The Public Radio Journalist’s View of the United States


Perhaps it’s proof that cynicism is imperfect protection against naiveté, but I find it genuinely shocking that Rhode Island Public Radio political analyst Scott MacKay would post something like this on Facebook with implicit agreement:

“Here in Canada, many of us believe we are witnessing the fall of the U.S. empire. Would a civilized country limit health care or food assistance for the poor; leave crops rotting in the fields; destroy the educational system; target women and attempt to eliminate their reproductive rights while refusing to help resulting babies; abuse desperate immigrants; pretend to believe in Christianity while perverting and debasing its tenets; and refuse to protect the Earth from destruction? The world is watching.” – Paul F. Haacker

As far as I can tell from a quick online search, Haacker is actually a Jersey boy like me, not a Canadian, but it doesn’t really matter.  That an American analyst for a public radio station would pass this along is what’s objectionable, and it is so both because he’s an American and because he’s supposed to be a political analyst.  There is no analysis in the above quotation, and it certainly isn’t constructed so as to permit response and debate.

Here are some thoughts that would rarely receive airing on Rhode Island Public Radio, if ever, and never without immediate push-back, probably by a paid employee of the station:

  • Is anybody really foolish enough to believe that health care and food assistance can be limitless?
  • Although one can’t know what a rant with no sources refers to, it appears (see here or here) that the “rotting crop” story was an over-hyping of a problem measured during the Obama administration. If we were to explore the issue, however, odds are better than even that one could lay the blame at the feet of a meddling government.
  • Although I wouldn’t characterize America’s education as “destroyed,” its deterioration has resulted from the unionization of teachers, which MacKay supports.
  • The comment about “targeting women” seems to indicate an unhinged rant, but the reference to abortion is at least intelligibly bizarre.  The United States, to its shame, has some of the most child-killingly permissive abortion laws in the world, crushing and dismembering babies so nobody ever has to have responsibility for them.  (A note for those who were entirely failed by whoever was supposed to teach them about human reproduction:  Children don’t result from the absence of abortion; they result from sex between men and women.)  And if anybody is cavalier about caring for babies, it’s progressives who are willing to drive Catholic adoption agencies out of business in the name of sexual orientation politics.
  • The dig about Christianity is especially rich when put in context of a country that initiated a nationwide manhunt for a guy who handed out fliers promoting his Christian beliefs, withholds funding from Christian organizations, and bans accreditation for universities that uphold Christian values.

I will suggest, though, that if anybody really is concerned that Haacker might have a point about the United States’s falling short of its values, a good place to start with the repair would be to insist that public radio stations balance far-left analysts with counterparts who are at least center-right.

  • guest

    Amazing how many of you on the far-right forget the role of Fox News during the Obama years. In any event, are you suggesting the Mr. MacKay is not entitled to his opinion because if differs from yours?

    • Justin Katz

      He as every right to his opinion, just as I have a right to criticize it and to wonder whether it is indicative of the left-wing bias of subsidized radio.

      • guest

        The Koch’s also accept government subsidies. Should they also suppress their opinions? To the contrary, they are substantial supporters of public radio and value its mission. Where I see substantial difference between your organization and public radio is transparency. I can see where their funding comes from with a few clicks. 90% of their funding come from Rhode Islanders. What’s the % of your organization’s funding that comes from Rhode Islanders?

  • Rhett Hardwick

    “rotting crops”” are easily explained. When the market price falls below the cost of production, it makes more sense to the farmers to allow crops to “rot”. The “answer” many would suggest is subsidy, of which there is already plenty.

    It is well to remember that 90% of the food is grown by 10% of the farmers, ADM, etc. The “agrarian myth” is history, it is pure business.