Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Casual entry

This is one of our talking entries. So we'll be even more informal than usual.

First off, let's note Rebecca who added to the entry we had here Monday night ("Your responses to 'Show The War, Tell The Truth'") in her "public access, web tv." Brandon had explained that he felt Danny Schechter needed to do put together a weekly progam and that it was important for the program to have video. Brandon noted that at his job, if he's listening to a program, people don't register, but if he's watching Democracy Now!, the images will often catch his co-workers attention. Rebecca backed up that belief:

and that reminded me of something i saw on c-span awhile back. it was from booknotes and from when amy goodman was the guest. the booknotes program was june 6, 2004 and was called 'The Exception to the Rulers: Exposing Oily Politicians, War Profiteers, and the Media That Love Them by Amy Goodman:'
LAMB: Is there any way to characterize how much it costs to do "Democracy Now" for a year?
GOODMAN: I don't know the exact budget. I'll just say it is a fraction of the corporate networks, to say the least, but it is a team of absolutely remarkable producers, who are just completely committed. It's both television and radio, we are the only ones doing that daily, and the first daily national public broadcast on radio and television at the same time. And it`s really opened up a new world going to television.
First of all, most people -- people get most of their news from television, so it is very important. Images really matter. And to be able to broadcast the images, for example, of war, and we talk about this in the book, to counter the sanitized media, is very, very important. People listen to radio, won't even know that the images are going by. But people who watch television see the film and photos of the independent journalists who are out there, videographers and photographers, and also corporate -- those who work for the networks who don't get some of this stuff on their stations. It's very important. I'm not for reality television, except when it comes to war. Then I am for showing exactly what's happening.

So that's another reason why images are important. Or can be. Personally, I'm in the apparent minority who prefers to listen to news. Mike and Rebecca have both noted that they watch Democracy Now! and prefer that method. I prefer to listen. For me, I focus more if it's just audio. Cedric and Elaine prefer to listen for that reason as well but we discussed this while working on The Third Estate Sunday Review this past weekend and Jim, Ava, Dona, Jess and Ty prefer to watch. Kat said she prefers to listen but she's "old school." Wally prefers to watch. Betty said she doesn't have the time for either and reads the summaries up here and then checks out what she wants more information on.

Brandon's suggestion of a video program also led to e-mails. Thanks to Shirley and Martha who again tabulated. (Truly, they should have an accounting firm. And their numbers are correct unless I transpose a digit while typing.) They can even do percent and they broke down the response to Brandon's suggestion of a video program with 41% saying audio only and 53% saying video was the way to go. Six percent e-mailed to say they'd be interested either way. That was from 305 e-mails, by the way.

Brenda is very upset that Elaine was ragged on by some readers for not blogging on Wednesday (due to being tired from participating in a World Can't Wait rally -- note, she does not blog on Thursdays, we've noted that here, Mike's noted it at his site and Elaine's noted it at her site -- she does group therapy on Thursday nights). Brenda read Kat's comments of talk of a schedule and wondered if we'd be doing that here (at The Common Ills)?

No. I think we have a minimum of three posts a day. Often more than that, but we'll stick with that. If I do take a break, I'd do it during a non-holiday period.

For new members, I'll drop back to explain that. The Common Ills started around Thanksgiving and we had entries then. When Christmas was rolling around some members started writing in asking if we were going on break because apparently a number of sites were. (We did an entry noting various sites that were not on vacation.)

I honestly had intended to take some time off at Christmas but when two members explained why they were requesting that we not go on "break," I tossed aside that idea. The plus was, we got to cover things we wouldn't have been able to otherwise. That included actual life in the New York Times.

Yes, new members, it did happen. During the tsunami, the Times did an amazing job. The community from that period is split on whether it was due to the fact that "star" reporters were on vacation or if it was just that the Times realized how important that story was. But the New York Times proved then that they can still matter and can still turn out worthwhile journalism.
It's a high water mark they haven't matched and may not again, but we were able to give daily, deserving praise to the Times during that two week period.

Cindy who wondered why other Air America Radio shows weren't promoted besides The Laura Flanders Show? First of all, that is the favorite, the favorite, of the community. In terms of me noting AAR, when John Roberts was nominated, all of my evening time was taken up by that. I didn't have time to listen to The Majority Report and with Janeane filming West Wing, I don't have a need to now. That's no offense to Sam Seder but the network has so few females as it is. We do note Randi Rhodes' show and ideally, all the weekend programs would be noted each weekend but is the favorite so if that gets noted, that's enough for me.

In the morning, I want news. I'm listening to Pacifica if I've got the radio on. I've no desire to listen to Baby Cries A Lot or to hear AEI voices. On a good day, I'm able to catch Randi Rhodes.
But when Unfiltered was on, I would listen straight through. Now? I don't have the need for hour after hour of male dominated programming so I never even bother to listen during the week until Randi Rhodes comes on. If I'm not listening to music, I'll often turn on The Mike Malloy Show. Those are my personal tastes.

