NPR Had a Counterinsurgency Debate and All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt

NPR' Morning Edition calls. John Nagl the disciple of COIN's Jesus, GEN David Petraeus.

Kip reports that, “NPR ran an excellent and fair report on the ongoing debate about COIN and conventional preparedness on Morning Edition this morning. John Nagl is called the disciple of COIN’s Jesus, GEN David Petraeus.”

My local NPR affiliate, WAMU, begged for money all morning. I hate, hate, hate them and will never give them a dime.

Everywhere else I’ve lived, public radio and television stations had one, maybe two, pledge drives a year. And the NPR stations were actually pretty reasonable about how they carried these out, interrupting programs for brief periods and asking for pledges. WAMU had pledge drives quarterly, during which they essentially take over the shows, plus various mini-drives in between. This week, they’re doing it only during “Morning Edition.” Which, as it happens, is pretty much the only program I listen to.

Frankly, I’d rather just have them switch to commercials. It’d be less annoying.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. LaurenceB says:

    Not to worry – I’m sure one of the 24-hour cable news channels (perhaps Fox News) will have a similar debate at some point.

    HA HA HA HAAAA HAAAAAA HAAAA!!!!! (I slay me!)

  2. Bithead says:

    I speak as someone who made his living in radio for over a deacde…

    If “Begging for dollars” ever had to support itself without begging, they’d never survive.
    And given the sludge they put out, that may not be a bad thing.

  3. Michael says:

    It was a pretty interesting debate, but wasn’t terribly insightful. Basically the people who think we’ll fight a major conventional war in the future say the focus on COIN training is hurting the military, while people who view COIN as our primary challenge in the future view it as the enlightenment of modern strategy. The linked article is pretty close the the actual content of the broadcast, so you’re didn’t miss out on much.

    That said, I do hate the pledge drives too, but my local station (WUSF) has recently cut back from 3 to 2 per year.

  4. William d'Inger says:

    I have never listened to NPR in my life, but the local PBS television station is running commercials and not just between shows but during shows. They don’t call them commercials. They pretend they are not commercials. They insist they are not a commercial station. But they are being delusional if they actually believe what they say. Plus the pledge drives, art auctions, beer tastings, wine and cheese nights, and stuff make it seem they are begging non-stop anymore. Plus everything they show seems to be a rerun.

    On the other hand, the station facilities were totally destroyed in hurricane Katrina, so I am willing to cut them some slack for the time being.

  5. Sam says:

    NPR does have commercials I forgot the clever term they use for their sponsors. They are completely dishonest to claim it’s commercial free.

    Haven’t listened to them in years and life is just fine.

    The whole enterprise should be privatized and then they can do whatever they like.

  6. Since I got XM in my car I don’t listen to NPR any longer. When I travel, I will occasionally listen since I can always locate them on the dial, but it usually only takes a couple of stories to realize that the signal to noise ratio in the echo chamber remains as low as ever before.

  7. James Joyner says:

    Since I got XM in my car I don’t listen to NPR any longer.

    I’ve got Sirius but same here. I usually listen to NFL Radio and flip around during commercials.

    “Morning Edition” is what my clock radio wakes me up to, though. I listen to a few minutes’ worth before my dogs make me get up and then I catch a few minutes more shaving and getting dressed.

  8. Bithead says:

    Depends on the season, for me. Of late, I’ve been panning back and forth between the big 50kw blowtorch hereabouts… WHAM, and Quinn and Rose’s War Room, which is on both XM and a lot of AM stations around… inclduing WYSL just down the road to Avon, ny.

    During the Winter months, I do like listening to some of the out of town stuff, such as Smirconish on WPHT down in Philly, or perhaps KYW or WCBS or one of the big newsers. Summer, they fade out too early.

  9. Dean says:

    A brief recap of the story, with all the necessary links, along with a lengthy comment by Army historian Gian Gentile, is over on the Chicago blog.