Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Danny Schechter and Media Channel want you back

Last week, like many other people, I received the generic e-mail from Media Channel.  Before the greeting, I was being asked, "HELP MEDIA CHANNEL RETURN STRONGER THAN EVER."

After I got done wondering why Danny Schechter was yelling at me in an e-mail, I wondered why he was writing me to begin with?  And why I should give a damn whether Media Channel returns or not?

The e-mail, announcing a windfall of money that allowed them to buy back their domain names, was an attempt to scare up donations.

In an attempt to make people feel like donating, Danny included the following:

  • How do you think Mediachannel.org can be most effective?
  • What do you think we should be covering and offering in this new media age?
  • Which media websites do you find most useful and why?

I will address the questions.  (And give Danny a little buzz in the process.)

Media Channel was one of the most important sites once upon a time.  Possibly because it valued the stamp of approval from Walter Cronkite, it was a non-partisan site.  That doesn't mean that it was a right-wing site or a centrist site.  It was left-wing but it didn't whore, it didn't drink the Kool-Aid.

That was most beneficial with regards to the Iraq War.   The lie is that Bully Boy Bush forced the war off on America.  The reality is that a large number of Democrats in Congress, following 'strategic' advice from the losers like John Podesta, made the decision that voting against the war could hurt them personally.  A lot of left and Democratic sites in the fall of 2002 and in 2003 embarrassed themselves by cheerleading the illegal war, explaining how it was the right thing to do, etc. because that was the official Democratic Party talking point.

Danny and Media Channel didn't dance to drum beat of illegal war.  They refused to join that conga line.  That is very much to their credit.

Danny went on to make a really great documentary about the selling of the illegal war, WMD: Weapons of Mass Deception.  You know it was great because the New York Times -- still openly selling the war at the time -- savaged it in a review.  That's the thing about film reviews, they're rarely about the film.  (The nonsense attacks on Kathryn Bigelow or another example of that.) A few years after it's released, if a film is lucky, there will be a re-evaluation period. We praised Danny's film in real time.  I believe we stood alone in taking on gay neocon Ned Martel's attack on the film when Ned was at the New York Times (he now inflicts his damage from the Washington Post where, no surprise, he's jizzing over Homeland).  When Ned attacked Danny's film, the Times still wasn't even admitting to mistakes in their pre-war coverage.  (Public editor Daniel Okrent would break the barrier there and force the paper to do some modest public reflection.)

To understand what Danny's daily News Dissector was like, you can go back to 2003, 2004 or 2005 in his archives or you can watch the movie which contains the fast juxtapositions and explorations that made the writing such a joy to read.  It was almost as if a successor to New Journalism was finally being birthed.

It was rapid fire and you might disagree with as much as half of it, but it made you think and you left with questions not with the smug feeling of superiority that MSNBC tries so hard to instill in its viewers.

WMD should have been applauded widely, instead those not fit to weigh in on film, felt the need to.  (As with Bigelow's film today.  And to be clear, anyone can have valid points and dislike Danny's documentary or Kathryn's new film.  But there's valid criticism -- negative or positive -- and then there's the hate for something other than what's onscreen, the projection that says more about the attacker than it does about the film.)  Among the cowards was MoveOn which we dubbed WalkOn.

Cindy Sheehan's Camp Casey hadn't taken place yet but MoveOn was already rushing to move away from the Iraq War even then.  They didn't want anything to do with WMD, didn't want house parties around it, didn't want anything to do with it.

Sidebar for those late to the party, after the 2004 elections, strong elements within the Democratic Party attempted to push it even more rightward.  I don't take the b.s. from Democrats about the 'war on women' seriously today because I damn well remember -- and we raged against here in real time -- the official Dems effort in early 2005 to run away from abortion rights.  If there hadn't been push back, Democrats would have officially dropped the pro-choice position.  That's what their strategists wanted.  When John Kerry lost the election to Bully Boy Bush, the panic dictated that Kerry wasn't hard enough (on war, on criminals on sports -- windsurfing, they giggled all over again) and that Democrats weren't getting enough male votes because they were seen as soft because they were pro-reproductive rights.  From that you get the attempt to run away from abortion and other reproductive rights and the attempt to run away from any criticism of the Iraq War, let alone objection to it.

A number of people were moving to the cusps of semi-fame at this time.  Ana Marie Cox, the NeoCon we don't name and others were becoming early media darlings.  And it must have been confusing to Danny that he wasn't getting the same attention or recognition from the media.  For someone of the media -- Danny worked for ABC News and CNN before he ever became a presence online, Danny seemed strangely unaware that he wasn't the media's flavor of the month.

