Public radio is a left-wing preserve, but some corners of public radio are so far to the left that they treat liberals as gangsters and monsters. A brief listen to Pacifica Radio's "Democracy Now" program on Thursday brought me to a segment on the presidential candidates, and how they're all, from left to right, compromised by their warmongering national-security experts. Radical journalist Allan Nairn attacked Mike Huckabee, for example, for failing to treat Bill Clinton as a war criminal:
In the musty but hallowed halls of the Old Media, the first item for target practice is often the New Media, the ones formed and made popular by the atrocious biases of their predecessors. The Old Media continue watching their numbers bleed away; continue to paint themselves as fair and balanced, despite the preponderance of evidence to the contrary; and continue to smear the New Media, especially talk radio, as the divisive haters and fact-manglers ruining civil discourse in America.
Former NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw is on the publicity tour for his new book "Boom!" about the 1960s. On the November 26 Laura Ingraham show, when he was challenged with his soundbite broadsiding talk radio as "instantly jingoistic and savagely critical" of war protesters, Brokaw quickly put his anti-radio rant back into rotation.
He suggested incivility was a "big cancer" on America, and talk radio is the number one tumor. Front and center in Brokaw’s pathology was Limbaugh: "My problem with the whole spectrum is there is not -- you know what Rush’s, what his whole drill is. He doesn’t want to hear another point of view. Except his."
The radical-left Pacifica Foundation's radio stations -- in Berkeley, Los Angeles, Houston, Washington, and New York -- draw about a million dollars a year in federal grants through the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. What they put on the air can be some pretty strange brew.
On Friday's "Democracy Now" show -- as they led into a discussion of how viciously demagogic and racist were the opponents of New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer's plan to grant driver's licenses to illegal immigrants -- a rapper blaming the 9-11 attacks as government-detonated was aired. It caught my attention because you seldom hear the words "popping and locking" followed by "Wolfowitz doctrine." The rapper is named Immortal Technique.
Pacifica Radio defines the idea of ideological pork barrel. Every year, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting offers community-service grants in the area of about $1 million to Pacifica stations like WPFW in Washington, DC and KPFK in Los Angeles to spew their radical politics. Their flagship show "Democracy Now" celebrated the Fourth of July with an hour with Pete Seeger, the radical socialist folk singer. In this passage, they discussed how Pete's dad was a communist (Pete was a member of the CPUSA after Daddy):
But he, in those early days, linked up with the Communist movement. He and Aaron Copland and Henry Cowell and Marc Blitzstein. They had a thing they called the Composers' Collective. After all, in Russia they had collectives this and collective that. And there, they decided, as skilled musicians, they would compose the new music for the new society. Well, their attempts were laughable. Aaron Copland put music to a poem by Alfred Hayes, same man who wrote "Joe Hill" -- "Into the Streets May 1st." But only a very expert singer could sing it, tremendous range, and only a very expert pianist could accompany it properly. Of course, no proletariat ever sang him.
In an interview on Monday’s edition of “Democracy Now” on radical (and taxpayer-supported) Pacifica Radio, host Amy Goodman relayed listener questions to Cindy Sheehan on her self-pitying Withdrawal from Politics tour. We learned again that Sheehan will not run for office: “I have been asked by the Green Party to run for president, but, you know, that’s not anything that I want.” (Imagine what Hillary Clinton would try to do to a female third-party threat. Eek.)
It was funnier when Goodman passed along a question from left wing “PR Watch” guru John Stauber: “What is your opinion of MoveOn and the role it played in the recent congressional debate over war funding?” Sheehan found it hilarious that the “corporate media” would categorize MoveOn as part of the “antiwar left.” So where the devil on the ideological spectrum is it? She said:
As part of his tour of public-broadcasting publicity spots, PBS omnipresence Bill Moyers appeared Wednesday morning on radical-left Pacifica Radio’s "Democracy Now" program with Amy Goodman, a show Moyers celebrated at a radical "media reform" conference in January by suggesting he had a private "fantasy" about Goodman, that every PBS station would put her on their air. They referred to him as "legendary." Goodman played large chunks of the Moyers PBS special "Buying the War" in advance, and Moyers uncorked a series of left-wing howlers for her.