As for Baby Cries A Lot, I got a lot of e-mails before I dubbed him that saying I was being too nice. If this site had existed when he was running his Reagan tributes, I wouldn't have been so nice. (Especially on the day where Greg Palast was rushed off for telling the apparently ugly, unspeakable truths about Reagan and Central America.) I'd usually tune out Baby Cries A Lot, and skip one hour to catch Democracy Now!, but he's never been a voice that had any value to me. I couldn't get through the last bad book which wasn't funny. We won't plug his current book. And whether it sales or fails has nothing to do with the left since, as he noted in a recent interview, he's really not that left.

You don't get to hang with your AEI buds and be that left. I'd usually think "Yes!" when Randi would say something about she couldn't believe that he had whatever right-winger he had on. I don't know if he doesn't grasp Iran-Contra or if he just doesn't care but I don't take that topic lightly. (Nor does Rhodes, who probably takes it even more seriously than I could hope to.)

If it speaks to someone, fine. But we won't promote here. When I tried to be nice about it in the past, I'd get too many e-mails complaining. The show was pushed over other shows. That bothers a lot of members who have pointed out many times that Randi Rhodes was a proven talent with proven ratings but she was treated as the step-child and not given the promotion her show should have been given. When Unfiltered was cancelled, the attitude of "oh, another white male gets a daytime show" was very vocal in the e-mails.

I don't think he's funny. I didn't think he was funny on Saturday Night Live. Him running for the Senate? Now that's funny.

I'm really not into the whole "I'm choked up" on a regular basis especially when he seems like a trick/manipulation to appeal to the emotion because the argument being put forward can't appeal to the intellect.

So that's why we don't note Baby Cries A Lot. And we won't. Even when he has a friend on, I don't note the show. Hopefully, he speaks to the fence sitters. Surely he speaks to the war hawks.

We delinked from Lizz Winstead and from Rachel Maddow and some visitors asked about that when we did. With Lizz, a month had passed with no posts. (It's now over two months with no posts.) That was the only reason. With Rachel Maddow, Big Brain (as Rebecca dubbed her) went off on Pacifica Radio one morning. I wasn't listening to it. E-mails came in throughout the day. I listened (via Air America Place, which we do link to).

Hearing her remarks, her uninformed, insulting remarks, led me to make the decision to delink.
I am a Pacifica radio listener (and I pledge during pledge drives). I didn't care for that nonsense or that higher than thou attitude. We will never promote her show again. Her work of summarizing what she read in the paper doesn't come close to reaching the level of the many reporters working for Pacifica and that attitude was so wrong and so insulting.

I'm not a fan of war cheerleaders to being with. On Unfiltered, she frequently got on my nerves. But as a resource/review for the left, I was more than willing to note her solo show and to wish her well. When she elected to attack Pacifica Radio, she lost her right to be heard here. (I'm sure she loses no sleep over that.)

I think she behaved like a coward during the disappearance of Lizz but was willing to give her credit for finally stopping the spin on the second to last day of the show (how many weeks had Lizz been disappeared by then). In my book, you stick up for people. Certainly, she should have stuck up for the woman who got her a job, in my book. I've walked out on jobs where friends were screwed over.

The power of "no" is sometimes the only power you have. I've never been afraid in my life to use that power. I've never been afraid to walk away from something for a principle. But she was young and I was willing to factor that in and promote her show since she had finally noted Lizz Winstead. When she then went on to attack Pacifica Radio (which I'm sure has more listeners than her program does) for no reason other than she needed a cheap laugh and maybe needed to make herself feel better that morning, we moved on to things that mattered. Rachel Maddow doesn't matter at this site. She also had an annoying habit of noting (especially on Mondays) that a story was in this morning New York Times, when maybe it was in the Friday before, or Saturday or Sunday . . .

Maybe she got an "attaboy" for her attack from someone?

Who knows. It was uncalled for. She also defended the writer of the Ann Coulter Time story. Why? No one ever knew. I don't know. Rachel Maddow is someone he's described as a friend.
Maybe that's why?

When she's doing that, it's probably not a good idea to question the journalistic standards of Pacifica Radio. It's called "glass houses."

In the old days, we championed anyone who claimed the left. We don't do that now.

The death of Gary Webb brought that home to a lot of members (and is why some people don't get noted) -- that claiming left isn't the same as being left.

We're a site for the left. We're not trying to be a moderate site and we certainly won't champion telecom lobbyist Simon Rosenberg and his public remarks that Hugo Chavez needs to be removed. We don't champion those people. The DLC or their offspring.

We lost a member in the early days (Wanda) because we'd noted either Tom Hayden or Jane Fonda (both of whom I know) and I said there was always a place at the table for either of them.
The Democratic Party too often has practiced appeasement with the right. That's as much why we're where we are now in this country as it is because of the Republicans.

The right didn't move the line on their own, they stuck out their position and then some in the Democratic Party rushed over to meet them. That happened on all levels. I can remember having this discussion with an Al Gore aide while he was in the Senate. (This was a private conversation and not one that had anything to do with Gore.)

But most don't now how to fight. And a lot of them don't have the desire to fight. They want to make nice and appear "reasonable." Reasonable brings us to where we are now: intelligent design gaining validity, Roe v. Wade under attack, go down the list.

