Sunday, December 19, 2004

The Laura Flanders Show

Sunday night's The Laura Flanders Show was a rowdy discussion on social security for the first two hours. Former New York Times' reporter John Hess was outraged and passionate and,
to hear David Boaz ticking off spin that first hour, you could easily understand why Hess was
so outraged.

A blogger on show's web log made the comment that "David Boaz is a creep, but I like his sister Joan. That was a joke, like David Boaz is." We like Joan Baez at this site so I thought I'd note it.
(And the joke is, they aren't related. Boaz, Baez. Just in case anyone didn't get that, don't want them to say, "Common Ills said Joan Baez is David Boaz's sister!")

Another blogger pointed out: "its just a nightmare. do you know how many people can balance their checkbook? NOT DAMN MANY. & now they are gonna HAVE to make & MANAGE investments?!?!?!? they ought to issue a NATIONWIDE MATH TEST before they even THINK about privatizing SS!!!"

In the third hour, Laura Flanders began pointing out how the discussion had gone -- can we save money here, can we spend money there. Why can we spend so much money to go to war and to occupy but with social security we say, "Well the money's not there." (This is a summary, not a direct quote.)

It's a good point. And why, when I hear someone say that we need a CEO for ____ (whatever position), I always cringe. Government is not about turning profits. Granted, a nation needs a government that doesn't go under financially. But government is supposed to provide services. And the bottom line financially shouldn't be the sole factor in determining a policy.

Flanders asked, "Are we gonna care about each other or go dog eat dog?"

Flanders: It's also a public sector thing.

Blanche Wiesen Cook (guest): The republic that unites us, we are the people, does it have a responsibilty to protect the people and to make the people secure.

Flanders: The only time people say public now is when a company is selling shares!

Blanche Wiesen Cook participated in the roundtable The Nation (which some of you pointed out that only subscribers could access) and you can find her comments from that round table at Common Dreams (no subscription required)

Some notable remarks made by Wiesen Cook on tonight's show:

"Liberals need to rearm."
"It's really the DLC, the conservative Lieberman folks, who have been driving the DNC and they wanted no part of Howard Dean and were dedicated to tripping him up."
"I was told by a member of the DLC 'You talk to much about poor people.'"

Toure from CNN and Rolling Stone was on in the third hour providing the comic relief -- unintended. He's able to spit out every media narrative as fact but he's unable to connect with reality. On the show's blog someone said he is the "new Cokie Roberts."

Which reminds me, we will be doing awards for the end of the year. If there's someone who stood out positively or negatively, some event, feel free to e-mail (
Saturday's The Laura Flanders Show featured a debate between Mark Crispin Miller (author, media critc and NYU professor) and Jay Bookman (who's with The Atlanta Journal and Constitution). The subject was the lack of serious coverage on the Ohio vote. Bookman took offense to Miller's labeling the silence as "treason." On the blog, they wondered if he'd be more comfortable with the term "journalistic malpractice?"

Bookman pins the media silence on John Kerry for not making it an issue. That seems to give the media an easy out. If Kerry's not making it an issue, there's no issue? For the media to dig around they need a mouth piece to pin their work on? Apparently investigative journalism might appear unpatriotic. The only way to do it might be to hide behind Kerry and say, "We're only following up on his accusations."

As many who read up on Gary Webb this week probably know, when Kerry touched on the issues Webb raised, the press rushed to label him a conspiracy nut. If that bothered him, that could explain why he's silent. But the media doesn't need to hide behind Kerry to do their job.
It's nice to them abdicate their roll. And I believe Miller made the point (to this "logic") that there is no way this is what the framers intended by a free press.

Saturday's second hour featured Jermey Hinzman (who's attempt to seek refuge status in Canada has been well covered by Democracy Now!) and Jim Massey who testified in Hinzman's case about his own actions in combat.

The third hour featured Michael Musto of The Village Voice discussing movies and gossip. There won't be a Laura Flanders Show next weekend due to the holidays. (Or, as Flanders noted, "one of the holidays.")