Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Peter Pans of Panhandle Media refused to cover Winter Soldiers

First off, Cathy in Houston, good job on your letter re: Winter Soldier. Were you wanting it posted here?

If so, please advise and it will go up here.

On that. If you're not a community member, I don't have time for your stories. There are 23,478 unread e-mails in the public account right now. This isn't aimed at Cathy but it's a good reason to note it. I can't be your Dear Abby, I can't hear all your stories, share all your glories. If I sound pissed, I am.

We have private e-mail accounts that community members utilize. The public account is to suggest a highlight or to take issue with something that I've written.

I'm going to have to go into Sunday's night entry today and modify it because a professional journalist wanted to waste my damn time.

Why are you sending me links and disagreeing with me?

If you are doing that, you presumably want your voice heard.

So FPIF gets their lame ass version of non-reality noted and all that happens is more whining. (Ava griped them out yesterday morning in her response and they had it coming.)

To be clear, FPIF did NOTHING to promote Winter Soldier when it was live, airing and streaming. An article they ran on March 7th, doesn't count as promoting it when Winter Soldier is going on. Though they've reworked where it is on Tuesday -- due to the anniversary of the illegal war -- over the weekend that March 7th article was only on the right hand side and you had to scroll down past 13 other story titles to find it.

That's not promoting Winter Soldier. CODEPINK's ridiculous Friday e-mailing wasn't promoting Winter Soldier either (it didn't even mention Winter Solider). Someone wants to disagree with that evaluation, I'm not going to play like you're right when you're so obviously wrong.

I don't want to hear from you. I don't want your private whining. You got something to say, say it out loud. Don't bother me with e-mails about "We ran a story on March 7th -- boo hoo -- and you're so mean -- boo hoo. And you're angry -- boo hoo."

Whine somewhere else. You did nothing to promote Winter Soldier and you're wasting my time -- time I don't have to waste -- by showing up like the biggest cry baby in the world with your weak ass excuses for not covering or promoting Winter Soldier.

I'm not your therapist, I'm not your priest.

And I won't be your sin eater.

You're going to have to live with what you did or, in this case, didn't do.

If you had something to say on the matter and you mattered at all to me, you'd have my phone number and you could call me. If you don't have it, don't write your private e-mails.

That didn't read like a private e-mail and it got included. It got included and the link got included that was total nonsense. But you got your say.

Now you want to come back and whine "that was a private e-mail!" You're a professional journalist, it takes you two seconds to type out "This is a private e-mail."

Here's how it works, the New York Times staff can have that option of privacy. I rake them over the coals nearly every day. They want to sound off, they can do so. They have done so and it's been private. In many cases their anger has been more than jusified.

And it's clear those are private e-mails. Either they say so in those words or they curse throughout so it's obvious that it's a private e-mail.

I don't have time to be your babysitter, I don't have time to e-mail you and say, "Okay, I read it. Did you want it noted?" I don't need to read your crap to begin with. Reality was FPIF didn't promote Winter Soldier. As Ava noted in her reply to yesterday's whining e-mail, the only thing that should have resulted from Sunday's entry was, "That is true . . ." "But" could follow that or, "yes, we blew it." But there's no time to put up with your denails.

Fool yourself all you want but don't waste my time. And don't waste the time of others. Due to the number of e-mails coming, Ava, Jess, Dona, Jim, Heather, Martha, Shirley and Eli are now working the e-mail accounts and we're still running behind.

So we don't have time for idiots from Foreign Policy In Focus. Last time I checked, you had an online site. If you disagree with an assessment I make and you don't want to go public: Don't e-mail me. Don't e-mail me your dumb ass comments, with your dumb ass hyperlinks. Don't clog up the public e-mail account which does not exist as part of your therapy to find some way back to your humanity.

You screwed up. You didn't promote Winter Soldier, you didn't get the word out. You got called out on it.

Then you want to show up with an e-mail typed from the Land of Denial and your crappy e-mail gets noted along with the linked story you wanted noted and it's still NOT GOOD ENOUGH for you. Nothing ever will be.

You and I engaging in a private conversation is a CONFLICT OF INTEREST. I'm not your buddy, I'm not your pal. I make a point to disclose any relationship, however minor, here. Do you really think that having done that I'm now going to enter into a private e-mailing with you?
Does that really sound like ethics or integrity?

