I’m visiting Washington and get into the car to drive. So after I turn on the ignition I do the NPR race. I push the button to turn on the radio, being prepared instantly to hit the scan button so as not to have to hear NPR.
Don’t get me wrong. I’d love to listen to it. There just aren’t that many other sophisticated, in-depth programs to feed the mind. But I just can’t stand the politics, smug, left and decidedly not balanced. Paid for by taxpayers like me, it’s called National Public Radio but is really National Progressive Radio (some call it National Palestinian Radio).
The funny thing is that whenever I hear a small snatch, just a few seconds, it only reinforces my antipathy. So my hand darts down to press the button. Too slow! I hear the dulcet, soothing tone of some reporter saying:
‘Why should Israel attack Iran preempting the effort to peacefully persuade Iran not to get nuclear weapons.’
Foiled! I get to the button and scan to a music station. But too late! I’m already grumbling and talking back to the radio, enumerating the assumptions behind the question: Israel is unnecessarily belligerent, violence is never necessary, efforts to persuade Iran are serious, Iran might be moderate, and so on. A whole worldview stands behind the NPR ideology, and those who broadcast-and listen-cannot conceive anyone but drooling ultra-religious gun-toting fools (like those people Obama thinks live in Pennsylvania towns) could think otherwise.
In short, if such people watched Westerns (which they don’t unless they’re post-modern ones where the sheriff’s corrupt and the multicultural outlaw gang are the good guys), we’d be wearing what used to be called the black hats. So if I’m going to go up against NPR in a pushbutton duel guess I must learn to draw faster.
Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs Journal. His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), with Walter Laqueur (Viking-Penguin); the paperback edition of The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan); A Chronological History of Terrorism, with Judy Colp Rubin, (Sharpe); and The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley).