Tuesday, October 2, 2012

A guest commentary...

The following is a guest commentary by TPM, whose opinions do not always concur with my own, but more often than not do. This is a forum that encourages free expression and where censorship is a dirty word. I will post any opinion relating to WBAI and its current predicament either as a guest commentary or a less eye-catching response to a specific post, as long as I feel that it is honest—that is the only criterium.

To enlarge the commentary, please click on it.

Here are links to the above-mentioned schedules: WBAI    PRN


  1. More negativity from people living in the past.

    1. People who are discomfited by constructive criticism are stuck in the present, and will remain so when that becomes the past.

      Chris Albertson

  2. Shame on you!

    The letter is a racist diatribe. And it is wildly inaccurate (by some $1.2 million or so) in totalling up the salaries to the staff members mentioned.

    Why did the writer intentionally leave out the non-Black paid staff? Disgraceful.

    You can criticize WBAI all you want -- I certainly am as frustrated and critical as anyone -- but I won't brook such vicious nonsense, which only serves to undermine some of the more sensible points you make.

    Mitchel Cohen
    Outgoing Chair, WBAI Local Station Board

    1. Mitchel:

      Perhaps I did not express myself as clearly as I should have. What I meant was that a good part of the $1.5 million--a figure obtained from you, is used to pay the salaries of these slugs and other slugs I didn't mention. Before WBAI stopped posting the list of paid employees on its website, about 90% of the paid employees were black, although admittedly only 85% were black and inept.

      I would argue that the racism of which you accuse me can be found in WBAI's programming, its hiring, and its choice of who gets paid. Are there any announcers who are not black? Must all drive time programming be black-themed and black hosted?

      I'm disappointed by your diatribe. It's reminiscent of the people who call me an anti-Semite for criticizing the settler/thugs in Israel and the appalling Israeli government.

      This afternoon, I had to listen to that bloated ignoramus Kathy Davis promoting snake oil cures for cancer. As someone who recently lost a very close friend to colon cancer, my mother to breast cancer, and who is a cancer survivor himself, I find this offensive and in violation of the Pacifica Mission statement. Obscurantism has displaced educational programming on WBAI.

      I live in an integrated world, and I worked in an integrated world. I am not a racist or a Jew hater, and get angry when I'm accused of these things when in fact I'm reacting to and criticizing racism.

      Sorry I left out the three white paid staff member. I forgot Bates was replaced by Hatzis. Not much of a difference except that Bates actually returned my phone calls and answered my e-mails.

      I'm sorry to see you go. I know you did your best to work with everyone and to try to improve the station. I wish you the best.


  3. Promoting Gary Null, an HIV-denialist?

    1. There are many reputable people who question the HIV/AIDS connection, including Peter Duesberg, whose reputation was smeared by the mindless imbeciles of ACT-UP, Rebecca Culshaw, Celia Farber, and Luc Montagnier. I could name a few dozen more reputable scientists and science writers. I could write paragraphs on the shifting definition of AIDS, the unreliability of tests for AIDS, and the despicable practices of Robert Gallo—who would get along well with Kathy Davis. But I’m tired of dealing with stupidity and ignorance.

      The term “HIV Denialist” is vile: how dare anyone equate the challenging of a dubious retrovirus with the denial of the Holocaust?

    2. That the term "denialist" has become proprietary is news to me, and—in my opinion—as misguided (arrogant?) as placing and stressing "The" before "holocaust." To deny the Nazi holocaust is, of course, preposterous and outrageous, but so—in my view—is selective outrage that declares one atrocity to be of greater prominence than all others. There is no scale by which mass slaughter of human beings can be rated.

      As for ACT-UP, there are countless people who owe their lives to that organization, and if they are "mindless imbeciles," as you call them, I can only hope that we see more such activists.

      Thank you for your comment.

  4. Hello Chris,

    BF from NJ,

    I could not tolerate the presidential debates (Obama bombed). What concerned me was the comments about Romney wanting to stop the subsidy to PBS. The PBS chief said she just about fell off her sofa. Supporting quality programs aired by public broadcasting is critical because the corporate media does not engage critical thought, just destructive and devisive attacks. I will contribute to my local public station and WNYC. The rebels at WBAI need to get a clue: their programs are intolerable and not worth donations or listening time by anyone, especially during fundraising. I'll try listening to PRN that PMaven mentioned (Sorry, I can't stand Gary Null).

    Thanks Chris, you have informed me about the insulting fundraising practices of the station and the lack of integrity it has.

