Saturday, September 28, 2013

I Hate The War

Yesterday's snapshot opened with a discussion of Pacifica Radio.  I'm counting 94 e-mails in the public account with visitors weighing in.  41 are agreeing 53 are attempting to make the case that WBIA must be saved and Pacifica owes it to WBAI to save it.

Briefly, Pacifica Radio is a radio network of five stations plus programming carried elsewhere.  (I'm not counting 'relay' stations.)  It started with KPFA in the Bay Area.  It is public radio with a pledge model.  NPR, created after, modeled itself on Pacifica in many ways.  The NYC station is WBAI which hasn't been able to pay bills in a long, long time.

Free Speech Radio News ceased production yesterday because Pacifica couldn't pay it the thousands owed. 

Several e-mails dismissed Free Speech Radio News.  Here's one, "You're talking about one program and it wasn't an important one to begin with.  I don't know anyone who listened to the show."
Free Speech Radio News had a large audience.  It was also historic.  Pacifica News Network employees went on strike in 2000 over censorship and they formed the independent Free Speech Radio News which began broadcasting that year.  (The strike would last until 2002.)  FSRN was, for many stations, the only reporting they'd hear.

I'm real tired of the ignorance today of mistaking talk shows for reporting.  Democracy Now! doesn't do any real reporting.  They haven't in years.  We'll come back to that later.  It is one talk show after another -- tell us about your book, movie, TV show, new column, etc.  Those are talk shows.

FSRN was reporting.  From all over the world.   It was a quality production and, again, for many radio stations that aired it, it was the only reporting the listeners were exposed to.

Another thread in e-mails from upset visitors, "Amy Goodman deserves over five million."  First off, she's owed two million on that contract.  This emerged publicly when WBAI had to lay off all their staff.  From August 9, 2013, this is Tessa Stuart (Village Voice):

Summer Reese, interim executive director of the Pacifica Radio Network, choked up as she announced this afternoon that legendary New York radio station WBAI was laying off its entire news department, and the majority of on-air talent, effective Monday.

Many of the articles, such as this New York Times article, at that time noted Goodman was owed $2 million more on the contract.

Does Goodman deserve five million?  No.

She lies to her audience and she's a complete schill.  Her coverage of Libya was disgusting which was why Black Agenda Report publicly called her out,  (If you missed that, you can start with Bruce A. Dixon's piece here.)  She's so far up Samantha Power's ass that even NYC lefties are mocking her.   Her audience does not know that all US troops did not leave Iraq at the end of 2011 or that, in the fall of 2012, Barack sent another unit back into Iraq.  New York Times' readers know that.

Grasp that. 

Grasp that Goodman used to lecture/hector the Times about their misinformation and yet now the paper could turn around and throw the same criticism in her face.

Grasp that not only has Cindy Sheehan been disappeared since Barack was sworn in for the first time (January 2009) but so has Cynthia McKinney.  I don't think any member of Congress, except possibly Dennis Kucinich, had ever appeared on the show as much as Cynthia did.

But Cynthia refused to change her ethics and beliefs for Barack.  And we couldn't have Cynthia calling out Barack, or at least Amy couldn't tolerate it.

She's part of an echo chamber making the country more ignorant each day.  She exists to tell you Republicans are awful and Barack, even if he does something criminal, does so because he cares so much.

What a load of s**t.

So, no, her work (such as it is) doesn't warrant a million dollar pay day.

But let's pretend she was doing her damn job, okay?

Even then she wouldn't deserve it.  Not when Pacifica is in trouble.

She's WBAI trash.  In NYC, they treat her like a god.  On the West Coast, most of us know WBAI trash is nothing but greed.  So we're really not surprised that a (closet) Communist would try to bilk public radio for millions.  We just laugh and think, "That's WBAI."

This is the group, please remember, who embraced Christopher Hitchens throughout the 90s.  They like to play like they're anti-war but if you went and purchased from the Pacifica archives, for instance, the last Hitchens debate they broadcast, you'll find WBAI-ers on air going on about how smart and thrilling Christopher Hitchens was.  Please note, I'm referring to a live broadcast  after the Iraq War started -- the Iraq War that Hitchens was a cheer leader for.  That was fine with the lovely (closeted) political types of WBAI.   It was September 2005 and the country had turned against the illegal war but there were our 'lovelies' of WBAI cooing on air about how smart and gifted Christopher Hitchens was.

