I’ve said before that I listen to NPR on the weekends. Some shows are pure entertainment (Car Talk, Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me), while others are for informational value. I am a fan of long-form journalism, and Weekend Edition Sunday is at least good listening material. But lately I’ve noticed more and more elements of bias and creative omissions in their reports.
This morning, Liane Hansen interviewed C. J. Chivers, a New York Times correstpondent. Chivers has an article in the most recent issue of Esquire on the Beslan School Massacre of September, 2004, as well as the aftermath. Chivers’ account was riveting, filled with the kinds of details that ought to horrify most people. But as they talked, I was listening for certain key elements — elements that were never brought up.
For one, the terrorists were described as “Chechen separatists,” but no further explanation. No description of their goals, their past actions towards achieving it, nothing.
And most significantly, not once did I hear the word “Islamic” or “Muslim” uttered by either Hansen or Chivers.
I hate to toss around such terms as “white-washing,” but I can’t think of a better description of this. By this account, the hostage-takers apparently did the whole thing just for the hell of it.