The mainstream media were cheerleaders for Bush. "Pro-war pundits" need to be banned from TV, put in a "penalty box." Implausibly, he claimed his documentary "talks to people on all sides of the story." Jon Stewart is the "Mark Twain of our day." Dan Rather is an "honest man" but at CBS, he was a "good man caught in a rigged system," contained by corporate owners at Viacom who voted Republican. And, weirdest of all, Moyers claims he and PBS "serve a sort of centrist role," and PBS needs to break free of control from Congress. Let’s take the Moyers claims one at a time.
Over on radical Pacifica Radio's "Democracy Now" propaganda-cast, they're still recycling lectures from the big National Conference on Media Reform weeks back. On Thursday, they rebroadcast a lecture from actress Geena Davis on how children's entertainment cruelly stereotypes women, especially back in the Dark Ages of the last century. Is Judy Jetson too thin? And what's up with Smurfette? Davis started a foundation to fight for the image of women in children's entertainment, as she explained:
Do you remember the kinds of stuff that they made for us, for kids, in the oldie old days? Let’s see, the first animation, of course, was Disney's Minnie Mouse and -- where is she? I’m pushing the button -- Daisy Duck, who didn’t really do much at all, except ask to go shopping, I think. There were a lot of Hanna-Barbera cartoons -- Magilla Gorilla, Wally Gator, George of the Jungle -- virtually no female characters. I had a vague recollection that Yogi Bear had a girlfriend, and I searched and searched, and I finally found her, Cindy Bear, as you all remember.
Since I mentioned Helen Thomas's honors in Washington last night, I should add she was hailed as a celebrity at the radical-left National Conference for Media Reform in Memphis a couple of weeks ago. One of her interviews there was with the radical Pacifica Radio show "Democracy Now." She lamented that there aren't enough protesters hitting the street against the war in Iraq like in the glory days of the Vietnam War. But she also praised Jimmy Carter's book condemning Israel for "Apartheid" against the Palestinians. First, the Vietnam talk:
AMY GOODMAN: But how does this compare? Does it bring back any memories of other wars?
HELEN THOMAS: It's deja-vu all over again with Vietnam, except the difference is our passive society. At least during Vietnam, they hit the streets. The people hit the streets finally, when they realized there had been deception, and it was a no-go. Too many -- we were killing people 10,000 miles away, and the reason could not be explained, except the domino theory, which was fading.
In his latest left-wing tirade at a radical "media reform" conference in Memphis last Friday, long-time PBS omnipresence Bill Moyers announced he would resurface again with another regular show on PBS this spring, titled once again Bill Moyers’ Journal. He also is creating a documentary titled "Buying the War." In his Castro-length speech, rebroadcast for an hour on Tuesday on Pacifica’s nationally distributed "Democracy Now" radio/TV simulcast, Moyers decried an alleged conservative stranglehold on the American news media (apparently, the New York Times are "sitting ducks" for "neoconservative propaganda"), cited left-wing media watchdog theories and studies, and said his private "fantasy" was all about strident leftist "Democracy Now" host Amy Goodman: that the Memphis crowd would lobby every public TV station to run her daily radical hootenanny.
PBS omnipresence Bill Moyers previewed large chunks of his Jack Abramoff "Capitol Crimes" documentary (airing on PBS Wednesday) on far-left Pacifica Radio's "Democracy Now" program on Tuesday. Asked why he was once again hammering away on conservatives on taxpayer-funded PBS stations, just weeks before the elections, Moyers predictably declared that America is going to hell in a handbasket under the right wing: "our democratic form of government is in the most precarious state since the Depression." He told host Amy Goodman:
As I listened to you begin this broadcast with the litany of reality that you report, I got a slow burn, you know, at just what's happening to this country, to our government and to America under the reign of the corporate, political and religious right. And there are so few places that, as you are doing, are just simply telling the other side of the story, letting the facts add up, that I realize I couldn't sit in the rocking chair and comfortably enjoy the books I’m reading, while our democracy, it needs all the information those of us who are independent journalists can provide. So I came back, because there just is too much to report and too much to tell, at a particular time when I think we’re in a -- when our democratic form of government is in the most precarious state since the Depression.
