Friday, January 28, 2011


NPR not a reliable reporter on Egypt

by Larry Geller

I don’t listen to much NPR news these days. If I’m trapped in the car and don’t have my MP3 player, I do listen. And so it was that I heard a rather pathetic account of the protests in Egypt on this morning’s NPR news.

To listen to that segment you’d come away thinking that the protests were smaller than they are and almost under control, and not know about the extreme violence perpetrated on the Egyptian people participating. The contrast would be Democracy Now’s excellent coverage today, Uprising in Egypt: "This is the Biggest Political Challenge the Regime Has Yet to See from the Streets" (1/28/2011). From the Democracy Now intro (the transcript seems to be missing):

Protests have erupted across Egypt again today with the largest and most widespread anti-government demonstrations seen so far. In an unprecedented display of popular protest, hundreds of thousands of demonstrators are gathering in Cairo, Alexandria, Suez, Mansoura, Sharqiya and elsewhere. Intense confrontations are taking place with state security forces. The protests come amid a vast security clampdown. Earlier, the government blocked the internet, mobile phone and SMS services, with the hope of disrupting demonstration planning. We go to Cairo to speak with Ahmad Shokr, an editor at the Egyptian daily newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm. [includes rush transcript]

The program spoke of the violence perpetrated on the protestors and on the press. Cameramen were beaten and their cameras smashed. Democracy Now mentioned the number of people killed, and the number said to be under arrest.

Nothing of that situation appeared in the NPR coverage. You’d come away with the impression that it was the demonstrators who were violent. By now, that’s accurate, it’s really a battleground in Egypt at this point.

Democracy Now, not NPR, mentioned that those rounded up are beaten and tortured. Remember, Egypt was a favorite place for the United States to send its rendered political prisoners to be tortured. The army and police have been brutal to their own people, yet the protests increased in size.

So while NPR news is certainly superior to most commercial broadcasts, they fall far short of alternative media. Perhaps they did better later in the day, I wouldn’t know, sorry to say.

Democracy Now will return to Olelo evenings starting February 1, I was informed by someone who got a reply from them. It will air at 11 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday on channel 54. I’m not happy with that, and hope people will keep calling Olelo to get the program rescheduled. 834-0007.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.


Larry, It is my understanding that Democracy Now will be broadcast LIVE on Olelo at 11PM, M,T,T,F and that broadcast repeated the following mornings at 7AM. Thanks for your updates..It is to bad Al Jazeera english isn't also carried for better world news coverage. BBC is loosing it's credibility.

Can't be live, it will be the broadcast of that morning's Democracy Now. Then the next day is re-broadcast of previous day.

I am repeating what Jack Bates of Olelo stated to me, the program would be live by satellite in the evening.

For the 11 pm broadcast to be "LIVE", they would have to be doing the show at 4 am in New York City.

So either you misunderstood Jack Bates, or he was a bit careless in his words. (Or Amy them are getting up WAY too early in the morning and must have a miniscule live audience on the Eastern seaboard.)

Anyways, good news about DN coming back. It is the best US television (or radio) news available. Like Larry, I rarely listen to NPR anywmore. It has become pathetic, a washed out, pale imitation of its earlier iteration. Partly a victim of the conscious attack from the right, particularly during the BUsh years. But also due to the longterm impact of needing to depend upon corporate underwritng and "individual contributions from listeners like you," generally college educated, yes, but not interested in news which makes us uncomfortable. Soothing music, soothing voices and soothing "news. That's the winning formula for fundraising.

The program is broadcast once on C-band at 8 a.m. EST, which is 3 a.m. Hawaii time. Perhaps they have some other way to get it. I was told a few weeks ago that they were actually using the Internet file provided to broadcasters worldwide, which would produce a superior quality product in Hawaii when compared with C-band. In fact, it would be just as good as the commercial stations.

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