Saturday, October 29, 2005

Ruth's Morning Edition Report

Ruth: One of the things I enjoyed most this week was hearing Amy Goodman, chiefly on WBAI and KPFA, note Pacifica's history. I honestly could have listened to a great deal more of that topic. Monday on Democracy Now!, they provided an exclusive interview from 1956 with civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks and I wondered why, during the pledge drive, there had not been a push to note more of the historical significance of Pacifica?

As was often noted during the pledge drive, Pacifica has been the news outlet committed to providing you with information before the lead up to the war and throughout the occupation. That is historic and certainly reason enough, in my mind, for listeners to support the programming. I did wonder what a longer view of the network's past might have done to pledge efforts?

The pledge drive concluded Friday. It did not conclude on a happy note for two members who e-mailed me to complain that following Patrick Fitzgerald's live statement, instead of staying with questions and answers, the programming returned to a holitistic medicine show. I was listening to KPFA because I am impressed with their news department and on KPFA, they interrupted programming to carry Fitzgerald's live statement and then returned to programming which was a discussion of the indictment with guests John Nichols (of The Nation) and Bruce Shapiro.

I am sure that there are listeners who enjoyed the return of the medical show but I will have to agree with the two members who e-mailed complaining of that decision. As a lifetime news junkie, my own personal priority is the news. My suggestion to the two members (Rachel and Micah) is that, in the future, when there is breaking news that occurs late in the day, switch to KPFA.

Kimba e-mailed me to note a news segment that she felt was worthy of attention:

"Documents Shed Light on Abu Ghraib Death"
by John McChesney
Morning Edition, October 28, 2005 · Nearly two years after the death of an Iraqi man questioned at Abu Ghraib prison was ruled a homicide, no one has been charged. Confidential CIA documents offer further insight into the death of Manadel al-Jamadi, who was in CIA custody when he died.

Kimba writes that report, which she heard Friday on Morning Edition, made up for "a year of nothing special." I agree that it is an important report and I felt that way when I heard it Thursday. I had trouble with KPFA's website and kept getting an error message. C.I. had told me before of the Pacifica sister stations. I went from one to another California station but could not find one carrying the KPFA Evening News. The last station I went to, which carries Pacifica and NPR programming, was broadcasting that story. I agree that it was an excellent move for Morning Edition to broadcast the report the next day but possibly the reason it ranks as one of the best reports from Morning Edition is because it did not originate with Morning Edition?

E-mails have come in asking where is CounterSpin? I usually catch FAIR's CounterSpin on WBAI and due to the pledge drive, it has not aired on Fridays at its regular time. It can be heard online and I will listen to it this weekend but, like many news junkies, I was glued to the live broadcasts all week as I wondered what Patrick Fitzgerald would do with regards to the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame.

Trina e-mailed to say that she found it difficult to listen during pledge drive because she did not have any money to give. She also noted that she could not listen to NPR during pledge drives without getting furious because "unlike Pacifica, they just come off greedy." Trina listed the following nonsense, Trina's term which I agree with, that she heard during NPR's pledge drive:

1) You can find sixty dollars by cleaning your sofa.

Trina wonders if, since she is on a fixed income herself, she is supposed to invite wealthy strangers into her home with the hope that coins and dollars might fall from their pockets into her sofa cushions?

2) A calender was being given away, an NPR calender, with a forty dollar donations causing the two local anchors to say that they usually did not give premiums with minimal donations and that, since the calender was so nice, they really should reconsider the donation necessary to receive a calender.

Trina wonders how many forty dollar donations they lost over that commentary? I would hope that they lost all of them.

3) NPR wants your money. Read The Third Estate Sunday Review's "Watchdog Daily" for a humorous look at that. But they want your big money.

I listened to all five of the Pacifica stations this week and would hear that twenty dollars, ten dollars, anything would be appreciated. As a listener, I found that more inclusive and more welcoming. One member e-mailed to say he did give twenty dollars which was not an easy gift due to his budget but the fact that Pacifica was welcoming of all amounts did speak to him. I imagine it spoke to others as well.