Really, Janet Coleman?  Really?

And she wasn't the only embarrassment.  (Nor was Amy Goodman -- who also couldn't stop praising Hitchens -- the only other embarrassment.)

On the West Coast, we're not laughing now as Pacifica struggles to survive and 'turn the means over to the workers' Goody is attempting to get her last millions out of the network.

It's a lousy show that briefly had something to say.

When Democracy Now!, in Janaury 2009, was all about the inauguration balls, there was no longer a line between the program and the government.

Amy Goodman's a cheap little whore who elected to publish in Hustler magazine.  That says everything you need to know about her ethics.

Another thread in the e-mails objecting insist that WBAI did an Occupy program.

It did.  It was trash and unlistenable, but they did create an Occupy program.  In one hour on Law and Disorder Radio, Heidi Boghosian and Geoff Brady put every episode of that Occupy series to shame.  That's when Heidi and Geoff went to NYC Occupy and reported on it and from it.

That's the only program Law and Disorder, that has made any difference and been worth listening to. 

It's even more true, by the way, that efforts to start an Iraq show never came to pass at WBAI.

But they could do Occupy. 

"All of Pacifica is facing shortfalls."

Actually, KPFT in Houston's doing very well right now.

But, yes, donations are down. 

WBAI, however, has been running at a loss for over ten years now.

2005, 2006 and 2007 were banner years for the Pacifica stations.

They were raking in the dough (except WBAI).

And today you hear excuses like, "We have to compete with MSNBC!"

That was happening in 2005 through 2007 -- and Keith Olbermann was on fire then and MSNBC seemed to have a future.  In addition, it actually did have to compete in that time with Air America Radio.

And it did compete.  It competed and won.

Today, it's sinking.

They need to return to holding the administration accountable.  They need to stop trying to be friends with the White House.

The fawning over the White House from Pacifica is as disgusting as NPR's fawning -- but Pacifica wants to pretend they're better than NPR?

They're not.

And the people who do best in the fundraisers are the ones who can point to their show holding the White House accountable.

Pacifica doesn't need thousands and thousands of new listeners to get over this hump, they just need to get a fraction of the listeners from 2005 through 2007 to come back.

"Praise be Barack" is not going to bring them back.  For five years, it's only succeeded in chasing away more listeners.

When Pacifica wants to return to being a watchdog on the government, to being more I.F. Stone and less groupie, listeners will return.

But the thing is, people listen to be informed.  If they wanted a worship service, they'd listen to religious programming.

When KPFA and others can make the break from the urge to spread The Gospel of St. Barack and return to reality, they'll find many listeners willing to welcome them.

Bonnie Faulkner's Guns and Butter has not lost any listeners.   That's because she's the same host today that listeners knew in 2005.  Few can make the same claim. 

"You think Pacifica is perfect and WBAI is awful."

I don't think Pacifica is perfect.  If you'd read anything I've written other than yesterday's snapshot, you'd have known that.  I would argue you should have known it even from yesterday's snapshot if your read the opening in full.

WBAI has not pulled its own weight in over a decade.  Even when others were raking in the dough, WBAI was depending on money from Pacifica to keep it afloat.

It's a wretched station that is unlistenable.  It couldn't bring in money because it had so few listeners.  You had people from across the country calling in and pledging during Law and Disorder Radio.  They were online listeners.  And they pledged to WBAI.  If you take those out of NYC listeners out of the mix, you realize that WBAI was doing even worse than people realized.  (And the thanks for those donating?  Never receiving their premiums.)

Pacifica's not perfect but the idea behind it was.  And that idea, a station with a mission of non-violence, is worth supporting and perpetuating.

WBAI can't be allowed to sink that idea.  With Amy Goodman leading the way, it's already subverting the idea of peace and non-violence as she basically finger-bangs herself to the thought of another Barack war.

It's over, I'm done writing songs about love
There's a war going on
So I'm holding my gun with a strap and a glove
And I'm writing a song about war
And it goes
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Oh oh oh oh
-- "I Hate The War" (written by Greg Goldberg, on The Ballet's Mattachine!)

The number of US service members the Dept of Defense states died in the Iraq War is [PDF format warning] 4489.

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