Like Victor Velasco in Barefoot in the Park, he was "at that awkward age."  Too old to be the next big thing, to young to be billed as a treasure, there was no hook for a media push.

So to watch as various social climbers and self-promoters parlayed a tiny bit of work into positions on cable or at the Washington Post or online at the Guardian must have been very depressing and upsetting because, while they were feathering their own nests, Danny  would have used a higher profile to address issues (and I'm not talking about "Vote for ___!" -- he would have used to address real issues).

I never felt the need to run with a pack or fit in.  So I've never been seduced by the Circle Jerk.  Never felt the need to be a part of it.  You take your stands, you make your decisions and, at the end of the day, that's who you are.  You stand for something or you stand for nothing.  That's the world I was raised in and I applied that to my own life and it's why I've had a very happy life.  It's paid off and I've been successful articistically and financially but, even if it didn't, it would have been a rich life because I believed in my choices.

Media Channel and Danny's weblog began falling apart completely before 2008.  By 2008, he no longer stood for anything.  You could read, for example, his excellent book The Death of the Media and then go read his News Dissector for any day in 2008 and it was as if they were written by two different people from different points on the left spectrum.

After the 2008 election, it was even worse.  Danny became a non-stop whore for Barack.  There are people who would not be hurt by doing that because they never write anything of consequence, they never write anything that matters.  Nothing they write survives or haunts.  It exists solely for one read (and to advance some personality).  Whores are all over online and watching Danny try to become that was as gruesome as watching Liz Phair try to return to national attention a few years back as Avril Lavigne's (older) sister.

If Danny had stayed true to himself, he would have lost readers.  There's no question of that.  If you told the truth in 2009, you took a hit.  If you told it in public, you got booed.  I know that.  I lived that.  I was fine with it.  I didn't need to reach into the distant past, I only needed to remember what it was like in the early days to speak out against the Iraq War when many Americans thought Bully Boy Bush belonged on Mt. Rushmore and many more were too scared to question that publicly.

So while Danny would have taken a hit for being true to himself, it still would have paid off in the long run because, as Blood, Sweat and Tears noted in "Spinning Wheel," "What goes up, must come down . . ."  And when perspective begins to take place (and it has), people start to notice who whored and who didn't and on such reputations are made or destroyed.

If you are a  whore on the left, your entire day is Barack Obama.  How will you attack the Republicans to counter their critique of Barack?  If they didn't speak of Barack that day, you go after the press.  What did the media say that implied he was born of woman and not descended from the sky?  

Everything is rapid response because drone's can handle campaign mode.  Drones can react.  (Again, look at the attacks on Kathryn Bigelow's film.  That's dronish 'thought' at its worst.)  To actually lead on anything?  Whore's don't lead.

They also don't matter.  I.F. Stone matters.  A hundred and one Ezra Kleins from years gone by are forgotten and will always be forgotten because they existed to whore.

If Danny wants to come back, he'd do well to come back as a leader marching to his own drum and not as a whore.

At its most basic, that translates as: Barack is on his own.

He has the Secret Service to physically protect him and a host of whores to emotionally shelter him.

Last year, the CIA estimated there were 6.9 billion people on the world.  The bulk of them do not have their own security detail or a flack of whores to promote them and protect them.

You can defend the people or you can defend the power.

You can advance issues that matter or you can advance whatever minor 'advance' the Democratic Party's selling that day (an 'advance' that, buried deep in the legislation, contains three steps back minimum).

The lobbyist craft what the Democrats get behind, billions of dollars are spent pimping it.

If Danny wants to take part in that, he should at least demand a cut.

I'd rather write about things that matter.

And doing that has allowed us to have a huge and international audience that continues to grow.  In 2009, we suffered and I was fine with that.  You ahve to be or else you're just chasing trends.  It's a message Danny should already know but it bears repeating.

What does that mean for News Channel and Danny Schechter?  How about this? Your strongest ground, the thing that found you an audience was Iraq.  So when you return, Iraq pops up at least weekly.

Here, as Media Channel went into its fade before disappearing, I would hear from Danny readers.  They wrote him, they asked where was Iraq?  They got a nasty e-mail back or were just ignored.  He spent a lot of time writing nasty e-mails (many of which were forwarded to this site).  If you've made a film about Iraq, I think people are being reasonable to hae an expectation that at least once out of five days a week of posting will find you covering Iraq.  Repeating, the Iraq War raised more awareness of Media Channel than anything else.

