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News Media - What's wrong with Amy Goodman?

Jan 3, 2006, 15:12
For a lot of people in the progressive political opposition, the year 2005 will hopefully come to signify the year of rejuvenation of the U.S. Left, thanks mostly to two significant events: Cindy Sheehan blowing the lid off the shamelessness of President Bush and his administration, and Hurricane Katrina blowing the lid off the shame of racism and the violence of poverty in the American society.
This was a year in which the oppositional spirit in the U.S. expanded, in other words, hope regained some vitality. And for that, we are very thankful. Yet, to assure a steady course on the rougher seas ahead, we must pay attention to the conditions we create for our own actions, and we must not forget that there are always leaks in our ship that need constant mending.

One such leak is the way Leftist journalists in the U.S. incorporate official statements and representatives in their articles, reporting and/or programming. In the war of truth against the propaganda of the ruling system, the Leftist journalist is clearly the David to the system's Goliath. In this fight, the main (perhaps the only) advantage we have is the hard nuggets of truth we can pack into and fire from our slingshots. But, the system is a living being, too, and fights back by diluting the truth, by softening those nuggets, and by infiltrating our rhetoric and our institutions. Infiltration takes different forms, but the most successful form is to get us to internalize the system's way of doing things.

For example, why does Amy Goodman invite rightwing pundits for 'debates' and 'discussions?' Not just a few times, but lately quite regularly. Don't the right-wing propagandists have almost all the other platforms already? A majority of people are thirsting for some truthful explanation of their social environment, they are dying for some new ideas, and sick and tired of the same old mainstream typecasting of reality in stupefied, simplified journalism of 'two sides of the story.' So, why does Amy Goodman mimic the corporate media?

Item: On Dec 21, covering the transit workers' strike in NY, Amy Goodman had on her program a certain, and, I quote Democracy Now's own site, "Nicole Gelnias, contributing editor at the Manhattan Institute's City Journal. Before that she was a business journalist for Thomson Financial and was a columnist for the New York Post."

The same NY Post, which is the mouthpiece of that racist, sexist, right-wing international media warlord, Rupert Murdock! So, clearly Ms Gelnias was not a neutral agent doing her best to be objective, but a paid propagandist, and she was using up airtime fast and furious, packing all the lies she could cram into her time, fabricating at will! And precious little available airtime was dedicated to cleaning up her falsehoods. So, besides being given the opportunity to sabotage constructive Leftist thinking on air, why was Nicole Gelnias on the program?

A Case Study

Here is a short analysis of a recent Democracy Now program featuring a 30-minute 'extended discussion.' The particular program (27 Dec) was about the movement Critical Mass, the free bike ride movement that meets once a month to take back the streets, and about the recent police undercover surveillance to which Critical Mass participants have been subjected.

The program was divided into three major segments: 1) 15 minutes -- news headlines; 2) 15 minutes -- introductory section about Critical Mass, using a documentary, Still We Ride, produced partially by a producer of Democracy Now! (Elizabeth Press); 3) 30 minutes -- extended discussion.

There were four participants in the extended discussion: Jim Dwyer (metro reporter, NY Times), Eileen Clancy (video analyst, I-Witness), Norman Siegel (attorney, former head of NY-Civil Liberties Union), and Paul J. Browne (New York City Police Department's Deputy Commissioner of Public Information, i.e., the police department's PR man).

From a quick count, here is the number of turns taken by each discussant:

Paul J. Browne (police): 9-10 turns (depending how you count interruptions)

Norman Siegel (attorney): 5 turns

Eileen Clancy (video analyst): 3 turns

Jim Dwyer (reporter): 2 turns
So, already you see the overwhelming advantage achieved by the police PR-man in holding the floor, and, therefore, dictating which aspects of the topic to bring to the foreground, which ones to push to the background, which ones to give legitimacy to, and which ones to ridicule or dismiss or simply not address.

How did the turn taking work out to such a large extent to the favor of the police spokesman? To be sure, Mr. Browne was no rude man getting his turns through verbal bullying and interrupting willfully to gain/maintain the floor. Not at all. Amy Goodman had already taken care of things through her formatting.

This is how it worked: you had two progressives plus the NYTimes reporter (middle-ground, if you insist) going against one reactionary person. So, every time one of the non-reactionaries put in a word, Amy Goodman would turn to Mr. Browne, and go, "Response?" (Not exactly with that kind of brevity, but that was the essence.) So, a non-reactionary person would say something, and then, in a very civil manner, the floor would be turned over to the reactionary participant so he could cancel out any progressive rhetorical accumulation.

Here is more data that can shed more light on the potential impact of the contending ideologies is the total airtime taken up by discussants:

Jim Dwyer (reporter): 6 min, 02 sec

Paul J. Browne (police): 5 min, 50 sec

Eileen Clancy (video analyst): 4 min, 08 sec

Norman Siegel (attorney): 3 min, 58 sec
So, the police got more airtime than both progressives! Not bad for a day's propaganda work. The police managed second place in a group of four contenders (not counting the host of the program, of course), and, let us not forget, the police also got twice as many turns as the next best contender, and more than four times as many turns as the person worst off (reporter Jim Dwyer, who had the most airtime as compensation).

