Wednesday, February 27, 2002

NPR GUILT: Whenever my wife and I write a check to our local public radio station I feel guilty. Not because it's such a paltry sum, but because we're subsidizing a media organization that finds Fidel Castro charming, John Ashcroft appalling, and Daniel Schorr insightful. But commercial TV news is vapid and has the same biases, and Jim Lehrer is tranquilizing (and may have the same biases, but I'm never awake to notice), so we send our check every Fall and Spring and let the guilt slowly dissipate. But just as that heavy burden was lifiting from my breast, I had to wake up at 6 a.m. to hear NPR's Barbara Bradley's wretched essay? "news analysis"? thinly veiled editorial? on the impact of war on civil liberties. Turns out we'd just about recovered from the Cold War's incursions on civil liberties when September 11 came along and turned back the clock to the days of the Palmer Raids, Japanese internment, and FBI snooping on civil rights groups. How? Well, the government detained "hundreds of Muslim men." You mean the hundreds of illegal aliens detained for being, well, illegal aliens? The dozen or so men detained as material witnesses? Er, right. But Congress also enacted the USA PATRIOT Act. What does the USA PATRIOT Act do? Ms. Bradley didn't say, but apparently it's really bad. The worst thing is, since the war on terrorism, like the Cold War, is of indefinite duration (unlike, you know, wars against specific countries where you know for sure they'll end in 5, 10, 30 years), Ms. Bradley tells us there's "no way to know when life, and the freedoms Americans have grown so used to, will return to normal." Yeah, I mean, they're actually enforcing immigration laws. It's just not a free country anymore. Oh well, I've got until April or so to get guilt-free again.
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