Off-Topic: NPR Blechs (was Ooops!)

Grant Barrett gbarrett at AMERICANDIALECT.ORG
Sat Jul 31 13:40:08 UTC 1999

>I came in at the start of a program called "Marketplace", which
>usually is the home of corporate puff pieces and other business
>"news".  For me, it's a close call which is preferable: Marketplace
>or dead silence.

Marketplace is barely palatable. The entire program, stripped of embellishment and written correctly, could be done in under 10 minutes. As much as I prefer NPR to commercial radio it has at least two other programs that drive me batty.

"On the Media" is much better with its new host (the old one was Alex Jones, who never asked a question so much as uh-uh-ummed it out: the kind of journalist, I bet, who uses "sparks" and "controversy" in headlines story after story) but still: don't the Media navel-gaze enough without a program devoted to it? It's an hour of tempests in teapots, filled with print journalists with speaking voices more appropriate for printed matter. On this program it becomes apparent that no only does every journalist think he or she would make a good columnist (of course they would), but they would make even better radio commentators.

"The World" may have also a new host, but I wouldn't know because I couldn't stand Lisa Mullins and stopped listening a long time ago. Her chortling, synthetically crispy voice and self-indulgent delight every time she chewed off another cliché, bad pun, useless wordplay or other meaningless time-filler left me in real pain (mainly from banging my head against the wall). My guess her copy is written by somebody who longs to work in television, because it reminds me of nothing so much as the nightly broadcast news. That's a pejorative statement, by the way. The show is basically the same as the "World Briefs" column in the New York Times, which takes about five minutes to read.

This is why I took to listening to the BBC World Service more than 15 years ago. Of course, I still find myself shouting at the radio (the first interactive medium, I believe) when they say something foolish (and they do).
All done. Thanks.

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