NPR Watch (5/23/16) – Cringe-Inducing Platitudes

I was listening to National Public Radio (NPR) on the way in to work this morning. It was their morning fake news program, called “Morning Edition.

On came a feature from the local affiliate. It was an interview with graduates from a local university. Here’s the thing to remember about the feature: If you believe NPR’s palaver about being the “in-depth” source for news and the like, then you definitely came out of this feature a whole lot dumber than you went in.

The interview was … oh, I don’t know … pathetic is probably a charitable word for it. Cringe-inducing is probably better.  The topic: “taking a year off after college graduation to ‘go into service,'” and the interviewer queried two recent graduates about the year they had spent in “service” to … well, to whomever.

The responses to the pabulum questions were all, themselves, sheer, perfectly meaningless platitudes. And they were all there.

“Well,” chirped one girl, “I wanted to find a way to give back (meaningless platitude #1) and in doing so, I got back more than I gave (#2). I went there to teach, but I learned more from those I was teaching(#3). I learned about the power of giving back (#4) and I especially learned about the power of the people I was teaching.(#5)”

If that entire torrent of meaninglessness doesn’t entirely sum up National Public Radio, I don’t know what does. The only insipid platitude missing from that pile of effluvia was “make a difference.” That one may have worn out its welcome in the American lexicon of vacuity.

Needless to say, the interviewer treated the whole chirpy, stinking, sticky, dripping mess with awe-struck reverence; as though she, and we, had just been treated to the highest, deepest, widest, most luminous, sparkling wisdom imaginable.

What followed was a mercifully brief interview with a young black (obviously(1)) man, who’d done the same thing. He’d removed himself from the ranks of those available to do actual productive work, to go into “service” to others.

When interviewed the young man relieved himself of a verbal load of the same pointless codswallop as the girl had. At that point, though, I was so green-faced by the girl’s vapid twaddle, that I couldn’t pay close enough attention to the guy’s, to reproduce it for you here.

The point: Here is the First Law for those of you who listen to NPR:

First Law of Listening to National Public Radio: If you take their features seriously, you always come out of them stupider than you go in.

I know I’ve said this before, but presumably there are some NPR listeners in this audience. They’ll have to hear it several times before it gets through the molasses between their ears.

— xPraetorius


(1) Race/Sex/Cool-obsessed NPR is constantly striving desperately to show how open-minded they are, and how much they love, especially, black people. NPR really, though, has one over-riding obsession — well-served by this piece: To say to you and me, over and over and over and over again, “Just look how good we are! How intelligent, kind, generous, caring, deep, and just all-round good we are.” It is their prime obsession.


5 thoughts on “NPR Watch (5/23/16) – Cringe-Inducing Platitudes

  1. Young people are totally taken in by the culture that makes success/accomplishment so amorphous and vague that they can never know if they succeeded or accomplished anything. I feel sorry for them because they are searching forever for that special perfect thing for just me! and never able to find fulfillment because they have been robbed of all objective rulers for measuring.

  2. I think many people, young ones in particular have no concept as to what service to others actually means. To them it’s all about what they can get out of it. Even if what you are doing actually does help others, if the motive is to make yourself feel better and cool than you’re really missing out on a lot.

    1. Indeed! A short-term youth group mission trip does not a missionary, or even a committed Christian, make. “Making a difference” is all about ME.

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