Ruth: Actress and author Carrie Fisher died December 27, 2016. The first thing I thought of when I heard the news was of the time she called in during a KPFA pledge drive to donate.
It was sort of a fitting end to radio in 2016.
Michael Ratner, for example.
The attorney and big cheese at The Center for Constitutional Rights was buried in 2016.
I am not sure when he died.
Probably shortly after the war on Libya started.
That really was the last time he spoke with any force, after all.
In the Bully Boy Bush years, Mr. Ratner not only called for impeachment, he wrote a book on it.
Listening to LAW AND DISORDER RADIO in the last 8 years has been a huge disappointment as Mr. Ratner went out of his way to excuse or minimize the same actions by President Barack Obama that he had objected to when Bully Boy Bush occupied the Oval Office.
Illegal spying, for example, continued. Mr. Ratner's interest in stopping it just did not.
One of the most embarrassing interviews for the show was whenever they featured Tom Hayden.
They would always introduce him as "Tom Hayden the political and social" and I would shout at my radio "climber! Social climber!"
Sadly, they would use the term "activist."
Tom Hayden died this year.
Which thankfully meant that he will not show up again.
In 2015, Mr. Ratner was still trying to whitewash Mr. Hayden.
For too many in the know people, including COUNTERPUNCH’s Jeffery Blankfort Tom Hayden’s attacks on the Palestinians could not be white-washed no matter how much bleach was poured on it.
A quarter of a century may have passed but the truth remained the same. By the time Hayden and Fonda arrived in Lebanon, on July 2, the Israelis were already well past the Lebanese border and had been besieging Beirut since June 14. Hayden had clearly lied.
At this point readers may wonder why I am bringing this up now. It’s a reasonable question but one that should have been asked when Hayden, trying to regain his onetime prominence among “progressives,” co-founded (What else?), “Progressives for Obama” in 2008.
On the April 30th broadcast of Democracy Now!, Amy Goodman devoted her entire program to Hayden, interviewing him, first, regarding the Baltimore police killing of Freddie Gray—based on Hayden’s experiences in Newark’s Black ghetto a half a century ago—and on his new book, “Listen Yankee, Why Cuba Matters,” based on his conversations with renowned Cuban diplomat, Ricardo Alarcon.
In the light of his past history, it would seem that Hayden is taking advantage of the US opening to Cuba to reestablish himself as a spokesperson of the Left and, consequently, a warning label needs to be applied to the repackaging.
Ah, yes, Amy Goodman.
Remember when Ms. Goodman rode the Iraq War to fame and fortune.
Remember her pretense of being opposed?
The last eight years found Ms. Goodman acting as the strong arm of the U.S. government as she repeatedly supported one war after another and gave propaganda the microphone in what she still calls "The war and peace report."
While she could (and did) lie about the attacks on Libya, she mainly pimps herself out as the voice of the Democratic National Council and the strong arm of the U.S. State Department as she channels Susan Rice and others.
Surely, that is why she elected, in the final days of 2016, to waste air time by featuring a former Rockette insisting that it was wrong for the Rockettes to perform at Donald Trump's presidential inauguration.
C.I. said in last week's roundtable for the gina & krista round-robin, "I consider it whoring to perform at those things. With Marilyn Monroe performing at a birthday for a president, at least she was sleeping with him. But it is whorish and ass kissing, my opinion. However, if you're doing it and want to swear you're doing it out of civic pride or some belief in democracy, when why wouldn't you perform at Trump’s inauguration? Civic duty would still apply. In fact, you could argue that with the division and polarization in the country, the civic duty is even greater now. That said, there are many more important and worthy topics for discussion."
And the Rockettes?
A group of 'dancers' who have always danced in the little skimpy outfits for decades and decades?
Now they are concerned about ethics?
Historically, they have had no ethical dilemma in shaking their ya-yas for men.
I mean, did they mistakenly think they were a ballet troupe performing SWAN LAKE or THE RITE OF SPRING?
As an American institution and as a New York City institution, of course they should be at the upcoming inauguration.
None of these issues were raised.
In fact, no real issue was raised. They did talk about (a) the infamous audio tape (which, as usual, they did not get accurate) and (b) how awful they believe Mr. Trump is. On the latter, PACIFICA airwave personalities should be aware that Chelsea Handler pretty much owns this topic on her sad, little NETFLIX show as she provides one laugh free attack on Mr. Trump each episode. In fact, the only comedy Ms. Handler has delivered in all these weeks and weeks of episodes would have to be right after the election when, discussing Hillary Clinton's loss, Ms. Handler burst into tears. That was humorous. HDC will never be an RFK no matter how many liars try to pretend otherwise. She was a lousy candidate and she and Mr. Trump are the two most unpopular candidates that the duopoly has ever run. Hint for 2020, look for someone likeable.
Joshua Johnson is certainly likeable. I knew him first from KQED while visiting C.I. and listening to the local NPR. Then, with his TRUTH BE TOLD, he had a fascinating program that was also distributed by PRI. PRI and NPR are in competition for airwaves on radio stations across the country so the decision to make Mr. Johnson the host of the upcoming A1 might have also been an attempt to deprive PRI of a powerful voice, truth be told.
Diane Rehm has retired.
THE DIANE REHM SHOW is nothing but repeats as the year concludes.
That may not be such a big deal considering the continued erosion of the show in terms of quality as well as in terms of Ms. Rehm’s trustworthy levels.
Ava and C.I. documented that in "MEDIA: One of her guests was never you" and, more importantly, they documented what a complete waste Diane Rehm's final show was.
That is how you go off?
With a bunch of celebrities blathering away about how great you are and Ms. Rehm countering the equivlaent of "No, you!"
It was embarrassing.
It did not even qualify as a goodbye party because, one would hope, goodbye parties are fun.
She always said "one of my guests is always you." But the non-celebrity callers were few and far between and Ms. Rehm certainly did not want to remember any of them (even when asked).
Ava and C.I. also documented Ms. Rehm's long, long walk away from the Iraq War.
And, most importantly, how she did that despite the wishes of her listeners.
One has to wonder how a public radio host ignores the Iraq War but, of course, so many do.
I cannot think of any other 'project' that could cost tax payers over $2.4 trillion -- which experts point out is the equivalent of one year of the entire U.S. federal budget -- and so-called public radio does not believe this topic needs to be addressed and discussed.
For goodness sake, it should be investigated.
$2.4 trillion U.S. tax dollars.
That is probably the greatest shame of public radio -- and that is PACIFICA, NPR, and PRI. They refuse to cover a war.
Do they have war fatigue?
Oh poor babies, how hard it is for them to talk about it.
Meanwhile, the Iraqi people have to live through it.
So forgive me if my sympathies do not go out to so-called journalists who are not informing the public of what is going on.
2016 was a crappy year for public radio.
I was noting A1 and Joshua Johnson earlier.
I did have a point.
THE DIANE REHM SHOW is no more.
Next month, NPR debuts Joshua Johnson's A1 in the place of Ms. Rehm’s show.
I have high hopes for A1.
And to have hope at the end of this year is a gift (or delusion) that I cherish.
[Ruth also covered radio in 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009 and 2008.]
The year-in-review pieces up here:
the common ills
The year-in-review pieces up here:
- 2016: The Year of WTF
- Kat's Korner: 2016 in Music
- Ruth's Radio Report 2016
- 2016 in Books (Martha & Shirley)
- 2016 in film
- 10 hottest hotties of 2016 (rebecca)
the common ills