NPR's uninformed comments contribue to their image of being a "yuppie" news network.

Marci e-mailed to say that pledge drives were necessary for listener supported radio and wondered what I made of the special programming other than the documentaries on Pacifica?
I enjoyed the coverage of last Saturday's conference on the Bully Boy's war crimes. Michael Ratner was a personal favorite speaker. His broadcast remark that "Our job is to keep them running" was one of my favorites of the week. Whether it is providing speeches from a conference or something along the lines of Robert Fisk's speech and questions and answers, pledge drives do provide Pacifica with the chance to to greatly reinforce important themes and issues.

There are three programs that I want to note. The first was the Monday special from Law & Disorder "Beyond the Patriot Act" on WBAI. Along with providing a serious examination of the Patriot Act, the topic of the detainees in Guantanamo Bay was addressed. "A couple of hundred . . . who've been on a hunger strike since August. Several of them are near death."

There is a call for a national day of protest on November 1st:

The Center for Constitutional Rights, in cooperation with organizers and communities across the country, is calling for a Fast for Justice on Tuesday November 1st to demand that the Bush Administration follow the law and provide the detainees at Guantánamo Bay with due process and humane treatment.
To find out more about the Fast for Justice and the hunger strike, click on the links below and join us at one of the Fast for Justice Vigils.
Fast for Justice Vigils
Washington, DC: Join CCR, the Muslim American Society for Freedom, and other faith and community organizations for a Vigil in front of the Department of Justice at 12pm: 950 Pennsylvania Avenue NW (Navy Memorial station on the green line).
New York: Join CCR, the NY Coalition for Civil Liberties, ICNA and other faith and community organizations at 26 Federal Plaza at 1 pm(Broadway between Duane and Worth Streets, Brooklyn Bridge/City Hall on the 4,5,6 or City Hall on the R or W).

More information can be found at the Center for Constitutional Rights. The Center for Constitutional Rights produces Law & Disorder. I have listed the wrong date in an earlier entry for the next airing of Law & Disorder so I'll note that it airs on WBAI "Alternate Mondays, 10:00 to 11:00 a.m" EST.

[C.I. note: Due to the pledge drive, WBAI's archives may be confusing. Dallas found the special "Beyond the Patriot Act." To listen, look for the following on WBAI's archive page:
Expert Witness Monday, October 24, 2005 5:00 pm 85Play
Talk Back! Monday, October 24, 2005 3:00 pm 85
These cover the three hour special.]

Also remember that the latest installment of the Christmas Coup Comedy Players(CCCP) will air this coming Thursday at 11:00 a.m. to 11:55 a.m. EST. This program airs once a month so if you enjoy strong comedy, you've been advised.

The second program I would like to emphasize is KPFA's "APEX Express Fund Drive Special" which featured "The words of Thich Nhat Hanh as he spoke at the Colors of Compassion retreat in Southern California last month." C.I. actually phoned to alert me to that. Friday evening, Elaine called and she had also received an alert from C.I. Elaine found the program provocative and we both felt the main point can be boiled down to Thich Nhat Hanh's message that what the peace movement needs to do now is to look within.

Thirdly, I would like to note Wednesday's Democracy Now! which devoted the program to an interview: "Col. Janis Karpinski, the Former Head of Abu Ghraib, Admits She Broke the Geneva Conventions But Says the Blame 'Goes All the Way to The Top.'" This is an important interview that provides the most in depth look at the culture of Abu Ghraib from any broadcasting source.
If you missed the broadcast, you can listen or watch it online or you can read the transcript.

Lastly, who said "Yes, I do that." Nina Totenberg on today's Weekend Edition. What was she speaking of? The Rush Limbaugh Show. When NPR's legal affairs expert plugs Rush Limbaugh on NPR, you realize how low NPR has sunk.