04 September 2008


My letter to NPR in response to this article by David Folkenflik regarding Sarah Palin:

I am not one to complain of media bias. It certainly exists, but usually it is inconsequential and doesn't quite spell the doom that some conservatives would have it. It is also not omnipresent. This piece is beyond bias. It is half-baked trash showing a complete dearth of logic, insight or coherence.

Mr. Folkenflik posits that Mrs. Palin's speech doesn't "prove whether the 44-year-old former small-town mayor deserved the job of vice president after just 21 months as governor of Alaska." He does not, however, share what would show someone "deserves" the job. The language used is condescending. It is as condescending as, "[t]he straw men? Members of the Fourth Estate and devotees of the First Amendment," is grandiloquent. I am rather tired of reporters seeing themselves as a collective vanguard for constitutional liberty when most probably couldn't name anything else mentioned in the First Amendment.

He further states, "[s]ince few journalists outside her state knew much about her, and since her record there is, shall we say, still evolving, reporters have picked through the archives to find both true accomplishments and plenty of seeming blemishes." What would, say, five of these "plenty" of seeming blemishes be? And where does he mention her true accomplishments.

Her comment about being judged as unqualified by the Washington elite is seeming pretty reasonable.

He then digresses on the McCain campaign's hostility to the press, about which no one who isn't a member of the press cares.

Farther along he then knocks Mrs. Palin's allusion to Harry Truman, "tough she didn't mention that he had been a senator for a decade before becoming vice president." Cute little point, but if he was trying to use this as a nod to Barack Obama, please note that Senator Obama has served less than two years as a US Senator and President Truman was a military officer, businessman and judge before turning to politics.

He ends with a grossly malformed understanding of the Geneva Conventions, POW status and whether POWs or enemy combatants are entitled to the full scope of US Constitutional protections. Would Mr. Folkenflik turn Osama bin Laden or Khalid Sheikh Mohammed loose if it were found out that soldiers had not informed them of their right to remain silent and to counsel before questioning them? Does Mr. Folkenflik equate the current actions of the US military with the Viet Cong? What proof could he offer that any US soldier or group of soldiers has behaved for one day the way the Viet Cong behaved regularly in Hanoi?

This piece was disgusting and unworthy of NPR. I am ashamed for you corporately for having put it on your site.

Sean M.

--Back to me, he mentions in his piece some blather regarding Peggy Noonan and some remarks she had made regarding Palin. The link included is here and Noonan's full whatever is here. I am just putting this as an excuse to inlude my two-cents that it seems when reporters are truly desperate to make a point they look to other journalists. How edifying this must be. Completely lost is that the title "journalist" doesn't imply or impart any necessary knowledge or insight. Or maybe to other journalists it does imply something. I also don't know why anyone would cite Peggy Noonan. She writes like Larry King used to, but without the charm.

More on Palin, McCain, Obama, Biden and the whole rest of the mush later.

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