Thursday, June 21, 2012
Secret Agent Albertson!
This morning, on his "Earthwatch" program, Robert Knight and Bob Fass had an interesting conversation, parts of which you will hear in the following annotated excerpts. The entire segment runs about 20 minutes and—lest I be accused of "censoring"—can be heard intact by clicking on the last line.
To make things easier to absorb, I have made four extractions from that segment, starting with the spark that ignited this revealing glimpse of Knight's modus operandi. It all began when he plugged the "Radio Unnameable" documentary and Fass injected what he rightly assumed to be "unsettling" news: "Chris Albertson is in it."
What followed his initial "no comment" reaction provides an extraordinary example of how Knight manipulates facts, stirs in a good measure of his own wishful thinking, and is intolerant of opposing views. This is something I have pointed out previously, but here it is, far more vivid than any words I can put together.
Bob suggests, wrongly, that I left WBAI, harboring a deep "resentment" over the way I had been treated by Pacifica. He probably believes that, because Bob is not one to embellish the truth, but the facts are that I lost much respect for the Pacifica Board when it did not support Chris Koch's trip to Hanoi, but I harbored no resentment. When I submitted my resignation, the Board offered me a better, foundation-wide job (see letter from Hallock Hoffman), which I seriously considered but ended up declining, opting instead to accept a position that called for spending every other month at the BBC in London—the money was the same, but it was time to move on. When Bob speaks of me having resentment, I think he is recalling something that happened on one of my returns from London, when I went to bat for three WBAI producers who had suffered censorship at the hand of Millspaugh (more likely Dale Minor). (see this year-old post).
Getting back to Bob Fass, notice how he clearly feels that Knight is making a mountain out of a mole hill as he goes on to express his own ambivalent feeling regarding Knight's work at WBAI and suggests that I, as the more experienced, should not have pointed out the errors of a relative novice. This, as you can imagine, does not sit well with Knight, who needs to point out that the Late Lynn Samuels is someone he now considers to be a "great beloved late friend." T'wasn't always so...
The next segment is my favorite. Knight is still talking about Samuels and now uses her to get back on the subject of yours truly. As he so often does, he brings the twist in sideways. Notice how Bob at first doesn't know what the hell Knight is talking about—and why should he? It's totally out of left field, but it is perhaps the clearest example of Robert Knight's distance from reality.
He obviously read somewhere that I worked for the U.S. Armed Forces Radio shortly before coming to the U. S. as an immigrant. Somewhere in his twisted brain, he has concluded that non-US citizens couldn't work for AFRS, hence my getting a job there as a disc jockey/announcer obviously was suspicious (Oh, that WBAI paranoia). The truth is that—although I was the first civilian to work at the AFRS station in Iceland—there was no regulation precluding such a hire. Anyway, as he meanders into the valley of speculation, Knight sees a sneaky correlation between that radio job and my subsequent immigration to the U.S.! Listen as his brain works overtime to weave a fantasy. Then he decides to denigrate my contributions to WBAI (much in the manner that Pamela Somers, his shill on the Blue Board, so feebly has attempted for two years. He does this by comparing the current WBAI budget to the one in 1965, adding that Lou Schweitzer paid our rent, so there really was no challenge! Lou did pay the rent, but he didn't pay the salaries for our staff of 25 people, nor other expenses. Bob tries to point out the big difference between a 1965 dollar and a 2012 dollar, but Knight interrupts when he is told that I did my best to keep the station afloat—RK doesn't like such talk! There is no mention of the fact that when I left, WBAI was not deeply in debt, had a new, more powerful transmitter atop the Empire State Building, and was highly respected by the media as well as listeners and fellow broadcasters. Knight's next round-about assertion is that I called for a boycott of WBAI, which I never did, and notice how quickly he shifts his take on boycotts when Bob admits to having encouraged that. I find the analogy Bob makes next to be quite interesting, but Knight doesn't seem to agree.
In the next excerpt, Bob mentions Chris Koch and Knight takes that as his cue to jump in with new imagined accusations. Chris Koch? "Oh, the guy who was censored under that administration, the person you mentioned." Bob isn't buying all that finger-pointing, but Knight plows on about Koch having "repeatedly been censored by Chris Albertson. The fact is that Chris Koch's tapes from Hanoi went on the air exactly as he submitted them, except for one minor edit that was performed by Chris K himself and served solely to lend credibility to the report. Notice how upset Knight becomes when Bob tears down his fantasy. I find it rather amazing that Knight either cannot grasp or conveniently omits the fact that I raised the money and sent Dale Minor to Vietnam, a move that produced amazing reportage that conflicted with what the media was telling us. I also, as a matter of fact, spend nights assembling Dale's tapes according to his instructions. Knight wants to picture me as someone who supported the Vietnam war—he couldn't be more off the mark. Enough from me, I hope you listen to these audio segments and draw your own conclusions.
The final segment has Knight cornered as Bob corrects his erroneous assumptions. The dialogue speaks for itself, but let me just add that Knight's assertion that Louis Schweitzer was some sort of co-conspirator in my censorship crusade only compounds his ignorance. I have posted elsewhere about Lou Schweitzer, who was an extraordinary man and became a good friend. If ever there was someone who truly believed in free speech, it was Lou—he was remarkable and his memory does not deserve the blemishes upon his character that this little twerp at WBAI administers in self-interest.