It's Iraq, stupid.
From a blogger friend of Peek, below is a report of a curious "hitch" in NPR's Morning Edition broadcast on the London attacks.
(Note: I called NPR's "communications services" to ask about the hitch but a very friendly and helpful Chad Campbell informed me that I'd have to listen to NPR's online archives from today's Morning Edition myself to confirm or deny the story as the news division is, quite understandably, busy. Thus far I've listened to every program and haven't found any interview with an on-the-street Londoner as described by The Baron's blog post):
At around 7:50 a.m. PST, NPR's Morning Edition host Lynn Neary was interviewing a male Londoner who was an eyewitness to aftermath of one of the four bombings in London today. In response to her question about how Londoners felt their police and emergency response services performed, he started to answer that they had expected an attack like this for some time since 9/11, and that many citizens like himself were surprised that an attack like this hadn't happened sooner because of Tony Blair's strong support for Bush's policies in Afghanistan and Iraq.
He was speaking calmly and sounded like he was honestly trying to answer her question, rather than trying to merely inject his political views, but before he could finish his sentence, Lynn Neary cut him off and NPR went to a muzak version of Queen's "We Are the Champions" for about 2 minutes. NPR's coverage then began again with an interview with US Senator Sam Brownback. For the previous 50 minutes that I had been listening to their coverage they had no technical difficulties despite the breaking nature of the story and the various live feeds they had to cut away to in England.
Though there may be other explanations for why NPR cut the man off, the situation fairly cries out that NPR did not want the eyewitness' views to be expressed. This bodes terribly for NPR as a reliable news source and suggests that the conservatives whose agenda has been to paint NPR as "liberal" have had a chilling effect on the range of opinion they can express. It is apalling to hear something so nakedly censored on NPR, which is supposed to be the standard-bearer of the mainstream media. Hopefully NPR's ombudsman will hear complaints on this and NPR will be called to account for this.Here's another observation regarding NPR's reluctance to broadcast the perspective that participation in the Iraq War has directly led to terrorist bombings.
Harvard's Jessica Stern, interviewed by NPR's Lynn Neary about the attacks, was asked about London's preparedness. Stern responded that London was perhaps better prepared than any other European city as they've been expecting this for some time. They've been on "tenterhooks," she said.
Rather than ask the obvious follow up, or: 'why might London be on tenterhooks,' Neary asked whether there's any similarity between these attacks and those in Madrid. Again, an obvious piece of any answer to this question might include the fact that these were two of the largest supporters of the Iraq War -- that the UK is the largest supporter of the US war.
But Stern only responded that the m.o. of each was consistent. Important, to be sure, but c'mon, it doesn't take a Harvard professor to speculate that London might well be paying the price for supporting Bush's war.