A recent car trip to Maine and back refreshed my acquaintance with NPR. I was shocked. It’s become amazingly jingoistic. There used to be a pretense, at least, of ‘balance’; but that’s all gone.
I was gobsmacked, in particular, by a program called America Abroad — just the title seems to call for some unpacking, doesn’t it?
The particular segment I listened to was one long propagandistic infomercial for intervention in Syria, complete with alarming booms and bangs in the background — bad, dictatorial, tyrannical booms and bangs, not at all like the humanitarian booms and bangs our friendly bombs(*) produce. And of course there was the obligatory Israel stooge presented as an ‘expert’. In this case, that role was played con brio by one Michael Abramowitz, the ‘Director of the Committee on Conscience, which conducts the genocide prevention efforts of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’.
This Holy Joe may perhaps be another reputation.com customer, since there’s nothing interesting about him on the Web, except that he has gone into the family business; his father was the once-notorious Morton Abramowitz, a real permanent-government type, who did the Foreign Office dirty work of presidents from Carter through Bush I, and then retired, like a dim-sighted but sharp-toothed old moray eel, into the crevices of the foundation sector, and from thence contributed his own fangs to the dismemberment of Yugoslavia.
‘America Abroad’ has quite a list of sponsors, which pretty much tells the tale. Personally, I don’t know whether I’m happier about the Qatar Foundation or the National Endowment for Democracy.
Somebody — not me — needs to do a job on the show’s guiding spirit, one Madeleine Brand. I don’t think I have the right cultural background. I’ve spent time in Southern California, but I don’t really quite get it.
(*) A tip of the Father Smith biretta to Sir John Betjeman for one of the good Father’s favorite poems.