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The Squandering of Pacifica Radio [Updated]

***Please see the two crucial UPDATES at the bottom of this post***

Everything in me screams to NOT  write this posting. It’s just not worth the pain such endeavors normally evoke. When I’ve done it before, I’ve been slandered, muddied, slashed, booed down, accused of everything short of being Jack Abramoff’s secret lover.  I've even been accused of having a hand in the death of  Chilean President Salvador Allende, who I had the privilege of working for before the 1973 coup. But here goes, anyway. I can’t help myself:  

The potentially biggest media resource – and really one of the largest institutions of any sort—on the American Left has taken one more giant and voluntary step toward oblivion.

The five-station, listener-sponsored, half-billion dollar Pacifica Radio network has just named a new executive director.  Predictable enough that the new guy, Greg Guma,  comes straight out of the pwogwessive bubble of Burlington. But what catches the eye is how Guma – who will now oversee the five stations—has written with enthusiasm about truly off-kilter conspiracy theorists like David Ray Griffin who argue that 9/11 was NOT caused by the four Al Qaeda—commandeered planes. Instead, Guma asks us to take seriously the proposition that the attack on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon were the product of a Reichstag-like plot engineered by the Bush Administration. 
That proposition was described as “monstrous”  by former CIA agent Bob Baer writing in The Nation magazine a couple of years ago (Baer's story was the basis of the movie Syriana).  Baer’s reaction to the same loon praised by Guma is the proper one: The Bushies may be liars but that is no reason to lie to ourselves and swoon over preposterous conspiracy theories.Unless, of course you are the new Executive Director of the Pacifica network. To be frank,  for those of us who actually pay some attention to this matter, the selection of  a non-credible fringie like Guma is hardly a surprise. Pacifica has been in accelerating decline for two decades – especially in the last five years (disclaimer: I did a daily drive-time show on Pacifica’s KPFK in Los Angeles from 1998-2001. I quit when an extreme know-nothing faction who believed that I and others were engaged in a dark "corporatist" conspiracy to -gasp!- "mainstream" the programming took over the entire organization. My Radio Nation show, which was made available for free to hundreds of public radio stations and therefore to Pacifica, was also carried on KPFK until last month when the program moved –without me—to Air America). 

Five years ago, also writing in The Nation, veteran journalist and former NPR news manager John Dinges came the closest to best explaining the downward spiral of Pacifica. Since then, things have only gotten worse. Much worse.

I don’t think anyone would or should care very much about any of this, if it were not for the gross squandering of an historic opportunity.  Started by  Bay Area pacifists, anarchists and liberals in 1949, Pacifica eventually opened stations in L.A., New York, Washington D.C. and Houston.

Are you ready for this? The estimated value of those frequencies today – that is to say the market value of the five Pacifica stations operating today—is conservatively estimated to be $300-$500 million. You read that right. A half-billion dollars? Do you know of any other institution on the American Left that can compare in value? 

Yet, the network’s growth – its real listenership--  stunted and atrophied a long time ago. So just when media is more important than ever in the political fight, just when cheap digital technology makes radio production immediately doable and accessible, Pacifica has marooned itself  on the margin. The network is so shoddily managed that it’s nigh impossible to secure any reliable numbers. But industry experts estimate the total weekly cumulative audience of the five Pacifica radio stations to be less than a million. Maybe a lot less. That’s in five signal areas that envelope as many as 50-60 million people. 

Instead of  producing, as it should and could, a satellite or web-fed daily schedule of 12, 18 or  even 24 hrs of  solid, listenable national programming, the “network” remains, instead, a rag-tag hodgepodge of stations with tiny listenerships and all held hostage to self-serving programmers more interested in hearing themselves talk than in building a real audience. It’s a half-billion dollars rotting away.

The “flagship” New York station, WBAI, which in the 70’s was a hothouse that produced a generation of able journalists who later took their skills and their liberal or lefty politics into the mainstream media, is today an irrelevancy that teeters on bankruptcy. The programming is dominated by a toxic brew of crude race-politics. 

The Pacifica outlet in Washington D.C., WPFW, which, in the age of Bush, ought to be a mighty bastion of on-air political pushback, continues to be – as has been the case for two decades—primarily a black jazz station. White guilt, and a veritable PC-cult that permeates the internal Pacifica culture, has constrained the network from turning that station into what it ought to be --  a powerful and massively listened-to alternative in the heart of the nation’s capital. 

The Houston outlet, KPFT, remains a peanut-whistle station. KPFA in Berkeley, whose core paid staff has been the same for 25 years, is but an echo-chamber of  its pony-tailed, core community. Listening to the station for more than five minutes is like tuning into a clandestine ethnic radio narrow-casting in an obscure tongue to some tiny Balkan enclave. 

The Los Angeles station, KPFK,  whose drive-time is dominated by an combination of screamers and, believe it or not, a couple of followers of the maoist Revolutionary Communist Party, finds itself in a similar sorry state. With a signal area that encompasses 25 million people, its average listenership during any given quarter hour is under 10,000.  Over a seven day period, the 110,000 watt station collects a cumulative audience of  barely  175,000. That’s less than the number of unique visitors that a big blog – like Daily Kos—gets in one single day. 

This is a long, long, long way from the origins of the network. In its heyday – from the late 60’s and into the early 80’s—the bigger Pacifica stations were exciting and refreshing meeting points for artists, poets, musicians and free-thinkers. The air would be filled with live drama performances, poetry happenings, literary readings,  world-class public affairs interviews, and quality music that ranged from the avant-garde to classical. While the programming always leaned decidedly left, you’d nevertheless find libertarians and Buddhists mixed in back to back with Communists, radicals, and liberals and even some odd conservatives (Caspar Weinberger was once a Pacifica commentator. Pauline Kael got her start reviewing movies for KPFA).

When Pacifica was once a magical place that taught you how to think it is now a dreary drumbeat telling you what to think. Its air is filled with shrill, clumsy and dogmatic denunciations of  “fascism.” Any trace of high culture, meanwhile, has been ruthlessly rooted out and expunged. The program schedule is divvied up among self-appointed “community leaders” and paid staff who – for the most part—could never dream of  earning a paycheck from any other media entity in the world. What paid and volunteer programmers have in common is a death-grip on their personal slice of air time. Try to take it away and you became the target of a virulent campaign accusing you of being a sexist, racist, and corporatist nazi. 

For more than a decade now the rickety internal structure of Pacifica has been wholly dominated by a small ultra-activist crust that knows little to nothing about journalism, radio programming or non-profit management. After they took over the network in 2001 and proceeded to fire three of the five sitting General Managers, they did so in such a blatantly abusive and improper manner that, in any other circumstance, it would have elicited cries of anti-labor policies from its own constituencies. Resulting successful lawsuits cost the network literally hundreds of thousands of dollars in financial settlements – a dirty little detail that has never been fully disclosed to an audience that is regularly milked for donations. And that would be shocked if it ever learned the truth.

The success  the current management group had in taking over the organization derives not at all from talent or intelligence but principally from its immeasurable tenacity – a super-human capacity to outlast everyone else in endless rounds of meetings and to shout down its opponents. That, along with  a fervent belief that they, alone and against all odds, are saving the world by making sure air time is given to only fellow true-believers who meet some sort of bizarre political litmus test.

I begrudge them nothing. They perform exactly as one would expect. Instead, our recriminations should center on those who know better, or at least, ought to know better. Whether it is in Los Angeles, or New York or Washington, serious, otherwise intelligent liberals and progressives have sat back and quietly watched this half-billion dollar network slowly slip into the sea. In their worst moments, these liberals and lefties have signed onto idiotic crusades aimed at “saving” Pacifica by cleansing it of any trace of nuance, ideological diversity and, for that matter, debate and dialogue. And even in their better moments, these same supposed political grown-ups, even when they can sense that the network is being squandered, and after the umpteenth time that they have heard their local station raise money by pitching crank videos “exposing” 911 as a White House-engineered hoax, they bite their tongues, shrug their shoulders and remain silent lest they be publicly heard criticizing  “our own side.”

Well, nice work, folks. The nesting chickies have indeed come home to roost. Your network, as you would have it, is now officially run by someone who thinks we ought to seriously consider that something other than those airplanes took down the towers. Look forward, if  you can, to more programming and fund-raising that would be better suited for a UFO cult than for a serious or credible political and cultural opposition. And all at the cost of only a cool half-billion.

                                                *** UPDATE -- UPDATE ***

A public radio insider, whose bona fides I have checked out before entering, the update below has written in to correct me on one crucial point. I actually overstated -- by twice-- my educated estimate of the current size of KPFK's (Los Angeles) audience and therefore understated its relative decline. The average quarter hour of listenership of the state turns out to be about 5,000 people -- not 10,000. The numbers provided below also clearly indicate that the audience decline has been steady since the network was "saved" by the current management. More alarming, while Pacifica's Los Angeles audience has stagnated over the past decade, the listenership of the competing NPR stations has skyrocketed. This is what I mean about squandering an opportunity. Dissatisfaction with the MSM has generated a boom in public radio -- but the new listeners ignore Pacifica. Here's the note I got from "the insider:"

Marc, you're far too generous in your guestimate of KPFK’s small audience. Your blog prompted me to find KPFK’s latest numbers at I also dug out an old spreadsheet from the 1990's showing LA public radio audience. KPFK’s latest metro listenership – as measured Fall 2005 – shows an Average Quarter Hour (AQH) of 5200 and CUME of 159,300. Roughly half of your imagined 10,000!

For non-radio people, imagine you run a store. AQH is how many people, on average, might be inside at any time. The CUME (cumulative) is how many visited for at least five minutes during an average week. So AQH is a measurement of listening, versus a gross head count of who stuck their nose in.

Before the KPFK idiots crippled their transmitter in 1994, KPFK’s metro AQH averaged 3825, a small number indeed for a 112,000 watt station. Afterwards it dropped dramatically, dipping as low as 2300 in one period. Then after 1995, when you and others came in and started making changes, the average rose steadily to roughly 7000 AQH. There was even a peak of 8200 before the suicidal "Pacifica Wars" erupted into a daily feature on the national programming. Although still small, these numbers represented a decent growth trend, especially given the compromised transmitter – and programming during a Democratic administration.

After 2001, the faction that took over didn’t pay the fees, so Pacifica's audience research was not published for several years. Just as they took control, the transmitter restoration project was completed, Bush was president, and the Patriot Act and Iraq war soon followed. KPFK’s audience numbers should have blown through the roof!  We’ll never know exactly, but even if they did, they quickly fell right back down.

For comparison, other LA public stations are booming. During the Fall of 1999, the AQH for KPCC was 8300. This past Fall it was 20,600. KCRW’s numbers grew even higher. They've more than doubled, while the "new" KPFK has fallen – or at best stagnated – despite a much, much stronger transmitter and what should be it’s political salad days made possible by a disastrous Bush presidency.  Very sad indeed.

                                            *** UPDATE #2***   ***UPDATE #2 ***

Flash! What timing. Word has just come in that the General Manager of Berkeley's KPFA resigned today. Under duress, of course. His stepping down has nothing to do with my post above i.e. with the naming of the new network director. Instead, Gen Mgr Roy Campanella Jr. (son of the legendary Dodger baseball player) quit after one more months-long drama of internal conflict in which he was accused, apparently, of sexual harrassment. 

Read deep into the linked piece, however, and you find two nuggets. You get a glimpse of the ultra-activist internal culture I alluded to above. Imagine dozens of people spending their Sunday in a marathon "town hall" meeting to discuss the internal management of a radio station whose core programming really hasn't changed in 25 years (in spite of hundreds or perhaps thousands of oh-so-serious similar meetings during that same period). And, more importantly, you see a suggestion of what might be the real story behind Campanella's departure. The crustacean-like programmers and staff who cling to their air time and their jobs for dear life and at all costs, resist any managment whatsover and don't hesitate to brand anyone with authority over them as some sort of horrible villain. What they fear most is any accountability for their failed and prolonged tenure on the air and are quick to smear those who threaten them as some sort of political criminal. In the pc-Pacifica culture, of course, the capital crimes are the usual allegations of sexism, racism, or, my God, liberalism (as opposed to radicalism). Campanella now joins a long list of former Pacifica managers driven out of the network by similar staff-driven campaigns. Now, back to watching The Crucible...

272 Responses to “The Squandering of Pacifica Radio [Updated]”

  1. Michael Balter Says:

    Do we have any insights/information into how and why Guma was hired?

    asks a former KPFK reporter and public affairs producer (1978-79).

  2. David Becker Says:

    Of course, President Bush is not a liar. Repeating information that you believe is true is not lying. Bush is, in fact, one of the most honest, straight-talking presidents of the modern era. Calling him a liar is not that far removed from believing in crazy conspiracies; it’s simply a matter of degree. The left has truly become unhinged, in my opinion, and that really is a shame.

  3. Freddy the Pig Says:

    The Bushies may be liars but that is no reason to lie to ourselves and swoon over preposterous conspiracy theories.

    The best single sentence on the loony-Left mentality I’ve ever read. I’m sure I’ll be quoting it for years to come. (And that’s even though I think it’s wrong to think of them as “the Bushes” when so much of W’s policies stands as an explicit repudiation of his father’s sleazy realpolitik. But as a sentence that might actually get through a little, perfect.)

    The only thing I’d say against the premise of this whole article is, does Pacifica even matter? Does any conventional radio station, let alone one in a leftist ecological park at the far edge of the dial? I guess the organizational structure has some value, but being on a few college radio stations is surely worth a lot less than just fighting for attention on the wild wild web. What’s the last significant story to originate with Pacifica? That Chomsky gave a speech to adoring baristas somewhere?

  4. John Cunningham Says:

    This is hilarious, I love it! As a former leftist who came to my senses, it is a great joy to see how stupid the Left has been for the past many years. One would think that a net of stations in these key cities would be a source of strength to the anti-American, pro-Islamist forces. Instead, Pacifica is totally marginalized! occasionally I listen to Pacifica programs on the NPR station from Yellow Springs, Ohio, home of Antioch College. what a hoot!

  5. John Blake Says:

    Revealing and disquieting… and yet, this very day (January 24, ’06) one sees numerous postings of how “Campaign Finance” regulation, “Fairness” strictures and so on, keep surfacing with the objective of denying any OTHER point of view a right to public dissemination.

    Personalities such as Guma are beside the point. From an institutional –that is, Constitutional– perspective, it seems that our Congress and Courts are no longer bulwarks of fundamental liberties but enablers of exactly those tendencies that Hamilton, Madison, and Jay (not to mention Jefferson) most feared.

    In McCain-Feingold, our Wonderland judiciary took hundreds of pages to assert that “Congress shall make no law…” means just the opposite, because Humpty Dumpty says so. Which leads to “judicial review” subverting the legislature’s sole perogative to enact, amend, or rescind statutes… but where integrity is lacking, anything goes.

    One wonders: Why does no-one care? Your “Pacifica” types, the Maoists and Stalinists, devotees of Uncle Ho and Saloth Sar, are simply incapable of functioning. Ten thousand listeners out of sixty million, declining over fifty years! In “fairness” to Public Debate, their whole spectrum
    might suitably be opened for bids solely by outlets certifiably addressing a minimum 20% of any demographic. Monopolize the airwaves? We think not.

    What, you say– does Pacifica not have a right to Kool Conspiracies? Well, if McCain can define or label any “speech” they choose as “campaign related”, designating individual citizens as “committees of one” with liabilities attached, then Pacifica should be the first to go.
    The fact that Revolutionary Communists (sic) constitute a small and vanishing minority does not render them eligible for subsidies by default.

    As these anti-speech trends continue. not only “chilling” but actually prohibiting public dialogue, the Deans and Kerrys will rejoice but there will come a time when artificial, inflated, radically foolish attitudes will blow away– unfortunately, after doing permanent damage to bedrock American policies and principles.

    “Pacifica”, indeed. Mecca is that way… sharpen your chainsaws, and get busy.

  6. David Singleton Says:

    It strikes me that Pacifica is a microcosmic example of what the world would look like if the liberals were allowed full reign. It would seem that “progressive thought” in practice is self defeating.

  7. Tim in PA Says:

    I’m not sure if people inside the fray on the left can really see the stark contrast between liberalism and progressivism. The two are inherently incompatible.

  8. megapotamus Says:

    “sexist, racist, and corporatist nazi.”

    In other words, they denounce you as a Republican. Gee, what a shocker. Maybe once the Posties, you sir, and basically anyone who resists in the slightest fashion the oppression fantasies of MoveOn and her diverse satellites have been on the business end of Trotskyite “struggle” you will understand how vapid has been the Leftwing rhetoric since… well, ever. With apologies to Bruce Willis, “Welcome to the party, pal!”

  9. jfugler Says:

    Wow! Pacifica Radio has so much in common with Pajamas Media. Loads of money and fuckwits at the top.

  10. Tia Says:

    There are days when your stuff reads just the same way. These are your people. Have another glass of kool aid.

  11. La Cumbre Lad Says:

    In the 50′s and the early 60′s my politics were Ripon Society Republican, that is moderate, the party’s left wing. I could always find something interesting or challenging on KPFK or KPFA.

    That all ended in the continuing process of the withering away of the left. One could never truly call Pacifica part of the “loyal opposition” but the programming was at least intellectually honest and frequently engaging.

    Every so often I happen to hit one of the stations while driving and after listening for a while, for old times sake, I dial away, saddened. Now that the left, apparently worldwide, has become an oral tradition, and the Democratic party has lost its way blinded by the same kind of sectarianism that has killed Pacifica, I worry for our political system.

    We need the outsiders, the gadfly’s to keep the power elites honest.

  12. Ryoushi Says:

    We get KPFA simulcast here in the San Joaquin Valley (Bush Country,CA) I love the music shows early in the morning and late at night. And Joe Frank was cool.

    It’s also kind of fun to listen to Dennis Bernstein talk to himself. It’s nice to have a few moonbats still around to show the children.

  13. Jamie Irons Says:

    Even before my gradual recovery from the sickness of leftist thinking that began after 9/11, I had already ceased to listen to KPFA (which, until the mid-1990′s, I had supported with donations of several hundreds of dollars a year) because it was dawning on me that its animating ideology included a generous dollop of quite hideous anti-Semitism, always under the “repectable” cover of “anti-Zionism.”