At this site, we're left. We're not going to write some dopey post about how James Dobson shouldn't be mocked or push some idiot reject from the Heritage Foundation who's now "independent" and wants to hector the Democratic Party about what they need to do.

Think of the national dialogue as a tug-a-war contest. If you don't dig in and stand up for what you believe, then the line moves.

A question that pops up (twice today) from visitors is what term do we use. Members can use whatever term they want. They are Democrats, Greens and "independents." (And know I loathe that term if it's not applied to a third party. "Swing voter" is the term that usually applies.) But today's questions was "progressive or liberal."

People can self-describe however they want. And there are more choices than that.

But reading the e-mails, I thought of the comments of how "liberal" was made a dirty word by the right. The right did launch a campaign to demonize the word; however, it's also true (for those with long memories) that "liberal" was a term of ridicule for some in the sixties and seventies. "Liberal" was thought to be someone who walked on the wild side (however you define that) on the weekends and otherwise supported the status quo in place.

I've got no problem with the term "liberal" but one visitor was convinced that the term was popular "with everyone" until Newt Gingrich came along. That's simply not the truth.

If this is news to you, you can seek out Phil Ochs' "Love Me, I'm A Liberal" to hear the left mocking the term.

As rejects, posers and fakes left the left and joined the right in the seventies, they knew the value of language and worked very hard to co-opt movement language to appeal to a larger audience. Long before Bully Boy started using phoney slogans, the rejects, posers and fakes had already begun marketing slogans.

One e-mail asked if there was anything we shy away from? I don't talk about everything. If it's something I don't feel I have enough information on or understanding of, I take a pass. Members are allowed to express their own opinions. The Times coverage of Israel is something I don't comment on because I haven't paid attention to it. Rob and Kara did an entry on that. I wasn't comfortable commenting on it because I didn't feel I'd paid enough attention to it or knew enough on the subject to speak on it. (Latin America and Ireland are areas I'm comfortable commenting on. Those are areas I have studied.)

I also don't pretend to know what happened re: 9/11. That means various hypothesis or what have you. But I don't shut down discussions on it. Jesse of TV Lies believes that the truth about the events on that day are much darker than the official story. We link to his site as a permalink and anytime a member sees something at his site they want linked to (and, in fact, one time when a visitor saw something), we will link to it.

There's a book coming out (I think Tuesday) on the assassination of JFK that has a ton of a research. But I'm sure the gatekeepers will rush in to shut down the debate. If it's something members want to note, we'll note it.

By the same token, it's not necessary that I agree with everything that's up here. Members have expressed opinions that I disagreed with and I've expressed opinions that they disagree with. That can also happen with things we link to that members suggest. Two recent examples. I think Rita J. King is a wonderful writer but I disagreed with her take on Baez and Dylan. (And spent thirty minutes working on a paragraph in that entry that I finally pulled. I knew e-mails would come in on that and they did.) I didn't see the mythology of Dylan that aired on PBS. But to attempt to pin down the break up of Dylan and Baez would require noting more than the PBS special apparently did. But I liked the writing of that entry (again, Rita J. King is a great writer) and it's not really about whether or not I agree with an opinion.

(I don't think Kat will mind me stating that she exploded over that entry. I told her she could write about it for here if she wanted and we'd post it.) (We'll always post Kat, it's an honor.)

To give another example, we posted Sharon Smith and I disagreed with her take on Naomi Klein's statements at a conference. (And noted that I didn't hear the statements, Smith did.)
I'm always hoping someone will send something in by Smith. If they do, we'll link to it absolutely.

But people shouldn't assume that linking to something means that I personally agree with it. This is a site for members and we're a diverse group.

Alexander Cockburn is not someone I always agree with, but I always enjoy reading him. We're linking more to CounterPunch these days and I hope that continues because the attacks on him by some on the left (and some on the "left") really irritate me. I'm always amazed by the "left" who can pen some justification for Willie Kristol and take the "good point here and we disagree here" with regards to him but just tear into Cockburn.

Ideally, we would never note Baby Cries A Lot or other "moderates." We don't note the right here. We don't link to the right. We shouldn't be promoting the "moderates." (And as the war drags on and on, my tolerance with those who want to appear "reasonable" by playing the stay-the-course card grows less and less.) We have linked to the right three times. Once, my mistake, when the Times couldn't find anti-war voices and I noted Fox "News" to demonstrate that even Fox "News" could find what the Times couldn't. Attorney X went over the legal issues in Plamegate for us and X linked to a right wing source in one of the entries. That was left in because we appreciated the analysis. The third time was someone asking us to link to the dreaded Andrew Sullivan and we'd added members around that time so I wasn't sure that it was clear (that we don't link to the right). I put up that link (grinding my teeth as I did) and then noted we don't link to the right.

If someone's providing analysis (as Attorney X did) we probably would allow their entry to post in full. Otherwise, we don't do it. (We includes me.)

We're not here to help the popularity of the right by linking to them. (Links count towards web popularity.) And on links, again this is a casual post, even by the loose standards here. Point, I'm not putting in a ton of links. And I'm only tagging for Danny and community sites.

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