Sunday, June 18, 2017
Orson Welles commentaries
These days, WBAI constantly brags about its perceived uniqueness and that is not entirely wrong, for I can think of no other NYC station that is as amateurish and dishonest. Not true, however, is their claim of singular honesty. They like to tell their listeners that what they just heard can "only be heard" at 99.5. They are—or so they wish you to believe—driven by a "truth to power" pursuit.
There was a time when that would have been a true statement and I wish Bill Crosier the best of luck as he braves the deceitful elements and tries to get the station back on track.
I thought of this as I came across two vintage commentaries by the remarkable renaissance man, Orson Welles. When he spoke these words a week apart, July 28 and August 4, 1946, over the ABC Radio network, it brought national attention to an ugly sequence of incidents that was as revealing as it was commonplace. Wilson's hypocritical WWI slogan, vowing to "make the world free for democracy", remained as hollow and discriminatory in FDR's follow-up World War. Welles' broadcasts brought Isaac Woodard, Jr. and the racism he suffered into sharper focus, but it obviously did not do away with it. The opening comment here, by our friend, 'indigopirate' (see below) contains a link with details
I hope you will take a half hour to listen as Mr. Welles relates, comments and follows up on a shameful racist incident that took place in Aiken, SC and is all too similar to what we hear regularly in today's news, over 70 years later. His comments on world politics and our Congress sound equally current, and he does a fine job of responding to a complaint from the Mayor of Aiken.