But, the most obvious thing that can very easily be overlooked (since it is so obvious) is that the total airtime taken by each participant in this extended discussion makes clear that, in fact, no discussion took place! Much less an 'extended' one!

Can you seriously and coherently explain a complex social issue -- your basic position on Critical Mass as a social movement, and on the police surveillance of private citizens in an increasingly oppressive legal system shaping the parameters of how people may behave in civil society -- in merely four or five minutes? Of course not! (And a clear statement of your basic position would only be the starting point of any real debate.) Far less, can you develop any ideas in that much time? How about in six minutes, the upper limit here? Hardly! Especially given that you are constantly interrupted at every turn.

In this 'extended discussion,' most (if not all) points posed by the progressives were interrupted and refused the opportunity to develop, mainly not by other discussants but by the formatting of the program. At one point the discussion was even interrupted by a very unnecessary interjection of yet another segment (3 min, 10 sec) from the documentary Still We Ride.

It is worth mentioning that in a segment taking up a total of 30 minutes, we had at least 5 min, 15 sec. worth of significant 'interruptions' (breaks and airing of documentary), without counting the time taken up by the host, by either recapping, redirecting, clarifying, or posing questions. Far more significantly, two participants, Norman Siegel, the former head of NY-CLU whose wealth of expertise and knowledge could have been far, far better used in this program, and Eileen Clancy, the video analyst whose work had produced the original material that provided the basis for the NYTimes reporter's piece on this topic, both received less airtime than the interruptions!

The Leak

Take the qualitative implications of this kind of airtime regimentation. When you set two or three progressives up against one pro-establishment person, and set up a very mechanistic system of debate (in point-counterpoint fashion), all you get is a tennis match of statements, counterstatements, counter-counterstatements, and so on. Which is a basic high school-type debate; it lacks any depth, and can (and usually does) easily become a shouting match.

But there is more to it than that. Amy Goodman may present it as if she had invited the police PR-man (or any other Rightist agent sent to bag Leftist airtime) in order to subject the official to some tough questioning, and, to be fair, she did try at times. But, such agents are no pushovers; this particular one was a real smooth one. First, he successfully tied up a good chunk of the airtime with a semantic side issue, namely the difference between 'undercover' and 'plain clothes' officers assigned to mass demonstrations/gatherings: a totally wasteful sub-topic, whose value in eating up time must be appreciated by police PR men.

Further, at every turn, Mr. Browne punctured the rhetorical force and the case presented by the progressives, and even put them on the defensive by dictating the terms of the debate as being about 'security'; and having nothing to do with practicing one's First Amendment-protected rights, and definitely having nothing to do with the fact that roads are public goods, and everybody has equal rights of access to them, and police have zero rights to dictate whose use of the public goods must take primacy over others.'

So setting 'security' as the criteria for the debate, he implied further (without being challenged effectively) that all forms of dissent have immediate security dimensions. Letting that latter stand unchallenged was bad enough. Mr. Browne pushed another propaganda point unchallenged, by presenting his own institution as a benign one looking out for everybody's safety and protecting the general well being of the society. In his final turn, as a response to a significant new topic/question posed by Amy Goodman (in the closing minutes, please note) about the new ties that have developed between the CIA and the New York City Police Department (whose new head, Commissioner Cohen, is a former CIA bigwig), Mr. Browne was even allowed to close with the astonishing (and of course unchallenged) statement that he thought the newly emboldened relationship between the NYPD and the CIA was 'fantastic.'

The House of Goodman, for more than a few moments, felt chilly, too filled with officials.

Of course, the progressive activist participants battled bravely nevertheless and, in spite of the programming format, did manage to get some major points in. They brought to attention the alarmingly larger areas of civil life that have fallen prey to the security state. And they did question the legitimacy of being surveilled in their private engagements by the same undercover police who infiltrate their monthly gatherings. Both themes, however, could have been further developed and a true interrogation of police conduct could have taken place, but the format preempted all that.

Without the police PR-man in the program, there could have developed a continuity of verbal thought in a meaningful dialogue. What the average listener of Democracy Now needs most, I would wager, is not some totally directed and micro-managed conversation that has no impact, but a real dialogue in which new ideas for better thought-out actions can be disseminated as widely as possible.

If a clash of opposing ideas is an absolute (and rightful) necessity, then why not have a real, free flowing debate between a Leftist and an extreme Leftist? There are precious few places still standing, where American journalism can save its soul (meaning, seek the truth), so it becomes absolutely imperative to establish as a tenet that government officials do not represent truth, but are agents for maintaining the current system. The journalistic Left should not have any problem reflecting that tenet in the content of its professional activities.

Robert Fisk best put it, "When covering the Sabra and Shatila massacres, I did not give equal time to the murderers who carried out the massacres."

