This short news piece from the 09 April Morning Edition broadcast made my blood boil. Well, not quite, but almost. It was NPR being stupid. And being used.
NPR newsgal Kelly McEvers is wandering around Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province as well as the tiny island Kingdom of Bahrain, documenting Shia unrest (can we please deep-six that obnoxious sounding word Shiite already? Because the BBC has…) in both states, beginning at a checkpoint and ending with the following words from a Bahraini “Shia activist” regarding seeking help from lagrely Shia Iran:
When a man has already lost everything, why should he care about the country around him? Why not just let it burn?
(Hmm, I wonder how NPR would play that quote if it came, say, from a Tibetan, or Russian opponent of the current Kremlin regime or a Burmese refugee?)
It is clear from this report that it was not gathered “on the sly,” clandestinely, without the knowledge or the approval of at least some elements of the Saudi state, most likely the Interior Ministry. We know this because every time an intrepid NPR reporter gets a story from inside Myanmar, we are told that reporters aren’t allowed in Myanmar, so it took courage and pluck to defy rules, hide equipment, interview people and get actualities from inside the country. Had that been the case, NPR would have told us just that at the beginning of this report. An American reporter, a woman, getting sound from a military/interior ministry checkpoint, getting interviews in a city surrounded by such checkpoints, well, that just doesn’t happen. So, someone in Riyadh, likely someone very high up, wanted us to hear this report.
Why? To influence the debate within the regime of the Mahatma Obama as to what to do about Iran. If it’s “clear” that Iran is “using” or “inciting” the Shia of the Eastern Province and Bahrain to misbehave — and always be wary of the person in charge who says the moral equivalent of “our negroes are happy and content, only a few are agitated and angry, and then only because communists are stirring them up” — then it’s clear that the current Iranian government is attempting to destabilize two very important U.S. Arab allies. Be afraid. Something must be done. Stop dawdling. This, I’m guessing, is supposed to sweeten the “bomb them now” pot currently being stirred by Likudniks on both sides of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Consider that elements of the Saudi government (but only elements; I fully expect a less bellicose piece on Iran to come out of NPR’s Riyadh bureau within the next few weeks), Binyamin Netanyahu and the American Enterprise Institute all singing from the same demonic hymnal. The Mahatma may (or may not) be willing to pressure Israel over Iran (but only because Bibi is PM; had Tzipi Livni or Ehud Barak won that post, it would be another matter entirely), but helping Saudi Arabia is another matter entirely — it has been U.S. government policy to protect Saudi Arabia from any enemy foreign or domestic at virtually any cost since the second half of the Carter Administration. For those eagerly looking to clobber Iran, making nice with the likes of Saudi Interior Minister Prince Nayef is merely the price of doing business.
I listen to NPR because (1) I don’t have Internet at home right now, so I can’t listen to the BBC (2) I find AM talk radio mindless, stupid and insulting and (3) I hate commercials, which I find doubly insulting, even more than the self-serving twaddle that is a typical seasonal pledge break. While NPR is intellectually more engaging than just about any other broadcast news operation in the US, that isn’t saying much (the BBC isn’t what it was 20 years ago either). I generally find NPR’s liberal statism and liberal nationalism repulsive. Generally, the liberal statist/nationalist wants the state, the order and stability it allegedly brings and the good it an do to improve the lot of people everywhere, but fails or refuses to acknowledge the violence necessary and needed for the state to accomplish what it does. But that urge to do good, to free people from oppression, ignorance, superstition and poverty, and the belief the state is the best or only way to do that, make liberals good and useful idiots for warmongering neocons/Likudniks, who harbor no illusions and just want to beat the crap out of people. People who aren’t Jewish Israelis at any rate.
I would have hoped someone at NPR would have asked “why does someone want us to do this story, a story that fingers Iran as the problem,” but you know, were I an Amreekee reporter in the KSA, twiddling my thumbs and knowing, like most reporters, I have a nose ring and a chain that someone can yank when I get out of line, then I’d of gotten excited when someone put a few more links in that chain and let me wander out someplace I’d never been before to get an exciting story. Or made it the price of getting a better story. Who knows. But people listening need to know they, and NPR, are being used. For a purpose that only ends with bombs falling on Iran.