Comments on: The ethics of attention: unpacking “Yellow Rain” http://www.ethanzuckerman.com/blog/2012/10/24/the-ethics-of-attention-unpacking-yellow-rain/ Ethan Zuckerman’s online home, since 2003 Thu, 31 May 2018 07:56:57 +0000 hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.8 By: Roger http://www.ethanzuckerman.com/blog/2012/10/24/the-ethics-of-attention-unpacking-yellow-rain/comment-page-1/#comment-2762722 Fri, 22 Mar 2013 19:55:23 +0000 http://www.ethanzuckerman.com/blog/?p=4442#comment-2762722 I listened to this broadcast and was startled by Robert Krulwich treatment and arrogance of these guests. I have listened to Radiolab for a couple years and I have observed Krulwich attitude over many broadcasts. My observation is there is a HUGE ego involved with Mr. Krulwich and he has become maniacal. He really seems to be infatuated with his voice and his ideas. Public radio is great, but there are a lot of similar characters on a variety of NPR programs who swollen heads.

The turnover is very low at NPR and if one is the master of his or her show for 20 years, then I think the god complex starts to take over. This is also seen in politics where incombants spend decades in office.

What was even more disturbing was that they re-edited the show, cleaned it up to reflect better on Krulwich. Bad for public radio.

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By: The Truth will Out: Radiolab withdraws from ‘Yellow Rain,’ sources continue the narrative | Boreal Bites http://www.ethanzuckerman.com/blog/2012/10/24/the-ethics-of-attention-unpacking-yellow-rain/comment-page-1/#comment-2706161 Sun, 06 Jan 2013 22:49:42 +0000 http://www.ethanzuckerman.com/blog/?p=4442#comment-2706161 […] For further reading on the yellow rain/chemical weapon controversy, see here. For a great post further opening the discussion of Radiolab’s ethics in airing this piece, see here. […]

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By: ThaRum http://www.ethanzuckerman.com/blog/2012/10/24/the-ethics-of-attention-unpacking-yellow-rain/comment-page-1/#comment-2670192 Fri, 09 Nov 2012 14:05:19 +0000 http://www.ethanzuckerman.com/blog/?p=4442#comment-2670192 Interesting. This week I read about Agent Orange’s legacy in Cambodia.

http://www.cambodiadaily.com/selected-features/agent-oranges-legacy-884/

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By: I’ve got your missing links right here (27 October 2012) » Gocnhin Archive http://www.ethanzuckerman.com/blog/2012/10/24/the-ethics-of-attention-unpacking-yellow-rain/comment-page-1/#comment-2670068 Wed, 31 Oct 2012 19:09:58 +0000 http://www.ethanzuckerman.com/blog/?p=4442#comment-2670068 […] sad to learn of the Radiolab “Yellow Rain” controversy. Here’s a cogent summary and viewpoint, and a response from […]

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By: PH http://www.ethanzuckerman.com/blog/2012/10/24/the-ethics-of-attention-unpacking-yellow-rain/comment-page-1/#comment-2670048 Mon, 29 Oct 2012 18:22:10 +0000 http://www.ethanzuckerman.com/blog/?p=4442#comment-2670048 Mr. Woollcott, I completely agree that if Robert was on solid ground, he was obligated to promote the truth. But he wasn’t. Pat Walters had access to scientific studies and the people who;d conducted and supervised–stuff that was conducted in this millennium, and not back in the ’80s–that at the very least would give any credible journalist pause about making blanket statements about “truth.” Check out, for example, “Politics & the Life Sciences,” 24 August 2007, starting on page 24, and you will find abundant reasons to not see the bee dung theory as iron-clad. Again, RadioLab had this information in hadn well before they commenced their now-infamous interview with Eng Yang.

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By: chris woollcott http://www.ethanzuckerman.com/blog/2012/10/24/the-ethics-of-attention-unpacking-yellow-rain/comment-page-1/#comment-2670004 Sat, 27 Oct 2012 17:41:01 +0000 http://www.ethanzuckerman.com/blog/?p=4442#comment-2670004 If the evidence for chemical warfare (as it relates to this “yellow rain”) is slim, I believe Krulwich had every right–indeed an obligation–to push the point. He should have chosen his words better, no doubt, but the same can be said of Yang when, afterwards, she describes Krulwich as “an imperialist white man”. In both cases, the speaker is expressing a prejudice.