S. R. Sidarth, the Jim Webb for Senate volunteer who filmed Sen. George Allen nicknaming him 'Macaca,' appeared Tuesday on the far-left Pacifica Radio network show "Democracy Now" with Amy Goodman, the playground of wild-eyed radical leftists like Cindy Sheehan, Ramsey Clark, and Noam Chomsky. Sidarth replayed his outrage. But the show also featured Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an expert The Washington Post also used to denounce Allen. He was denouncing Allen as a racist on the nationally distributed show, traveling rapidly from little off-the-cuff nicknames to "neo-Confederate hate groups" and Trent Lott praising Strom Thurmond's Dixiecrat campaign for president:
Over at TimesWatch on Thursday, Clay Waters tackled a controversy over a postponed play celebrating the life and activism of Rachel Corrie, an American-flag-burning activist for Israel-hating Palestinian terrorism. The third anniversary of Corrie’s death by standing in front of an Israeli bulldozer drew Jesse McKinley to write in the Times about how a Manhattan theatre company was delaying its staging of a British Corrie-celebrating play drawn from her life and writings. As Clay reported:
McKinley presents a false choice on how to take Corrie's activism: "Given the sharply divided opinions of Ms. Corrie -- idealistic or recklessly naive, depending on one's political point of view -- Mr. Nicola said on Monday that the workshop needed ‘more time to learn more and figure a way to proceed.’"
The hard-left Pacifica Radio network is a network of five public radio stations in New York, Washington, Los Angeles, Berkeley, and Houston. Together, these stations have regularly drawn about a combined $1 million a year in federal money from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. (For a while, conservative Rep. Joel Hefley would push an amendment every year to reduce the federal CPB budget by $1 million in protest.) Perhaps their signature program is "Democracy Now!" with Amy Goodman, which boasts of public TV and radio stations far beyond the Pacifica-owned affiliates. On Monday, they went on one of their pledge drives with a new premium: a DVD of celebrities reading from leftist historian Howard Zinn's "Voices of a People's History of the United States."
Celebrities included Danny Glover, Sandra Oh (of "Grey's Anatomy"), Viggo "Aragorn" Mortensen, and the one reader that really surprised me: Marisa Tomei doing a dramatic reading of Cindy Sheehan.
I'm a little surprised that disgraced CBS producer Mary Mapes hasn't drawn a little more blogger interest for her (okay, tired and bitter) latest appearance on the Pacifica Radio show "Democracy Now." It was a two-part interview. Last Thursday, she was reliving her downfall after her Bush-bashing October Surprise as those obsessive bloggers took over: "in fact, by the time our story was off the air on the west coast, I mean, the moment it went off the air, it was -- it went nuts. From attacks on the authenticity of the documents, typeface and proportional spacing and all kinds of stuff that no sane person would obsess themselves with." Certainly, Mapes didn't obsess enough over her documents' authenticity. The first half of the interview ended with Mapes mauling Little Green Footballs as a hate site:
On his nightly PBS talk show Monday, Tavis Smiley questioned John Edwards about the Harriet Miers nomination. Oddly enough, Edwards, who presumed he was ready to be President of the United States after being in the Senate about the same amount of time Miers was in the White House, suggested the big Miers issue was her lack of experience:
"I mean, the first question about her, of course, is that she has no record. Never been a judge, has no judicial experience. And that is certainly not disqualifying by itself, but what it means is that we don't know much about what her positions are. She has never written an opinion."
When Edwards said Senate Democrats will have to question her with vigor, Smiley wondered: "How vigorous do you expect them to be? There are some who would argue that they weren't terribly vigorous on Mr. Roberts, now the Chief Justice. And the Democrats split voting for the guy." Didn't they know they were supposed to vote 44 to 0 against?
U.S. News & World Report's idea of "news" this week is what amounts to another warmed-over press release from the folks at the liberal Southern Poverty Law Center about the far-right threat. The story's headline is: "Fighting Fire On The Right: The Feds Are Keeping An Eye on Homegrown Extremists." (Why is is always just the "Right," not even the "Far Right" or the "Kooky Right"?) It quotes the SPLC, the Anti-Defamation League, a liberal Democratic congressman, an FBI agent who specialized in infiltrating white-supremacist groups, and a bureaucratic spokesman from the Department of Homeland Security. The story hammers DHS for being soft on the right-wing threat.