    Jamie Irons

  14. PD Quig Says:

    Leave it to the lefties to ignore the market value of an entity and the common sense principles that earn market share. Mao had to slaughter 50 million souls to get his “market share.” Good to hear his ideological progeny haven’t lost his touch.

  15. O.T.Grouch Says:

    Several generations of leftist leadership will drive any institution into the ground.

    It sounds as if you’re just now discovering this.

    Can you really blame us “Bushies” for not wanting these clowns anywhere near political power?

    Maybe you should consider becoming a conservative, or maybe (horrors!) you already are and just don’t know it.

  16. DBL Says:

    I sometimes listen to WBAI in the morning as I drive my 14-year-old to school. He and I get a big kick out of listening to the commies rant and rave. I don’t usually call leftists “commies” but in the case of WBAI, it’s appropriate – they are all for the dictatorship of the proleteriat, state ownership of the means of production, and equality for everyone at the barrel of a gun, not to mention freeing Mumia and impeaching BushChimpieHitler. What a joy!

  17. James Stephenson Says:

    It is sad to see these left side radio stations not do well. Because if certain people on the left get a chance, they will close those right and moderate radio stations and internet sites down during the election cycle. That way the only news we can get during the cycle will be the Talking points of the Democrat party through the newspapers and mainstream network news, CNN, ABC, CBS, and MSNBC. Only Fox News will be able to give some semblance of balance.

    I think the biggest problem of the Left is their absolute belief that their thoughts are the thoughts of Mainstream America. I got news for them, they do not represent the mainstream of America. American’s do not trust the power of the Government, never have never will.

  18. John Mc Says:

    Whoa, this post brought some of the loonies out of the woodwork.

    It was just this morning, driving to my bustop, when I decided to check out Amy Goodman’s for the first time in a long time. MAYBE she’s got something interesting on, I thought. The last time I regularly listened was the last elections, and she would not stop going on about Haiti. Every day was how America the big bully was stuffing little Haiti’s head in the toilet. She had become a broken record. So today, guess what they were talking about when i turned it on? Haiti still! Then I turned to sports radio.

  19. reg Says:

    Talk about Kool-Aid…they also seem to be dishing it out over at Open Pajamas Media….some of these comments are as unhinged as Pacifica radio…but less coherent.

  20. Anthony in NYC Says:

    Maybe I’m imagining it but I seem to remember, as a boy in the late sixties, regularly listening to a program on WBAI put on by the Young Americans for Freedom, believe it or not! It must have had some impact because despite growing up in liberal household, my politics turned conservative. However, I continued listening and enjoying the programs on WBAI well into the seventies, even though I disagreed with most of them. They were almost always intelligent, entertaining and the hosts were open to opposing viewpoints. None of that obtains today, sadly, and that’s too bad: the best way to keep one’s political thoughts sharp is to hear sharp and well-argued opposition.

    I still miss the old WBAI.

  21. Adam Ierymenko Says:

    You know, your story about how the loons took over Pacifica by staying late at the meetings, driving away the more moderate voices, shouting down their opponents, forming close-knit echo chambers, etc. reminds me of the many stores I’ve heard about how religious wackos took over the grassroots sector of the Republican party.

    Same tactics, same result. Much of the grassroots of the Republican party is now an echo chamber of Bible babble and equally unhinged ideas.

    Perhaps liberals and sane conservatives both need to place placards around their think tanks, radio stations, council meetings, etc. that say something snarky like “Notice: anyone caught out of doors past midnight barking at the moon will be tarred and feathered.” Maybe we need a bipartaisan sit-in against the wackos and wingnuts.

  22. Bill Says:

    Small point, but Pauline Kael wasn’t a conservative, but left-liberal to the end. She would occasionally get irritated with her friends and stick pins in some left orthodoxies or complacencies (famously dissed “Salt of the Earth” and “Roger and Me”–treason to some, I guess), but never even considered being in the opposite camp.

  23. zota Says:

    Marc, when everything in you screamed not to write this article, it sounded like you were waiting (hoping?) for a long string of outraged howls of “pwogwessives.” Instead, you’re getting slathered in conservative gloating. Happy now?

    As a “pwogwessive” who only managed to escape vacuous exurban banality by means of the KPFK’s signal strength, let me first of all agree that today’s Pacifica is currently un-listenable. I dearly wish it were better.

    Your standard, comfortable tactic in these situations is blaming “otherwise intelligent liberals and progressives.” Let me point out that your circular firing squad strategy resembles nothing so much as the bitter pointless infighting and endless backwashing waves of recrimination that you claim to abhor in irrelevant sub-cultures like Pacifica. Nicely done.

    It’s a lot harder to build than to tear down. I’m sure you’re working to build a viable culture on the left… somehow. But for whatever reason, the only things I seem to read by you involve tearing down with increasing vigor and spite.

    As one of you many appreciative right-wing commentors noted:
    “Maybe you should consider becoming a conservative, or maybe (horrors!) you already are and just don’t know it.”

  24. reg Says:

    Marc, I have to admit that – other than the Saturday morning gospel and blues shows hosted by Emmet Powell, Johnny Otis and Tom Mazzolini on KPFA and with the possible exception of some of Bensky’s coverage of Iran-Contra – I haven’t listened to Pacifica broadcasts since the early 70s, and then infrequently. Believe it or not, better “alt-news” was available for a brief shining moment on KSAN even then – when it was a “free-form” commercial rock station – thanks to Dave McQueen and Scoop Nisker. But one of my guilty pleasures was every now and then tuning into William Mandel’s broadcasts on his adventures in the Soviet Union. It was one of the most bizarre bits of programming ever to hit the airwaves. Incessent apologia for Soviet Communism and it’s eastern European variants – with byzantine explanations of the wisdom of such as Jaruzelski or some obscure commissars in the Caucusus. Out of curiousity after reading your post, I checked the KPFA website to look at their programming schedule and…there was an undoubtedly ancient William Mandel. While he still seems to be re-running old tapes of his quite rousing anti-HUAC performance over a half-century ago – always a staple of his peculiar megalomania – he mostly now seems to be promoting “people-to-people” programs to teach business skills in Russia, which he gravely notes were outlawed under “Marxist socialism”. You’ve gotta give it to this guy. I always thought he was just some mouthpiece for the dregs of pro-Soviet communism that reside in some small scale in and around Berkeley, but it turns out he was so practiced at Russophile apologia for so long that he’s now perfectly happy hawking some Russian version of capitalism to the KPFA faithful. Maybe he’s the last gasp of that authentic, old-school eccentricity among the Pacifica flock, the loss of which you lament.

  25. Freddy the Pig Says:

    As one of you many appreciative right-wing commentors noted: “Maybe you should consider becoming a conservative, or maybe (horrors!) you already are and just don’t know it.”

    Maybe one of the Left’s problems is that it has ceded certain basic values– common sense, the application of Occam’s Razor, not letting the lunatics run the asylum, being responsive to your market, trying to be open to more points of view rather than ruthlessly enforcing ideological conformity, etc.– to the Right. For me, those are still core values of liberalism, but liberals who espouse them get rarer all the time– and inevitably end up being branded as closeted, conservative traitors.

    Another great line in this piece: “When Pacifica was once a magical place that taught you how to think it is now a dreary drumbeat telling you what to think.” Exactly, except that almost nobody is actually listening to what they’re being told. Pacifica is to politics what Dr. Gene Scott was to theology.

  26. reg Says:

    Conflation of “liberals” and the Democratic Party with the “left” as represented on the extreme margins by Pacifica is to politics what the “War Against Christmas” is to theology.

  27. Mark A. York Says:

    Does this Guma actually blieve that Griffin nonsense? Is this established fact? MIchael Shermer just had a piece on that foolish book, so I have a hard time believing this is the official Pacifica stance. It’s drawn in some new faces her though.

  28. Menlo Bob Says:

    On a practical level the demise of Pacifica is revealing. Can anyone think about leftist institutions that actually function properly? Thinking your DNA is good changes nothing.

  29. zota Says:

    Maybe one of the Left’s problems is that it has ceded certain basic values… to the Right.

    The idea of today’s nation-building, secrecy-loving, corruption-riddled “Right” being a bastion of openness and Occam’s Razor style efficiency is of course painfully laughable. But that was my point.

    I’m not calling Marc a traitor — he seems to genuinely want a better, more effective resistance to the current ruling-class incompetence. I’m just pointing out that his tactics seem to do little more than provoke further food-fights and set so-called conservatives aglow with the greasy oil of smugness.

    Constructive criticism would hopefully end up being “constructive.” So what’s being built here? (Aside from the bold faced proclamations of squandering? )

  30. richard lo cicero Says:

    I started listening to Pacifica via KPFK in the sixties when the station considered culture to be part of the political terrain. Anyone else remember RADIO FREE OZ? And there were lots of conspiracy theorists then as well. Remember Mort Sahl? Mark Lane? And all the old lefties like Doroothy Healy and William Mandel. You know what. It was great radio! And the music shows! Well I think it went down a long time ago and only had a rebirth in the ninties when you Marc, and a few others like Jon Weiner and Ian Masters had programs that I set my clock to listen to regularly.

    But the real villian here is not the fringe groups. They’ve been around forever. No the problem is the lack of support by the mainstream Left. Those boards were open to all. There were elections. I heard the meetings, ad nauseum, on the radio. But we didn’t show up, didn’t vote, just sent money. So who is to blame? As someone said it is just like the takeover of the GOP by the Religious Right. Anyone for Yeats?

    To all those gloaters on the right all I have to say is check out AIR AMERICA. Marc may not like them – why aren’t you doing RADIONATION there? – but they’re growing and now people like Ed Schultz, Randi Rhodes and Al Franken are kicking some butt. As Sean Hannity!

    I too wish Pacifica could exploit its resources. I wish the Dems were more left wing. But everyone likes to kvetch – it is so much easier! Meanwhile a bunch of loons with a certifiably unpopular agenda moves us further to the right. Free Mumia indeed!

  31. Mark A. York Says:

    Well he didn’t actually sign on the Griffin thesis as much as report the story of Griffin’s local Vermont appearance and positions, but it did seem ambigious at best. This is indeed the type of thing that can sink Independent media if allowed to proliferate.

  32. reg Says:

    FTP, in a lament on the decline of liberal thought mentions failure to apply “Occam’s Razor”

    Maybe I’m stupid and unschooled, but I had never heard of “Occam’s Razor” until Kevin Drum started repeatedly invoking it on his Washington Monthly lib-blog. (I dare say the “it’s not about oil” crowd – re: U.S. Middle East policy and Iraq – should, perhaps, give this intenet cliche some due consideration.)

  33. Rebecca H. Says:

    As far as I’m concerned, Pacifica Radio was always headed this way. Oblivion is way overdue.

  34. Bubble Says:

    Yeah, free Mumia! Send him to hell where he can find the freedom he deserves…along with the rest of the moonbat left.

  35. reg Says:

    In the light of RLC and Adam I’s good posts, the more I think about it, the more it appears that one of the (few) good things about the Democratic Party might be that the ultra-leftists hate it so much. Maybe we should reconsider any attempts to convince the Naderite fringe to come in from the cold. It’s not like they’ve got the numbers that the right-wing crazies who have bitten off large hunks of the GOP control via their crackpot grass-roots fundamentalist networks. Better off without these nuisances…we’ve already got enough problems.

  36. Dadmanly Says:

    Zota, I think you mischaracterize what Marc has accomplished here. Sure, most of his response has been from conservatives. Believe it or not, most of us despair over the sad state of rhetorical argument in general, and the fevered imaginings of many of those on the left, in particular.

    Informed and intelligent debate used to form the basis of the greatest strength in American civic life: the working through of issues, policies, finding common ground, and incrementally improving life for the greater good.

    Having one side or the other absent without leave in that effort weakens the result. Having large majorities on either side resort to namecalling and conspiracy accusations as their primary means of discussion, destroys the basis for reasoned consensus.

    That so few “pwogwessives” even weigh in in response is telling.

    And I would dispute your assessment that Marc’s observations are the equivalent to a circular firing squad strategy. He’s highlighting a very real cause and effect relationship between behavior amongst his erstwhile ideological bedfellows, and resulting marginalization and irrelevancy. He’s identified a major failing, which, by objecting to the criticism itself, rather than the substance of the criticism, you reinforce.

    Once upon a time, true progressive and liberal thought held as its primary goal open and transparent discussion and debate, with a priority placed on uncovering or revealing fact not in evidence, or otherwise neglected or underreported. As such, Bill Buckley and Firing Line was one of the early triumphs of Public Television. Boring, perhaps, but a balanced debate.

    Now? Please. You are more likely to hear liberal dissenting voices amid conservative chatter in conservative media, and FAR LESS LIKELY to hear the opposite on liberal media outlets. No greater intolerance exists today than that found in liberal bastions such as the average liberal arts campus, or major metropolitan editorial boards. Diversity is an orthodoxy, but not when it applies to political theory or thought.

  37. Michael N Says:

    I lived in Houston from 2002-2005. After initially confusing Pacifica for NPR (for less than five minutes, of course), I began listening on purpose, usually during my short commutes. As a moderate conservative, I found the Maoist news analysis and the prisoner radio hour, among others, bizarrely entertaining, at least in small doses. But I never found anyone else who listened, despite having friends across the political spectrum (and more on the left than right).

    Once, in early 2003, I got into a cab to the airport and the driver had the radio tuned to KPFT, the first time I had heard the station outside my own car. I was somewhat distressed that this recent Haitian immigrant’s early exposure to our country consisted of insinuations that the President let 9-11 happen on purpose (or worse), etc. After the radio host argued that we had invaded Afghanistan over some oil and gas pipeline, the cabbie let out a sound, and turned around to ask, “Do you ever listen to this?” Before I could answer, he continued (paraphrasing), “They are so crazy, it makes me laugh. Of course Bush attacked Afghanistan, what would they had done in his place? I wish I had time to sit and dream up the things they say. But they have their own radio station. I can’t decide if this is good or not. What do you think?” The conversation went on from there, and it underscores how ineffectual Pacifica has become.

  38. M. Simon Says:

    As one of those war supporting right wing nuts, I’d have to say that there might be some credibility in at least part of the WTC conspiracy theories.

    As an engineer I have looked into some of the theories and have found some merit in them.

    The thing is if every thing is a conspiracy theory then the stuff with the most merit gets discounted.

    And even if you agree with the conspiracy “how”, there is never any evidence presented connecting the how with the who.

  39. Sigivald Says:

    Note that while the bandwidth Pacifica occupies might be worth half a billion dollars on the open market, that does not mean that it is capable of half a billion dollars worth of communication for Left/Progressive goals.

    Something that could be worth 500 million dollars playing popular talk radio or music is a far cry from the “value” of the same thing playing content that isn’t so popular, be it Pacifica’s NPR-on-steroids for the Left, or a 24/7 Zydeco network.

  40. Republican view Says:

    Wow. I am a conservative Republican and first started listening to Pacifica in 2002 when I moved to SoCal. Why did I listen? For the PURE HILARITY of it. Talk about left-wing loonies!

    Note I sincerely do not mean this as any disrespect for left-leaning folks who hold serious and different opinions to my own…

    However, we on the Right cannot understand how your side consistently fails to realize how EASY you make life for us when outrageous media organizations like Pacific become the face of your cause and values… Why do you let Maoists and communists into your tent? It brings down your entire message and party…

  41. sonicfrog Says:

    I graduated from college with a degree in Radio, Video, Film Production, and know a bit about the plastic nature of radio programing. I own my own pool / spa repair business which requires a ton of driving. I get bored listening to the standard radio fare (especially Hannity – what a predictable bore) and, from time to time, start channel hopping to see if any new stations have gone up, or any old ones have changed format. When I first found KFCF on the dial, someone, probably Dennis Bernstein, was talking about how the 9/11 attack was staged so the defense contractors would see an increase in government contracts. At first I thought the show was a comedy or satire, and soon realize, no, this guy is serious. I still tune in from time to time for a good laugh. The one redeeming value the stations still have is that they air Senate and / or Congressional hearings, such as the Alito or 9/11 hearings. Of coarse, during breaks in the hearings, they feature nothing but the farthest left leaning analysis they manage to find, but if that is the price we have to pay for hearing coverage, well, I can live with that. For that reason, it would be a shame if the station went off the air.

    PS. We just got an Air America affiliate a few months ago, and I must say that KFCF, for all its nuttiness, is FAR, FAR more entertaining that Air America has ever been. AA is nothing but rehash of the worst of Rush Limbaugh, except with a vicious left POV. Every single show host on that station refers to Limbaugh as “druggie” Limbaugh. As if no one on the left has ever been addicted to drugs. And why does Frankin get billed as a comedian. Don’t you have to be, what’s the term, FUNNY to qualify for that title???

  42. Citizen Deux Says:

    As an old AM talk radio head, I am dismayed to hear about the demise of any broadcast radio. I would hope that the Pacifica brand, a strong recognition among many (right or left) would be revived among XM or Sirius. The ability to provide GOOD content to the burgeoning satellite realm would be splendid.

    What is more distressing however, is the fall of some into the trap of fantasist rantings. Left and right both indulge in “wish it was” thinking, but those who purport it as truth do the most harm to their side’s credibility.

    Wishing things were true does not make them so…

    I also suspect that the value of those stations will decline substantially as the radio market is continually usurped by satellite and internet broadcasting.

  43. Marc Cooper Says:

    A couple of replies:

    I don’t share RLC’s passion for Air America (for my taste it sounds way too much like Pacifica). But his analysis of what went wrong at the former is right on the money.

    To Balter: The “process” of selected the Exec Dir is carried out by the volunteer National Board. That Board has been miserably mediocre for 25 yrs that I am aware of. It’s gotten progressively worse. It is now people by the faction took over the network in 2001. It’s a curious and nefarious mechanism they set up. The Brd is more and more composed by “reps” of the local stations. Those reps for the most part are close allies of the actual people on the air. So mgmt of the network rests with a group that has the greatest interest in perpetuating their own tenure as programmers. Sort of like a protection racket.

