Saturday, March 18, 2006

Ruth's Public Radio Report

Ruth: Before we start by highlighting some Pacifia Radio programming, please note that KPFA will broadcast protest coverage on Saturday beginning around noon Pacific Time, three p.m. Eastern Time.

This week, I'll start with CounterSpin. A note on the links, I do not provide them. Dallas and C.I. hunt them down and the tags as well. Last week, CounterSpin wasn't linked in the entry although it is a permanent link on the left side of the site. That was an unintentional mistake and, if you look at the amount of links and tags in most of my reports, you will see that Dallas and C.I. are tracking down a great deal. Trevor had e-mailed with a question on that, so I hope that clears it up.

The broadcast began with Steve Rendall and Peter Hart discussing recent news coverage. These items are always make me laugh, not due to the mistakes by the mainstream media, but for the manner in which Mr. Rendall, Mr. Hart and, especially, Janine Jackson deliver them in.
Peter Hart delivered my favorite item this week:

TV pundits are free to say what they want, that's sort of the point. But when reporters step into pundit mode you hope they don't leave behind their journalistic duty to provide evidence for what they're saying. But sometimes that's exactly what happens. On ABC's This Week on March 12th, reporter Clair Shipman jumped into the debate over censuring George W. Bush over illegal NSA wiretaps. To Shipman this made no sense for the Democrats. QUOTE "You look at the polls, the public supports the president on this issue. So I'm still a bit confused on how much this is going to help them." Well except that's not what the polls say. When asked whether Bush has the legal authority to do this, the most recent CBS poll found fifty-two percent of the public say he does not. On Fox News channel the next day the pundits on the show Special Report were discussing the Iraq war which led NPR reporter Mara Liasson to make this claim. QUOTE "Poll after poll has shown that no matter how pessimistic Americans are about Iraq, there is no big support for a pull out now movement. In other words, still it's like one-in-six think we should withdraw our troops. There is basic support for the project of forming some kind of a stable democracy in Iraq." That's a curious assertion since the latest CBS poll showed twenty-nine percent of the public favor immediate withdrawal of US troops which is more than one-in-six. Another thirty-percent favor decreasing troop levels. And that same poll found that fifty-four percent of Americans think Iraq will never become a stable democracy. Instead of reporting on polls, these reporter/pundits seem to be wishing that the public would see things the way they see them.

Mr. Hart interviewed Jack Fairweather who wrote "Heroes in Error: How a fake general, a pliant media, and a master manipulator helped lead the United States into war" for Mother Jones. Mr. Fairweather stated that "the man presented to the New York Times and Frontline was, in fact, a complete imposter." The man was presented as an Iraqi general who told a tale of terrorist training camps where Arabs were being taught to hijack planes. The story, like the "general," was made up. The New York Times has not corrected its report. Frontline has offered a minor correction on their website. Mr. Fairweather noted that the paper of record's "famous but rather tepid mea culpa" has not resulted in "back reporting" to determine the veracity of their pre-invasion coverage.

Mr. Rendall interviewed Ben Bagdikian regarding the purchase of the Knight-Ridder news chain by the McClatchy newspaper chain. Mr. Bagdikian is a media critic of many years and the author of the groundbreaking book The Media Monopoly. Many issues were addressed including the myth that newspapers do not turn a profit. The reality is that they do. The same profit margin that would have pleased investors years ago is no longer seen as enough of a profit by Wall Street analysts. Mr. Bagdikian noted that, for most Americans, the primary source of news remain the newspaper or TV coverage. Therefore, losing the Knight-Ridder chain is a blow since it has shown more independence than many other news print organizations. The chain included the Miami Herald whose coverage of Latin America was noted by Mr. Bagidkian. Mr. Rendall noted the willingness by Knight-Ridder to question the official narratives coming out of D.C.