Is it not enough that the same activists who appeared on this program have to face the intrusive agents of the state in the streets as they try to access a public good, in the courts through which they are dragged as a punishment for attempting to access a public good, and in the major corporate media that has monopolized almost all public airspace and print publications? Why do they now have to face the police even when appearing on Leftist programs?

The large picture, as refracted through this analysis of what is happening to Democracy Now, is to show how that the system's propaganda machine is seeping steadily and increasingly into our institutional voices, and that we must pay attention to this infiltration. We have already arrived at a position in which the system dictates to a severe degree the modes of possible dissent on the streets: with permits, at the mercy of a USAPATRIOT Act-dictated legal system, away from relevant locations of political events, in cages. Are we going to allow the system to control even the parameters of how we conduct our debates and discussions even in our own homes?

Let us hope that this particular leak in the ship will be fixed. We must create and expand a sense of rightful audacity, such as Cindy Sheehan's, and be truly free from fears of how we may be portrayed by right-wing propagandists, and concentrate more on the tasks at hand, and on how we carry them out. We need to fight injustice on various fronts, but we cannot forget that a fundamentally essential point of engagement is the rhetorical one, and we must not neglect to critique and negate practically the rhetorical forms with which this system is oppressing us.

[And a very Happy New Year (of the dog) to all!]

Reza Fiyouzat is a freelance writer and analyst, and he can be reached at  rfiyouzat@yahoo.com.

Copyright 1998-2006 Online Journal
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What? 05.Jan.2006 07:51

Bark bark

This misses the point of Goodman's show, and a good journalism show. She brings in many points of view, but unlike the mainstream media, which may bring in two very similar points of view, she asks incisive questions that actually get at the heart of the matter. Her point of view is clearly to whatever is called the left, and if you are listening to her show because of that, I think you get much more because you hear these people skewer themselves on their words. As to the comments about Hustler, they have nothing to do with the post.

Your Are Surely Demented 05.Jan.2006 09:24

Tatyana

Getting down on Amy Goodman? You must be outta your mind. With journalists like Tim Russert, Andrea Mitchell, and all other corporate shills...to spend time worrying about the imperfections of a clearly dedicated, radical journalist that has dedicated her life to her work for our benefit...it blows me away. Maybe next you can explore how the Buddha didn't always quite walk the walk in his every waking moment so it invalidates all he brought to our lives. Jeez...unbelievable! Get ahold of yourself.

be careful ! 05.Jan.2006 09:25

! ! caution ! !

you know those people that we hate. the ignorant citizens who only listen to one sided news accounts of complex issues. the ones who watch or listen to Rush and Bill O. the same ones who demonize those whom they dis-agree with and self-rightously trumpet their own opinions. you know, like Jimmy Swaggert and his fundamentalist christians.

but ignorance and arrogance are not just limited to the conservatives amongst us. the LEFT can be equally dismissive and unkind. because we are human, and these failings are human weaknesses.

please look over the previous post and comments. there is criticism for someone (Amy Goodman)who allows all sides of an issue to be heard, and trusts the viewers intelegence. then there is a sexist and degrading personal attack against this same person.

it is important that we all strive to not to become the very same people that we hate. because someday we may find ourselves with some power, and we do not want to become become equally vindictive and small.

. 05.Jan.2006 12:21

S

This is an excellent article. It makes some good points, and is not engaged in personal attacks and so on. I think it is a very pertinent point to make. Should such media outlets as Democracy Now give airtime to PR hacks whose mission is to seed their misinformation into peoples minds.

I agree with the author. It is a bad choice to be giving airtime to people whose job is to take your airtime and fill your mind with what they want to say.

. 05.Jan.2006 12:32

S

"there is criticism for someone (Amy Goodman)who allows all sides of an issue to be heard"

Pardon me, but this is very naive. There is this assumption that all parties are having some side and honest viewpoint and that all those viewpoints should be heard. What this notion utterly fails to grasp is that the police PR person does not have a 'view'. They have an agenda to sidetrack discussion from certain areas and control the ground on which the discussion happens. It is a battle for mindspace.

Advertising, marketing, and PR are not views. They are crafted weapons designed to manipulate people, designed to get into every single venue and space and co-opt it.


This part of the article is worth repeating:

Robert Fisk best put it, "When covering the Sabra and Shatila massacres, I did not give equal time to the murderers who carried out the massacres."

Is it not enough that the same activists who appeared on this program have to face the intrusive agents of the state in the streets as they try to access a public good, in the courts through which they are dragged as a punishment for attempting to access a public good, and in the major corporate media that has monopolized almost all public airspace and print publications? Why do they now have to face the police even when appearing on Leftist programs?



This is one of the best articles I have read in a while.

