Thursday, January 31, 2013

"The grapes are sour," said the fox

“Now I don't know if asking Robert to lay off his Obama thing will help, but you could try. Next time he's on, and taking calls tell'em to lay off.”Sidney Smith

Robert Knight apparently came near death very recently when he was hospitalized to undergo a serious lung operation, It is, of course, good that he survived, but his problem is not limited to that physical one. I think it has been made abundantly clear by his on-air behavior that he also has a mental problem, and it is not limited to his obsessive hatred for President Obama.

Knight, I am told, used to conduct his work at WBAI in a professional, intelligent manner. Difficult as that is for me to believe, I am inclined to do so. But something snapped and reduced him to the delusional, dishonest propagandist he is today.

I experienced that personally when he interviewed Bob Fass seven months ago and labeled me a secret military agent for the U.S., the implication being that this is how I obtained by immigration visa in 1957. I bring up this instance of attempted character assassination, because, being the victim, I have in it incontrovertible proof of how his fantasies form the basis for what he wants us to believe is honest “journalism.” Whatever Knight once may have been, he is now a shameless fraud.

I dealt with this here last June This link goes there; it has the audio and my comments, sparing me the need to go into repetitious details and return to last night's frivolous rerun of a pre-election “Earthwatch” episode.

Did you hear it the first or second time around? If you have the slightest doubt about Knight abusing the WBAI air, check it out in the archive at

Whether Barack Obama’s presidency makes you feel hot, lukewarm or disgusted, he is our elected Commander in Chief and he has twice garnered the majority of this country’s votes. Criticize him as severely as you think his handling of the presidency warrants, but do so fairly. I, myself, have been extremely critical of Mr. Obama, and disappointed in the discrepancies between his words and his deeds, but consider the alternative we faced, consider his humane decisions. Hell, look at the GOP and consider how eager they are to get rid of Mr. Obama—that alone speaks volumes in his favor.

Robert Knight’s hatred has blinded him. He has been on an anti-Obama crusade almost since he cast his vote for the man (and, possibly, because he gave him his vote in 2009). The program he repeated last night is a vitriolic hate fest aimed at the President, and—typically—totally one-sided. When a caller indicated his displeasure with Knight’s lack of professionalism, he was promptly gotten rid of, but Monroe’s replacement, perennial caller “Tom from the Bronx,” was twice thanked for his paranoid drivel.

Robert Knight’s venomous personal agenda, his routine twisting of truth to present new “facts,” and the teen queen, tee-hee way in which he conducts himself during broadcasts is just the sort of thing that has made the majority of WBAI’s listeners head for the exit. It all works to the station’s detriment—it is an abuse of privilege and it should not be tolerated by management. Of course, neither should management’s behavior be acceptable by Pacifica. Only the listeners have shown the proper reaction: they tuned out.

I was very sorry to hear that Tom Wisker’s problems include alcohol abuse and I understand that this has also been one of Knight's weaknesses, but Tom was never vicious, Tom was sometimes incoherent and he fell asleep on the air, but there was no hate, and there were moments when he managed to push away the demons and shared with us his uncommon expertise.

Now Tom Wisker has been suspended, but I wish they had called it a medical leave instead. Alcoholism is a disease that I witnessed first hand in my pre-teens, but I have also seen it conquered. The self-serving vindictiveness and dishonesty that Knight spews on a steadily dwindling audience six times a week is a character flaw, which is far more difficult to overcome.

Robert Knight was once fired by Bernard White, a man who was hated by many at WBAI. That may have been a factor in his being rehired by Reimers, a man who is not hated, but certainly has earned the disrespect he gets. Reimers not only brought Knight back, he threw out good people to make room for “5 o’clock shadow,” a program that has never kept the promise made by Knight in his comic book promo, a program that mostly serves as an ego-stroking soap box for the man and his delusions.

Let us hope that Tom Wisker overcomes and gets back on his feet to do more informative programs, and that Reimers and Knight go the way of all slush: down the drain.

