TV News Political Editor: ‘How Come We’re Not Hearing More [Iraq War] Protest Songs?’

It goes without question that the San Francisco Bay Area is infamous for its extreme liberal views. Having lived here for 28 years, I know this to be a fact that most residents consider a badge of honor.

Sadly, in the middle of this leftist motif is KTVU’s “Ten O’Clock News,” an award-winning program that often is so liberally biased that it’s unwatchable.

Such was certainly the case Wednesday evening when the station’s political editor, and eight-time Emmy Award winner, Randy Shandobil, featured an antiwar segment asking the question:

We’re now in the fifth year of the war in Iraq, and if the polls are accurate, it’s even more unpopular than Vietnam. So how come we’re not hearing more protest songs?

Amazing, wouldn’t you agree? Alas, it got worse as Shandobil then spoke with the music director of Berkeley’s KALX who blamed the lack of protest songs on the absence of a draft (video available here):

 We’re still going to protests. If it’s not on the radio, that doesn’t mean it’s not in our thoughts.”

How delightful. Next up on the antiwar hit parade was a trip down memory lane, as a video of Country Joe and the Fish “leading hundreds of thousands of people at Woodstock in an antiwar sing-along” was aired.

Shandobil followed: "Country Joe believes there’s actually more political songwriting today than 30 years ago, but it’s in punk and hiphop."

To prove the point, a video was shown by a band called “Immortal Technique” with words on the screen stating that “bin Laden didn’t blow up the projects, it was U, tell the Truth. Down knocked Bush. Pledge no Allegiance.” Shandobil responded to the video by carping, “But most of it is not on the radio.”

Yes, Randy. What America needs is more songs on the radio suggesting that President Bush is blowing up projects around the country.

Next, Shandobil interviewed Dave Morey, a local DJ spinning rock tunes in the Bay Area for decades. His conclusion was that the lack of a focused antiwar message in music today is due to the broader array of musical genres acting to “splinter” voices and subject matter.

However, the most insulting statement was the following from Shandobil:

Some artists say another reason things are different now is that in the years leading up to Vietnam there was no 9/11 event. No surge of pro-government patriotism.

This level of historical ignorance suggests Shandobil was born after the Cuban missile crisis, and the assassination of JFK. Sadly, there must be another explanation, for Shandobil has been working for KTVU since 1978 making it unlikely his lack of knowledge is caused by his youth.

Regardless, Shandobil continued:

After 9/11, some national station groups even banned some political songs. And artists who spoke out against the war – remember the Dixie Chicks – sometimes suffered a backlash.

A video of Bright Eyes on the “Tonight” Show singing the following was then featured: “When the president talks to God, are the conversations brief or long? Does he ask to rape our women’s rights and send poor farm kids off to die?”

How charming. After this was presented, KALX’s music director stated that as a result of the uproar from such performances, most antiwar songs are now only found on the Internet or alternative stations. Shandobil continued:

Neil Young recently tried to crack through, but few stations played it. Perhaps the biggest exception, the most commercially successful antiwar music, Green Day. (Video of Green Day.)

Shandobil concluded with questions:

The media’s fault? The artists? A splintered music scene? Too controversial? Whatever the reason, overtly political music like this (video of John Lennon’s “Happy Christmas (War is Over) just isn’t heard much anymore.

Of course, Randy seemed to miss the following obvious conclusion: who needs antiwar messages on the radio when news personalities such as himself are broadcasting such views 24 hours a day, seven days a week?

As a post facto aside, I wanted to share part of Shandobil's bio from the KTVU website (emphasis added):

KTVU Political Editor Randy Shandobil is one of the most respected political reporters in broadcast journalism. In March 2005 a national panel of judges unanimously selected Shandobil for the Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Television Political Journalism for his coverage of the 2004 presidential campaign. It is the second consecutive Cronkite Award for Shandobil. He also won in 2003 for his coverage of the 2002 California Governor’s race.

Shandobil has also won eight Emmy Awards, Gold and Bronze Medals at the New York International Film and Television Festival, the Freedom of Information Award from the Society of Professional Journalists, and the California Journalism Award for excellence in political reporting four times, most recently in 2003.

As you can see, much like Pulitzer prizes for journalists, this kind of liberal reporting by the television news media is what earns one commendations by one's peers.

Isn't that special?

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.