It is unfortunate that Yang’s father’s painful testimony is juxtaposed with “bee shit”. Jad and Krulwich should have been more sensitive to this and not relished so much the kookiness of the explanation. From the Yangs’ perspective, I can totally see how Krulwich’s snorty-laughter at this point might’ve felt like a twist of the knife. For a program that is generally so well-edited, this was unexpected.

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By: Alinear http://www.ethanzuckerman.com/blog/2012/10/24/the-ethics-of-attention-unpacking-yellow-rain/comment-page-1/#comment-2669988 Sat, 27 Oct 2012 03:48:55 +0000 http://www.ethanzuckerman.com/blog/?p=4442#comment-2669988 I similarly had problems with the Morris segment, parataxis, and thought the third terrible as well, due to being monopolised by the misogynist storyteller. Still, the segment with the Yangs was painful to listen to, apparent from the beginning that their view of the story was not given to respect it deserved by any of the presenters.

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By: Matthew Chamberlin http://www.ethanzuckerman.com/blog/2012/10/24/the-ethics-of-attention-unpacking-yellow-rain/comment-page-1/#comment-2669976 Fri, 26 Oct 2012 19:42:04 +0000 http://www.ethanzuckerman.com/blog/?p=4442#comment-2669976 My 10-year old son and I listen to all the Radiolab podcasts, this episode included. As the interview with the Hmong began to spin out of control, I found myself in the challenging position of trying to explain to my son what was happening here. I don’t know how well I did, but I will say this for the non-10-year olds who might read this:

Krulwich’s behavior was reprehensible, I thought at the time. But the REASON I found it so reprehensible, I think , was because here was a radio host caught completely out of his element. The normal “gee whiz” tone of all Radiolab broadcasts was suddenly shattered by a “real” story about genocide. This is neither Radiolab’s nor Krulwich’s bailiwick. Instead of abdicating or refocusing the interview, Krulwich decided he was going to be Mike Wallace and bully a traumatized man and his unsuspecting niece. (I believe it was his niece, but it’s hardly relevant.)

When they started in with the bee crap explanation, my son and I both were convinced that this was the set up to a joke. Could any thinking person REALLY believe for a moment that people died from exposure to bee poop? And how many bees are we talking about to mount a sustained attack? A load of B.S., to be sure.

I am not Hmong, Asian and I was born in the middle of the Vietnam War, so I am no expert. I do know cultural bias when I hear it, however, and this smacked of just ANOTHER case of voiceless, defenseless people who were deemed worthless or expendable being denied a voice after being denied their lives.

Radiolab should have stuck to stories about whether Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil and leave the journalism to All Things Considered, Frontline, Bill Moyers or some other NPR or PBS colleague with the requisite chops.

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By: parataxis http://www.ethanzuckerman.com/blog/2012/10/24/the-ethics-of-attention-unpacking-yellow-rain/comment-page-1/#comment-2669973 Fri, 26 Oct 2012 13:18:29 +0000 http://www.ethanzuckerman.com/blog/?p=4442#comment-2669973 I saw some of the same errors in the accompanying Morris segment, albeit to a lesser degree. I was really upset about it for awhile, until I found the Hmong segment.

The whole set up in the photo story, which they adopt unquestioningly from Morris, is that Sontag was just speculating, whereas Morris and his photoshop friend have actual evidence, claiming Sontag was “right for the wrong reasons” as if Morris even has any idea what her reasons were.

The “controversy” as presented by the show seems to reenforce the following framework for the endeavor: what matters here is the reasoning of techie nerd guys and their relationship to their investigations.

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By: The Truth will Out: Radiolab withdraws from ‘Yellow Rain,’ sources continue the narrative « Boreal Bites http://www.ethanzuckerman.com/blog/2012/10/24/the-ethics-of-attention-unpacking-yellow-rain/comment-page-1/#comment-2669949 Thu, 25 Oct 2012 06:26:06 +0000 http://www.ethanzuckerman.com/blog/?p=4442#comment-2669949 […] For further reading on the yellow rain/chemical weapon controversy, see here. For a great post further opening the discussion of Radiolab’s ethics in airing this piece, see here. […]

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