    To Zota: I don’t get you, my friend. I an a writer, not an enginner. My job is to write things and provoke reactions. That is what I have done. I dont understand at all what you mean. Would I be more “constructive: if I left out uncomfortable facts? If I kept this a secret? I am exposing nothing to the Right in this piece. After all, Pacifica stations are radio stations that brdct publicly and whose programs can be monitored nd anlayzed by anyone who cares to. What’s ur point?

  44. Paul from Mpls Says:

    Let me just say I’m heartened to be joined by people whose presence may remind some of my adversaries here that while I am deluded, insane, dishonest, pathetically willing to facilitate fascism and so on, I also am not alone.

    Decent point about Occam’s Razor and oil vis-a-vis Iraq, reg; it does potentially cut both ways, though. (The simplest way to get oil is to buy it, and so on.)

  45. Marc Cooper Says:

    PS to Zigivald: You raise an excellent point. The product-programming of the current Pacifica network has little market value. My point is:
    1) that if the Left wished to build Pacifica as it is today it would cost literally a half-billion dollars.
    Or 2) You could actually sell the 5 pacifica frequencies today for a half billion and in invest it something that works.

  46. Paul from Mpls Says:

    The board selection process, the way the internal workings were evidently taken over by loonies, reminds me of similar problems in nearly every neighborhood organization I ever worked with when I have been a community organizer.

    If a group gets targeted by aggressive maniacs of any sort, it’s very difficult to keep the sane people involved. It’s just not worth their time.

    Speculation: is this an inherent flaw in attempted major political organizing efforts like this, but especially on the left for some reason? At least at this point in time?

    To deny some version of loonies exists on the right is ridiculous of course; it just seems to me that the moderate right voices have more muscle and more confidence than the left version.

    I’d also undoubtedly disagree with most of the regulars here on what constitutes “moderate” in a Republican sense.

  47. M. Simon Says:

    BTW as a counterfactual to “the WTC was taken down in part by explosive demolition”, no one has come up with any info on how the explosives were installed in a building full of people – some of whom might have noticed.

    The deal is: in any theory there are always counterfactuals. An honest report should always at least mention possible objections. No mention of counterfactuals leads to agenda journalism rather than truth journalism.

    No striving for truth. No listeners.

    Personally I’m a big believer in divided government. Had the Ds run Lieberman (who is now a pariah in his own party) he would have gotten my vote.

    Hell, if Kerry had apologized for what his anti-war position in the 70s has done to the Vietnamese people, he would have gotten my vote. A sign of learning from his mistakes (I supported Kerry’s position in the 70s – until the re-ed camps and boat people changed my mind).

    The Dems and Pacifica are in trouble because they have forgotten nothing and learned nothing.

    So I lean Republican these days. (I did vote Obama over Keyes – I can’t abide theocons).

    What the Dems need is a strong injection of Harry Truman (whose hand I once shook on the train to Independence). You know what Harry would say to the Islamic crazies – straighten out or we will drop the Big One on you. So where have you heard talk like that lately? From Chirac in France.

    Ah, well. I look forward to a resurgence of the two party system in America. Sadly given current trajectories I will not live to see it.

    Oh, yeah. Dump socialism. You need a thriving market economy to support even a bit of it. If it dominates the economy things start sliding – not necessisarily in a good direction. Another thing Lieberman gets. No wonder he is so unpopular with the Ds.

    And where is Pacifica when it comes to encouraging the market economy? In the Communist camp. Feh.

  48. ThomasD Says:

    “The “flagship” New York station, WBAI, which in the 70’s was a hothouse that produced a generation of able journalists who later took their skills and their liberal or lefty politics into the mainstream media…”

    Not ‘some,’ or ‘a few,’ but a whole generation? And there’s no left/liberal bias in the mainstream media, right?

  49. Ben Says:

    “… a Reichstag-like plot engineered by…”

    Offtopic, but I’ve always read this as “the Nazis set fire to the Reichstag in order to consolidate power” – a historical fact; imagine my surprise when I recently read (in “I Will Bear Witness”, which is great) that the Nazis likely weren’t behind it, though they certainly were quick to take advantage of it — has a good overview. I wonder at what point it became “known” that the Nazis did it themselves?

    Am I the only one who had this bit of history wrong? Treating it as fact seems to overstate the case, at any rate.

  50. Michael Edelman Says:

    Is Pacifica’s latest turn really all that different from, say, mainstream Democratic writing, except in degree? Both share a common theme: An unwillingness to debate the other side on facts and policy, preferring instead to create a monstrous, evil straw man. The result is that they can feel good about being morally superior to their foes, while completely ignoring the electorate.

    Much of the left is still living in a fantasy world in which the last election was “stolen” from them- despite all the polls that show a distrust of the Democrats that outweighs and doubts they may have about Republicans. And unless they start addressing issues, they’re going to lose again in 2008.

  51. zota Says:

    What’s ur point?

    Marc, my point is that you aren’t a disinterested party — you’re a former Pacifica broadcaster who is presumably interested in making it better or coming up with a better alternative. My point is that surely someone as closely involved and deeply knowledgeable as you could offer something more than yet another outraged/disgusted venting at The Left?

    Venting feels good. Sometimes it’s absolutely necessary. But venting — and only venting — that liberals only have themselves to blame seems like something that anyone could do. And it’s a project that already seems abundantly well accomplished by right-wing media.

    You seem to suggest here that Pacifica is doomed to utter un-salvagable irrelevance and there’s nothing anyone can do about it. Okay. But if you really seriously believe you’re kicking a dead horse, then why bother?

    Like you said, you aren’t exactly revealing a secret here. So the primary effect of your non-expose seems to be entertainment for your right-wing readership. Not that there isn’t a fairly lucrative career in doing that (*cough*Mikey Kaus*cough*). But is it what you want?

  52. Paul from Mpls Says:

    “An unwillingness to debate the other side on facts and policy, preferring instead to create a monstrous, evil straw man.”

    Yes. What I refer to as “pretending that their own caricatured version of their opponents’ views is all they need to respond to.”

    One result being that all they offer to which their opponents must respond is – shabang, shabing – a self-constructed caricature of an argument.

    So: there are careful and reasonable ways to oppose Iraq; and careful and reasonable ways to accusse W of some degree of dishonesty.

    But the public Democrats, trapped by the angry, boil it down to “Bush lied people died,” or “Who profits who dies,” ignore the rational arguments for the war that also exist and were also made by W , and so leave the turf for rational debate to the right.

    (In fact, in a more rational Democratic Party, Liebermann would undoubtedly have been more aggressive in questioning Bush. But his intellectual honesty compelled him to respond to the insanity in his own party as almost more important.)

    The electoral result is that a crucial 10% – 15% of the natural Democratic base retches and either leaves or seriously considers it.

  53. Marc Cooper Says:

    Zota: Ur pissing up the wrong rope on this one! That’s right, Im not a disinterested party. As I said ib my disclosure, I had a drive time show on KPFK for four years. While there, I and (more so) some of my friends fought like hell to improve that place. Some of my colleagues put in 60 hour weeks and threw away their lives and careers in the effort. For those efforts at constructively trying modernize Pacifica, they were literally lynched (as was I): calumnied, libeled, smeared, stalked and while I quit, they were fired. They had to go to court to as much as collect their severance and vacation pay that Pacifica’s liberators had failed to pay them. Then they had to go court to win compensation for their illegal firings. That’s what they did constructively. So the question isnt what Ive written or what Ive did… it’s what YOU are willing to do.

  54. Paul from Mpls Says:

    zota, what people like Marc (and on a far lower level myself) want is not to talk to the right. It’s to talk to the left, and get them to wake up. Pacifica’s evidently a lost cause. The main audience worth addressing these days is the left, about itself.

    Too much of the left is in the same position as the entrenched, status-quo-fixated right of 40-50 years ago, unable to even conceive that it might be seriously off track. Only it’s an inverted form: it’s fixated on rebellion, rather than the status quo, and doesn’t see how its ideas of rebellion and “questioning authority” have become the new stupid status quo for their adherents.

    Stupidest bumper sticker I’ve seen recently: “Dissent is the highest form of patriotism.” No it isn’t. As long as we’re starting from a presumption that something called “patriotism” can be a good thing, I can think of at least one higher form, and I don’t even need to think about it very hard.

    There’s an intelligent commenter here named reg who will accuse me of selective bumper-sticker quoting, making a mountain out of a molehill. One does need to watch out for that.

    But I’d just say: there are far, far too many liberals in southwest Minneapolis who would nod in sad agreement at that sentiment, and not see the moral vacuity at the heart of it.

    Reg is a good example of the audience. He’s smart, he’s passionate, he’s not usually one of the dummies himself. He just insists that the idiocy on the left doesn’t mean all that much, at least not in comparison to the continued idiocy on the right.

    To him I say: I don’t care about the idiocy on the right in this context. First of all, to a greater extent than you know you’re buying in to the idiotic left version of it.

    But more importantly, the left idiocy and insanity is doing more damage these days precisely because it is so largely unacknowledged by the people it holds in its sway: these intelligent, moral people for whom it is a natural given that they are incapable of unintelligence and questionable morality (and that’s a big part of the problem).

    It rides roughshod over their perceptions and activities the way an unacknowledged Shadow can destroy a person’s life, in the Jungian sense.

    The left will wake up and dominate when it suddenly realizes how moronic it’s been acting too often, how stupid. That’s the main thing they can’t handle, that self-perception, and eventually they will rebel against themselves.

    I would not like to be Michael Moore when that happens.

  55. Hale Adams Says:


    I have to confess that I feel a certain amount of malicious glee at the thought of Pacifica going down the tubes. I don’t bear any malice against the organization itself. I’ve never listened (that I know of) to a Pacifica broadcast, and my own politics are libertarian. (I voted for Bush in 2004 only because the Libertarian Party went off the blame-America-first deep-end after 9/11, and the Democrats haven’t been worth the powder to blow them up since 1972.) And I can understand your sorrow at the thought of an organization which commanded so much of your devotion slowly dwindling down to nothing.

    This is perhaps cruel, but I hope that EVERYTHING the far-left touches– Pacifica, Air America, you-name-it– goes down in flames. Maybe then (and only then, I fear) will the Democrats “get it”, and dump socialism and the hostility they have to profits, wealth, merit, and America itself.

    (If there were someone alive today like Harry Truman, and who absorbed the lessons of how the ’70s didn’t work and how the ’80s did, I’d vote for him in a heartbeat, no matter his party affiliation. Alas, the only person like that in recent times was Ronald Reagan, architect of the ’80s.)

  56. Republican view Says:

    So in the end, there is obviously a problem with all left and mainstream (again left) media in that is too far left, even for mainstream Democrats.

    When prominent people on the left claim the government “blew up” the levies in N.O., or Bush brought down the WTC, or Belafonte compares Bush to a Nazi and uses Gestapo tactics, everyone on the left including mainstream democrats are made to look like a bunch of nut-jobs…

    Bottom line is the Democratic tent is too big — they don’t need to invite EVERYONE and ANYONE (communists, socialists, etc…) in…

  57. The Jawa Report Says:

    9/11 Conspiracy Theorist Takes Over Pacifica Radio

    Will the lunacy coming out of the Left stop today? First we posted about a Daily Kos writer who plans to march at Ground Zero and place a citizen’s arrest on Rudy Giuliani for ‘his part in the 9/11 coverup….

  58. David Borough Says:

    Dude, I think we will all do better without red-baiting and/or smearing the new leadership from the get-go. I’m with a small radio station that just went through a legal proceeding defending ourselves from an attacker who liked to smear and slander the management.

    Give the guy a chance.


  59. Paul from Mpls Says:

    zota –

    I go to your site, and think, not bad, interesting, even funny, but I sense I’m talking not to you but through you.

    The attempt to define conservative thought as inherently deficient, as you seem to endorse, is a nice example of what i’m talking about. ‘It’s not an actual viable perspective; it’s a form of mental illness!’

    (That’s not what I’m saying about current left-thinking incidentally; I’m saying it’s a fine way of seeing the world that I love that has currently gone off track.)

  60. Rich Says:

    “So in the end, there is obviously a problem with all left and mainstream (again left) media in that is too far left, even for mainstream Democrats.”

    Is that your interpretation of Mr. Cooper’s post? If so, I suspect you’re having some reading comprehension problems.

  61. Rich Says:

    “Reg is a good example of the audience. He’s smart, he’s passionate, he’s not usually one of the dummies himself.”

    Paul, a little advice: maybe the not-so-subtle insult isn’t the best approach. My eyes start glazing over when I read stuff like that, and I just move on to the next entry.

  62. Paul from Mpls Says:

    Rich –

    You may be right, although it’s not exactly what I intended; in fact it’s simply the truth as I see it.

    It’s also a delicate rejoinder to the abuse he heaps on me when I try in all non-emotional sincerity to make a factual point he considers stupid. (That’s the backstory, is what I’m saying.)

  63. Mark A. York Says:

    I’m just going to comment that Harry Truman one of my favorite presidents was one of the first to advocate socialized medicine for Americans. That doesn’t mean we bome socialist as implied by wingnuts, which is just rhetorical ad homnem.

    As for Mr. Simon and his conspiracies I’m afraid that’s all they are. Clever blurring of the truth of which Occam’s razor can apply. Oswald acted alone as it seems from the evidence, and controlling the oil and stability doesn’t neccessarily mean have to confiscate it directly. Even though it seems to the world that’s what we have done. The treasury is the best evidence against that: they borrowed all the money to get the oil and haven’t raised a penny from it to date.

  64. Mark A. York Says:

    And for crusader Paul does he see any insanity on the wingnut right? Or are they just well-reasoned? Because what far left radicals believe is of little consequence. It’s what does the middle believe that counts. Dissent is good if what you’re dissenting against is wrong. happens on courts all the time.

  65. Eric Simonson Says:

    I actually listen to Pacifica, though I am a conservative right-wing christian fundamentalist neo-con Imperialist war-monger.

    Primarily I have a fascination with the far left, communism, socialism, and the meme it represents.

    So Pacifica is sometimes the best entertainment to be had for a conservative political junkie like myself.

  66. stubby Says:

    But Mark, I think what Paul is saying is that right now, unfortunately, it DOESN’T matter what the middle believes, because the middle left seems to be kowtowing to the lunatic fringe left right now. I think Leiberman would’ve had a decent shot at the Presidency – I would’ve voted for him – but right now, the Dems couldn’t nominate anyone who would appeal to the middle of the country, even tho the middle (hello! nice to meet you!) are the ones they NEED TO WIN.

    And really, it doesn’t matter whose middle is currently more enslaved to their lunatic fringe. Crazy is crazy, and it’s problematic, but it’s more problematic for the party out of power.

    The biggest problem with the left’s current enslavement to the loonies? Their insistence that anyone who disagrees with them is not just mistaken, but evil. Republicans assume that if you take the Democratic position on an issue, you’re misinformed, or misled, or maybe just dumb. The left – and, increasingly, most Democrats – assume that if you agree with the Republicans on anything, your motives are malign, your intentions bad, your soul all shriveled and rotten. Now, some Democrats DO play the “oh, the poor misguided sheeple” card a lot but for some reason, when a Democrat implies that I’m an idiot, he/she does so in a far more condescending, and therefore infuriating, way than a Republican does.

    As in “Dissent is good if what you’re dissenting against is wrong.” Dissenting against what YOU think is wrong is all fine and dandy and in fact all-American, but assuming that you are on the side of the angels is very annoying to others.

  67. Paul from Mpls Says:

    Thanks, Stubby. Something like that, yeah. (I have acknowledged the existence of lunatics on the right numerous times here, and talked a bit about why I think of them these days as less dangerous; I think even today.)

    Dishonest, stupid bullying dissent is the worst thing a nation can face. Or at least on par with dishonest stupid leadership. But dishonest stupid leadership can be brought to heel. Dishonest, stupid dissent: there is no way to address its issues. Or placate it. It becomes dissent for dissent’s sake.

    On-topic for the day, I happened to wander over to the Huffington Post and saw this post and comment string on the NSA stuff:

    It’s a good illustration of the idea that the left tends to argue and rail while having almost no idea what the other side is actualylysaying.

    The writer mentions some headlines that, to him, prove W is winning what he calls “the headline war” on the issue. Yet two of the headlines he lists call the NSA activity “domestic spying.”

    The idea that this constitutes “domestic spying” is one of the key language things that drives conservatives crazy on this; yet this maroon has no idea of that. He doesnt have the slightest idea that a supporter of W would hit his head against tje wall at those headlines.

    Agree or disagree on what it should be called, that doesn’t matter: can’t this guy at least bother to know what the actual arguments on the other side are before he writes? is that so much to ask?

  68. Paul from Mpls Says:

    From a commenter on that string (caps in original):


    They aren’t? Really? Huh.

  69. JohnDoe Says:

    So who listems to James Dobson? Is anyone at Pacifica encouraging assassination? If not, why not? We can’t have the right wing nutjobs get crazier than the left ones.

  70. M. Simon Says:

    Marc A. York,

    WTC was the first major building of its kind to pancake the way it did. No other accident of any kind in the 100 year history of high rises has ever caused that kind of failure where there are no really big pieces that have to be demolished post failure.

    Now it is possible that such a failure (the turning of the concrete into powder) could happen. Trouble is there have been no simulations to date that show such a failure possibe and if such simulations have been done they have not been made public.

    And BTW I think Iraq was a good idea and on to Iran.

    So I’m just saying that the way the building fell was highly unusual. I would be the first to admit that some times unusual failures happen.

    My point in all that is that there are always counterfactuals. The other side has a point. A point of view that might allow it to come to a different conclusion based on a common set of facts.

    I like to look at the evidence.

  71. JohnAnnArbor Says:

    Do you know of any other institution on the American Left that can compare in value?

    Sure. George Soros.