The purchase of the Knight-Ridder news chain was a topic that Mr. Rendall discussed with Andrea Lewis and Philip Maldari on KPFA's The Morning Show Tuesday. McClatchy will not be keeping all of the thirty-two Knight-Ridder newspapers they purached, twelve will be sold off.
Why does the sell matter? As Mr. Rendall noted, "It takes another voice out of the debate.
. . . They were one of theonly mainstream news outlets that consistently challenged the government's case for war with Iraq." Mr. Rendall felt that it was better for the paper to be purchased by McClatchy instead of another buyer but he also noted "where there were two independent voices, now there are one."

On the subject of voices, Friday Ms. Lewis interviewed Norman Solomon who stated that, "If we are not trying to end the war through all forms of pacifist activities, we are allowing it to continue." Words to remember on this third anniversary of the invasion. As Mr. Solomon noted, "It's so much easier to continue a war than to stop it." Interviewed with Mr. Solomon was Bill Hackwell, of ANSWER, who made the point that demonstrations are taking place all over the country and all over the world.

Norman Solomon will be speaking at an event at Walnut Creek. He will be speaking on a number of topics including the building of "an agenda for war . . . [that] then tries to make an argument through media and Washington high office that you can't leave now." If I have this correctly, this will be a march and a rally with the rally beginning at noon in Civic Park and will include many people but a name that stood out to me was Country Joe McDonald, it will stand out to you as well if you also are part of the babyboom generation.

Each week I have "Geoff Brady" in my notes. He is the producer of Law and Disorder. I believe he also selects the music and that this was noted last month on WBAI when he and Heidi Boghosian were handling the fundraising duties. Each week, Mondays for me since I listen on WBAI, the program has wonderful music. Kelley wondered "who that woman was with the song was that aired during the music discussion?" It was Melanie performing her song "What They've Done To My Song, Ma?"

The music discussion was conducted by Michael Smith and the guests were The Trouble With Music author Matt Calahan and Eli Smith who is a musican and music producer from New York. He is also, as he pointed out, Mr. Smith's son. This was a very interesting discussion about copyright law, who benefits and who does not. Do not read that and think, "Copyright, huh? Pass." This was a very lively discussion about the effects that copyright law have on the development of new ideas and art as well as on the way it can be used to the harm of musicians.
One very important point that I think may raise some people's interest in the issue is a basic question: What is always given away free or at very little cost?

Did you answer music? To help the radio industry develop, audiences were provided with music at no direct cost. As Steve Jobs and others promote iPods, once again, we see music being used to promote the products at little or no cost. How does that impact you? Listen to the show.

Paul Craig Roberts, a Republican from the Reagan administration who writes for CounterPunch and other publications, was the first guest on Law & Disorder. He attempted to put the neocons in power in the Bully Boy's administration into historical perspective. He also commented on the Lynne Stewart case and that he found the conviction "outrageous." He noted that Stewart was charged not with breaking a law but with breaking a "decree." The issue of the law was the focus for his segment with Roberts discussing how Bully Boy is "asserting that he is the law or above the law."

The middle segment was testimony from Black Panther Hank Jones on how he, Harold Taylor
and John Bowman were rounded up for a 1971 shooting. Mr. Jones draws clear parallels between the actions then, under Nixon, and now, under the Bully Boy. Listen and be appalled by the actions that are going on now and how similar they were to a time people of my generation thought we said "Never again" to.

I believe this event was noted on Law and Disorder, I have it in the margins of my notes:

Sunday, March 19th 2006
2:00 PM - TBA
Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church,
85 South Oxford Street (at Lafayette),
Fort Greene
Fort Greene, Brooklyn, NY
On the Third Anniversary of the Iraq War..
Come hear:
Testimonies of NYC Veterans,
Congressman Major Owens,
and Job Mashariki of Black Veterans for Social Justice
Many vets are returning home to face unemployment, homelessness, mental and physical health problems, and a lack of adequate services. Come hear about their experiences.

This weekend it is important to be active. I hope you will find a way to take part and be heard.
If nothing else, invite friends over to listen to KPFA's live broadcast beginning at noon Pacific time Saturday, three p.m. Eastern. But please do something. Make your voice heard, even if it is only among your friends and family.