    1. Thank you, BF,

      I share your disappointment (bewilderment?) regarding the debate. Like many who will give him their vote next month, I have serious problems with some of his decisions (drones included), but the mere thought of Romney and Ryan at the helm horrifies me. Sadly, there are opportunists at WBAI who see the embrace of artistic expression and culture as a waste of time unless it is something currently popular and lucrative. I reproduced some of WBAI's old Folios on this blog to show the cultural and artistic diversity that we used to weave into a schedule of public affairs programs. The aim was to bring it all together and make WBAI a well-rounded source of enlightenment—artistic expression and an appreciation of its history formed an important part of that purpose. On the "BlueBoard," whenever I bemoaned the current schedule's lack of substance, anonymous "critics"—people who resented anyone "rocking the boat"—were always quick to accuse me of "living in the past." The "past," of course, was a WBAI that respected its listeners, nourished their intellect, and looked over its shoulder as well as towards the horizon.

      Apropos Big Bird, we had a delightful hour called "Programs for Young People," which came on every afternoon at a quarter to five—it was New York's first regular program that addressed children without condescending to them. Years after I left WBAI, I ran into adults who regarded that hour as having been a part of their education. THere was no Sesame Street back then.

      was designed to educateI have rambled on for too long, so I will end this lengthy reply by saying that I, too, do not like Gary Null, but his PRN online radio is worth exploring.

      Thank you for dropping in, it is always a pleasure to read your opinions.


  5. appreciate this forum, although I resent the criticism of Kathy Davis - she is a kind, intelligent woman who has put with a lot of shit @ the station for years - she is NOT the problem. Lay off Kathy Davis - you don't know what you are talking about!

    1. I am sorry if I have wrongfully criticized Kathy Davis' character. I will not attempt to defend that, because I have never met her, and I know enough about WBAI's internal conflicts and back-stabbing not to doubt that she has put up with a lot during her years there. Of course, nobody has forced her to stay and most people I know would not subject themselves to working in an intolerable environment. She, at least gets paid for it while most of her co-workers do not.

      I do, however, have to question the intelligence you credit her with having. Apart from the mindless babble she delivers over the air on her regular program, there is her participation in and apparent acceptance of fraudulent fund-raising pitches for bogus "premiums." It does not take much intelligence to see how dishonest and hypocritical that is, especially when the station from which it emanates is a part of Lew Hill's Pacifica. Kathy Davis is not by any means alone when it comes to looking the other way when such serious breaches of principle occur, but she has to share the guilt when she takes an active role in deceiving the listener-supporters—the very people who pay her salary.

      You are right, Kathy Davis is not THE problem, but she is among the major players in the shameful daily scenario that is bringing WBAI down. In that respect, I DO know what I am talking about.

      Thank you for appreciating this forum, we cannot all agree on everything, but we all deserve a place where we can voice our divergent opinions sans interference from such trolls as nearly killed the BlueBoard.

    2. Fun Facts About Kathy Davis

      1. When Bob Fass, Larry Josephson, and Steve Post celebrated an on-air reunion, Ms. Davis asked (herself and anyone else in the vicinity) “What are all these white people doing in my radio station?”

      2. Davis pushed for the creation of a previously non-existent and unnecessary paid position as Public Affairs Director. She earns about $40,000.

      3. Davis’s program "Heart In Mind" should be called “Brain in Rectum”. Like Geoff Brady, she pushes mystical nonsense, urban myths, and discredited miracle cures for cancer and other diseases. Hers is one of the brains that spawned the disgraceful chicanery of double-helix water.

      4. She is both stupid and uneducated. Her stupidity is reflected in her choices of topics for her programs and her gullibility in believing extraordinary claims without extraordinary proof. Her ignorance manifests itself in her lack of understanding of chemistry, astronomy, physics, and biology; her willingness to accept half-baked explanations and half-baked theories.

      5. Behind her façade of open-mindedness and reconciliation, is a calculating, at times, vindictive player out to get what she can from the teats of WBAI and Pacifica.

      I’d like to republish the poem I wrote about her a few years ago:

      The Kaffy Stomp

      She be on BAI at one,
      She be on BAI at two,
      Kaffy Davis in yo face,
      Kaffy be all ova you.

      She do not know too mucha healf,
      She do not know too mucha science,
      She do not look too fit she-self,
      She talk like she be in a seance.

      She be on BAI at nine,
      She be on BAI at ten,
      Kaffy be on all the time,
      Kaffy in yo face again.

      I don’t like Kathy Davis. I retract nothing I have said about her. Her salary should be used to buy something useful.


    3. Based upon what I have heard Ms. Davis do on the air for the past 3 years, I find points 3 and 4 of your comment difficult—if not, impossible—to dispute. If her annual salary really is $40,000 (or even close to that) that fact speaks for your suggested boycott of this fund-raising drive. Ditto can be said for Knight's salary, whatever it is.