  72. Dan Merica Says:

    Mr. Cooper, why are you trying to put a gag rule on discussion of David Ray Griffin’s view on 9/11? Are you trying to stifle freedom of speech? All thoughts should be debated in a democracy to see if they can remain standing after the rigors of criticism. I suspect that you believe that Griffin’s 100+ 9/11 serious anomilies can not be explained away by discussion, so it is best to censor it. Coast to Coast AM is a much bigger deal than Radio Pacifica, but Griffin’s view of 9/11 was covered a number of times.

  73. M. Simon Says:

    Oswald may very well have acted alone.

    It also appears the Zapruder film was doctored.

    The question is how do you put those two ideas together?

    Was the cover up done to prevent a war (the Cuba was behind Oswald theory) or was it done to cover a coup?

    I’m an engineer. I have even been called hard headed about evidence and truth. I like to follow it where ever it leads. Which is not to say that my own biases haven’t led me astray a time or two.

    Every one is so certain. I have my doubts.

  74. Republican view Says:

    Rich, Rich, Rich, of course I have a reading comprehension problem — like all Republicans I’m stupid and unsophisticated. Otherwise how could one explain my views?

    I’m simply saying that MSM, as well as outlets like Pacifica are leaning sooooo far left as to make themselves irrelevant. Got it?

  75. zota Says:

    I hereby rescind my rope pissing about Pacifica — you’ve done what you could.

    I suppose I was reacting to the feeling I get these days as I’m about to read something you wrote: “oh great, what’s the problem with liberals today?” Your recent column about Gore was the first time in a very long time that I can remember reading something by you that was in any way encouraging or constructive regarding the left (and as you pointed out there, you surprised yourself.) It’s an attitude that makes your liberal target audience (?) tune out in despair, but — judging by your comments — it draws conservative admirers like flies. Just something to think about.

    What am I going to do about Pacifica? Based on what you write about them, sounds like I should just try to pretend they don’t exist. But maybe someone will come up with a better idea.

    Paul from Mpls:
    but I sense I’m talking not to you but through you

    So, wait… that makes me your puppet?

    As far as the “conservative thought” piece you mention, that it was regarding widespread conservative misinterpretation of a Stanford study. Apparently a bunch of right-wing bloggers only got as far as reading a fragment of a press release rather than reading the actual study. They ended up running with their own wild interpretations rather than examining and critiquing the actual thing they were attacking.

    Sound familiar?

  76. DensityDuck Says:

    “The success the current management group had in taking over the organization derives not at all from talent or intelligence but principally from its immeasurable tenacity – a super-human capacity to outlast everyone else in endless rounds of meetings and to shout down its opponents.”

    Amusingly, you have just described the people who operate Wikipedia.

  77. JohnAnnArbor Says:

    M. Simon:

    Each WTC tower was basically two concentric square steel tubes. One was the outer wall; the other was the core (plumbing, elevators, etc.). There were 110 floors, each a concrete pancake spanning the whole space between the two tubes. There were no pillars or any other obstructions between the core and the outer wall, which was a revolutionary design.

    My point: all it takes is one of those concrete floors to slam into another and the whole thing goes down, floor-by-floor, as we saw. The floors and their attachements to the core and outer wall, are designed to take steady loads, not to be smacked with many tons of concrete while simultaneously having their iron reinforcements softened by a jet-fuel fire.

    Take a look at this NOVA episode:

  78. Rich Says:

    When the towel heads blow up your kid’s school and kill your family, you liberals will run into the streets with their protest signs held high, screaming: “Why didn’t George Bush do something”! “What did George Bush know and when did he know it”? “Why didn’t George Bush send a hurricane to stop the rag heads like he did to kill all the blacks in LA”?
    Stupid libs, bitching and moaning will do nothing but make you look silly and prostrate. Go watch “hump my back mountain man” and relax, be safe and secured in your Yugo. Let the people with balls do their jobs and you emasculated feminist, touchy feely, homo types can go about your “business”.

    (“when a Democrat implies that I’m an idiot, he/she does so in a far more condescending, and therefore infuriating, way than a Republican does.”)

    While so many of you bravely endure your myriad encounters with the omnipresent left lunatic fringe, hanging out in the snug cafes of Uptown, Minneapolis, or Silver Lake, or the black tie Huffington parties, most of the rest of us here in the good ol’ U.S. spend time with guys from whom I grabbed that first quote (also from Pauls’ referred-to string). I’m just sayin’. Get out a bit, away from your safe ivory towers so overrun with these crazy lefties, and you’ll find out how few of them there are.

    I know it’s entertaining to write and read screeds about the zany fringes, but it strikes me as ultimately fruitless. There will always be fringes–you think calling them out is going to make them go away? I’m sure some of the loonier Pacifica people who read these attacks are actually overjoyed that the attacks serve to remind the world that they exist, and ostensibly hold so much influence over the captive base (which I don’t buy, incidentally). Of course, I understand it’s not Marc’s job to be optimistic, or to drive social change, and I appreciate knowing more about the Pacificia fiasco, but I just find the whole thing disheartening.

  79. Mark A. York Says:

    I don’t buy the premise the Zapruder film is “doctored.” That evidence is cooked and flimsy in my view as a scientist and journalist, thus there is nothing to square. It smacks of nutballery to me.

  80. zota Says:

    Marc, case in point:

    When the towel heads blow up your kid’s school and kill your family

    Go watch “hump my back mountain man” and relax

    you emasculated feminist, touchy feely, homo types

    your safe ivory towers so overrun with these crazy lefties

    I understand it’s not Marc’s job to be optimistic, or to drive social change, and I appreciate knowing more about the Pacificia fiasco

    I’m just sayin’

  81. M. Simon Says:

    Ironic, isn’t it, to have a right leaner supporting in part 9/11 conspiracy theories (there are parts of the 9/11 “conspiracy” that are to me fact challenged).

    The investigation is incomplete.

    So I would not fault Pacifica (I’m not in radio range so I can’t tell about what it sounds like on the air) for going deep into this question.

    It would have a lot more credibility if the information came from some one presenting it “against interest”. Or at least a balance.

    It is what happens when you lack any tolerance for the other side. All evidence is dismissed as partisan.

  82. Mark A. York Says:

    “assuming that you are on the side of the angels is very annoying to others.”

    Only if so is a false premise. I didn’t vote for far left nutjobs or conservative wingnuts. I voted for Gore and Kerry. Ralph or George W. didn’t get my vote.

  83. Paul from Mpls Says:

    zota –

    By ‘through you” I meant, I sensed my words would pass through you. or by you. Whatever. Not that i was “using” you. (I was trying to avoid the word “over.”)

    The conservative over-reactions to the psychology of conervatism piece were focused on the most extreme out-of-context stuff, as I understand it. But is my basic idea mistaken — that the study essentially does say that conservative thought can be understood in large part as a form of mental disorder? It was certainly presented that way to me at the time by liberal friends who eagerly sent it to me.

    Incidentally, there’s a pretty good discussion of the NSA stuff going on at Kevin Drum’s site –

    I still would maintain that even as essentially as honorable a guy as Drum (and Josh Marshall) often takes liberties with how he presents the other side. But the discussion string is pretty well-informed, and includes people taking him to task when they think he’s doing that.

  84. Mike C Says:

    Sorry if you have already covered this Marc. But what were the circumstances behind you leaving Radio Nation? I really enjoyed it. I enjoyed your daily KPFK show as well. :-)

  85. Mark A. York Says:

    Ditto on the NOVA epsisode on WTC. It explains everything and as a union carpenter myself who happily never worked on such structures, I couldn’t believe it when I saw the flimsy two-bolt joist fastening system and the sprayed on fire-proofing. I’m saying what happened is exactly as one would predict it would under such physical conditions. Just as with Kennedy who I supported big time.

    Griffin’s out to lunch.

  86. M. Simon Says:


    I guess being an aerospace engineer (electro/mechanics – with Naval Nuclear Power Training on the side) is not as good as being a scientist.

    Still I looked at the evidence and came away with doubts.

    It would be interesting to debate the question some time.

    Same for the WTC collapse. It was quite unusual.

    So the thing is (given my interest and orientation) there is an audience out there for at least some of the “craziness” Pacifica is selling. Why aren’t they doing better?

    Bad presentation by unbelievable hosts.

    So my question is the same as yours. Why don’t they want to be more effective?

  87. The_DC_Sniper Says:

    Bubble: “Yeah, free Mumia! Send him to hell where he can find the freedom he deserves…along with the rest of the moonbat left.”

    You know what would be cool? If there was a fun place lefties could visit… like a… camp. Yeah, that would work. We would just need some… ovens… for the… um…

    cooking classes… yeah.

    Right Power! :heil:

    It’s funny– when I saw that this blog entry had 60+ comments already I figured a flame war was being waged by far left Pacifica defenders and, instead, there’s only one person criticizing Marc and he hasn’t even charged Marc with being a CIA asset. So where the fuck are they? Have the purges stripped Pacifica so bare that it has no one left to defend it? Has it cannibalized itself so completely? Thoughts, Marc?

    It’s funny– I was really looking forward to the amusement but instead of idiocy from the left, I’m offered 32 flavors of “ha ha ha, the left are all a bunch of idiots” by people who apparently think that such absurdly poor debate form somehow demonstrates the superiority of conservative thought but that’s amusing too, I suppose.

  88. Robert Fiore Says:

    This might be a little impolite to bring up, but it always seemed to me that KPFK started going to hell during the time Clare Spark was the program director. In particular, I thought that the tone of the news had gone from independent reporting to telling the listeners what to think. The person who was doing the news then as I recall was a fellow named Marc Cooper.

    It used to be for a long time that the only people I could listen to on KPFK were the ones who had been there since the 70s (William Malloch, Mario Cassetta, &c.) Just about all gone now. I don’t even have a button on my car radio for KPFK anymore. I never would have imagined that 30 years ago.

  89. Woody Says:

    The official dress code at Pacifica must include tin foil hats.

  90. M. Simon Says:

    Shoddy construction and bad materials is just as big a crime if not bigger than explosive demolition.

    Why isn’t anyone being prosecuted?

  91. zota Says:

    Paul from Mpls:

    By ‘through you” I meant, I sensed my words would pass through you.

    Yeah, I got your meaning. I was deliberately twisting your words in an attempt to manipulate the discourse. It’s crafty little tricks like that which explain why liberals control all major media.

    the study essentially does say that conservative thought can be understood in large part as a form of mental disorder?

    As I understood it, the study suggested a statistical correlation between certain personality traits and a conservative belief system. In some contexts, these “conservative” traits might be considered positive. But when listed out all at once, they did sound rather unpleasant.

    Calling the array of correlated personality traits a “mental disorder” was a rather telling reaction on the part of conservatives — I don’t think the study made any such subjective value judgments, And I think “defensive” or “insecure” may have actually been one of the correlated traits….

  92. Paul from Mpls Says:

    Rich, it’s just the old argument: how important is the mindset I’m talking about?

    It’s not confined to Uptown of Minneapolis. I don’t exist in an Ivory Tower.

    The throughline of the Democratic convention in 2004 was about all the evidence I needed for how important it is. They tried for three days to grit their teeth and convey some semblance of understanding of how someone like me thinks about the war; and then in the end, for Kerry’s acceptance speech, he brought it all back home to Bush Lied, People Died.

    It was a speech that made absolutely no sense as part of the same convention that featured Liebermann’s forthright praise of the troops having broght freedom to the Iraqs. For Liebermann, tepid applause. For Kerry, the crowd went wild.

    Arvonne Fraser is the wife of the former mayor of Minneapolis. She heads something called “The DFL Education Foundation,” affilated loosely with the statewide DFL party. The DFL Education Foudnation sponsored the area premiere of F9-11.

    Half or most of the Senate Democrats, as you remember, showed up for the DC premiere.

    Moore has been acknowledged on this site as emblematic of the lunatic fringe that doesn’t matter in the big view. I don’t think that idea goes very well with the facts of the DC premiere.

  93. Nell Says:

    Marc: You could actually sell the 5 pacifica frequencies today for a half billion and in invest it something that works.

    This was the plan of Pacifica board members, led by Mary Frances Berry, who were fought off by listeners, supporters, staff, and some managers and board members in 1999-2000.

    ‘Something that works’ is the tricky part, and unknowable. I had no confidence in the Berry group to maintain the network even as a network, much less a progressive one.

    I was glad to see the stations survive. Their survival does mean that more local participation still could enliven the programming, which does need it.

  94. Paul from Mpls Says:

    zota –

    Interesting place you work, by the way. Terrifyingly intellectual.

  95. JohnAnnArbor Says:

    Shoddy construction and bad materials is just as big a crime if not bigger than explosive demolition.

    I don’t think it was. The spray-on fireproofing was abraded away instantly by a hail of aluminum particles that moments before had been an airplane. The building did stand up well to the initial impact; it was designed supposedly to take a hit from an airliner, and initially it did. The designers didn’t account for a sustained fire that would be right next to the steel (fireproofing having been blown away by the aircraft fragments). It’s hard to fault a designer for that one.

  96. Freddy the Pig Says:

    When the towel heads blow up your kid’s school and kill your family, you liberals will run into the streets with their protest signs held high, screaming: “Why didn’t George Bush do something”! “What did George Bush know and when did he know it”? “Why didn’t George Bush send a hurricane to stop the rag heads like he did to kill all the blacks in LA”?
    Stupid libs, bitching and moaning will do nothing but make you look silly and prostrate. Go watch “hump my back mountain man” and relax, be safe and secured in your Yugo. Let the people with balls do their jobs and you emasculated feminist, touchy feely, homo types can go about your “business”.

    If Ed Anger ever retires from the Weekly World News, go for his job! That was hilarious.

  97. Rich Says:

    Paul, yikes, based on your last post, your interpretation of “far left” is waaaaaay different from mine, and from all the regular Joes and Jans I have lived around all of my life (I grew up in a conservative Catholic family, FYI). Because we withheld applause from Joe Liebermann (nay, provided only “tepid” applause) this somehow represents “the old argument”??? I have about 1001 reasons why not to applaud Joe Liebermann, whose name somehow (bizarrely) has cropped up several times. If you think that we self-identified non-Republicans are drinking looney kool-aid because we think too many of the policies Liebermann supports are undesirable for our country, then, wow, you have a hell of a lot more conversion work to do than I had previously suspected.

    And as for the “Bush Lied, People Died” bumper sticker refrain, while I understand how fun (and easy) it is to ridicule, I’m more convinced that you’re too smothered by your cynical Uptown anger (or, again, just don’t leave your comfort zone enough) if you’re unable to understand why so many people in the heartland think this way. I am not saying it is a majority–Kerry lost, after all–but it resonates, people say it, people believe it. You can call them rubes, or idiots, or slaves to the mainstream media (hmmm, weren’t these pompous Pacifica-style criticisms of conservative “sheeple”), but the fact is the Bush Administration made some fatal errors in selling the Iraq War to the American people. I think you can admit to that (and believe you already have). In the same way that many Republicans never trusted Clinton after the ’93 healthcare frenzy (many, of course, simply never trusted him for partisan reasons), Bush and his cronies lost the trust of millions when they shilled for a war in Iraq. And in the fallout of more recent scandals, I don’t see the trust returning any time soon. You can call that irrational, or unfair, but I think, to the contrary, it’s quite reasonable.

  98. Mitchel Cohen Says:

    Marc wrote:

    >Guma – who will now oversee the five stations—has written with enthusiasm about truly off-kilter conspiracy theorists like David Ray Griffin who argue that 9/11 was NOT caused by the four Al Qaeda—commandeered planes.

  99. Paul from Mpls Says:

    Rich –

    No, I was a little unclear there. I wasn’t saying that only support for Liebermann is acceptable, although as I said, I believe Liebermann isn’t the uncritical supporter of W he’s portrayed as, and the context of the state of his party sort of paints him into a corner.

    What I was trying to convey is the struggle I saw happening within the party during that week, where the first three days they seemed to bend over backwards to talk to people like me – people who agree with most or some of what you wrote in your second paragraph above, but who also believed Iraq was a a terrible conundrum, there were no good options, the war was a at least a defensible proposition, and now that we’re there can we just separate our rage at W from our duty as citizens to deal rationally with a situation that we all share, no matter what we believe about how we got there. That kind of thing.

    At the very east, to not lie ourselves into accepting (as I see it) that it was totally, utterly indefensible from all points of view, as is Michael Moore’s perspective.

    And then Kerry gave his speech and seemed to my ears to pitch all that overboard and do nothing but pander to the Bush lied, People Died perspective. It cast the whole first three days as a fraud, and actually made me mad. Before that speech I was all geared up to vote for him. Seriously. I think he lost the election that night.

    And that whole mindset has only gathered steam since that time, with no grown-ups – Bill Clinton comes to mind as someone who has failed a duty – telling the Democratic base, you know, we get why you’re mad, it’s perfectly uderstandable, but you’re working yourself into an irrational lather and hurting our prospects in a war that we really do have no choice about.

    (Whatever you think we should do now, leave immediately or whatever, I don’t see how it can do anything but hurt our situation to be constantly denigrating how and why we got there – unless it’s the Gospel truth, which I don’t think it is, and I don’t think Bill Clinton does either.)

    A few weeks ago, on Tim Russert’s show, Ted Koppel and Tom Brokaw let it slip very casually that they just assumed that had Clinton been president after 9-11, he also would have decided it was necessary to take out Hussein.

    That blew me away: that they would just say it so easily, so casually, especially Koppel, who has bent over backwards to make this seem like such a dark episode, with his broadcasts devoted to all the Americans killed and so on. It just brings home to me the hypocrisy with which the left side of the political sphere has dealt with this.

    Moore is the embodiment of it all, of course. To make this sleazy, misleading movie about a war, in the middle of a war; and to have so many powers in the Democratic party try to cozy up to him… ick.

    It was the major crime of the Democratic leadership, to not have the courage to stand up and say: you creep, you do not speak for us.

    It’s easy to overlook, I think, the seriousness of that failure. It’s like: well, what do you expect?

    I’m sorry: it’s very obvious to me that a moral filmmaker does not do what Moore did, make anything less than a scrupulously honest film about a war during the war; and it seems equally obvious to me that a self-respecting party would have the courage not to pander to him and his fans.

    And the fact that they couldn’t do that tells me my perceptions of the off-the-rails nature of the left is not all wrong.

