Saturday, October 19, 2013

From Reimers' iPhone 10.19.13


  1. So many failures, so little time...

    ~ Indigo Pirate

  2. Chris,

    Looks like there is a return to normal, if Reimers is back in control and bills are paid at least temporarily. What does he have and on whom? At this point the diverse and the more professional network is not the Pacifica and WBAI, but NPR and WNYC. I do not say this lightly. Some time ago, I was astonished, when both NPR and Democracy Now! Interviewed two Russian journalists covering the war in Chechnya, whose mentor (Istimerova) was murdered in death squad fashion in the Caucases. I followed the story in Russian press as well, and to my great surprise at the time, Goodman's interview was more at the introductory/soundbite level you would expect at the mainstream media, while Brian Lehrer's interview was three times as long and his questions were nuanced and it broke new ground for me as well, even though I knew the story already from the Russian language press.

    At other times, there was incredible ignorance and outright disinformation, which I guess renders it political propaganda. Shortly after 9/11, WBAI was in denial that there were international jihaddis from all over the Muslim world present in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan. Angry, Barbara Numry Aziz (I think, or another female commentator speaking on her show) was pishing the idea that there are (mythical, I might add), "Afghan Arabs" (EFE-gan Arabs in her angry rhetoric), who were in Afghanustan for centuries, akin to Bosnian Muslims (in her view), who she thought, were in danger of becoming victims of genocide. This was a total hogwash, which as also untrue. Also, memorably, on 9/11 or shortly thereafter, you had two totally ignorant college age girls at the mike telling us that some Palestinian womens show and some demonstration were being cancelled because of the World Trade Center attack, and there were some giggles, to the effect of - well, the US colonialism is responsible for it, heh-heh, America's own fault... and what can you do? giggle giggle, US can't start the war against the whole Arab world, can it? a few more nervous giggles. I was driving my car and I thought, shit, there is gonna be another war! Then a flash of anger - what a bunch of stupid, ignorant college kids, they have no clue! And finally, there was an outrage by the WBAI Muslim staff and angry listeners about an NYPD training video, which alleged a scenario, in which the Islamic terrorists can kill 300 little school children. At the time that training film was made, Islamic militants HAVE in fact killed 300 children, 395 of them to be exact, with remotely detonated explosives positioned over a grade school gym, where the hostages were being held. It was the Beslan School Massacre carried out by Chechen terrorists outside Chechnya. Throughout the whole firestorm of controversy, Beslan was never mentioned. The commentators are either ignorant or manipulative. Other things that I never heard mentioned on the station was the Colombian FARC (leftist guerillas) in drug trafficking, and that show with Michael Levine, the Expert Witness, is a total waste, I would have expected more insight and better commentary from a retired DEA agent.

    Anyway, NPR takes the cake for better journalism, better hosts and higher production values. It seems that NPR today is what WBAI was in the beginning, or something similar.

    1. Is it not more a return to abnormal?

    2. So true...also the FARC issues were covered up due to a conflict of interest by Mario Murillo!

  3. Chris,
    Normal or abnormal in relation to what? How abnormal is anger and intolerance found on WBAI when compared to the Rush Limbaughs and Sean Hennities found on WABC? It wasn't that some Neocon Goebbels invented Bob Grant and gave him his marching instructions, his audience was already there with their prejudices and attitudes towards the changing world and they RESONATED with him. The angry folks at the BAI are the same core audience, except for different politics, which is logical, since they live in the same place and time. UNLIKE WABC, however, WBAI has a non-commercial public broadcasting tradition, which is being eroded by financial pressures, turning all of the recent WBAI broadcasts into giant infomercials. Both, WBAI and WABC talk stations have a large segment of programming dedicated to health and medicine, this is, because the audience of both stations struggles financially, and can barely afford or not at all adequate medical health care, and so turn to spirituality and alternative medicine. Back in the early 1990's, Russian sociologists have noticed that Russians have turned to Astrology, New Age Mysticism, and alternative medicine just as the former Soviet economy and health care has collapsed and medical care has become unavailable or too expensive for most people, and while in the US people will never have to substitute home hygiene for dog bites, because they can not afford rabies shots, both WBAI and WABC serve audiences increasingly impoverished by the new economy (and in case of the WBAI the audience may have always been the urban minority poor), and here is the crux of the thing - the organizational culture at WBAI is the twisted funhouse parody of the corporate culture that dominates it, with a sizable dose of left wing radical corruption thrown in. I like what Andrew Phillips tried to do, though I do believe that he to may have his own agenda and that he may have skeletons in his own closet as well. That he didn't foresee the resistance to his changes and lack of support from the national board shows that he may not have been as astute as we like to think him. The best thing that he did was that he brought Ian Masters to WBAI, and I liked the direction in which he was taking the programming; too bad that he couldn't outmaneuver the hogs in the mire !

    @ Anonymous,
    Was Mario Murillo merely a leftist apologist for FARC or was there more to the story?