Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Can I avoid listening?

I'm a little wary when it comes to turning on the radio this morning. The Republicans held a debate last night. We avoided listening to any of it, which was pretty easy to do when we have to stream television. The more hassle that's involved in connecting to something, the stronger our desire to watch it has to be. We have zero desire to ever see Ted Cruz or Donald Trump in anything longer than a 2-second sound bite (and 2 seconds is pushing our tolerance levels even when it's on "The Nightly Show") so everything we know about the debate will be secondhand.

One part of that secondhand will be, unfortunately, the local NPR station. I'm not quite sure just what's happened in terms of the quality of their news writers and readers, but, holy wah, the stupid has been running deep with the current line-up. "Morning Edition" has morphed into an audio version of the "Today" show. Lots of breathless fawning over celebrities, hyping of various musicians' latest albums, and just a general vacuousness where it used to be possible to catch an occasional hint of actual news. I'm leaning more and more towards tuning in the local classic rock station. Granted, I'll get to listen to the same Tom Petty song 3 or 4 times in less than two hours, but at least when they break in with news or comments, it's not as likely to have me yelling "How fracking stupid are you?!" at the radio. After all, it's pretty hard to have a banging-head-on-keyboard moment when the morning deejay is hyping the meat special at Pat's IGA or announcing the date and time for a local high school Christmas program.

I've never understood why there are right-wing tinfoil hat types out there who are convinced NPR is part of the liberal media. There are no mainstream liberal media, not on radio, not on television, and not much in print. There are small pockets of liberal media -- in Atlanta we were lucky enough to be able to listen to Radio Free Georgia, for example, and you can hear Thom Hartmann, Stephanie Miller, and a number of other progressives on Sirius XM -- but in general the news media are pretty far to the right, and that includes almost everything on NPR. And that shouldn't be a surprise. After all, they're as dependent on corporate funding as every other media outlet. They're not going to rock the boat and chase away the money from major corporations and the big foundations.

On the other hand, would it really be rocking the boat that much to occasionally point out that Ted Cruz is both flat out crazy and one lying son of a bitch instead of just breathlessly gushing about his poll numbers going up? 


  1. I can't even listen to the radio anymore. I drive to work with one earbud in, listening to podcasts like the Majority Report with Sam Seder.

    I think a lot of righties think NPR is "liberal" because a: Conservative leaders have been on a 50-year propaganda campaign convincing their followers that all the major media outlets are liberal agitprop, and b: because it gets funding from the big, bad federal government.

  2. I keep PBS on my radio or plug in my...whatever you call the small electronic thing that stores my CD music... and listen to music of my choice.
    the Ol'Buzzard


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