  100. Paul from Mpls Says:

    Incidentally, let’s not get into a back and forth on “what’s so dishonest in F9-11?”

    I don’t think an honest peson can call the movie scrupulously honest, which is the bar I demand in a movie like that, given the context of the times; and I really don’t think an honest person can deny that it has sleazy aspects.

    And like I say, my substantive debate partners on this site have already acknowledged that Moore represents a wing of the left they don’t like either. So it’s already a given.

  101. Mitchel Cohen Says:

    Sorry ’bout that … somehow my entire reply didn’t make it onto this board. So here it is again.

    Marc wrote:

    >Guma – who will now oversee the five stations—has written with enthusiasm about truly off-kilter conspiracy theorists like David Ray Griffin who argue that 9/11 was NOT caused by the four Al Qaeda—commandeered planes.

  102. Mitchel Cohen Says:

    Sorry ’bout that … somehow my entire reply didn’t make it onto this board. So here it is again.

    Marc wrote:

    Guma – who will now oversee the five stations—has written with enthusiasm about truly off-kilter conspiracy theorists like David Ray Griffin who argue that 9/11 was NOT caused by the four Al Qaeda—commandeered planes.

    So, now we’re challenging the competency of management based on their political beliefs? If Greg Guma turns out to be a bad manager, then remove him. But to pre-judge him based on the topics he has written about is very sad indeed.

    On more point: David Ray Griffin does NOT argue that “9/11 was not caused by the four Al Qaeda-commandeered planes.” Have you actually read his two books on the subject? He questions and dissects the Bush Administration’s conspiracy story; he does not pose the alternative that you are claiming for him.

    Mitchel Cohen
    Independent listener representative,
    WBAI Local Station Board

  103. Rich Says:

    I have absolutely no opinion about F9-11, since I never saw it. But aside from not expecting “scrupulous honesty” from any movie (I seem to remember ads for a made-for-T.V. film on Bush as a 9/11 hero not too long after the event. And I have my doubts about its scrupulous honesty), I think one of the reasons why F9-11 received so much attention is that it filled a vacuum. With the majority of the Democratic Party rubber-stamping the Bush Administration’s Iraq venture, what other critique was there to surface? Where was the reasoned debate in between unquestioning war propaganda and Moore’s shoddy (I’ll take your word for it–I didn’t see it) production? If there was one, you’ll have to point it out to me, because I didn’t hear it. I had to actively look for it, but it wasn’t in the MSM until well after F9/11 built up some steam.

  104. Ex Cooper Listener Says:

    No, the hordes of pitchfork-wielding loons seeking the head of Marc Cooper aren’t flocking to this board, most likely because they are largely a figment of Mr. Cooper’s inflated sense of himself. While certainly there were more than a few listner-activists who did not look upon Cooper’s reign at KPFK with fondness, their numbers — as with reports of Pacifica’s demise — are exaggerated.

    It is curious that the comments left here so far appear to come from the VRWC crowd. One would suspect such a response if the Freepers had posted the column and directed their own batshit brigades over to post, but I just checked and see no call to “freep.”

    What that tells me is that this must be Marc’s regular audience now. Perhaps that is why he is no longer with Radio Nation over at Air America (on which I’ve heard Randi Rhodes speak approvingly of David Ray Griffin, as well).

    Can a “Hitchening” be far behind?

  105. nate-dogg Says:

    Holy shizzle, Marc, is your site always like this, or did this dogging of Pacifica bring it on? This comments thread reads like something straight out of Little Green Footballs.

    Tell me you got linked by some hardcore libertarian weirdo.

    When the towel heads blow up your kid’s school and kill your family

    Nice. The left is intellectually dead? Mm-hmm.

  106. Paul from Mpls Says:

    There was a reasoned debate waiting to happen. It would have had to have been provided by the Democrats. They were overwhelmed by the “no possible justification” crowd from the beginning, is my take, and have been overwhelmed ever since.

    As I constantly repeat here, I had that reasoned debate with myself and among a few friends and decided we shouldn’t do it, especially after the UN said they wouldn’t be invovled. I called Senate offices begging them to reopen debate: it was such a huge decision, to do this without the UN, and it begged for a momentous Senate discussion. For me, that’s our failure as a country that seems most tragic: we really never talked about the reality of it.

    Obviously W and cew can be blamed for that lack of a debate; but so can the Senate Democrats. And the anti-war side was no more serious about the reality of the dilemma than Bush was about the reality of the war he was proposing.

    And W’s side, for me, at least has retained the credibility of not being full of shit on Hussein being an implacable enemy, a reality that the surprise lack of WMDs (owing to a disguised, tactical, temporary destruction, and i’ve never seen a Democrat even try to argue against that idea) has allowed the left to decide it’s okay to deny.

  107. Paul from Mpls Says:

    Oh, by the way, i suspect the answer to the sudden onslaught of rationality is the post was mentioned at Instapundit. So if that satisifies your need to identify a hardcore libertarian weirdo as the reason, go ahead.

    I do feel comfortable in believing Marc Cooper is wondering what’s happened to the movement he has long belonged to.

  108. Rich Says:

    My last post here. Lots of assumptions i don’t agree with, Paul. If anything, the Democratic Party as a whole was much too late in the game (as usual) to actively challenge the Bush Admin on Iraq; I don’t see any evidence that the “no possible justification” crowd had any influence on Dems from the beginning, unless by your math Barbara Lee constitutes overwhelming representation.

    Also, for some reason it’s considered un-PC in certain circles to interpret the Bush Admin’s reliance on the WMD argument as worrisome (both then and in retrospect) and deceptive, which I don’t think is very wise.

  109. Mark A. York Says:

    “Shoddy construction and bad materials is just as big a crime if not bigger than explosive demolition.

    Why isn’t anyone being prosecuted? ”

    Well I also said I was a union carpenter. I frequently found engineers’ paper renditions faulty in practice.

    It was made in Japan. Generally I find right-leaners more conspiracy prone than the other side, unless one goes straight to the looney bin to make a false comparison that all Democrats are wild leftists with tin-foil hats. They aren’t.

  110. Mark A. York Says:

    “a reality that the surprise lack of WMDs (owing to a disguised, tactical, temporary destruction, and i’ve never seen a Democrat even try to argue against that idea)”

    Huh? Because it’s foolish that’s why. Strikes me as a negative affirmation claim. That’s fairly typical of the nutty right denial of reality plan too.

  111. Per Fagereng Says:

    Well, Marc, you were wrong about at least one thing. Instead of getting trashed by hostile lefties, you are getting praised beyond your merits by trash-talking mainstreamers.

  112. historymike Says:

    (laughing at Per Fagereng’s comment)

    Yes, more kudos, Marc, for having the courage to take on Pacifica. Just because one might agree with the politics of a lunatic does not mean one should ignore a delusional statement made by said loon.

  113. Andre Says:

    Let me break it down for you, “It’s the message Stupid!!!”

  114. M. Simon Says:

    John AnnArbor,

    Uh, airplanes do not break up in a hail of aluminum particles. Structures tend to remain intact. They crumple (they are designed to). Look at the Lockerbie 747. Lots of very large pieces. Admittedly from a different destruction mechanism. But it holds pretty much true.

    Supposedly skyscrapers in air traffic paterns are designed (to the best of the designers ability) to take an airplane hit including fuel.

    You will also note that the NIST simulations stop after the top of the towers begins falling. Why? Why not continue until the building is on the ground?

    In any case I’m not saying that the ideas presented by the conspiracists are totally without merit. Or that they are true without a doubt.

    I’m a sceptic. To both sides of the argument. I would need more evidence and information to come to a conclusion.


    You are correct about the MSM. However, the discussion via blogs and e-mails was quite vigorous.

    I like what Michael Cohen says, bad management is one thing. Scepticism about the 9/11 events is another.

    I’m a supporter of the Iraq adventure and I have my questions.


    When I was a Democrat liberating people from despotism used to be a bedrock value. WMDs or no. We deposed a tyrant. Dems used to favor that. When I discuss this with my mom (now 86 and a die hard Democrat) she changes the subject. Course she wonders how I got into the Republican camp. I tell her: My ideals haven’t changed, just my prefered methods.

    My mom then goes on to say that Iraq is a distraction from Iran (she said this well before it became the latest Dem talking point). I point out that with the liberation of Iraq we have Iran surrounded. Well she changes the subject again. Fortunately we love each other and respect differences of opinion. Wish the same was true re: the rest of the left/right divide.

    Mom is one gutsy girl. And FDR is no hero in her eyes anymore. She was quite dissillusioned to find out about how FDR dealt with the Jewish question during the war.

    I’m sure I will be disappointed with Bush when a lot that is now hidden comes out. In the end though my take is similar to Lincoln’s re:Grant – he fights.

    Not that I blame Clinton as much as the Rs do. There was no will in this country to fight the Islamic fascists pre-9/11. And the Republicans in Congress bear a lot of the blame for that. Every time Clinton said Osama the Rs said “wag the dog” and proceeded to wag the dick. Water under the bridge.

  115. Tom Grey - Liberty Dad Says:

    Marc, fine post; strange comments — I think Pajamas Media might have referenced it before Instapundit, but the Open-Minded right prolly come from them. Congrats? Not really one of your best pieces.
    I’d ditto DanManly above; support Paul a lot.

    ” a super-human capacity to outlast everyone else in endless rounds of meetings and to shout down its opponents.”

    I think this Dem strategy works in small meetings, and on campuses. But not so well in voting booths.

    I’d be interested in any who think the religious right do the same to describe any organization meetings (of members) they’ve been at where they’ve been shouted down. I suspect it’s more the patient waiting and constant pro-life disagreement against abortion.

    On winning, Reps are willing to accept anti-War folk, though there seem to be pretty few. There are plenty of anti-tax-cut Reps, who think the deficit is getting out of control — but most such Reps are more anti-spending. Quite a few pro-life Rep voting Catholics aren’t so keen on tax cuts, nor the Iraq war. Yet Reps accept pro-choice Reps, too; “anything” to have a Rep win. Dems seem more intent on purifying their base than enlarging it.

    Most times when I read “religious wingnut” I imagine rabid pro-abortion fundamentalists, who think: “If we don’t have the right to suck the brains out of the unwanted unborn, what rights do we have???”

    I miss a Loyal Opposition Democratic Party, but the Dems will prolly become competitive quick after the Mid East is mostly democratic; or after Roe is overturned and Dems in Red states decide that a state pro-abortion amendment is NOT the most important right a state’s constitution needs to be amended to provide.

    Poland having abortion illegal is not destroying the mostly pro-abortion EU. The US should return to pre-73 state diversity (and blue states make it legal, as was happening).

  116. Kevin Says:

    It seems that one of the other problems with the “American left” is that they don’t understand the meaning of the word “lie”. What’s more troubling is the “American left’s” lack of memory. Was the previous administration lying when it spoke (on many occasions, google is your friend) about Saddam’s WMDs?

    The “American left” is more sick than you think.

  117. M. Simon Says:


    A lot of the international opposition to the Iraq adventure in the UN and elsewhere was bought and paid for.

    See Oil for Palaces scandal. Which had qite a bit of Canadian involvement (Maurice Strong et. al.) Total Fina etc.

    How you going to win over the bribed? And yes everyone involved with the Indian Tribes corruption needs to go. Small potatoes compared to the cash for UN votes scandal though.

  118. Mark A. York Says:

    Abortion is up to the woman having it and is no one else’s business, especially bedroom-snooping pietist fundamentalist Republicans. Of course you may get the chance to legislate that from the bench after today. I’ll repeat my credo for these Puritans (who stoned and hung Quakers in the town square in Massachusetts): prolife as long as it’s before birth and after death. When it comes to wars and death penalties that’s what comes in between.

  119. Mark A. York Says:

    This traffic is all from the Pajama party. So typical.

  120. Rich Says:

    “The “American left” is more sick than you think.”

    Sorry, couldn’t resist pointing out an example of that “onslaught of rationality” Paul must have been referring to. There’s a reason why I avoid blogs on PJM, or anything like LGF, and come to places like here instead: I actually like reading rational discussions, rather than silly name-calling generalizations (e.g., “flipflop Dems! Bushhitler!”). Let’s hope it remains that way.

  121. richard lo cicero Says:

    Marc – you were “literaly lynched” at Pacifica? Glad you survived.

    To all those who have used this thread to gloat at the supposed irrelevance of the left please explain why not a single position of the dear leader is now supported by a majority of the American People.

    Don’t confuse the palsied response of the DC Dem Establishment with the party as a whole. And you might read the recent remarks of Molly Ivans on this.

    One point – Yesterday was ROE day in DC and Bush PHONED in remarks to a pro-life rally. Why didn’t he show up in person? Why didn’t Alito say what everyone knows – that he wants to change ROE? Why beat around the bush? Could it have something to do with public opinion?Remember the prez’s Social Security tour? A real winner, right?

    That is why some of us are sorry to see what happened at KPFK. The audience is there, see AA, but its not being reached.

  122. Zoe Brain Says:

    The last poster said it, re Bush :

    “In the end though my take is similar to Lincoln’s re:Grant – he fights.”

    There’s so much about him I could despise : Rich son of a rich family, Texan Cowboy etc. But look beyond the facade, and he’s the Real Deal. He actually believes what he says. OK, so he’s a fighter jock (once a fighter jock, always a fighter jock), a “bit of a lad”, and yes, a Cowboy. But with all a Cowboy’s virtues as well as the faults.

    To all conservatives : imagine if your party, your cause, was dominated by the likes of the “God Hates Fags” Westboro Baptist Church? Imagine if you had to squirm with embarressment because Rush Limbaugh was condemned as being a “Commie” by the leaders of your cause because he was too moderate? Because that’s what Leftists have to endure these days.

    Somehow over the years, the word “liberal” has come to mean “Insane Moonbat”, while the word “conservative” has come to mean “Sane”.

    Those of us who grit our teeth and try to instil some basic humanity in the right – because the left is a lost cause – hope that one day the Left will re-discover its principles. Tolerance of differences, not Political Correctness. Rationalism, not Post-Modernist Irrationality. There was a time when it was he Left who fighting against Dictatorships, who condemned Anti-Semitism, and who promoted Reason rather than Superstitious Conspiracy Theories.

    That day is long past. It’s easier to reform conservatives, those who will actually listen to what you say, than to try to communicate with those who mindlessly chant “Fascists Out” “Four Legs Good” etc in a competition to see who’s more dogmatically pure.

    But a healthy Democracy needs two strong parties, one centre-left, the other centre-right. The US doesn’t have that at the moment, and you (I’m Australian) are living on borrowed time.

  123. Benjamin Says:

    Sounds like you have an axe to grind about this, Marc.

    But whatever Guma’s views, it does not necessarily mean he will be bad at his new job.

  124. sonicfrog Says:

    I’ll repeat my credo for these Puritans (who stoned and hung Quakers in the town square in Massachusetts)

    Uhm, I think those guys are all, like, dead :-)

    And does the STATE of Massachusetts have a town square? How big is it? Wait, I just looked it up. The town square of Massachusetts is Rhode Island.

  125. Eleanore kjellberg Says:


    “When Pacifica was once a magical place that taught you how to think it is now a dreary drumbeat telling you what to think. Its air is filled with shrill, clumsy and dogmatic denunciations of “fascism.” Any trace of high culture, meanwhile, has been ruthlessly rooted out and expunged.”

    I much prefer hearing: screaming Chris Matthews; nutty Hannity& Colmes; telephone sex O’reilly; boring Paula Zahn; mundane Anderson Cooper and tabloid specialist Van Susteren.

    There is no escaping the loony, illogical, overbearing, self-righteous; arrogant, ignorant propaganda spouted from the right. When I need a good laugh—there is nothing like surfing mainstream news to hear the latest one dimensional political analysis. The right has a basic ideological theme– F—K the working-class; put women in their place—pregnant and submissive; disregard all social programs for minorities (as witnessed during the aftermath of Katrina) and blame the poor for being poor.

    The global media system is now dominated by a first tier of nine giant firms. The five largest are Time Warner (1997 sales: $24 billion), Disney ($22 billion), Bertelsmann ($15 billion), Viacom ($13 billion), and Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation ($11 billion). Besides needing global scope to compete, the rules of thumb for global media giants are twofold: First, get bigger so you dominate markets and your competition can’t buy you out. Firms like Disney and Time Warner have almost tripled in size this decade.

    I think mainstream media is doing just fine— they are very well- supported by multinational corporations and money is never an issue, especially when they want to get their propaganda out.

  126. Mark A. York Says:

    Those guys are most certainly not dead. They live in the likes of you. Historical update: Williams moved to Rhode Island to avoid the wingnuts in Boston at the time. Compare and contrast for 25 points.

  127. Josh Legere Says:

    I think it is silly to try to compare Pacifica to the “liberal media.” Anyone one who listens to KPFK during pledge time knows how insane the station has become. Conspiracy theories, be they Kennedy or 911 are all over the station. Radio Nation and Ian Masters were the only shows (other than some of the music programming – some of it is pretty damn good, most is awful) sane hosts.

    KPFK also has the whole “hip-hop” revolution bullshit as well. They are just praying for another 60′s counter culture. Conspiracies and hip hop beats, absolutely pathetic. Check out Beautiful Struggle for some serious laughs…

  128. Dan O Says:

    You guys who paint the left with the brush of being hopelessly out of touch and consisting of only whiney America haters are like insipid drive-by vomiters. It’s almost not worth responding to. Actually, it’s not worth responding to, but I’m feeling masochistic. The majority of people in this country support a range of issues that might be described as slightly left of center. That is: universal health care, repealed tax cuts for the wealthy, environmental protection and so on. Not in lunatic schemes mind you, but in moderate sensible policies.

    I hate to paint the right so summarily, but the comments today demonstrate what an echo chamber it’s become with reflexive denuciations of this caricature of the left they hold up for ridicule.

    None of those comments qualify as engaging an idea. But I suppose it’s a bit naive to harken back to a golden era of discourse when ideas were debated and there was less personal animus–it probably has always been like this. Wasn’t JQA beaten on the floor of the House by another member of Congress? Perhaps this is the best we can do.

