Monday, August 11, 2008

The Bruce Ivins Incident

I know that it is the job of the media to further the government's official line. And although I know that has always been part of the media's job, it saddens me that it seems now to be their ultimate job.

I have been listening to NPR since my teens or early twenties. That's a lot of years. I have always enjoyed Morning Edition, Weekend Edition, and All Things Considered.

I have been bothered by their coverage of the Bruce Ivins story.

Bruce Ivins was a scientist involved in the study of anthrax. He worked for the government. He became a suspect in the 2001 anthrax attacks.

I have always believed that the anthrax mailings were a scam by the GOP-led government to detract attention from Iraq planning, and to endanger, harm or kill, GOP opponents. I've never believed there was a "lone gunman" but I think the government needs to have a "lone gunman" to distract the public. I believe that Dick Cheney and Karl Rove are capable of plotting such an attack within our borders, I don't think they'd think twice about it, and I don't think the idiot sitting in the Oval Office would even be involved.

This can't be the story, though. Neither the press nor the government want any sloppy "conspiracy" stories spread around. There has to be some psychologically unstable genius, jilted by an employer or a lover, who has the ability to act out in a sophisticated way like anthrax mailings.

I expect Fox News and its kissing cousins CNN, ABC, NBC, and CBS, to play along with the jilted lover/disgruntled employee story; but, I expect NPR to avoid jumping on the bandwagon. In a series of reports over the past week or so, NPR personalities Dina Temple-Raston, Laura Sullivan, Joanne Silberner and Renee Montagne, have discussed the federal case against Ivins, the so-called "results" of the federal investigation, and the reactions of family and lawyers, as if the government's story is completely accurate and needs no investigation.

In particular, I was disturbed by a "report" by Temple-Raston based on an interview with Ivins' brother, Charles. The presentation of the interview, the editing of the audio, and the conclusions were almost Fox-like in their tone. Temple-Raston seems to whole-heartedly embrace the government's story, the so-called 'evidence' and the 'affidavits' presented as facts. Over the past week, NPR has presented the government's case as a done-deal.

Isn't NPR the last mainstream media outlet we can rely upon to question government conclusions?

This is not the NPR I have known and loved and it bothers me that they are handling this story so meekly.

Am I alone in my discomfort?

Here are some links to NPR articles:

FBI Details Case Against Anthrax Suspect

Ivins' Lawyer Rebuts DOJ Anthrax Allegations

Anthrax Timeline

Fort Detrick: From Biowarfare To Biodefense

Charles Ives interview






1 comment:

Ted Faigle said...

NPR gets less funding than PBS does from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting but they are very much dependent on them for credibility and matching funds from foundations and corporate supporters.

Look no further than the CPB's corporate structure for the answers to your dilemma. As one of those "private" non profit organizations created by an act of Congress (kind of like Fannie Mae & Bernie Mac's brother Freddie) their Board of Directors is appointed by the President and approved by Congress.

There are currently two identified Democrat and one identified independent out of seven board members - the other five are Republicans. One seat is vacant.

Need I say more?

Board members

These eight board members are in office as of February 2007 (one seat currently vacant):

* Cheryl Halpern (chair), Republican, nominated January 2003 by President George W. Bush, confirmed by the U.S. Senate November 2003.

* Gay Hart Gaines (vice chair), Republican, nominated December 2003 by President George W. Bush, confirmed by the U.S. Senate November 2004.

* Beth Courtney, Independent, nominated April 2003 by President George W. Bush, confirmed by the U.S. Senate November 2003.

* Warren Bell, first nominated June 20, 2006, by President George W. Bush. His confirmation was blocked, and on December 20, 2006, Bush appointed Bell as a recess nominee.

* Claudia Puig, Republican, nominated December 2003 by President George W. Bush, confirmed by U.S. Senate November 2004.

* Ernest J. Wilson III, Democrat, nominated to first term by President Clinton in 2000. Renominated to second term November 2004 by President George W. Bush, confirmed by Senate November 2004.

* former Senator David H. Pryor, Democrat, nominated June 2006 by President George W. Bush and confirmed September 2006 by the U.S. Senate.

* Chris Boskin, Republican, nominated June 2006 by President George W. Bush and confirmed September 2006 by the U.S. Senate.