Poor analogy 05.Jan.2006 15:39

p

The comparison with Fisk is improper. Fisk is correct in his statement, I think, but comparatively Goodman is the publisher of the newspaper while Fisk is a journalist. Fisk's newspaper--I think it is The Independent, although at the time of those massacres it may have been the Guardian--probably gave the Israeli point of view, and side by side, it becomes clear how awful it was. More opinions are in our best interest, and whether or not you agree with an opinion--one could just as easily argue that your point of view is PR/spin/propaganda; etc.--reaching meaningful conclusions requires different voices. As to today's show, the owner of the company that runs that mine in West Virginia was played from a press conference, and then you had a newspaper guy and a government official, both sympathetic to the miners, talking about the event. No doubt these guys were spouting anti-mining propaganda from the company's point of view, but I was glad to hear them, and I only wish they had gotten an official from the company on the air so he would have had to answer the usual incisive questions Goodman asks.

Thank you, Reza Fiyouzat! No one walks on water. Re Amy Goodman. 05.Jan.2006 15:55

JA

Tatyana: "Getting down on Amy Goodman? You must be outta your mind."

This is also a problem of "the left" -- that too many people on the left have these sacred cow progressive/leftist icons that can *never* be criticized or even meaningfully questioned, however thoughtfully, as the main article (Reza Fiyouzat) does above. It leads to the very leaks in the leftist vessel that eventually had the progressive/leftist leadership (like even Chomsky!) all becoming blindly scared Kerrycrats (and in 2008, Hillarycrats?) and telling us that our only choice is to support the *other* (the Democrat) faction of the wholey-own imperialist subsidiary of the military-industrial complex; this, rather than to realize that in a deformed 'democratic' society, ulitmately the only action that counts is the action in the streets (public demonstrations, very loud public opposition and education campaigns, direct action, supporting the resistance [whether in Iraq or Palestine], etc.).

Now, my understanding is that while Amy Goodan was not afraid to have a police propagandist on her program, she has NOT had the very prominent, clearly anti-Zionist, Jewish-American professor, author and lecturer Norman Finkelstein on her program to discuss his latest book "Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History".


For someone, like Tatyana to say, in response to a very intellectually and analytically thoughtful essay, "Your Are Surely Demented. Getting down on Amy Goodman? You must be outta your mind.," is *GROSSLY ANTI-INTELLECTUAL*. NO ONE is above thoughtful legitimate criticism when apparently called for. So, instead of calling Reza Fiyouzat "demented" -- which he clearly is not -- Tatyana *should* have pointed out WHERE SHE DISAGREED (totally absent in her post) with him -- if she could (which requires *intellectual maturity*) -- instead of virtually deifying and insinuating that Amy Goodman walks on water.


Reza Fiyouzat: "But there is more to it than that. Amy Goodman may present it as if she had invited the police PR-man (or any other Rightist agent sent to bag Leftist airtime) in order to subject the official to some tough questioning, and, to be fair, she did try at times. But, such agents are no pushovers; this particular one was a real smooth one. First, he successfully tied up a good chunk of the airtime with a semantic side issue, namely the difference between 'undercover' and 'plain clothes' officers assigned to mass demonstrations/gatherings: a totally wasteful sub-topic, whose value in eating up time must be appreciated by police PR men."


And this is what the more clever propagandist -- MOST NOTABLY LIKE ZIONISTS -- *DO*: THEY TIE DOWN THE DISCUSSION to the substantively *irrelevant* or sub-marginally relevant details and other red-herrings, so that the important issues can be minimalized or cannot be discussed. They get you bogged down into debating "undercover" vs. "plain clothes": like what progressive/leftist demonstrator gives a shit -- especially when s/he is spied on, grabbed, or beaten, and dragged of by either. [Then there is also the typical and *purposeful* tactic of trying to derail any legitimate criticism of some icon by accusing the critic of engaging in "degrading personal attack" -- and if someone can throw in "sexist", then all the better.]

Furthermore, while the propagandist is *QUITE AWARE* of these polemical tactics, MOST LEFTISTS ARE **NOT**!: most progressives/leftists, being rather naive to right-wing verbal streetfighters, actually think that they are carrying on an intellectual, analytical or purely political debate, when the propagandist is actually carrying on a, typically hardcore, ideological and a specific, but hidden, agenda debate.

Conservative propagandists have their hot-button well-crafted points, words, lines, verbal sleight-of-hands, and soundbites (or for people like Hitchens, his cute, 'clever' insults) ALL WORKED OUT well before they come to the studio. Progressives/leftists come to the studio on a hope and a prayer and just wing it, ad lib. Yes, conservatives (and especially their hired/paid, in-house and, ahem, outhouse propagandists) come to the studio -- *AHEAD* OF TIME -- ready to SET and FRAME the terms of the debate. In the media, conservatives are polemically *pro-active*; progressives/leftists are merely *reactive*.

Then there is the comment above: "there is criticism for someone (Amy Goodman)who allows all sides of an issue to be heard, and trusts the viewers intelegence [sic]". Well, this is *EXACTLY* what McNeil & Leher (*both* of whom are still involved in their program) say, in defense, about critcism of the PBS (formerly McNeil-Leher) Newshour. (And it's what Crossfire, Hardball, Bill O'Reilly, and the McLaughlin show hosts say: 'You got your different points of view, so what are you complaining about!? We leave it to the viewers' intelligence!') So, that specious comment alone is clearly insufficient and patently invalid.