  129. reg Says:

    “Reg is a good example of the audience…”

    Paul, I appreciate your kind words – especially in the light of some of my own vehemence in responding to you – but I am SO NOT a good example of the audience, if you are talking about Pacifica, it ain’t even funny. Other than a few music shows, I find their programming so crappy and off-the-map it ain’t funny. I like Franken on Air America – precisely because he’s not a leftist, but a “fighting liberal” (Franken has kind words for Joe Lieberman, the DLC and – yes – supported the war until the rationales fell apart and the incompetence became so obviously egregious. He also is committed to the USO and has done several tours of Iraq and Afghanistan – as well as Kosovo) and there’s one other guy who’s name I forget who’s pretty good, but I can’t stand Randi Rhodes – who is the anti-Limbaugh – and most of the rest because they remind me too much of KPFA.

    Also, your characterization of the crazies on the left as having more impact than the crazies on the right is just crap. Really. Any sentient being can see the difference. Presumably Minneapolis is such a liberal enclave that you really don’t get it. I have relatives in southwest Missouri I’m regularly in contact with and visit several times a year who are traditional conservatives (libertarian on individual rights, more fiscally conservative than Bush, but anti-fundamentalist) and they have stories about the local and state GOP, school boards and such that would make your hair stand on end. Don’t look now, but you may be the boy in the bubble…

  130. reg Says:

    Sorry about two “ain’t funny”s in successive sentences. Sloppy, sloppy…

  131. reg Says:

    Something special for the Pajamayammers…

  132. reg Says:

    *he’s a fighter jock (once a fighter jock, always a fighter jock), a “bit of a lad”, and yes, a Cowboy. But with all a Cowboy’s virtues as well as the faults*

    I’m rolling on the floor…

    *I point out that with the liberation of Iraq we have Iran surrounded*

    Having trouble catching my breath…

    *Reps are willing to accept anti-War folk*

    Oh, shit…I’m choking on my pretzel.

  133. Mark A. York Says:

    He’s a fighter jock that ran off early to Massachusetts, to Harvard! Choking indeed. On hyposcrisy.

  134. Mark A. York Says:

    “why it is that newly-minted wingnuts adopt all the wingnut positions of the past three or four decades even if they themselves became wingnuts only in the past four years.”


  135. Josh Legere Says:


    Didn’t the Nation and every progressive organization (including Nader) defend Pacifica? Man o man, these folks all got to have egg on the face right now when they listen to the insanity.

    Laura Flanders was one of the liberators and now has a gig on Air America. That does not seem right.

    Man o man the left is in bad shape.

  136. Josh Legere Says:

    It is important to note that the “liberators” claimed that the reason why the audience had not grown more quickly was due to the “coporatization” of Cooper and Schubb.

    Listening to the station nowadays it is evident that if the management a la 2000 could have kept moving forward they would have probably allowed the station to grow more. I really miss the old morning show with John Beauprea. My god, turn on Sojourners of Truth or Uprising and see how long you can listen. It is so awful.

    But the fact that the Nation and all of the other “progressive” mags have failed to honestly report on the direction of Pacifica says a lot about the honesty and integrity of many on the left. The Progressive should apologize for backing Pacifica that is unless they support 911 conspiracy theories.

    But cooks like Marc Crispin Miller keep ticking and giving Pacifica a smidgeon of legitimacy. Amy Goodman and her gang should be exposed as bullies and frauds who given power, would behave no different than Kenneth Lay. After the liberators took over, they went on to purge Pacifica – the same thing they accused the old board of doing! The hypocrisy was unreal!

    The left these days is not a movement, but a bunch of ego maniacs who like the sound of their own voices. That more than anything can explain Pacifica. Sadly this seems to extend to activist left as well. As Pacifica has declined, so has the left – for 30 years. Don’t tell that to some flack at an NGO or non-profit, accomplishing nothing except for getting foundation money and a fat paycheck. A concert promoter friend of mine made the mistake of producing benefit concerts in his spare time. He is from the Bay Area and had a number of organizations to help out. According to him, the only group of people more delusional and arrogant than rock stars are activist stars (I can imagine that all star professors top the list) and he devotes less time and is highly selective as to who he helps out. Mostly the unattractive causes like children with brain damage that are harder to sell to performers.

    From Pacifica to the current Anti War movement, The Nation to the academy, we all loose due to the ineptitude of the left. A healthy political culture depends upon coherent polls. It is sad that we don’t have them.

  137. Jim Rockford Says:

    Marc — been busy so belated congrats on the interesting Chile article. I hope the new President also can work to move Chile forward economically.

    I think a lot of folks have missed Marc’s larger point. Rather than “big bang” Air America, where you spend oodles of money trying to grow an audience out of thin air, Pacifica represented the Howard Stern or Rush Limbaugh model.

    Now, evening drive time I’m a loyal KCRW listener. All Things Considered and Warren Olney get me home, and keep me company. But for others it’s Howard in the AM or Rush Limbaugh.

    How did those guys get started? By figuring out what their core audience would be, and doing things to grow that audience to where it is today. They focused on the LISTENER and not themselves.

    There’s millions of people stuck in their cars in long commutes every day. Many of them alone and looking for some radio company. OK, Pacifica if done right could be that company. But that means focusing on your core audience, figuring out how to grow constantly, without sacrificing who and what you are.

    The larger part of Pacifica is the inbred hostility to the large potential audience and hatred of the “ordinary life.” Ordinary people are the “sheeple” and their lives and concerns don’t count. This to one extent or another is the main reason WHY the Left simply cannot gain any traction in the national debate or politics despite many excellent positions on the environment, labor laws, equal rights, etc. Seen most recently in Joel Stein’s “I don’t support the troops” column.

    The other of course is that many of the “religious beliefs” held dogmatically in public are repudiated in private, like a crazed televangelist caught in a tawdry Metarie motel with a prostitute. For example despite Marc’s celebration of the new Chilean President having three children with different fathers, I doubt seriously that any commenter here would want that outcome for his own daughter. Or despite PC-Multi culti stuff they’d move to South Central despite the cheap real estate there. Michael Moore owns Haliburton stock and Noam Chomsky has millions in investments. David Geffen, that man of the people, considers all of Malibu his own private beach. No public allowed.

    No wonder the Pacifica people acted the way they did. It’s part of their dogma. And demonstrates their superiority to the ordinary person.

  138. Simon Says:

    Cheap real estate in South Central? Pfft. You’re not reading the real estate section these days, pal. Even Inglewood has half-mil homes now.

  139. sonicfrog Says:

    Prof. York says:

    Those guys are most certainly not dead. They live in the likes of you.

    I knew it felt kinda crowded in here.

    Historical update: Williams moved to Rhode Island to avoid the wingnuts in Boston at the time. Compare and contrast for 25 points.

    Yeah, John Kerry will do that to a person.

    PS. In case you don’t get it, the last two comments I’ve written were satire.

  140. Benjamin Says:

    Just read that Michael Berube piece on Pajamas Media and Roger Simon. One of the best blog posts I have read for some time – intelligent and amusing.

  141. Benjamin Says:

    Its a bit of a stretch to suddenly jump on Roy Campanella Jr’s resignation as automatic vindication of your previous arguments, Marc. You might be right of course, but we don’t know the fully established details.

  142. Justin Delacour Says:

    Well, my guess is that this won’t get posted because Marc has become quite the censor lately, but here goes anyway. I don’t listen to Pacifica much; some of what Marc says may be true. But Democracy Now! is an excellent program and Amy Goodman is an excellent interviewer and journalist. My understanding is that Democracy Now!’s listenership, as well as the number of stations that carry it, have grown markedly over the last 10 years.

  143. Marc Cooper Says:

    Hey Benjamin….. know what? We know that people are innocent until proven guilty. Even the witch hunters at Pacifica held two separate “investigations” of Campanella and found him “innocent.” His crime was being the manager.

  144. Wall Says:

    Cooper, much as I hate you, I do have a certain sympathy for your arguements here, as I have had a soft spot for KPFK: and I do think it went downhill after the foolish purge to which you refer . The payoffs made to those sladered on the air during said doesn’t surprise me.
    It did get worse, dispite Amy Goodman’s often excellent show(and some others you are not fair to), their was a lot of crap;
    and the 9-11 shill was enough to make you cringe.
    On the other hand, it is all a matter of whose Ox is being bored. A lie is a lie, a shill is a shill, and the same stupidity that infects the lies about 9-11 from this crew , also denote you telling your audience Sid Bluementhal got what he deserved;not to mention the now volumous lies given an audience by your friend Hitchens. This 9-11 stuff over the top? Have you read Gore Vidal on Waco? Watch “F-911″, again, and it’s clear that you and Hitchens were all to happy to join the other knuckle dragging idiots decrying this excellent film. Can you tell me the qualitative diference in listening to the KPFK joker’s absurdities about 9-11 and listening to Hitchens tell you Kathline Willie was “a believable woman?” Your both selling obvious fantasies, with a thumb on the scale and a hand in my pocket.
    For that matter, who are you to complain about lefties who try to reach a broader audience? When they manage it, against all odds, do you honorably disagree with flaws in their work? No, you insult them as “Clowns” (Frankin) or “Fat Slobs” (Moore).
    So, how do you feel above the head in the sand crowd at KPFK?
    One learns to take ones media, at best, as a mixed bag. PACFICA had crackpot religion and dumb parinoia, but also first rate Democracy Now shows and Background Briefing. Air America apes the worst of brain dead right wing radio; but Frankin’s show is often excellent, and Randi Rhodes is often dazzeling. I don’t accept, as a leftiest, crumbs being thrown to me; but I do give credit when, once in a while, somebody throws together a good sandwitch.
    By the way, dispite the fact She often attacted liberals(on grounds not unlike your attacks on Pacifica), Pauline Kael was hardly a conservative.

  145. Marty Says:

    Very sad . I have always kept a place in my heart and on my radio dial for KPFA, even though I usually end up shouting back at them and going back to jazz or NPR.

    KPFA was an authentic voice and the center of a vibrant, if frequently deluded, community.

    Now it’s like some kind of tragic Altzheimer’s radio == the body still generates words and goes through its ritual daily struggles, but the brain, to say nothing of the soul, has long departed.

    Very sad.

  146. Marc Cooper Says:

    Justin Delacour’s “understanding” of audience growth is one thing. The publicly available arbitron rating numbers are quite another.

    Whatever one thinks of Amy Goodman’s show, let me remind you that Pacifica divested itself of that very resource it created and let Goodman privatize the show. Democracy Now is not owned by Pacifica. It is leased.

  147. b bridges Says:

    I used to listen to Pacifica in LA as a distraction. The first time I gave them a good hour, during some Palestinian crisis, the correspondent, reporting live, gave such an outrageous and riveting account that I began searching for other information on the Internet when I returned home. It turned out the reporter was lying. The things described were not just wrong, they were manufactured.

    Like others here, I continued listening sporadically for amusement and to keep up with the fringe.

    I’m not a republican or democrat. I would never join a party or take on a political philosophy. Doing either would require that I stop thinking for myself about every issue. But I have only two choices every 4 years and I vote for the person who is least obnoxious.

    Here is the big secret that nobody in a position of power in the Democratic Party is aware of or willing to admit, there are millions of voters like me who hold no allegiance to any party and would happily vote Democrat if there was a candidate that was less obnoxious than the other guy.

    What I mean is somebody who was focused on the serious job of running a country with all the challenges that entails. That means policies that not only sound nice, but actually work in the real world. Sometimes tough decisions can piss off a lot of people, but I want a chief executive, not a poll watcher. Even more important, I want a president who doesn’t allow the UN to guide our foreign policy.

    Here’s another big secret. There is an apparent coalition on the right that is not a coalition at all and one that will collapse if and when the Democrats ever pull their collective heads out of Michael Moore’s ass.

    As soon as the American middle believes that the Democrats really do take national security seriously and are no longer being guided by the fringe, they will start voting in that direction. And when that happens there will be a shifting of alliances from what is considered the right that I think this country has never seen before.

    For all his faults, Clinton managed to pull the Dems to the center and that is why he won his elections. Right-wingers will condemn what I just wrote but it is the reality that centrists know as the truth. And the hard truth is that centrist swing elections every time.

    So I don’t celebrate the loss of serious debate on the left, I mourn it. It serves no purpose but to discredit any serious consideration of serious issues.

    Finally, here is an easy test to see how accurate conspiracy theorists’ theories really are. How would the US government they describe respond to their revelations? The murderous government they describe would have no problem silencing them before they were actually able to launch an international movie release, start a sit in, indoctrinate another generation of college students etc. So the fact that Michael Moore is still yapping along with Cindy Sheehan and Noam Chomsky pretty much disproves the nightmare scenarios they present. Same with the Birchers.

  148. Virginia Browning Says:

    Well, I got this about 1/2 read. Don’t you people have something better to do? Man, the world’s falling apart, and you must spend most of your time just tearing each other to pieces. It’s the same thing on other sites I’ve been shown. I come from Salt Lake City, and we had to work together. And we did. What is the point of wasting time and energy on this tearing each other apart? You need to find an intimate or two to work this out on in private emails. Guma reported in a detailed way on a book. I haven’t read it. If I did, I might be just as mad — I have it in me to be — if I thought he ignored some important lapses in Griffin’s thinking. I felt that way skimming that “Collapse” book by Jared Diamond, just look at the inadequate index and I could go on. But don’t take my word for it — do it. And read Guma’s article. Then argue against his points if you have to. But I guess you’re all just poor starving workingclass heroes with no time for that.

  149. Pacificonoclast Says:

    Correction: I meant to say, if you DON’T INCLUDE the BAI staff. They are truly nuts.

  150. » Blog Archive » outstanding article on Pacifica radio Says:

    [...] …and how it’s controlled by ideological lunatics who entirely waste the potential value of the network AS MEASURED IN UTILITY FOR THEIR OWN CAUSE. [...]

  151. Wall Says:

    Much of the last uproar at Pacifca had to do with the folk music show, the station Manager was in conflict with the long time D.J.’s over ownership. It seems to me the Station Manager was absolutely right and was protecting the resourses of the Station. Apparently this has to do with Goodman’s beefs with the station as well. I wish you had written more on those at Pacifica who want to “own” their own shows, it would seem a conflict in their “power to the people” stuff to say the least. On the other hand, so is the fact that these people stay on the station for years and years (this might include, dare I say, even Marc Cooper), build an audience (or everyone gets used to them) and block the door for new talent to have a chance at this “community” station. You know, just like the seven figure celebs of mainstream media.

  152. Justin Delacour Says:

    “Democracy Now is not owned by Pacifica. It is leased.”

    That’s probably for the better, given all the crap they put Goodman through.

  153. Mark A. York Says:

    That’s a scream frogman. You stand as much chance as a comedien as you do as a rock star. The Puritan anaolgy and flip in philosophy in Massachusetts over the years is lost on the tribes in redneckland. But still a valid lesson.

  154. John Mc Says:

    Just wondering, how does the failures of attempts at independent radio vindicate the right? Why again is this a left-right issue? Are conservatives comfortable with our media as long as more outlets like Fox news exist? Sadly, it seems that the ones commenting here feel that way. Maybe I’m dumb, but I thought corporate dominated mass media was bad for everybody. It would be nice to think that a post that shines the light on how independent media has failed would lead to a debate on how it could be improved, and hence make our democracy that much stronger. The people here who would rather playground taunt are a joke whose shallow principles are based in ‘my group is superior to your group’ thought.

    And the Berube link was great.

    Also, Amy Goodman is AT TIMES good, but she is not an ‘excellent journalist’ as repeatedly mentioned above. She lost me when I realized that she continually gives people like Greg Palast, who is bereft of any credibility, the soft treatment. That’s journalism?!

  155. sonicfrog Says:

    Prof. York said:

    Historical update: Williams moved to Rhode Island to avoid the wingnuts in Boston at the time. Compare and contrast for 25 points.

    Historical update? Uhm, didn’t Williams move to the area that became RI in 1636. True, that is historical fact, but hardly an update, since this is not new knowledge.

    (But thanks for not calling it a factoid. As you know, the suffix “oid” is used to imply likeness, resembling, lesser imitation. Which would mean a “factoid” is not a real fact.)

    Compare and contrast for 25 points.

    Compare and contrast what exactly? I think you are implying that people are moving from “red” to “blue” states to escape the the repressive conservative societies in Mid America. Two comments:

    A) Everything I have read on the topic of inetstate migration says that the main reason people move from Middle America to the coast are for business / job oppertunities.

    B) The census numbers indicate the current imigration trend is FROM the “blue” state To the “red” ones. More here. And I’m not implying that this is happeneing because the migrants are thying to escape a tyranical liberal political philosophy, it’s almost certainly due to better economy oppertunities created by lower cost of living and a less regulatory and restrictive economic atmosphere.

    So do I get my 25 points???

  156. Whitehall Says:

    It’s interesting how one loosely organized group can sit on such valuable public property – all that bandwidth! Of course it is a prize to be fought over – what bully pulpits!

    KPFA is one of the more powerful transmitters in the San Francisco Bay Area. The fact that few and fewer people are listening points to a hole in our means of allocating this public property. They control it by squatter’s rights at this point and so long as they renew their license and play by the technical rules they can keep it in perpertuity.

    With such value at stake, one can ask, what means of control have the leftists devised to manage valuable resources? Obviously, leftist thinking has a history of failure in this issue. The usual result is force – in this case non-violent force (so far) – lawsuits, shouting, and villification.

  157. Tracey T. Says:

    Thank you for putting into words what I’ve been feeling since the nazis/commis took over KPFT in 2001. You hit the nail on the head, and what a wasted opportunity it is, especially with the media as “advertiser-influenced” as it is today.

    When I first discovered KPFT in the mid-90s, I thought I had died and gone to heaven, especially re: the music. What THEY have done to the station is nothing short of a major crime, and the tactics they used in many cases were in fact crimes, or completely bereft of any sense of ethics whatsoever.

    What is ironic is that they think they’re doing things in the interest of the whole community. The truth is they’re doing it their way, period, regardless of how completely irrational it is, and to hell with everyone else.

