Stupid remarks on NPR

Today seems to be The Day for stupid remarks on NPR. I feel I’m forgetting one, but here are two that struck my fancy.

As I become more and more baffled about the US role in Iraq, and why we want to dump 87 BILLION dollars there this gem came up. They were talking to a political scholar in Iraq – someone who understands the Iraqi people and their politics in a way that we never will, and he said the following: “If the new constitution is written under the gaze of the United States, the Iraqi people will not accept it.” Meaning that, even if one accepts the notion that we freed them from tyrany, we don’t think like they do, and so a constitution that we write will not mesh with their beliefs and needs. A very reasonable thing to say, I would think. But, in response to this, NPR commented “This is the sort of sentiment that will have to be overcome in order for the process to move forward.”


As though they are wrong, we are right, and we must persuade them of this before any progress can be made.

Here’s an analogy, for those of you who like analogies. The French helped us (the United States of America) to overcome the British in our struggle for independence. That was very nice of them. Should they have written our constitution? No, of course not. This is no different. These people have the right to create their own form of government, and we have the responsibility to give good advice, but then to get out of the way.

OK, here was another stupid remark.

The prime minister of (somewhere – I actually missed where) is making his daughter go to work at McDonalds. Seems a very reasonable thing to do, even if it wasn’t politically motivated. But he said that he was protesting a news story of a 13-year-old who had turned to prostitution in order to pay for her party life and dance clubs. So, he wanted his daughter to work for an income, even though he is one of the richest people in the country. All sounds very reasonable.

OK, so here comes NPR’s brilliant comment. “The report did not include comments from the daughter.” What annoys me about this remark is that it seems designed to disparage the prime minister, imply that this was done against the wishes of the dughter, and was a cruel thing to do to her. All without actually saying this, or presenting any real data to support it.

There were some other really stupid moments this morning, and most of them were in Mandalit del Barco’s remarks about voting machines in the pre-election electronic voting going on in California. She talked about the easy-to-use voting machines as though they were the most complicated thing she’d ever encountered. When she was talking with an election official about voting early, she actually said “you are encouring people to vote early and vote often.” And she generally went out of her way to act as though she was shocked at seeing 135 options for the position of governor.

The entire story could be summarized as “California is encouraging voters to vote early, technically as Absentee Voters, in order to reduce congestion on election day.” But, they made it into a 10 minute discussion of Mandalit del Barco’s inability figure out a touch-screen voting machine.

I tell you, if she didn’t have such a cool name, I’d tune to a different channel when she starts talking, but I just love to hear her say her name.