Then there is the insufficient format. In this day of *'McNews'*, even progressives/leftists fall prey to this, as Fiyouzat points out in the article, corporate news paradigm. [I once had to ask Amy not to let the conservative guest (Allan Dershowitz would be just one case in point) regularly -- if not, more typically, constantly -- talk or shout over the (more naive) progressive guest(s). Such *PURPOSEFUL* conservative tactics are also a way to eat up, or negate, time and to, effectively, verbally censor the progressive guest's comments/rebutal. Democracy Now is not supposed to be "Crossfire" or "Hardball" -- verbal Saturday Night Wrestling.]

"Thirty" -- or sometimes even "sixty" -- minutes (not including opening and closing theme song, intros, promos, audio excepts, musical interludes, station breaks or commercials, etc., depending on the host) are *NOT* enough time to have a meaningful discussion/debate over a controversial and/or complex issue -- especially when the host has more than two or three guests (and especially when some of the guests are polemically- and media-naive progressives).

As host, Amy should DO HER JOB and *MODERATE*, so that no one hogs or gets a monoopoly on the time and no one constantly interrupts and no one hijacks the discussion to some red herring (all tactics of right-wing propagandist) -- and so that there is sufficient time to actually have a *meaningful* discussion/debate; this, even if she has to either devote more time in the hour or split the discussion/debate up between two programs. I have had plenty of broadcast media experience and I know that if you have three or four people and a half-hour show, you'd be lucky to put your word in, meaningfully, more than twice -- and I've always worked out everthing I want to say -- including anticipating red herrings and dodges -- *before* I get to the station. But, Amy shouldn't load up a single segment with so many people and so little time for meaningful discussion/debate.

Finally, when liberals/'progressives' talk about "opening up the debate" -- *observe this* -- they always mean TO THE *RIGHT* -- not to the *left*. So, when have you ever heard even Amy Goodman have an open anti-Zionist -- openly expressing anti-Zionist views -- on her program? When have you ever heard Amy Goodman have an expert (like the San Francisco Bay Area's Jeffrey Blankfort) critical of the Zionist/pro-Israel lobby on her program? How often did you hear Amy Goodman have a progressive/leftist who intellectually/analytically condemns the Democrat party on as the answer for any kind of truly progressive politics -- and not those shills like Kucinich (she couldn't avoid having Ralph Nader on, but did you ever hear Alexander Cockburn or Ward Churchill on and allowed to condemn the Dems)? How often have you heard Amy set up a debate between a liberal and a leftist, or even a progressive and a leftist? We to the left of center have to work out our shit too (instead of wasting time parrying with some right-winger or police pig propagandist).

Now sometimes it's important to directly debate those pigs of all stripes, but only if you know what you are doing and *are* media-saavy (which, unfortunately, most leftists aren't, but which is not beyond training). And the first thing progressives/leftists have to realize is that right-wingers (or corporate news shows) *DON'T INTEND* it to be an honest debate.


Amy Goodman has done some very good work -- no argument. And I listen to her show almost every day that I'm in this country. But that doesn't mean that she too can never fall prey or fall misdirected to the corporate media zeitgiest so prevalent in this country and so pervasive in our national socioculture. Progressives and the left needs to stop looking for progressive/leftist deities to worship and realize that NO ONE walks on water.


(By the way, if you yourself are not a progessive icon, have you ever seen "the famous Amy stare" -- a surprisingly and completely blank and commentless stare -- if you ever try to honestly offer her a constructive suggestion? *Unlike* with Jeremy Schahil when I offered him a respectful constructive suggestion. Maybe he'll just stare too, one day, if/when he becomes a more famous hero-worshipped, progessive/leftist celebrity icon.)

. 05.Jan.2006 16:04

S

More opinions are in our best interest, and whether or not you agree with an opinion--one could just as easily argue that your point of view is PR/spin/propaganda


This is blind ideology. It is time to respond to what is, not live in intellectual constructs.

The Bush administration has no 'opinion'. They only have an agenda of doing and saying whatever necessary to fulfill their aims of imposing the full fascist state. Any lies and misdirections they can cook up to consume your time, keep you doubting, keep you discussing is exactly their plan. It is a full on war of information. Meanwhile so many progressives are still viewing it through fanciful imaginings of gentlemens (and womens) disagreements and that all views need to be heard and blah blah blah.

The reason the left keeps getting it's ass kicked is because so many live in these fantasies and do not want to admit they are in a war for their very lives.

. 05.Jan.2006 16:06

S

"The comparison with Fisk is improper. Fisk is correct in his statement, I think, but comparatively Goodman is the publisher of the newspaper while Fisk is a journalist."


So you are saying the journalist should do what is right, but the publisher should not?

. 05.Jan.2006 16:16

S

"As to today's show, the owner of the company that runs that mine in West Virginia was played from a press conference, and then you had a newspaper guy and a government official, both sympathetic to the miners, talking about the event. No doubt these guys were spouting anti-mining propaganda from the company's point of view, but I was glad to hear them, and I only wish they had gotten an official from the company on the air so he would have had to answer the usual incisive questions Goodman asks."


