The following was sent to U.S. Representative Nancy Mace of South Carolina:
I just listened to your interview on NPR, and I was struck by how rude you were to the journalist interviewing you—noting how many times you interrupted her before she could even complete her question to you. I just sat there shaking my head in disbelief. Your interview seems especially cringe-worthy knowing you have a master’s degree in journalism and mass media. Obviously it must have been a “participation degree” instead of anything associated with earning the degree.
Further, you indicated how almost every problem in this country is on the current President’s lap. It was ridiculous and all I could think was, “Yeah, she must represent all those dumbed-down, knuckle-dragging racist of South Carolina. All you accomplished in the interview was throwing out the usual red meat like Donald Trump and the nightly Fox News line-up.
In short, you are what’s wrong with this country… full of yourself arrogance, disrespectful toward other professionals, self-centeredness, and unquestionable stupidity.
The other day, I put together a list of things I needed to accomplish for a trip into town—you know, errands.
Most important was a visit to Costco and to have a meander in some of the Fairbanks charity shops. I also considered finding a new place to have lunch and perhaps consider an early afternoon movie.
It’s a little over 20 miles from the house to Fairbanks, so I always put a list together to make sure I get as much bang for my buck—especially when gas is well over five dollars per gallon.
After driving all the way into town and making it to the Salvation Army thrift shop, I realized my wallet wasn’t with me (but my phone was) and I had only been in the store for a couple of minutes. I was dead in the water as far as achieving the goals for my excursion into town. In short, my jaunt into town was a total failure resulting only in a waste of precious time and fuel.
So, home I went thinking I would just get an early start on the second part of my day—weeding the garden. I couldn’t bring myself to return to the house and retrieve my wallet and then do it all again. I felt as if a little self-imposed punishment was needed. Besides, when I do this back home, it usually relates to forgetting something that is work related, but in those instances, we’re only talking about getting back on my bicycle and riding the one-third of a mile back to the house to correct my forgetfulness.
So, one might be saying to themselves about now, this seems like a pretty innocuous event to even write about here; and perhaps it is. However, the following day I made sure I had everything I needed and made the drive again—successfully completing all of my objectives (sans lunch and a movie).
Coming home, I started thinking about the previous failed trip. Anytime I do-something-for-nothing (as I like to call such events), I start thinking about everything that transpired and challenge myself to find something that might have been meaningful in my folly… you know, a message or lesson that perhaps the universe was attempting to convey to me that I initially didn’t note.
All I could think about was the Fresh Air story on the radio coming home. Terry Gross was interviewing Kelly Lytle Hernández discussing her new bookBad Mexicans: Race, Empire, and Revolution in the Borderlands. It was very engaging as I drove home—making me forget my forgetfulness—and realizing this was a bit of American history that I’d never, ever heard about in any of my history-related formal education courses. Here I was, almost 62-years-old and I was learning about something that we should all know.
Without getting too much into it, I’ll just say here for the reader, that Hernández’s book is about Ricardo Flores Magón and his magonistas that played a pivotal role in early days of the Mexican Revolution that started in 1910, including the role our government played in the event’s outcomes and the impact it had on our country.
So, upon realizing what that non-productive round-trip was really about, I purchased the book and have added it to my growing summer-reading list.
All I can say is that the next time you “drop the ball” regarding some task or objective you’re out to complete, look around you, there might be something else there worth picking up.
Less than a year ago I decided to not support Wyoming Public Radio (WPR) any longer after being left hanging multiple times in the middle of an NPR story as the result of your transmission failures. Sometimes less than a minute, other times more than 30 minutes. When one of the hallmarks of quality journalism/news includes attributes like “dependable,” WPR has some serious challenges in this one area.
In short, I’ve lived in several areas of the country during my life, and I’ve never come across a public radio station that has failed so miserably as WPR when it comes to consistent and reliable broadcasting.
Late last week I tuned in to see if things are any better. Sadly I’ve lost track how many times my radio went silent when tuned in to 90.1 FM. In fact, as I write this your All Things Considered broadcast for today was interrupted twice by dead silence.
NPR likes to boast about the “driveway moments” that result from their stories, but I hope I never have one while tuned in to WPR, because as soon as I’m hooked, the signal will surely drop and I’ll go from a sense of awe and wonderfulness to rage and frustration.
To be sure, there are fantastic stories that come from WPR, so I have no complaints of the actual journalism generated by your staff over the years, but when captivating stories are interrupted suddenly by silence or filler music, even the best story turns into a mediocre one (if that).
If I am surprised by anything, it is in the consistency (over the years) of your operation’s inconsistencies.
Good luck on the fall fund drive… you’ll need all you can get.
Sometimes the news doesn’t always get things right—whether its today’s headlines, or something from the world of entertainment or sports. Of course, depending on which network one frequents will determine the quantity of inaccuracies and the degree of any particular one. (And, I’ll leave it at that.)
For the most part, I find NPR to be as dependable as any news network— hiring not just any journalist, but those with experience, specialization, and plenty of recognition from their professional peers. But, even with those kind of chops, they can fall short from time to time.
On July 6, I was listening to All Things Considered (ATC), and the Paris correspondent for NPR, Eleanor Beardsley, was reporting on the opening of the 74th Annual Cannes Film Festival. In her initial/overall report, she pointed out that the opening night film was Annette, “a highly anticipated musical by filmmaker Leos Carax, or as some have described it—a modern-day opera. It stars the acclaimed French actress Marion Cotillard and Adam Driver as lovers, with music by the 1970s band, Sparks.”
The part about Sparks caught my attention as I had just seen the Edgar Wright documentary, The Sparks Brothers.
“A ’70s band,” I thought to myself? Well, if they are a ’70s band, then the Rolling Stones and the Beatles are both ’60s bands, but I’ve never heard anyone refer to a band by a particular decade if their work covered multiple decades. And in the case of Sparks, their 25-album discography covers five decades.
Soon, I found myself on the NPR “report a correction” web page pointing out this poor generalization of a band that I’ve known since 1975. I briefly stated my argument (listed above) and concluded with, “The Carpenters were a ’70s band, not Sparks.”
I had no expectations on a reply except the type that says something like, “This is an automated response confirming that your message has been received by the NPR staff who research corrections,” which I did receive.
However the following day, I received an email from Eleanor Beardsley herself—I was almost afraid to open it thinking she was going to blast me and point out how Sparks was indeed a ’70s band.
Much to my delight, here is what she had to say:
I got your message about Sparks. Good to know. I’m sorry I didn’t know them. But I’m going to be doing a story about the movie so I will be able to speak more intelligently about the group in the second piece. How would you describe the band, what is the band’s pull, Who follows them? etc.
Eleanor Beardsley, Paris correspondent
I replied with a short response saying she would do well to simply watch the trailer for the Edgar Wright documentary. I also included the following:
For the most part, they have been on the periphery of the rock ’n’ roll radar, but steadily cranking out a very prolific (and influential) discography since the early ’70s. They don’t dislike commercial success and would certainly welcome it, but that is not what drives them in all of these years—definitely marching to the beat of their own drum (and their art). They did what Chrissie Hynde (The Pretenders) did before she did it—started in the States (Los Angeles in the case of Sparks), and moved to England where they had their initial success and notoriety with the album Kimono My House.
Beardsley responded almost immediately thanking me and asking if I had plans to see Annette.
Yet, another example of good journalism practiced at NPR—admitting they didn’t get it quite right and asking for advice in doing so.
Photos by: Michael Putland (1975 Sparks) and Anna Webber (2020 Sparks)