Thursday, April 11, 2013
Today I heard an infomercial by Vikki Hufnagel. The program was listed as "The Ethical Doctor," but surely there was some mistake. They were on the phone with someone who has just the right sprouts to circumvent cancer.
No, this was not a fundraiser for WBAI, there was no mention of the money still needed for transmitter room rent and other immediate needs—this was just a strong, lengthy endorsement of a particular brand of spirulina and how and where to buy it. They gave out the 800 phone number more than once, urging listeners to take advantage of a current discount price. This Hawaiian brand of these vitamins was of a much better quality that any that could be obtained at Whole Foods, someone said. There was no attempt to conceal the commercial aspect of this one-hour offering from the station they love to hawk as "commercial free."
Compounding this breach of professed principles was Michael G. Haskin's very own commercial that came on the 2PM break. He played a recording by Craig Harris and delivered an enthusiastic ad lib commercial for his band's current appearance at The Mist, a Harlem restaurant. The plug included the phone number for reservations, etc.
The Hawaiian vitamins and the Menu and ambiance of The Mist are probably beyond reproach, but that is not the point here. Two people, an alleged "ethical" doctor and a deluded, self-righteous station staffer seriously and un-abashedly broke an important part of the principles laid forth by Pacifica's founders. One of them, at least, also demonstrated thereby how readily he lies to WBAI's listeners. If this, and worse abuses are okay with you, then, by all means send in your money to keep the station on its crooked path.