In addition to living up to the expectation you promoted, you also need to do some fine tuning.

Danny, you know your ex-girlfriend is never letting it go.  You know she will e-mail everyone with everything that went down between the two of you and went down at Media Channel.

With all of that swirling around, you really don't need to be a professional sexist on top of it.

That means, you grasp the point of Kelly Clarkson's "Mr. Know It All."  That means you start actively checking yourself for when you're noting women.  It means all of your sources and all of your links aren't male.

And ditch the "I love this woman because she's attacking other women -- especially other women who speak out against rape!"   Women don't appreciate that.  Women don't appreciate that you ignore women and when we do show up in your writing it's because we're defending some man accused of assualt or rape.  In other words, gender traitors don't count as women in our books.

And it is about to be 2013 so your all male linkage and citations just isn't going to play.

And we're not going to embrace sexism.  We're not going to embrace the glory, glory of Glenn Greenwald.  If you do, that's on you.  We're sick of it.  We're sick of a f**ked up left that couldn't call out Keith Olbermann's vile sexism publicly (though Journolister made it clear it was discussed privately).  We're sick of the same left that excused Nir Rosen's attack on Lara Logan, the same left that pretend Nir offered an 'apology.'  He didn't.  That was a lie.  He told that lie on TV and he also lied on TV that he was working on a story about the abuse of women.  No such story ever was published.  When did the left call him on that?  When does the left ever object to any of the sexism?

Oh, that's right, they get all upset because Rush Limbaugh mocked some woman.

Then we're raging for days.  Lara Logan is assaulted and raped and Nir Rosen mocks her, wishes Anderson Cooper had been attacked in the same way, and you all fall silent.  You don't say a damn word, you don't call it out.  (Yet, you want to claim to be a 'media dissector,' Danny?)

I don't know why you're thinking your return is good news, Danny Schechter, unless you've changed from who you became at the end.

We don't need another sexist pig or another little piglet helping to cover up for the big pigs.

Yesterday's snapshot included:

Torture isn't about the broken finger or bleeding cut or about gaining information.  Torture is about the memory.  Those who, for example, survived the concentration camps, still carried the scar of torture.  John McCain was sickend by Kathryn's film because he carries what was done to him (but apparently was fine with it being done to others until forced to actually witness it in Kathryn's film).   We're not using terms like 'spouse abuse' or 'domestic abuse' here or at Third.  If you've missed it, we call it what it is: Torture.   It's meant to scare and scar.  It's not about the moment of violence, it's about what will follow.   Jennifer K. Karbury wrote a very detailed examination entitled Truth, Torture and the American Way: The History and Consequences of U.S. Involvement in Torture

Terorism is 'domestic abuse.'  So don't come back online expecting anyone to be thrilled if you can't grasp that.

Danny had a fit over Ava and my "Ike Turner (Ava and C.I. feature)" in 2007 when we nicely called him out -- in part out of shock, in part because we couldn't believe Danny would say such things.

We wouldnt' be nice about it again -- in part because of the tantrum he threw and in part because we've since noticed other attacks on women.

For those who don't use links, Ike Turner fan boy Danny Schechter insisted Tina Turner should have forgiven Ike if she hadn't already for the beatings and terrorism that left her bloodied, bruised, hospitalized and terrorized.

I'm sorry, the Jew forgives the Gestapo when?  The Chilean who saw their family mowed down forgives Augusto Pinochet when?

We don't expect other victims of torture to forgive.

But because you were a fan boy of Ike Turner's, Tina has to forgive him?  F**K THAT S**T.

If you're coming back online with the f**ked up idea that women who have been tortured must forgive their torturers, you shouldn't come back online because I will call you out every damn day.

That such a sick idea could take hold on the left, that a woman whose been beaten by a man must forgive him, says a great deal about the hatred of women on the left.

The sick argument basically goes, 'Well he loved her.'  I'm sure George The Bully Boy Bush claims to love America too, so are we going to forgive him for the Iraq War now?

Of course not.

But women are seen as less than full people by a large number of men on the left and because we're not 100% people we have to forgive.  We can be beaten and terrorized but we have to forgive.

That's b.s.  Terror doesn't come out of love and a romantic relationship does not turn 'blossom' into abuse.

If you come back calling for any woman to forgive terrorism, you may as well stay gone.

So that should sum it up for you, Danny.

If you're returning, don't be a whore, find real issues to cover and drop the sexism.

If you can't do those three things, don't bother coming back because, not only does no one need it, there are  a million and one sites just like that already online.

The e-mail address for this site is common_ills@yahoo.com.