So here we have a company official, a media person, and a government official. Why are there no miners? I might call that 3 on one side, 0 on the other... but now that is called fair and balanced reporting. The original author is right to point out that Democracy Now is adopting the techniques of corporate media.

Admittedly I do not listen to or watch the show much, but the times I have, I have not found Goodman's questions particularly incisive. It has been my observation that she regularly let's mainstream accepted lies pass by without much comment.

Kirsten has a big point (pun intended) 05.Jan.2006 16:49

Red neck

Kirsten is being rude and crude, but that's exactly the point she's making. It's legitimate considering what Amy allowed the King of Porn to get away with.

Aura Bogado put out a very telling article last summer on ZNet on this subject.

"most of the criticism comes from the radical feminist movement, who really [sic] only claim to fame is to urge a bunch of ugly women to march behind.'"-Larry Flynt --He actually got away with this comment on Democracy Now!


"Flynt adds that '[T]here are only a handful of us that are lobbing grenades into the Bush camp. It's me, Michael Moore, Howard Stern, Molly Ivins, D.H. Hatfield, Greg Palast, you know, you can count them all on both hands.'" -- It seems Citizen Nader is too radical for these liberals but Citizen Flynt can be accommodated...and sugardaddy can accommodate them. But why the fuss, didn't that Hollywood movie turn him into a free expression martyr?

"In a full hour interview with Democracy Now's Amy Goodman, which aired on hundreds of stations throughout the country several months ago, Larry Flynt was briefly questioned about the exploitation of women in his work. Flynt's response was that, 'most of the criticism comes from the radical feminist movement, who really [sic] only claim to fame is to urge a bunch of ugly women to march behind.' This is the same group of women who screamed in the margins in the days leading to the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, yet on hundreds of popular left stations, Flynt's words went unchallenged. Goodman did not include another guest to confront Flynt. Instead, she read a dated quote in which Gloria Steinem voiced her opposition to Flynt and compared his use of the First Amendment to racist and fascist publications that similarly serve to degrade people. Flynt's response was short and easy: that Steinem's work was useful in the 1960s, that she is out of touch today, and that if she is offended by his magazine, she should not read it. Goodman's questions quickly moved on to another topic. Before the interview ended, Flynt adds that '[T]here are only a handful of us that are lobbing grenades into the Bush camp. It's me, Michael Moore, Howard Stern, Molly Ivins, D.H. Hatfield, Greg Palast, you know, you can count them all on both hands.'"

"For 25 years, B Dwaine Tinsley was Hustler Magazine's cartoon editor and creator of 'Chester the Molester', a cartoon which depicted Tinsley's character, Chester, sexually abusing prepubescent girls. In 1989, Tinsley's own daughter testified that he molested and forced her take birth control pills from age 13 through 18. He was convicted of sexually abusing his daughter as well as having sexual contact with another 13-year-old girl, whose accusations originally led to his arrest. Tinsley served a nearly two-year sentence, all the while continuing to contribute to Hustler Magazine. Although his conviction was eventually overturned due to a legal technicality, Hustler continued to publish his degrading images, even as he spent time in prison for sexual abuse. Although Tinsley died in 1990, Hustler continues to honor his legacy by publishing heterosexist, and racist work through its magazine. Even while declaring that he is against child pornography, another one of Flynt's many publications includes Barely Legal which uses images of the youngest girls who are allowed to pose nude by law. If such laws did not exist, or were altered to allow the degradation of even younger girls, one can guess that Flynt would print those as well."


"Perhaps taking its lead from Democracy Now, the February issue of Hustler featured an interview with Susie Bright. Besides several incorrect assumptions she makes about me, I was surprised to learn that Bright believes that Hustler is a 'deliberately proletariat' publication, with a 'working-class Southern flavor'. A white feminist who conveniently avoids the issues of racism in Hustler raised by women of color, Bright attempts to rely on an inconsistent class analysis and connects what are 'disgusting' and 'icky' images with that which she deems to be 'working-class', claiming that it makes the publication easier to attack. Rather than aligning herself with the real struggles of working women, Bright has chosen to align herself to millionaire Larry Flynt. Towards the end of the interview published by Hustler, Bright begins to critique the publication itself, alluding to 'disrespectful agreements' between herself and Hustler. At this point, Hustler cuts off the interview entirely, slashing any agency she may have thought she would have had in the interview. When I first read the Bright interview, I was hurt but only slightly surprised that a white feminist would allow Hustler to use her for their own ends. I have never met or spoken with Bright, but it saddens me that someone who calls herself a feminist could say that because of my critique of Hustler, I would wind up 'in a room all by self.' I would not be alone in Bright's imaginary room if she had reached out to me, a working class woman, before postulating fallacies in a publication that serves to physically (and in the case of Bright, intellectually) use women for their immediate gratification."