Now I grasp that Panhandle Media is nothing but one big circle-jerk. I grasp that Jeff Cohen either didn't know enough to call out the silence from 'independent' media while praising it in his half-baked column or else he grasped the rule that they never criticize one another.

That is, by the way, the same thing Panhandle Media slams Real Media for: the circle the wagons approach, the herd mentality.

It is truly amazing that people want to bill themselves as media critics but when it comes to their own they either take a pass or LIE.

Panhandle Media did a LOUSY job on Winter Solider.

Jeff Cohen made a fool of himself in his column and on KPFA yesterday as he offered praise to 'independent' media which didn't do a damn thing to cover Winter Soldier. He praised websites for links and we're talking about a link that read "The War Comes Home." We're talking about a link on a site where the editor/publisher claims there are 190 links each day. "The War Comes Home" was not at the top of the page, it was not even prominently displayed. It was buried in the middle of the page and gave no indication -- because it only said "The War Comes Home" -- that by clicking on that title you would be taken to live testimony of veterans speaking about what they saw in Iraq (and Afghanistan) as well as what they saw when they returned to the United States.

The other website Jeff Cohen praised did nothing but clearly indicate (at the center of the page) that you could hear stream live testimony. When Ehren Watada was court-martialed, they filed video and text reports. As of yesterday they still had nothing on Winter Soldier. The only thing they did was put, in the center of the page, a link to Winter Soldier.

That's not the power and glory of 'independent' media. That's a little better than useless but it's nothing that earns praise.

Here's Jeff doling out the unearned praise:

On my car radio, I listened to the proceedings live on Pacifica network, which broadcast the hearings to affiliates nationwide -- along with call-ins and email from listeners, including Iraq vets and soldiers not as critical of the war.
The four days of vets’ testimony revealed the struggle these young Americans are waging to regain their humanity and morality after having been transformed into callous war-fighters who largely dehumanized Iraqis as a people -- not just "the enemy" or combatants.

Really? On your car radio? Well you only heard it on Friday and the station was WBAI which elected not to broadcast Winter Soldier on Saturday because spinning tunes was more important, spinning old tunes at that. More important thatn the realities offered at Winter Soldier was that a bunch of people who can't work any where else (no one else will have them) wasted hours of time picking out old records and offering bad patter between songs. But there was Jeff Cohen playing dumb and acting as if everyone was doing their job when WBAI clearly was not doing their job and WBAI was the only station in he could pick up in his car radio.

Ruth disagreed with FAIR's recent take on Naomi Wolf but made a point to note she was glad to see that the left could criticize its own. Does it begin and end with Wolf?

Do you really think 'independent' media ever gets better by everyone ignoring the nonsense and saying, "Great job! Way to go!"

What is this? Little league where everyone gets a trophy for showing up?

FPIF, you haven't seen me angry yet. And Ava is correct, your most recent e-mail was sexist and offensive.

Why you think I'd reply to it, want to read it, or had the time I have no idea.

But get it through your head, the public account doesn't exist for you. YOU FAILED at covering Winter Soldier. You can whine all you want, but when it was time to prove whether you could stand up or not, you chose to sit down, you chose to sit it out.

You got called out on that choice.

Nothing you can e-mail will ever change the fact that you did nothing. That's reality. You may not like it, it may make you angry, but that's reality.

Instead of wasting everyone's time with your private e-mails, you could try writing about Winter Soldier now. But that would require actually doing something and it's so much easier for you to whine. Day after day.

War resisters ARE NOT being covered. We do point that out. But we don't just point it out here. We cover them here. We use the power we have wisely.

Panhandle Media doesn't. And Panhandle Media is full of talk this week -- because it's the anniversary of the illegal war so they need to pretend they give a damn about it -- about the lack of coverage in Real Media.

Guess what? If you're not using your own power to change things, all you're doing is whining.

Nothing prevents you from putting on a panel of peace activists, for instance. FAIR's issued an alert about the New York Times' Week in Review featuring only pro-war voices. That's good but that's only a first step. FAIR has a weekly half-hour show. The paper of 'record' didn't provide the voices needed, as FAIR rightly pointed out, but FAIR has it in their power to do so. They can do that through CounterSpin. If they don't do so (and they probably won't), their criticism is useless.

