa, but whatever). Absent in the cheerleading of corrupt governments under American occupation or monarchies for chrissakes was any mention of the open democracies we are actively crushing in Palestine and Lebanon.

Why is an NPR station broadcasting insipid shit from Newsweek? They have their agenda. On mine is a daily dose of Democracy Now!.


pissed off patricia said...

Before I read your post, I want to thank you for the link to Carlin on religion. I had never heard one before. It was wonderful! Thank you a million times :)

Pangaea said...

So this is where you're hanging out eh? Nice posts.

Democracy Now is a gift to mankind and a great resource. The best analysis in the news-world, you get from them. (Yeah, I know, that doesn't really say much..)

I just want to put in a short comment on the "democractic" Marocco. They are currently occupying West-Sahara, and have done so for a looong time. Probably more "democratic" than the "only democratic state in the Middle East" though - Israel.

Keeping my hope that the cease-fire will last, and Israel will withdraw as soon as possible. Terrible to see what Lebanon looks like now. Rubble upon rubble, with gates here and there with thinner rubble called "roads" or "streets". Not a pretty sight.

Shame on Israel. Shame on the US. Shame on the UK.

Keir said...

Thanks for reading.

Here's the George Carlin link pissed off patricia is referring to.

On keeping hope, Pangaea I suggest reading Derrick Jensen's essay Beyond Hope. If we all exhale now that there's a ceasefire, cross our fingers, and hope the violence is done, the ceasefire is doomed. And still, Palestine is under fire and occupation.

JOS said...

Keir, you are former New York City dweller, aren't you? If so, I am sure you've heard of WBAI:

Nothing is more frustrating than NPR and their "liberal" newscasts.

Keir said...

Never lived in NYC itself---born in Brooklyn but whisked away to the suburbs before I could say "eggcream". When I lived nearby my favorite station was 89.9 FM.

Anyway speaking of radio, thanks to Justin Podur at the Z blogs I just discovered Uprising Radio, and they do an hour each weekday, plus a one hour summary of the previous week's broadcasts each weekend, all available over the internet. Looks like I've got Saturdays covered now.

pissed off patricia said...

It's a sin what has been done to Lebanon. Those people are coming home to stacks of nothing. Where will they live and what will they do? I don't blame them, I would take help from anyone who offered if I could have a place to live and food for my family.