    Thank God we can still listen to wxpn online. Now that’s an excellent example of a radio station.

  158. sonicfrog Says:

    I left out some hypertext. My post should have looked like this:

    Prof.York said:

    Historical update: Williams moved to Rhode Island to avoid the wingnuts in Boston at the time. Compare and contrast for 25 points.

    Historical update? Uhm, didn’t Williams move to the area that became RI in 1636. True, that is historical fact, but hardly an update, since this is not new knowledge.

    (But thanks for not calling it a factoid. As you know, the suffix “oid” is used to imply likeness, resembling, lesser imitation. Which would mean a “factoid” is not a real fact.)

    Compare and contrast for 25 points.

    Compare and contrast what exactly? I think you are implying that people are moving from “red” to “blue” states to escape the the repressive conservative societies in Mid America. Two comments:

    A) Everything I have read on the topic of inetstate migration says that the main reason people move from Middle America to the coast are for business / job oppertunities.

    B) The census numbers indicate the current imigration trend is FROM the “blue” state To the “red” ones. More here. And I’m not implying that this is happeneing because the migrants are thying to escape a tyranical liberal political philosophy, it’s almost certainly due to better economy oppertunities created by lower cost of living and a less regulatory and restrictive economic atmosphere.

    So do I get my 25 points???

  159. Jan Febmar Says:

    re: January 24th, 2006 at 11:23 am
    *they were literally lynched (as was I): calumnied, libeled, smeared . . *

    Are you sure you’re a journalist?

    I once thought so.

    Love (literally),


  160. checktheunionlabel Says:

    Pacifica is run by HYPOCRITES. They got rid of the national newscast a few years ago which was produced by a diverse group of UNIONIZED workers and replaced it with NON-UNION patronizing drones who love to hear themselves talk, and they get paid peanuts. They have the gall to call themselves one with the workers. Speaking truth to power my ass!
    A once irreverent network is now completely and totally irrelevant!!

  161. Abbas-Ali Abadani Says:

    Holy flurcking schnitt!

    160 replies! That’s got to be some sort of record for this blog.

    I’ll have to wade through it all tonight — sleep now.

  162. Abbas-Ali Abadani Says:

    On second thought I just skimmed through the first 20 posts or so and judging from what I’ve seen so far, hundreds of self-congratulatory posts from right-authoritarians about their superiority to left-authoritarians just isn’t very interesting.

    Then there’s the re-emergence of Freddy the Aptly Named — that fountainhead of Marty Peretzian wisdom. One of those guys who’s two years away from discovering that the only “real” liberalism is to be found at AEI’s whine-and-cheese affairs, and that Sidney Hook was the greatest American of the last century.

    My acid-reflux-weakened stomach can only take so much.

  163. Terry Goodman Says:

    To Marc: Shame on you, Marc! Although you have many valid criticisms about Pacifica, you began your rant with a childish and irresponsible hit piece against the one person now in the best position to start repairing the damage of past decades. As anyone who followed the link you provided could read for themselves, Guma wrote “At this point, we simply don’t know, and not much can be said with complete certainty” and called for “a more credible and comprehensive official examination than has so far been conducted.” This is hardly the writing of a “fringie” with “enthusiasm” for crazy 9/11 notions.

    You rail against “the current management group” as if this phrase had meaning apart from the Executive Director. In fact, there are different power relationships established at each Pacifica station and credible challenges to the status quo at each. Staff and management are in league at some stations and at odds at others. Governance at some Pacifica stations represents listeners against both. Some local managers have had serious and continuing disagreements with the National Office and its prior leadership.

    Greg Guma is an outsider beholden to none of these existing factions, and his appointment represents a serious opportunity for positive change in the network. You have painted him as a kook, but the Directors of the Pacifica Foundation looked closer and know better.

  164. Mark A. York Says:

    No, you flunk: F. This has nothing to do with migration demographics. It has to do with hardline conservative ideology from the late 1600s migrating into the heads of naive wingervillians in 2005. Same thoughts, different century. And not a good sign. Can you say regressive?

  165. The_DC_Sniper Says:

    Ex Cooper Listener: “No, the hordes of pitchfork-wielding loons seeking the head of Marc Cooper aren’t flocking to this board, most likely because they are largely a figment of Mr. Cooper’s inflated sense of himself. While certainly there were more than a few listner-activists who did not look upon Cooper’s reign at KPFK with fondness, their numbers — as with reports of Pacifica’s demise — are exaggerated.

    It is curious that the comments left here so far appear to come from the VRWC crowd. One would suspect such a response if the Freepers had posted the column and directed their own batshit brigades over to post, but I just checked and see no call to ‘freep.’

    What that tells me is that this must be Marc’s regular audience now. Perhaps that is why he is no longer with Radio Nation over at Air America (on which I’ve heard Randi Rhodes speak approvingly of David Ray Griffin, as well).

    Can a ‘Hitchening’ be far behind?”

    It seems I just needed to be more patient. About “Marc’s regular audience,” perhaps you should make an at least cursory attempt at verifying your assumptions before you commit yourself to them in writing. If you did that you would notice that most of the people in this thread, particularly the conservatives, are not regular posters but don’t let petty things like facts get in the way of libel.

  166. Terry Goodman Says:

    To La Cumbre Lad, Anthony in NYC, reg, richard lo cicero, Dadmanly, ThomasD, Michael Edelman, Robert Fiore, Josh Legere, Marty: It may not seem so sometimes from the loudspeaker side, but there remain sane and rational individuals among the staff, management, and governance of Pacifica who are passionately dedicated to its original Mission and the tolerance for opposing viewpoints in the search for common understanding that it requires. The democratization of the network has allowed entry into decision-making of long-time listeners and former producers who remember what Pacifica was and have a clear vision of what it could again become. The strident intolerance and reduced journalistic, aesthetic, intellectual, and technical standards that occasionally mars Pacifica broadcasting has not gone unnoticed from within.

    To Marc: You’re significantly wrong about the makeup of the Pacifica National Board. Three-fourths of the Directors are delegates elected by listener-sponsor members of the Foundation, not staff. Only a few among that group are strongly allied with local staff or local management. Delegates were democratically elected by the membership, not by a faction in the prior lawsuits.

    To David Borough, Mitchell Cohen, and Benjamin: Yes, let’s give Greg Guma a chance.

    To zota: What you can do about Pacifica if you care is to become involved. If just want to help it continue, you can contribute money or labor. If you think that your local station should be doing more or better programming around a certain subject, you could seek to join a programming collective. If you think it needs to improve its program decision-making or general focus and approach, you can seek a seat on the local program council or community advisory board. If you can help review and revise management policies or assist in oversight, you could volunteer service to Local Station Board committees or run for election as a Delegate.

  167. dizzy deen Says:

    Legere writes:
    “Anyone one who listens to KPFK during pledge time knows how insane the station has become. Conspiracy theories, be they Kennedy or 911 are all over the station. ”

    When ya read comments like this one, ya realize how little rational discourse has to do with Legere’s contributions. I mean, come on, there is nothing positive except for one or two programs? Take a closer look at the schedule and at least be honest about whether or not there are more than one or two progrmas worth listening to. Ya’d think what made a good radio station was having 100% perfect politically correct programs before Legere could listen to it.
    That’s the problem with Cooper’s comments as well, overboard reaction to a problem. Exaggarating greatly instead of pinpointing the actual extent of problems on the left. Overboard hype, reminds me of listening to Hillary talk about the ‘threats’ coming from Iran these days…anything to score a point.

  168. Pat Patterson Says:

    As a former leftist I remember listening to KPFK in the 70′s and after a long hiatus again in the late 90′s. I had listened originally because I agreed with the stations politics and became impressed with its professionalism. I do not like conservative radio because of its crassness and lack of seriousness. I started listening again because I was looking for the same kind of intellectual honesty and rigor that I remembered even though I now strongly disagreed with the stations politics. The station now only reminds me of the John Birch Socity in that the most extreme and intellectually dishonest points of view are presented with virtually no critical analysis not once in a while but on a daily basis. The Left and the Right both criticize public media for being supine to whatever cabal is believed to control the airwaves but I always expected more from KPFK then the rantings of a increasingly desperate station in an echo chambe

  169. Terry Goodman Says:

    To Wall: The Year 2000 Agreement controversy was local to KPFK, not really part of the “last uproar at Pacifica” except as one more instance of questionable program removal. KPFK management was demanding rights to original material by guest artists that the producers of “Folkscene” had no authority to grant. That program has been independently produced throughout its approximately thirty years with very little use of KPFK resources, equipment, or personnel. I occasionally assisted the program’s engineering crew in the 1970′s when I was a paid staff member of KPFK, but my labor on the program, like their’s, was volunteered. I am currently volunteering as an elected listener-sponsor Delegate and member of the KPFK Local Station Board.

  170. Kristopher Says:

    I did notice one very interesting thing … the Pacifica Foundation is controlled by board members that are selected by listeners that pay $25/year dues, and volunteer 3 hours of time.

    A fairly small group of closed mouth conservatives can take over these stations … and then vote to shut down the foundation, sell a half-billion dollars worth of prime market radio bandwidth, and split the proceeds ….


  171. John Lynch Says:

    What I really enjoyed hearing was Amy Goodman gleefully replaying an impromptu interview with President Clinton. She hijacked what was supposed to be a get- out- the vote message for the 2000 election. Clinton clearly didn’t like her tone, and took her apart. It warmed my heart (and I had no use for President Clinton.) What was really funny was that Goodman thought she had won the exchange. I guess she was proud of speaking truth to power. I just saw it as the difference between a winner and a loser.

  172. reg Says:

    I heard that via an internet link and thought it reflected very well on Clinton that, as a sitting President, he clearly relished engaging Goodman and was willing to go on at length in response to her questions. Also had to give Goodman some credit for having the chutzpah to take him on so aggressively in that context. It was actually the kind of moment I’d like to see more of between the President – any President – and the press, regardless of the implied politics.

  173. Billy Bean Says:

    DC asked:
    “Steve, don’t you find it disconcerting that your posts are so easy to spot? I mean, your link to that “debunking” of the spat-on vets “myth” almost reaches self-parody in its irrelevance.”

    I think you’ve been drinking too much of Marc’s kool-aid DC, who said I was trying to hide my identity? I mean, if I were trying to hide it why would I provide obvious clues?
    Now, on the spat on issue…gimme a break, Cooper interviewed the guy who is ‘supposedly’ disproving the myth. Now he buys into it for some reason, maybe because it makes him more palatable to people who believe the myth. Or maybe because he has recovered a long repressed memory of seeing people throw urine on vets or feces? Or thrust swords through their thighs? Or [fill in the blank].

  174. Eleanore kjellberg Says:

    This diatribe about Pacifica Radio is so crammed with emotional vehemence that it sounds like a case of “unrequited love.”

    For ALL you “liberals” who find “all things radical” just too intense—I say that’s too bad! Do you need a little bit of honey to make the medicine go down? Would you prefer a nice fairy tale, so reality is not so harsh for your little middle-class brain to handle?

    When your driving in your big fat SUV with the sticker “my kid is on the honor” impaled on your rear car window, and you turn on your radio, do need to hear a more palatable political analysis—one that isn’t so doom and gloom? One that doesn’t make you swallow a Valium.

    Do you plan on waving your American flags and embracing your support the troops sticker, until your little teenage darling Jennifer, who carries her Louis Vuitton bag and cell phone gets a draft notice with a one way government ticket to Iran?

    Yes, from a distance and very far away, from the “ world’s crap,” it is easy to be a patriotic “liberal” asshole, sequestered from the harsh realities of life.

    Personally, I happen to listen to both BAI and Pacific via the radio and internet, and there is much insightful info that can be gleaned—there is no perfect radio station, Marc, and there is no perfect person, but both stations are a breath of fresh air compared to mainstream media.

    There are very few places that offer an alternative point of view—Air America, is on AM Radio, and its frequency is so weak that I can’t receive its signal.

    So thank you very much for your political analysis of why you are so uptight with Pacifica Radio—but I’ll still keep listening to it anyway.

    And to all you right wing raving hypocritical fools—I hope, that brain atrophied sleazebag Bush, reinstates the draft—each and every one of you deserves it!

  175. Josh Legere Says:

    Terry – Things are NOT getting better at Pacifica. KPFK initially gave little attention to 911 conspiracy theories and now they are the bulk of the premiums during pledge drives. The sane and rational voices seem to be marginalized and it is a matter of time before the loonies completely destroy the network. If you are involved with the station, frankly, you should be embarrassed with the content of much of the programming. YES, conspiracy theories do damage. It is such an embarrassment that Ian Masters mentions it on his show. It does not surprise me that you defend the station, I am sure you had to pass the litmus test in order to get elected. Needless to say, Michael Slate or Jerry Quigley are not converting the masses. Right wing radio is poison, but KPFK and Pacifica is an emulsifier. It just takes up space and gives nothing except self gratification to the programmers and staff. Go join the RCP in never never land… KPFK is getting worse and worse.

    Dizzy… and you are. I am not looking for 100% politically correct programming. The current gang at KPFK is working on that and seasoning it with a dose of good old fashioned conspiracy theories. Listen during pledge time. This is not something I can “have an open mind about.” It is pure insanity
    I do like the music programming because it has zero political content. At least the folk programs, world programs, and Rhapsody in Black. The hip hop revolution crap is silly. Yeah Jon Weiner, Suzie Weissman, Ian Masters, and Deadline LA are good shows. But every other piece of political programming is so awful, so vile, that I simply cannot turn on the station. Certainly not give them a red cent of mine. Weiner should leave the station. Better to hear him on the smaller KUCI than be associated with the kooks.

    Pacifica and the loony left today have taken the worst aspects of kooky sectarian groups from the old and new left, political correctness (our multiculturalism gone mad), new age, and activist culture and mixed it into a vile stew that will give you food poisoning.

    Pacifica and KPFK are irrelevant to the real world and that is a good thing. The left nowadays is a lot like the Birch Society of the past…

    You think my talk is over hyped Dizzy? Take a gander at the language that the “liberators” were using.

  176. Josh Legere Says:

    Eleanor – You do not counter the mad ravings of right wing talk radio by listening to mad ravings of the self proclaimed “left,” progressives, etc…-THE GANG at Pacifica. Conspiracy theories and ideological clap trap are not going to inspire a political movement. Just because an opinion is “alternative” does not mean it is useful or valid. Are Flat Earthers valid too? Our how about Heavens Gate? Drink the cool aid sister…

    Plenty of alternative opinions that are sane cannot be heard on Pacifica or in the mainstream media. That is the problem that the left faces more than anything.

    This stems from the old counter culture line of thought that anything that is counter or marginal is therefore enlightening or revolutionary. It is silly and pathetic at this stage in the game.

    The nuts on Pacifica, like the postmoderns in the academy are not radicals or even lefties in my opinion. It is sad that they pass for a “left.”

    It is also, almost totally unreal to me that those of you who defend Pacifica do not see the correlation between the increase in “peoples power” since the 60′s amongst the “left” and the continued surge of conservative politics. The left is so useless at this juncture that even with the mess that Bush and his gang have made, a Republican would win today. No question.

    Nor have any of the movements that Michael Slate espouses come to fruition. Chairman Bob has not gotten any closer to the Revolution. Ramsey will not get Saddam off. The intervention in the Balkans did not cause WW III. Sooner or later you are all going to have to come down to planet earth…

  177. Julia Stein Says:

    I like a couple of KPFK programs a lot: Global Village 10-12 am is an excellent global music show. The people who run it have great knowledge and love for global music. You can hear music on that show that is nowhere else on radio.Siometimes I am driving & hear utterly great music for the first time on Global Village.

    Also Jerry Quicley Wednesday-Friday 5-6 pm is very good. Quickley is an amazingly good poet, performer, radio person, and playwright. He reported on Iraq from KPFK right before the war started, and did a absolutely wonderful one-man show about his experiences as a reporter.

    KPFK has also over the years done more for poetry than any other radio station in Southern California for decades. So I think the station in some areas right now does very good work.

    I also like the film club, and over the years have seen many good films which otherwise aren’t shown in LA through the film club.

    I think it’s important that innovative culture in film, poetry, or music should have an audience in Los Angeles, and KPFK helps get that innovative culture out there–even though it is small, particulary for poetry. When Pauline Kael was programming film in Berkeley in the 1960s, she really was speaking to a tiny audience–but she did brilliant work.

  178. Josh Legere Says:

    It is also important to note that a lot of good but naive people got suckered into the free Pacifica movement. They didn’t want to see Pacifica get sold off and bought into the lies and propaganda of the “liberators.” (I am sure you were one of them Terry). It is evident that the real agenda was for airtime and ego. The foot soldiers for this movement are the worst the left has to offer (the mixed bag of nuts and sectarians). Do you think those who were duped will reconsider participating in things again?

  179. Josh Legere Says:

    Wow… Praising Jerry Quigley! Amazing. Good poet, that is if you consider slam poetry. Lets face it, he is no Walt Whitman. He also propagates every conspiracy theory on earth! Kennedy, King, 911 – The whole enchilada. Most of the time he is screaming about the hip hop revolution or just making noise about Bush. He is awful and an embarrassment.

    KPFK is not exposing Los Angeles to innovative culture. They have some decent music programming. If anything, KCRW does that, but “innovative culture” is really code word for “counter culture” most of which is really middle brow kitsch that will soon become consumer culture. Quigley has no qualms with going on Def Poetry Jam and broing down with Russell Simmins (also in Nation ads). Simmins is the guy who lied about his clothing companies earnings in public (he claimed $300 million when it was $14 million) and brags about his gold toilets. Julia, do you even have a bullshit meter? You need one.

    Another example of the diminished expectations of the “left.”

  180. Eleanore kjellberg Says:

    Why not publish an annotated bibliography of what the left should read, view and listen to. You can even create a lesson plan for the left called “Right Wing Civics 101.” I’m sure that no one but me, has ever thought you were an arrogant jerk.

  181. Mark A. York Says:

    “Right Wing Civics 101.”

    It’s being offerered at Chris Satullo’s wingnut journalism camp. He’s the ediorial page editor of the Philadelphia Enquierer.