'working-class Southern flavor'. -I's putty shure she meens redneck

It's not easy to referee an open (or should I say semi-open site?) site.
But we shouldn't allow Portland to be sterilized like most of the other IMCs. When you neuter the debate (or arguing if you prefer) you've removed the function of the site.
Let's try to remember that we live in a post Jerry Springer (isn't he a liberal?) world. These is very little that really shocks us any more.

The last few years we've allowed neoliberals to marginalize us. There really isn't any difference between the political brand of liberalism and the economic, it's just marketing... and I like the jab: "People think they're getting a true alternative with NPR, but on the whole it's just another Buick dressed up as a Volvo." I'm listening to NPR right now compare Canada's heath system to North Korea! "Only Cuba and North Korea have a comparable system"
Until we start challenge these so called progressives and make them prove that they're actually serous, we're just going to be jerked around -pun intended.

narrow minded lefties - think about what you are saying 06.Jan.2006 01:48

pluralism

Hey folks,

The problem with mainstream media is that it is so 'one sided.' The solution to this is not to go out and become one sided ourselves. By shutting the Right out of the debate, we become exactly like them. And thus we continue the CYCLE OF VIOLENCE and DIS-RESPECT that has scorched our planet for the past 5 millineums.

Look at the recent 100 years, or so. There is a repeating pattern of killings and violence that lasts for about 20 years. One where the Left murders the Right until the Right gains the upper hand and begins to murder the Left. Think Hitler and Stalin. Or better yet, think of the Jews who escaped the Death Camps and who are now killing the Palestenians as if they were dogs.

Which reminds me of the old joke, where the future victim was given the choice to be tortured in a dungon being run by the Communists or on being run by the Capitalists. Which one would you rather be in? Who would you rather be your killer?

And that's the joke. A killer is a killer and dis-respect is dis-respect, irregardless of political belief.


So please look out with your heart. Do you not see the spirit of dis-respect ande violence in your own words? You are putting your fingers in your ears and pieces of tape over the mouth of another? How soon before you you start putting daggers in their chest and spilling their blood, while ignoring their screams and cries for help?

Do you wish to become like them who treated you so cruely?

We must all listen to and dialogue with all of those others whom we dis-agree. Short of that, we will become like the sorts of Rush Limbaugh, Bill O 'reilly, Scott Mc'Lellin and the rest of the hate mongers.

Do you really want to replace their Fascism with your Stalism?

As usual, some namby-pamby *liberal* misses the point: 06.Jan.2006 11:11

JA

"narrow minded lefties" (see post above): "The problem with mainstream media is that it is so 'one sided.' The solution to this is not to go out and become one sided ourselves. By shutting the Right out of the debate, we become exactly like them. And thus we continue the CYCLE OF VIOLENCE and DIS-RESPECT that has scorched our planet for the past 5 millineums."

Gee, "pluralism" (the alias in the post above), in effect, blames Hitler, Stalin, the death camps, the massacre of the Palestinians, fascsim, progressive knife-slaughterers, and in general a violence-"scorched" planet on the relatively **FEW** non-comercial progressive/leftist radio stations that have ever existed not having enough right-wing propagandists on!!?

If anything, it's because mainstream/corporate media had not had enough *progressive/leftist* voices on to *COUNTER* the right-of-center and oppressive voices so pervasive throughout the enitre broadcast media in most imperialist and/or oppressive countries. So, the main problem in modern history has *NOT* been a lack of right-wing propagandists on those few progressive radio stations that have ever existed, but a lack of progressive/leftist voices on *mainstream/corporate* radio -- *and TV* -- stations.

This is not to say that you can never have debates with right-wingers on those few progressive radio stations that exist, but as Reza Fiyouzat (and in my previous post) points out thoughtfully, analytically and statistically, to *not* provide a format where the right-wing propagandist *dominates* the debate and gets to use a progressive radio program as a *platform* for the oppressor's propaganda.

Progressive radio (there has hardly even been any truly leftist radio stations and *NO* progressive/leftist TV stations) -- radio stations that usually run from 100 (pirate/microradio) to about 30,000 watts at the most (and usually around 5,000-10,000 watts at the most) -- compared to upwards to 1,000,000 watt commercial stations -- is supposed to provide an **ALTERNATIVE** to the concept, content, paradigm, and formatting to the commercial station -- *not* (as Reza Fiyouzat in the main article points out) *mimic* it. If you're missing the right-of-center and right-wing propagandist views and news, just tune in just about *EVERYWHERE ELSE* on radio *and* TV.

a. d. 06.Jan.2006 13:00

a. d.

"So please look out with your heart. Do you not see the spirit of dis-respect ande violence in your own words? You are putting your fingers in your ears and pieces of tape over the mouth of another? How soon before you you start putting daggers in their chest and spilling their blood, while ignoring their screams and cries for help?

Do you wish to become like them who treated you so cruely?

We must all listen to and dialogue with all of those others whom we dis-agree. Short of that, we will become like the sorts of Rush Limbaugh, Bill O 'reilly, Scott Mc'Lellin and the rest of the hate mongers."