Please read the comments below, and add your own.


  1. Hello Chris,

    Black female from NJ,

    I'm sorry to here about the continuous dysfuntional environment at WBAI. I check out your blog from time to time, but I don't listen to the station often.

    I enjoy seeing Uncle Sidney comments on your blog. He's been aroung long enough to lay out the history.

    Why doesn't Pacifica just sell the signal and move on. I'm don't believe the station will change. Eventually, WBAI will be another failed radio station that could not adapt to current economic trends affecting most media outlets.

    Thanks again

    1. Thank you for staying in touch. Your comments are always welcomed and I'm afraid I must agree with your dim outlook for WBAI's future. It continues to deteriorate and I'm afraid the pending move to shared quarters at CCNY may have given Reimers and his people false hope. To me, it does not sound like a viable solution—more probably the beginning of a final chapter. Reimers hasn't a clue when it comes to management, and he has surrounded himself with increasingly desperate opportunists, people who are at WBAI for what they, themselves can get out of it.

      Time will tell, but I harbor little hope for improvement unless this ludicrous move wakes up the Pacifica people and they dismiss Reimers, his bandaid ideas, and his followers. Even then, the clock is ticking ever louder.

  2. A little history - Lynn Samuels was a racist, evil woman who was pals with Samori Marksman, another Marxist fool who contributed to the mess that is WBAI. Robert Knight is a thief and drug-abuser who does not belong on BAI. As Sydney says, it is time to clean house!!

    1. Thank you for your comment. I don't know enough about Lynn Samuels to agree or disagree, but I have heard many good things said about Marksman's work at WBAI—that may, of course, be due to the dismal performances by those who came after him.

      Robert Knight is another matter, he is definitely not suited for WBAI and, frankly, I often wonder about his mental state. Yes, a clean sweep is the only way this situation can be solved, but time is running out.

  3. 1.
    Although the internet is a wonderful invention that has democratized media, it also allows people to spread rumors and disseminate calumnious remarks about people they don’t like. I must confess that I myself am guilty of both offenses.

    Lynn Samuels was not friends with Samori Marksman. He fired her. She called him s “Stalinist”. To my knowledge Robert Knight has never been accused of theft or drug addiction by anyone who knows him or who works with him. Some people inside the station assert he had a problem with alcohol. I don’t know whether this continues to be a problem. As a recovering substance abuser, I must point out that we—substance abusers, can and do recover. Robert's current problem is that he's lazy and prefers playing tapes of stale news events to doing the investigative journalism he was once good at.

    Although Samori made many enemies at WBAI, including a producer I know and love, anyone that calls him a fool is, well, a fool. He was one of the best and smartest PDs the station ever had. WBAI fell apart after he died.

    Marxism is a tool for understanding history and social relationships. People who are not very well educated use it as a synonym for “communism” and hurl it as an insult against anyone to the left of Benito Mussolini.

    Last night I saw the movie Radio Unnameable for the third time. The contrast between the people who used to run the station—including the person who operates this site, and the people who run it now is dramatic.

    Although they were often at one and others’ throats, the station’s producers and management were, at one time, visionaries and idealists. And they were smart, educated, and competent. A glance at the program schedules then and now offers insight into what WBAI strove for in the old days when The Pacifica Mission was taken seriously.

    Like BF from New Jersey, I now listen to other stations-- mostly WKCR, which is fund raising now and offers virtually no premiums other than that station’s excellent programming. The Bach Festival, morning classical music, great progressive as well as traditional jazz, music from Africa, India, Colombia, and Brazil, and friendly, knowledgeable hosts who appreciate when you call the station and are capable of coherently answering your questions.

    Sic Gloria transit mundi. Sic Gloria transit WBAI.

    The Pacifica Maven

    1. Ask Jose Santiago about Robert Knight - he will tell you!! The man has a serious drug issue!!

      Fuck Samori Marksman!! ALWAYS!!!