It is absolutely important to critique failures and silences. But it's meaningless if you don't use your own power to make a difference. All the silence on Winter Soldier is the topic we're hearing non-stop and the finger pointing is at the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times and ABC and NBC and blah, blah, blah.

We are told, by media critics, that Winter Soldier mattered, that it was important and that the silence hurt.

I happen to agree with all of that. But I can also steer you to multiple things online written about Winter Soldier by this community. We didn't just finger point. Or as the Center for Constitutional Rights noted in their wonderful advertisment a few years ago about the 'Patriot' Act, we didn't just whine.

There was a complete silence from big media on the Downing Street Memos. In the end, it didn't matter because it did coverage, people used their power to amplify and cover the Downing Street Memos and the result was that people managed to get around the silence of big media.

That did not happen with Winter Soldier.

The examples are too many to list in full so let's take The Progressive which has still not posted their promised cover story (not on the hearings themselves). The Progressive, which Rothschild loves to say is independent of any political party, did not alert its readers to Winter Soldier, did not provide links to listen to it online and did nothing to get the word out. By contrast, when there were elections in Mexico, The Progressive offered live blogging. By contrast, the useless Amway convention under the name Take Back America is getting live blogging from The Progressive this week.

Now you can be a Jeff Cohen and applaud baby's first steps but The Progressive is awfully old to be needing applause for baby steps. It should have covered Winter Soldier, it didn't cover Winter Soldier. That's reality.

In These Times and Mother Jones did nothing to alert their readers that Winter Soldier was taking place, was ongoing and that their readers could follow the hearings live.

That's reality.

Those who want to criticize the New York Times should have at it. But if you're criticizing them for their silence and you're not also taking on the silence from the biggest in Panhandle Media, you're a hypocrite. And things aren't going to be better for Panhandle Media by looking the other way and acting as if people covered it when they didn't.

Jeff Cohen wants to hand out lollypops and also maintain that Winter Soldier was important. You can't hand out lollypops to WBAI for one day of broadcasting and claim that Winter Soldier was important.

FPIF doesn't even earn one lick from a lollypop. They did NOTHING.

I grasp that it's shocking to Panhandle Media to be held to any standards. This is, after all, the same medium that will take a man twice busted for soliciting sex with underage girls online and turn him into a 'hero.' This is the medium that will bash Judith Miller (who has earned it) but play dumb on the fact that Chris Hedges got the false link between Iraq and 9-11 on the front page of the New York Times (October 2001). If you think back, you will remember how when Democracy Now! and CounterSpin both interviewed the author of the Mother Jones article -- whom Hedges spoke to for the article -- you'll remember how hard the hosts of both programs worked to avoid ever saying the name "Chris Hedges."

During the Iran-Contra hearings, when Barbara Walters' name came out it was appalling to watch Big Media play circle the wagons and protect their own. They did so very well, most aren't even aware of the Walters angle to this day. Even Iran-Contra expert Robert Parry avoids that topic. But let's not pretend that Panhandle Media doesn't play circle the wagons.

If Jeff Cohen thinks the hearings of Winter Soldier were important, than he can play the "Don't say anything bad" game all he wants. He can pen an article or give a radio interview where he praises specifically those outlets who that did cover it. But he cannot make a blanket statement of praise for Panhandle Media and expect anyone to ever take seriously anything he has to say.

Winter Soldier did matter. It did not get the coverage it needed. It is not ethical to slam the New York Times for that and to act as if 'independent' media did a different job when they did not. That is lying.

But it's lying to pretend that Panhandle Media's done a damn thing to help end the illegal war in some time.

Let's repeat, The Progressive ignored Winter Soldier but is now live blogging a Democratic Amway convention. There's really no other example that needs to be offered.

That really does say it all. There is no 'independence' in Panhandle Media with very few exceptions. There's a lot of back door deals being made for 'coverage,' there's a lot of silence and there's a lot of wasted time -- such as on the tawrdy events of one man last week whose actions don't reflect on his public record or on the state of the country or world. But it was smutty and it was easy to cover, it was cheap -- as Panhandle Media points out when big media wastes time on stories like that -- so we got commentaries galore on that nonsense. We didn't get Iraq. We never get Iraq.

