If there’s one subject I talk about a lot on this show it’s the epic failure of media in America.
Today, I spoke with journalist David Dayen who wrote a piece for Al Jazeera America about the “Better Off Budget” – the budget released by the Congressional Progressive Caucus on Wednesday of last week. Unless you saw Dayen’s piece or read about in on another blog somewhere, you don’t know that it was offered, because the mainstream, corporate media completely ignored it… as they do every year!
Dave Johnson asked “Why the Blackout on the Progressive ‘Better off Budget’?” at OurFuture.org and detailed what’s in the plan. Read it, as it’s likely to be the most comprehensive explanation of the budget you’ll see anywhere… But you won’t hear about it on the so-called “liberal” station MSNBC, or anywhere the public airwaves.
Speaking of the public airwaves, most of it has been usurped by big corporate interests. The news was cancelled the minute CBS saw that they could make money off their news division and the rest of the media followed suit. Now, just watch the commercials that run on your favorite network to see who’s really calling the shots.
As you may know, I’ve been without a steady income since Air America went off the air four years ago. I earn income through various means- guest hosting the Randi Rhodes Show, doing voiceover work, and from your generous donations.
What you don’t know is that I recently turned down a job with what is likely the last progressive radio network in the US. Pacifica Radio was born out of the post- World War II Peace Movement… It owns five radio stations including WBAI/New York, KPFA/Berkeley, and KPFK/Los Angeles.
To make a long story show, I was offered the Program Director job at KPFK – something I would normally jump at. However, the many boards governing the Pacifica Foundation and its radio stations have been legendary in their dysfunction. As much as I tried to see my way around the problems, there were simply too many red flags to justify moving across the country, uprooting my kid and ending my relationship.
I hesitated to share the story with you, but the latest news out of Pacifica caused me to reconsider. On Thursday, a political coup at Pacifica’s national board succeeded in ousting their new Executive Director, Summer Reese. She and the Interim General Manager she installed at KPFK just last month were the people who were trying to hire me. With Summer gone, I can only imagine that Richard Pidrosky’s (IGM) days are also numbered. And that’s a shame because his vision – if allowed to be realized at KPFK- could turn that once great radio station around.
BTW, Pacifica is probably best known for WBAI’s airing of the George Carlin “Seven Dirty Words” bit and the complaint about it that went all the way to the Supreme Court. Sadly, we may now be witnessing the end of the former bastion of free speech!
Seven Words You Can’t Say on Television”
There was very little discussion on the Sunday shows about anything other than the missing Malaysian airliner and the secession vote in Crimea, which made for a pretty dull Sunday line up, because there’s only so much airtime you can fill with “We really don’t know how this is going to pan out.”
It’s also ironic, because there was something that was released this week that could have a direct impact on American lives if it got any kind of mainstream media notice: the Congressional Progressive Caucus suggested budget. Not ONE Sunday show (including the MSNBC shows) acknowledged the budget in any way, which is a sad, sad statement on how the media frames the issues of the day.
Instead, we got Reince Priebus praising Paul Ryan’s dog whistle racism.
And George Will and Chris Wallace playing down the role of dark money in the FL-13 special election.
Or Karl Rove conveniently forgetting reality when he claimed GWB sent a strong message to Putin after the invasion of Georgia.
Speaking of strength, Fox News contributer Lauren Ashburn thinks the President Obama is showing a distinct lack of it by buying pink clothes. Of course, it was for his daughter, but what a PR failure!
Everything wrong with the media is exemplified perfectly with this interview of Bill Maher. Harry Smith actually asks him who he prefers, Democrats or Republicans (which has to go up as one of the most inane questions to ask a comedian who doesn’t hide his political leanings). Maher uses this as an opportunity to bemoan how facts and science have become partisan things. But the big elephant in the room is that it’s shows just like Meet the Press that have created that dichotomy.