Our family has trouble with memories, mine is beginning. I figured Trump had exaggerated (as usual) but I, too, remembered, celebrations (it was all foggy – I couldn’t remember if it was New York or New Jersey – they are all east). Apparently, my memory has failed- probably merging reports of alleged “tailgate parties” with film from Palestine, as some have suggested he did, Carson did. But I do remember listening to NPR in my office, leaving to teach and coming back to hear more of what had happened.
For a while, they did a call-in show, but some of the vitriol was stunning. One (and the hit in the gut was strong enough I’m pretty sure this memory is true) said this might make Americans pause (in what? in their arrogance, I guess, certainly we hadn’t attacked anyone yet) but we would, like a dog, return to our vomit. The Biblical allusion, the voice – they were local, probably, New Yorkers. After all, who is the NPR audience? Well-read Americans more often than immigrants. But I could believe worse of Muslim immigrants, hearing, as I did, an American with that level of anger and distance from his own. Fox’s reflective emphasis on heroism and NPR’s on American shame changed my perspective quickly. It took me years to enjoy Limbaugh, which I now do on the rare occasions I hear him (NPR did get drive time) but the evolution in taste started, as so much for many of us, did.
In November, I visited family, finding my middle daughter and sister (with some gentle kidding from their husbands) rely almost totally, as I did for so long, on NPR. It is often well done, the narratives are interesting, the topics broad. Precious and leftist, it does entertain. It promotes a certain elitist disdain that can be unattractive, but both are sweeter than most (certainly than I).
Still I can’t deal with NPR, certainly not with my friend’s energy who does listen but sends off frequent e-mails of fact checking and critiques. (She is an idealist – she thinks she can improve the world and she does more than most; in addition, she sees it as her Christian duty and her civic duty – they do use our taxes.)
I realize I should broaden my thinking from Fox; my husband reads the WSJ, which is somewhat broader but probably not much. On the other hand, the daughter’s husband, who reads the NYT while she listens to the radio, seemed repeatedly surprised at my allusions to events he didn’t know happened. That’s the effect of the establishment media – those critiques often require listening to Fox, reading WSJ, seeing other media.
And that’s why the millenials are likely to think that Truth and Trumbo and the award to the martyred Rosenbergs and God knows what else are, well, reality. That’s why they can wear Che shirts without shame or think that Warren’s economics will help the poor. They don’t know history and what they really don’t know that the appropriate form isn’t that Wilson was a progressive but also a racist: he was a progressive, so therefore a racist.
But then, how did I think? All those years NPR played in the background at my little business. Of course, it doesn’t hurt with an academic clientele; I doubt Rush would have gone over all that well. But what is, somewhat foggy, now in my mind? In the stream of employees’ minds (students working part time, a few full) forced to listen to it for 13 years, usually 10-15 each semester? I suspect it entertained, it informed, and I fear it molded.