It's the fifth anniversary this week so we get some people dusting off the yearly columns they do on the subject and we're supposed to be pleased as punch that maybe they updated it to include the talking point of the financial costs.

As John Stauber (who truly is independent) pointed out yesterday on KPFA, the Democratic Party wants to use the financial cost to clobber Republicans with in the 2008 elections. Now drop back and think to last Thursday when The Nation -- which ignores Iraq more than any other print outlet, it's a weekly, it should have a ton of coverage to offer each month -- and what did they offer when they decided to take up Iraq? Three pieces on the financial cost of the illegal war.

Did that just happen? No. They're schilling for the Democratic Party. "Independent" media is tailoring their arguments to push the Democratic Party. The Nation's not doing a thing to end the illegal war, but they're happy to act as if they were a 527 while pretending to be a media outlet.

To Cathy in Houston, we will gladly run your letter here. But I don't have time to hunt you down for permission. To Panhandle Media, if I don't already know you, that really means I don't want to you. Regardless, I'm not interested in private e-mail relationships. It's a conflict of interest. I grasp that to Panhandle Media, "ethics" are things applied to others but I don't play the game that way. There's a reporter at a major daily who wrote this outlet several times and the e-mails were read and evaluated. There was no private exchange going on because there was no response to ___. But ____ left Iraq and when ___ did, Ava, Jess and I wrote a very brief e-mail to ___ stating we were glad that ___ was making it home alive. ____ is now covering Iraq again and everytime ____'s linked to here, I ask myself, "Is that right?" I'll call up friends who teach ethics when I'm in a panic and they'll reassure me that the three line e-mail of 'make it home safe' wasn't a conflict of interest.

I do self-check, I do seek out input from others. I have enough conflicts of interest without adding to them. I'm not interested in Panhandle Media's private e-mail complaints. I'm especially not interested in those who are too pig headed to say, "Yeah, we messed up." A March 7th article, buried as the 14th link on the right side of the page, is not telling your readers that Winter Soldier is taking place March 13th through March 16th and you can listen to a live stream right now. Refusal to admit basic realities does not change them.

You don't like what's up here? Oh well.

You have an article you want linked to, you can e-mail. If it's appropriate and there's time, it'll get a link. If not, it won't. You don't control this site.

You certainly don't control me and FPIF's e-mail was nonsense (the follow up was just insulting). If that wasn't intended as a private e-mail, the only other explanation is that I was supposed to read it and immediately rush to post the talking points from it as my own. I won't do that. Our criticism of FPIF stands. With what was thought to be a response they wanted made public, they had a chance to state their case. Now it's supposedly a 'private e-mail' so I'll be pulling it. But don't bother me again with your crap. You failed, I'm not going to pretend otherwise and I'm certainly not going to repeat your words as my own to pretend otherwise. You failed, you failed, you failed. Nothing changes that.

There is a chance Isaiah will have a comic this morning. He's drawing it right now and I've done this long editorial/talking entry this morning to stall for time before we hit the road because the comic will need to post to Flickr before it can go up here. If it's not up this morning, it will go up later today.

If you missed Iraq Veterans Against the War or would like to experience again or share it with someone who missed it, you can find it at Iraq Veterans Against the War, at War Comes Home, at KPFK, at the Pacifica Radio homepage and at KPFA, here for Friday, here for Saturday, here for Sunday. Aimee Allison (co-host of the station's The Morning Show and co-author with David Solnit of Army Of None) and Aaron Glantz were the anchors for Pacifica's live coverage. Amy Goodman has done two days of coverage of the hearings this week (and may have three with today). Any lollypops to be handed out would go to those listed. Otherwise, I'm seeing either silence or the bare minimum -- the equivalent of homework dashed off in the car on the way to school that morning.

The e-mail address for this site is It's does not exist for you to have a private therapy session. On a related note, no one's interested in calling you. Another site got an e-mail from someone wanting us to call them about Winter Soldier. Yeah, we'll get right on that. Get real. We're not your pen pals, we're not your phone buddies.

aaron glantz