This is a standard thought pattern, and essentially a mental construct, not rooted in reality.

Not only that, it is insulting. Maybe you are incapable of discernment, but do not assume that of others. I am quite capable of saying I do not want corporatist PR hacks on leftist shows and refraining from stabbing them thank you very much. No, that is just fear and conditioning talking.

And again, you miss the point. That PR hack is not there to dialog. She is not expressing her views. He is there to defeat you. She is aiming a knife at you and you have to decide whether you are going to let yourself be stabbed, or stop it.

The wise warrior knows when to defend, when to attack, and when there is a chance for peace.

What you are proposing is just a blind ideological position based on fear.

S... 06.Jan.2006 20:13

p

Well, since you apparently know what is, do we need any other thoughts than yours'? No offense, but I would prefer more. Yours seems to be the ideology of totalitarianism, no different than what you rightly oppose. As to my Fisk comment, I meant that the publisher has a different job than the journalist--the publisher gathers the work of journalists. Take the responses to this post for instance. Whoever moderates this site is effectively its publisher, and we are effectively acting as journalists, presenting our observations. I might ask regarding Fisk, how do you know his work is accurate? I do think his stuff is accurate, but my understanding of what he is writing is enhanced by reading other points of view. I know as much of Sharon being a brutal murderer because of what his supporters say as his detractors. Finally, you clearly did not listen to the show regarding the coal miners. The questions on the show dealt with the violations in the mine. While having miners tell their stories would have been nice, the issue of violations is better covered by a writer who has a beat about these things and a person whose job it is to look out for these things, and as well is sympathetic with the miners. Now had the subject been what it is like to work under those conditions, then yes, you get the miners and give a show a few hours. And to call this similar to the corporate media is just bad analysis. Do a study sometime and see if these type people regularly appear as they do on Democracy Now! and as do people like miners when the subject calls for it.

. 07.Jan.2006 15:42

S

"Well, since you apparently know what is, do we need any other thoughts than yours'? No offense, but I would prefer more. Yours seems to be the ideology of totalitarianism, no different than what you rightly oppose."


Two things.

First, you are falling for the duality of two views, one being 'right wing'. In advocating that we not provide further space for corporatist propaganda, in no way is that limiting to one viewpoint. As the original author said, why not have a left liberal point of view, and a radical left point of view. Beyond that you could have a hundred point s of view from across the left spectrum. But Democracy now is, at least at times falling into corporate media pattern. Corporate media has drawn a line, and a 'debate' is someone from one side of that line vs someone from the other side of that line. Many times, from my perspective, they are really both on the same side of the line. What criteria you base that line on defines the debate. If you put a democrat and a republican on, they are both advocating for the two party system, big government etc etc

Granted I do not listen to Democracy Now very often (maybe a dozen times over 2 past years), but when I do, I do not feel represented and a few times I have been just plain disappointed at the coverage and at some of the propaganda that has been allowed to be spoken and stand unchallenged.

Second, you are ignoring the point that a couple people at least have made. A police PR guy is not offering a viewpoint. His job is not to have an open discussion with you. His job is not to consider what you say. His job is not to be fair, or honest. His job is to obfuscate, misdirect and deter. His job is to take up your time and resources. His job is to spy on you, infiltrate your group. The police are legally allowed to lie to you, they can entrap you, arrest you. They have readily faked evidence, set people up, and at times have murdered people.

Now if you want to bring on people from the right who, from their own perspective, are criticising the rise of oppressive power, fine, but allowing time for mouthpieces of that power when they have already saturated everyones minds with their propaganda through every possible media channel is idiocy.

Its power is so obvious, when even the people its seeks to dominate argue that it should be allowed to.

Democracy Now merits support 07.Jan.2006 22:34

Mario

Reza's critizism of Democracy Now is both trivial and stupid. Bill Moyer the other great American journalist also invited right wing Republicans on his show. It's a good thing when people see hear or hear both sides of an issue. News programs report events. If it reports events only from one perspective, then it becomes propaganda, just like the corporate media. Democracy Now is one of very few alterative news programs we have. The right wing would love to eliminate it.

. 08.Jan.2006 16:13

S

"It's a good thing when people see hear or hear both sides of an issue. News programs report events. If it reports events only from one perspective, then it becomes propaganda, just like the corporate media."


It is remarkable how prevalent this thinking is. Both sides of an issue? From where comes this thinking that there are two sides to an issue?

This is propaganda which countless people regurgitate without thought. It is one of the more clever means to control peoples conceptual structure and thinking. The corporate line is: We will present two state sanctioned views and say an issue is covered because we have provided both perspectives. In this way any really creative thought/perception is skillfully excluded while providing the illusion that they are not controlling the message.

This is the essence of our so called democracy where there are two political parties and nothing else is allowed. The two points of view that constitute 'balanced' reporting are one from the so called 'left' and one from the so called 'right'.

This essay is pointing towards a crucial understandings to grasp in the pursuit of liberty, both inward and external.