NPR Shills for ‘Our Benevolent Empire’

NPR critic Mytwords was pleasantly surprised (NPR Check, 2/9/09) by Ari Shapiro’s All Things Considered report “covering the ACLU case against Jeppesen–a subsidiary of Boeing–that has provided the torture flights for the CIA’s extraordinary rendition program.” That is, until “about three quarters of the way through,” when “Shapiro closed the piece by featuring attorney David Laufman, identified only as having ‘handled terrorism cases as a federal prosecutor'”:

Shapiro says: “Attorney David Laufman believes tomorrow could be a rude awakening for some of Obama’s more liberal supporters. [Laufman] ‘There’s that old joke that a conservative is a liberal who’s gotten mugged and, thank God the new team hasn’t gotten mugged yet.’ But he says a daily threat briefing can be about as sobering as a mugging.”

Oh we childish “more liberal” listeners who just don’t understand the real Jack Bauer world of the threats facing our benevolent empire. If only we were privy to the super-secret briefings that the grown-ups get every day, then we too would be begging for more prison camps, more torture flights, more preventive wars, more spying on ourselves–in fact all kinds of “extraordinary” measures to protect the freedoms, liberties, rule of law and democracy that the “bad guys” want to take from us.

A cursory look at Laufman’s “checkered past regarding this story” shows that “from 1980-84, Mr. Laufman served as an intelligence analyst at the Central Intelligence Agency,” and “from 2001 to 2003, Mr. Laufman served as chief of staff to Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson at the Department of Justice, where he assisted in managing the day-to-day operations of DOJ and helped to coordinate the Department’s responses to the September 11 terrorist attacks.” Mytwords finds it awful “convenient that NPR failed to disclose the obvious conflicts of interest that Laufman has in this case.”

Check out Ari Shapiro’s own history as a world-class flack in this FAIR Action Alert: “Is Critical Journalism Incomprehensible to NPR? Correspondent Mocked Iraqi Colleague Who Asked About Immunity” (3/4/08)