We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Monday, August 5, 2013

This American Life Whitewashes U.S. Crimes in Central America, Wins Peabody Award

Click here to access article by Keane Bhatt from North American Congress on Latin America. (Updated at 7:30pm PST)

I get reports continuously from human rights workers in Central America about human right atrocities committed by the Honduran and Guatemalan governments with close collaboration with US Armed Forces. The atrocities are usually related to indigenous opposition to North American mining operations, and as such they get almost zero coverage in US mainstream media. Here we see an example of a program that was aired on the subject and now celebrated as excellence in journalism by being given this prestigious journalism award

In this lengthy article the author exposes the program broadcast by NPR (National Public Radio) as propaganda designed to control the damage done to Central Americans by US involvement in numerous human rights crimes.
But in his hour-long treatment of a savage period of Guatemalan history, Glass and his producers edited out essential lines of inquiry and concealed a key aspect of the bloodshed and its import for U.S. listeners: Washington’s continuous support of Guatemalan security forces—including the Kaibiles at Dos Erres—as they killed tens of thousands of largely indigenous civilians­ in 1982 alone. Moreover, by distorting the historical record, Glass performed an impressive feat of propaganda—he sensitively related Guatemalan victims’ harrowing personal stories while implying that the only fault of the United States was that it had simply not done enough to help them. 
NPR is widely referred to among US activists as "National Pentagon Radio" because of its history of frequently featuring guest spokespeople from the US Dept. of Defense and other programs that often parrot Pentagon propaganda. NPR's presence on the radio spectrum is widespread throughout the US, and appears to be growing even though donations by ordinary people are declining as indicated by their decision to add advertising to their programming. (Unfortunately, I can't locate sufficient data to verify this statement.) 

A blogger who has recently examined NPR's finances has provided a lot of data on his/her website to indicate the overwhelming influence of ruling class figures and corporations on the programming of the radio network.
NPR says, “On average, public radio stations (including NPR Member stations) receive the largest percentage of their annual operating revenue (31%) from listener support.”. If you look at that statement another way, it says that the largest (69%) of their funding does not come from listener support, 36% of which is from business and government, outweighing the 31% from listeners.
Also, see this article entitled "Why Some Public Radio Supporters Won't Be Donating to NPR This Year".

There is no doubt in my mind that this tax-supported radio network is a major propaganda organ of the ruling class, and thus is designed to carefully manage the views of ordinary Americans.