Idle query

Republicans rush to defend the right to expend public resources to disparage an entire religious tradition.

If someone had been fired by NPR for saying that when he sees a public-school teacher wearing a crucifix he wonders whether his kids are being taught Bible biology, do you think the Republicans would be out to de-fund NPR and PBS?

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

6 thoughts on “Idle query”

  1. Isn't the first question whether or not NPR would fire someone for saying "that when he sees a public-school teacher wearing a crucifix he wonders whether his kids are being taught Bible biology"? I can't at all say for sure, but my inclination is that they wouldn't.

    Don't know you personally, Mark, but I would have thought that you (and most of the primary posters on RBC) would have thought that NPR over-reacted. Am I wrong?

  2. Aren't the Republicans out to defund PBS and NPR, as a default position? Hasn't it been a Republican desiderata, almost as consistent as tax-cuts for the wealthy, since . . . well, forever?

    Democrats — particularly the corrupt centrists — are the ones, who, apparently lack either principles or program. The Republicans just keep hammering away. They are opportunists, with regard to tactics, and ready to use resentment as a prod to herd the cattle, whenever they can. But, they know where they want to herd the cattle — and that doesn't change.

    The Republicans will be satisfied only when all Media are safely controlled exclusively by for-profit business corporations within the network of the corporate Media establishment, and functioning as part of the right-wing propaganda machine.

    That means financing by corporate grants and advirtisements, and it also requires debasement of journalism as a profession, with professional standards and ethics. A journalist's hobbyshop, like NPR, will be absorbed by the corporate Borg, sooner or later. We're pretty far down that road already, and the only surprising thing about your offering this counterfactual as a comment is that it betrays so little awareness of the history of broadcasting and the current network structure of corporate inter-relationships that dominates opinion content and reporting across the board.

  3. For my part, I am surprised that Juan Williams was fired, but he deserved to be fired for a long, long time. He's used the NPR brand to legitimate Fox propaganda for years.

    The larger issue is the way that the corporate Media is fashioned into a monolithic propaganda machine, in part by common dependence on corporate advertising and grants for financial support, and in part by the way celebrity pundits are "networked" across programming outlets, while corporate production companies, locked into the ownership structure of the for-profit Media, control the actual generation of content.

    Juan Williams, an ersatz liberal by reason of his association with the NPR brand, was just a particularly egregious case. But, the Politico hacks, who appear regularly on Charlie Rose and Washington Week in Review, as well network Sunday public affairs shows and various cable news outlets, exemplify the disease, if not its most repulsive symptoms.

  4. Don't you think Juan Williams was only saying out loud what most white guys are thinking when they get on a late night subway car with a bunch of black kids? Obama made it OK for a black man to be President. Juan made it OK for a black man to be a bigot. Onward.

  5. This is the guy who could not tell the difference between Michelle Obama and Stokeley Carmichael. He was not fired for gross incompetence on that occasion. He lasted longer than he deserved.

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