NPR's GLOBAL WAR ON NOUNS
BOB GARFIELD: The U.N.’s High Commissioner for Human Rights says that waterboarding is torture. The International Committee of the Red Cross have called what the U.S. did “torture.” Waterboarding is unambiguously in violation of the International Convention on Torture, which has been ratified by 140-some countries.
It seems to me that the only people who think it’s a debate are the Bush Administration, who are the culprits. So how does that constituent a debate?ALICIA SHEPARD: Well, there are two sides to the issue. And I'm not sure, why is it so important to call something torture?
Grumpy adjusts his glasses:
"I'M NOT SURE, WHY IT IT SO IMPORTANT TO CALL SOMETHING TORTURE" ?
"I'M NOT SURE, WHY IT IT SO IMPORTANT TO CALL SOMETHING TORTURE"?
WTF? EXPLETIVE DELETED, OMG, EXPLETIVE DELETED,EXPLETIVE DELETED, EXPLETIVE DELETED, OMG! EXPLETIVE DELETED, EXPLETIVE DELETED, EXPLETIVE DELETED, EXPLETIVE DELETED, EXPLETIVE DELETED, OMG, EXPLETIVE DELETED, HOLY CRAP! (homage to Peter Boyle) WTF? EXPLETIVE DELETED, EXPLETIVE DELETED, OMG! EXPLETIVE DELETED, EXPLETIVE DELETED, EXPLETIVE DELETED, EXPLETIVE DELETED, . . . (a half hour passes) ."
Ahem, well at least the host doesn't let Ms. Shepard off the hook, in fact he gets her to admit the NPR's euphemisms for torture reflect a pro-Bush bias:
BOB GARFIELD: I put it to you that embracing a euphemism for torture validates a political position. You’re trying to be apolitical but, in fact, to embrace terms like “harsh interrogation tactics” instead of calling a thing by its name, in effect, gives credence to the Bush Administration’s argument, does it not?It goes down hill from there for Ms. Shepard. Like a good Beltway Village, Mr. Garfield's logic bounces off her like bullets against superman. Believe it or not, she attempts to create a (false) moral equivalency in NPR's coverage of abortion (a legal medically ethical procedure) to torture (illegal medically unethical).
ALICIA SHEPARD: Yes, I think it does. I think using terms like “harsh interrogation tactics” or “enhanced interrogation techniques” does validate the Bush Administration. So that’s why I said why not just describe it. I think when you detail something and explain specifically what it is, then the public can decide.
BOB GARFIELD: NPR certainly has no difficulty calling murder “murder.” It doesn't call it “enhanced argumentation technique.” The terrorists call themselves “freedom fighters” but NPR calls acts of terror “acts of terror.”
ALICIA SHEPARD: Right.
BOB GARFIELD: In other respects, NPR hasn't taken a position against, you know, nouns. Why this one, in particular?
Here's her closing statement, remember, she is an actual journalism professor:
And so in my opinion, as somebody with almost 30 years of journalism experience, it’s not the role of the media to take on characterizing things.Believe it or not words escape me, so I'll let some else contradict Ms. Shepard's argument:
I wonder what changed Ms. Shepard's mind about what constitutes good journalism in less than three months?
As someone who studies the media, writes about it and believes in it, I can easily say that Jon Stewart may profess to be a comedian but he is also one of the best journalists in the country.
He holds people in power accountable on a daily basis. he provides context and he does it all in a way that is totally enjoyable to watch
-Alicia Shepard, commenting on Planet Money blog, re: Jon Stewart vs Jim Crammer 03/13/09