NPR on the Madrid Bombings

Check out this radio report from NPR. Personally I think the reporter is complaining just a little too much, and being just a touch rude about the Spanish, considering a major bombing had just taken place (maybe he should read the expat manifesto…)

12 thoughts on “NPR on the Madrid Bombings

  1. Jon Hundt

    a typical whining and self-centered American journalist. For those who haven’t had the pleasure of experiencing the USA – this is what our journalists are like! This is what many people are like, too. “So what if terrorists just blew up the airport – where’s MY car!!?? I am very important, this is all about ME!!” And of course, don’t bother with any information or discussion about the event in question, just gripe on about your lost 100 dollars…

  2. Ben Post author

    Quite right. No mention of national depression over the terrible significance of this event, i.e. the murderous return to action of a major terrorist organisation. He should listen to the BBC’s ‘From our own correspondent’ podcast for an idea on how to combine opinion pieces with serious journalism.

  3. Jon Hundt

    yes – “From our own correspondent” is one of my favorite radio programs. Unfortunately the USA has developed a whole style of whiny “why did this happen to ME?” journalism. That’s one reason I’m glad to live in Holland, where I can pick up Radio 4 long-wave and listen to radio the way it’s supposed to be.

  4. ValenciaSon

    Sadly, I think this broadcast may be typical for what passes as journalism in the US. However, it does not fairly represent what I’ve come to expect from NPR, as an avid listener for over 15 years. From NPR I’ve mostly heard objectivity and fairness as the event is covered in more angles than mainstream media. Listen to “All Things Considered” as an example. What NPR does have is an opportunity for listeners to email in their complaints if a show is off or inappropriate for some reason. Perhaps you should do so.

  5. Mark K

    I agree that the reporter’s tone was inappropriate – it seemed like he was much more concerned with his being inconvenienced than with the effect this bombing had on the real victims and the country in general. I wouldn’t say that this is at all typical of NPR reporting which I find to be a cut above the network news. I think that the article that Ben referenced above, written by someone who isn’t a professional reporter, is much more compassionate and fair.

  6. Carl

    Uh Guys,

    Since it was a podcast download you did not hear the context of the whole show. This was not meant to be a report on the bombing. It was a filler, a side note, called “the reporter’s notebook”, that was supposed to be personal. This was National Public Radio and you could not get more “BBC like” than that on a normal report. You are very quick to judge without context. Felt good to talk about “whining Americans” though huh?

  7. Ben Post author

    It should be up to NPR to make sure that context is clear if they are going to put out isolated pieces like this. If not, they should think twice about doing so. How is a casual listener to discover the context? In any case, the piece is still fairly anti-Spanish when perhaps people were doing their best in horrific circumstances. The blog piece I refer to above by the lady who was in the departures area when the bomb went off moved me greatly. This piece did, I’m afraid, seem like whining.

  8. Carl

    Ben, Your comment is fair that you did not like the tone of his journal entry, however what does being an American have to do with it? – I was answering the first comment mostly. Of course, all Americans are self centered, right?

    The guys drinking Cubatas on the job were doing their best?

  9. Ben Post author

    For me being American has nothing to do with it. Of course if they were drinking Cubatas on the job then that is certainly wrong.

  10. Chris

    I arrived in Madrid on the evening of 28th December for a week’s holiday and was collected by my host in the car park by the lifts in T4. It was a chilling moment, on my way back home, going through T4, when I saw what was left of the car park. Particularly chilling when I remembered how I had tried to rearrange my flight to Madrid for a day later, when the car bomb would have been in place ready for detonation. Many people lost a lot in the blast, two people died. I don’t think I would have worried about a big taxi fare. I think the NPR journalist was more than a little insensitive and clearly does not appreciate the Spanish way of doing things, alien and frustrating though that can be for an outsider. He was lucky to get his car back at all.

  11. Jonathan

    You know, I think a lot of you are being unfair in any number of ways. I am also taken aback by the suggestion that being in a foreign country means you have no right to criticize its government or bureaucracy. Sounds very much like American conservatives who say that if you’re not pro-war, you’re Anti-American. I would venture to say that criticizing a foreign government/administration is actually a sign of integration, because it often requires in-group knowledge. Every single thing he complained about is something many a Spaniard would feel the same way about in the same situation. Some say he shoud’ve been less concerned about the car several days after a bombing. What would you have done in his place? Put down your baby, ignore the car, strap on some work gloves and start clearing debree? Or would you be worried about how you would get home? I know it feels good to chastise other foreigners for being the ignorant type (it reinforces your own sense of security as “one of the good ones”). But let’s cut at least some of the BS and just leave this poor guy alone.

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