  182. Mark A. York Says:

    I can’t find it, but here’s another good one.

    10 Things Conservatives Can Learn From Liberals

  183. The Ugly American Says:

    LOL I listen to Pacifica just to see what those commie bastards are up to.

    Great post Mark C!

    Lots of Ironies in it. I have to wonder how many times you paused at the key board and thought to yourself (this is exactly what classic liberals are saying about the Democratic Party as a whole).

    Pacifica symbolizes everything thats wrong with the Democratic Party today. It is a parody of itself.

    The scary part is there are people like Julia who admire Jerry the commie (Ill get that dicky moe) quigly.

  184. The Real Ugly » Blog Archive » Commie Radio Comes Crashing Down! Says:

    [...] At least according to Mark Cooper who should know. Marc worked at Pacifica’s KPFK doing a drive time show from 1998 – 2001. [...]

  185. reg Says:

    I have to wonder how many times you paused at the keyboard and thought to yourself, “I’m the stupidest fuck on the planet, but goddammit, I can work these keys and even though I symbolize everything that’s ridiculous about the blogosphere, nobody can stop me from punching ‘submit’ and letting the world in on my secret – I am a parody of myself ! “

  186. burritomama Says:

    hey – it’s been awhile and I really should be grading papers but I couldn’t keep away.

    I started listening to Pacifica (KPFK) when I was a teenager living on my own, working in a kitchen and trying to finish high school and get msyelf to college. I wasn’t “left” then, I was just poor and hungry and wanted to know more than I did. I listened to a lot of radio because I didn’t own a TV at home and I spent a lot of time at work where they ‘let’ me listen. I kept coming back to Pacifica because I learned things there. It was about 1977 or so.

    Mario Cassetta in the morning – his music and his stories. Read All About It – they read newspapers and magazines that I never heard of before. The Morning Reading – oh my god, I got to hear Gertrude Stein, Lawrence Durrell, Charles Dickens– all while I made little sandwiches for rich people. The after noon public affairs programming – Claire Spark? Corey Dubin? The Iran-Contra hearings. And somewhere in there, Marc Cooper.

    The station meant so much then to me then– and since. I’ve done my part to help when I can — and yet, like many, I have been troubled, deeply troubled at the trun it’s taken. It’s increasingly difficult to recommend it to possibly interested students — and not just because of the reasons mentioned earlier but also due to the presence of wacky new age nut cases who advocate swimming with dolphins as a way to cure cancer. Argh.

    I remember seeing Marc at the LA Times festival of Books a few years back. He was in the Nation booth. I went up to say, shyly (the only way I talk in public): “You were right about those folks at KPFK. He looked at me, didn’t miss a beat and said, “I know.”

    It’s sad. It is a squandering in so many ways.

    That’s my two bits.

    Carry on.

  187. Josh Legere Says:


    My reading list would not be all that narrow. It would just exclude 911 conspiracy theories, racial nationalism, psuedo 60′s new left nostalgia, sectarian political cults a la RCP, idol worship (Chavez, Che, Mumia, etc…), and extreme political correctness. And no, I am not afraid to call a phillistine a phillistine, or a fraud a fraud. If not ignoring the elephant in the room makes me arrogant, than so be it. You think I am arrogant, spend a day with Amy Goodman.

    Keep up that Pacifica listening and keep on the road to obscurity. If 30 years of losses have not forced you to rethink the direction that the left has gone for 30 years, than you are in this for entertainment. Plain and simple. People that really want to change society tend to be a bit more sober.

    And in perfect Pacifica style you got to finish it off by calling me a right winger. My lord, only if you knew how wrong you are, sounds a bit arrogant to me.

  188. Sid Vicious Says:

    What the world really needs is a radio station that knows how to keep it real, something punk rock, something that totally gets underneath the facade and the poseurs. A voice that understands the working class people, even though they’re not really in Silver Lake, but what the hell–true punk rock needs a hip base of operations. Power to the people! Punk rock 4-evr!

  189. Mavis Beacon Says:

    I’ll be honest, I don’t know anybody my age who listens to KPFK. Mom still does from time to time (for ole time sakes), but all my peers head over to NPR or its equivalent. The reason is…. KPFK is really fucking boring! I can’t resist changing the dial after 5 minutes. All I hear is hosts who are confirming the outrageous, paranoid suspicians of whomever they’ve invited on or allowed to call in. Nothing is too crazy if the US government is involved. I’m glad that KPFK is interested in covering the far left and some of it’s kookier theories, I just wish somebody over there did with a skeptical eye. Mostly it sounds like a bunch of drunk stoners whinning about the gov’ment.

  190. burritomama Says:

    Hey Sid V – you should have heard Andrea Enthal’s old show on the “old” KPFK – she was something.

    And yeah, the current programming (not all – but the dominant voices) make one (at least this one) cringe – the lack of critical thinking, the oevr-blown rhetoric, the straight-out dis-information or poor information…the inability to develop a sense of audience (in the rhetorical sense – and I guess in that other sense as well)…


    (back to grading papers—)

  191. sonicfrog Says:

    Prof. York said:

    No, you flunk: F. This has nothing to do with migration demographics. It has to do with hardline conservative ideology from the late 1600s migrating into the heads of naive wingervillians in 2005. Same thoughts, different century. And not a good sign. Can you say regressive?

    Regressive. There. I said it!

    And the question would work a lot better if I shared any similarities to a Puritan. But since I’m an non-church going agnostic homo, who’s never stoned a Quaker, well I guess there’s not much to compare between me and a Puritan, is there.

    OK, we’re both white. But thats as far as it goes:-)

  192. Marc Cooper Says:

    This has been quite an interesting thread. Most interesting, is that virtually no one could make a case for Pacifica as it currently exists. No one except Terry Goodman, that is, who describes himself this way:

    “I am currently volunteering as an elected listener-sponsor Delegate and member of the KPFK Local Station Board…..”

    Those are some pretty nifty titles. They sound awfully important, sort of like Inter-Galactic Commander or some other rank that comes with a cereal-box badge. What Goodman doesnt tell you is, that in the case of KPFK, less than one percent of the listnership voted to elect folks like him. He can correct if Im wrong, (Im not) but something like 1500 or so people voted in those local board elections– out of an audience of about 150,000. And the reason is simple: people tune to a radio station to get GOOD PROGRAMS! They dont care much who the assistant-under-secretary-delegate-to-the-listener-sponsored-board is; how he got there; and how many meetings he or she must attend. So for all the yapping about democracy, the station is governed by a committee that represents less than one out of hundred people who listen. Similar elections for the Bay Area station had to be reskedded because even Berkeley couldnt produce enough voters to meet the most minimal of required thresholds.

    Goodman is typical of the process-freaks who dominate the network. In short, meeting-addicts who wouldnt know good radio if it bit them in the arse. What counts, he tells us, are all the good vibes. Meanwhile, pay not attentionto what you actually HEAR on the radio. Goodman further writes:

    “It may not seem so sometimes from the loudspeaker side, but there remain sane and rational individuals among the staff, management, and governance of Pacifica who are passionately dedicated to its original Mission and the tolerance for opposing viewpoints in the search for common understanding that it requires. The democratization of the network has allowed entry into decision-making of long-time listeners and former producers who remember what Pacifica was and have a clear vision of what it could again become. ”

    Well… let’s cut through this bloated rhertoric. What comes through the “loudspeaker side” to use Goodman’s words, is what radio stations are all about! If it sounds not very sane from that side of the speaker… guess what? It is NOT very sane. Radio stations are defined by, let’s see, what’s actually on the air. Not what’s in the hearts or minds of its “listener-delegates” and “democratic directors.” Mr. Goodman ought to know better than anybody, as precisely one of these director-delegates, that there are NO opposing points of view anymore on Pacifica. There is NO credibile journalism. And within management there isnt a single person who has any history or grounding in the world of public radio. And all the meetings in the world have not changed those facts– nor the fact of a declining audience.

    If you think it’s unfair of me to speak of process-freaks and meeting-addicts.. well, then, take a look at this link

    That link takes you to the site that has served as the watering hole for the foot soldiers of the movement that “saved” Pacifica. These folks no longer even have much to say to themselves. You’ll notice that 90% of the postings on the site are notices for meetings, meetings and more meetings of Pacifica’s new “democratic” alphabet-soup bureaucracy. Many of the meeting postings come from, um, Terry Goodman. If Goodman believes Im being unfair and that there is some other web site where all these cool tolerant Pacifica people come together and debate and discuss all those wonderful opposing points of view, then let him post the URL. In the meantime, back to your tin foil hats and all those crucial PNB/LSB/iPC/FinComm/GovComm meetings! The world awaits salvation.

  193. Marc Cooper Says:

    P.S. to Eleanore: Sounds like you have quite a contemptuous view of your fellow Americans. Despising “the people” is not a great strategy for leftists whu purport to be fighting on their behalf. You seem to believe that what’s needed is to force-feed them the radical truth as the bitter medicine for their malaise. You might want to check that attitude at the door if you plan to actually do political work. In the meantime, KPFK sounds like the perfect station for you, much as the 700 Club is for another type of fundamentalist– a full-time re-inforcement of ur views.

    For the record: I, for one dont drive an SUV with “my kid is an honor student” bumpersticker. Nope. Mine is a black GTO with a “UCLA Dad” sticker in the window. I confess.

    And by the way, I can never listen to KPFK for more than 5 minutes. It’s intellectually insulting twaddle.

  194. Marc Cooper Says:

    Oh heck.. one more reply then I am done with this,

    To Zota: Well, let me LAUGH OUT LOUD at what uv’e pointed out. I dont know who “my” audience is… I hope it’s people who think critically before having to check their voter reg card when voicing their opinion. Thanks for your concern, but my audience is big enough and broad enough to provide me enough work to afford almost all of my vices.

    As to who comments here and to your suggestion that I have driven away the liberals and attracted the righties, man, have you got something to learn! This post is full of right wing commenters because it was conservative blogs that linked to this piece, most notably Glenn Reynolds Instapundit. That alone drive about 10,000 viewers this way over the last 48 hours. I have NO problem with anyone linking here and if the righties want to come in ang gloat, so be it.

    What’s alarming is not that I have driven away the libs, but that apparently (and in all modesty) no liberal blogs think it important enough to debate me or refute me on my thesis that libs have abandoned a $500 million media resource to a fringe. Why arent the libs descending here and attacking me? Because, as always, they have nothing to publicly say on the matter.. it’s no longer in their language. So, thanks very much for your pointers butI will keep sharpening my sticks .As Ive said before… if you want uncritical, warm and fuzzy cuddling with the Libs, then check out of here and point your browsers to Kos, Atrios or Digby… it’s a full-time, 24/7 love-in.

  195. reg Says:

    “Why arent the libs descending here and attacking me?”

    Maybe it’s because most “libs” agree with you about Pacifica…certainly their Arbitron numbers would suggest that. Damn near the entire Bay Area could be described as “lib” to some degree or another and very few people listen to Pacifica. It’s something of a joke with most of the “libs” I know. The NPR station, on the other hand, is very strong and has at least two hours a day of vry lively, balanced local public affairs talk and call-in on a wide range of subjects with “experts” from left, right and in-between that makes KPFA’s “news and analysis” seem like something from another planet.

  196. Edwin Johnston Says:

    Cooper is a cranky crybaby who is simply sour graping from the outside now that he’s gone. People act like that all the time. Remember Ike’s military industrial complex?
    For a long while Cooper was part of the problem at Pacifica, defending the idefensible in terms of the communities who were being denied access to Pacifica’s airwaves all in the name of “mainstreaming” the sound. In the end, Cooper’s allies were dethroned and here now we have his lament. Boo hoo!
    Pacifica’s problems remain many and Cooper does point some of them out, but those problems have always been with the network, they are not recently imported. Lew Hill himself wrestled with them early on and may have been factors in his suicide.
    What I find the most ridiculous are the far right wing responses here, so here’s a riddle:
    Q: What do you call a Republican who is not a millionaire?
    A: Sucker!

  197. sonicfrog Says:

    PS. Marc, I appologize for getting into a bit of a flaming tiff with Mr York and taking up valuable comment space on a good topic.

  198. The Ugly American Says:

    Thank Reg for so beautifully illustrating the point.

    Have I ever talked to you that way bud?

    Why so angry?

  199. reg Says:

    That wasn’t anger…it was laughter. Your comment “Pacifica symbolizes everything that’s wrong with the Democratic Party” is beyond stupid…

    When I write a sentence that idiotic, please send a heap a’ scorn my way.

  200. rolly fingers Says:

    Cooper writes:
    “P.S. to Eleanore: Sounds like you have quite a contemptuous view of your fellow Americans.”

    Ha ha ha, yeah, right Marc, now I understand why you defend Laguerre’s attacks on people who marc in antiwar protests as freaks…Now, there is a man who is interested in civil discourse if I ever saw one!

  201. Julia Says:

    Dear Josh,

    I think your ad hominem attcks on me are really out of line.
    As for Jerry Quickley, you say he isn’t Walt Whitman. That’s a very silly comparison. There isn’t a poet alive in the United in the 20th century who is Walt Whitman.

    I’ve heard Quickley perform twice: his poetry at Beyond Baroque and his play at the Kirk Douglas Theater in Culver City. I think he’s the finest young poet I’ve heard in years; by the way, taking one cheap shot at Def Poetry jam & Russell Simmons is also silly. Anyone who looks at contemporary poetry & music knows that hip hop has had huge amount of influence on young musicans and poets around the world. I didn’t know Quickley talks about hip hop but you actually got me interested in turning into him more to see what he has to say. Hip hop is not counter culture and it’s not a small movement. Hip hop has been internationally influential for years now–and is around the globe. Also hip hop has little to do with the formal “Left’ most of whom generally don’t understand it very well.

    Your silly dissing of hip-hop makes it evident that person who has a very narrow out-of-date view of culture is you, Josh.

  202. Wall Says:

    To Terry Goodman: Sorry, I did mean KPFK, when I said “Pacifica.”
    I have to say I find what you are saying a little dubious. I followed this controversy pretty closely, and I never heard the “Folkscene” hosts present it in those terms. They didn’t say, “we aren’t at liberty to sign the guests rights away.” They played the victim to the hilt, and said their lawyer had told them not to do it because THEY were going to be ripped off.
    This had to do with the rights to perfomances given on the airwaves at KPFC; so wouldn’t they be owened either by the Station, or the station and the artists? This had to do with issueing “best of” CDs, which of course many other stations have of their on air perfomances. The Folkscene hosts wanted to own the performances.
    Now, it seems to me it would have been fair, or maybe big, of KPFK to say, “go ahead and put out our CD, keep the change as our thanks for doing the show.” But the station Manager did have the responsability of protecting the Stations slice of the pie, should some freak thing occur like one of the preformances ending up on a film soundtrack, or becomming a hit.
    And here Cooper (God, this is hard to write) is correct, the guy was vilified and run into the ground simply for doing his job.
    And that is unfortunate.

  203. D. O. Says:

    Ha! Thanks for the entertainment and historical rewrites. Nothing like open-minded debate to move the day along!

    O yeah, and this:

    “Well he didn’t actually sign on the Griffin thesis as much as report the story of Griffin’s local Vermont appearance and positions”

    Imagine, reporting! What a concept!!

  204. Mark A. York Says:

    No need to ass kiss sonic. Your students will have trouble should you ever be hired. Hopefully not to teach history if they do.

  205. John Says:

    Marc -

    As a conservative I used to tune in to KPFK simply to keep up with what the opposition had to say.

    The worst thing that has happened to KPFK is this – I can’t remember the last time I actually listened to KPFK. It just seems irrelevant to me. And I don’t even miss Pacifica anymore.

    Nowadays when I want to listen to the “enemy” I go over to KTLK and see what the good lefties at AAR have to say.

    Marc – you are a man of the “old left” who was at least partly interested in some logic, reasoning and evidence. The people at the “new” KPFK don’t even seem to be trying.

    How bad is it at KPFK? Well, let’s just say that if Art Bell ever started broadcasting at that station he would be the voice of reason.

    Finally, let me just say that I was a subscriber in the 1970s to KPFK. As my views changed and I went to the conservative side, I was always respectful of the leftist point of view at KPFK and felt a need to check in from time to time to consider what they had to say.

    That desire is now gone.

  206. Josh Legere Says:


    Wow. Out of date on the Hip Hop revolution. Nothing could be worse than being out of touch with popular culture! Hip Hop influences young people to buy Sprite and try to be gangsters. Hip Hop is a consumer movement and nothing more. Trying to pretend that it (or indie rock or any other “cultural movement”) has any real value is silly. If Quigley is an important and influential poet, then poetry is dead. Pat yourself on the back for being up to date on the exciting consumer movements. Hip hop is filled with cynical nihilistic filth. Sexist, homophobic, violent, materialistic… etc… Songs about cars, money, etc… You got to be kidding me.

    Yes “Underground” Hip Hop has a counter cultural pose. People do indeed see it as a global movement, and those are the marketers of big companies. It is indeed a global movement to the store to buy hip hop related items. That is for sure.

    Quigley is middle brow, sentimental, middlebrow, kitsch and I would rather listen to dead air. Quigley is influential amongst the 100 people who saw him in Culver City and nobody else (thank god). This is the movie he offered up as a premium on his show, a conspiracy about 911. This is brilliant young poet? Just how much influence to poetry have these days anyway. Lordy you are living in a cave.

    All these phony cultural movements are nothing other than think tanks for mainstream consumer culture. Hip hop has and will not “change” anything. 50 Cent is not going to lead the revolution.

    This is a silly debate. Quigley, KPFK, Pacifica are irrelevant…

  207. richard lo cicero Says:

    Legere listed all the people worth listening to on KPFK and they get my admiration for hanging in there. I know that many of the “Activists” there want Masters off – probably because he is a voice of sanity. And Suze Weisman really knows Left Idiology and not the Mickey-Marxism so common elsewhere.

    A lot of negative comments on Amy Goodman. I know I’ve got problems with her but her show is now on a lot more stations than just Pacifica and I see her regularly on CSPAN and HARDBALL.

    I agree that Clinton held his own with Amy but also that Goodman stood in there. That is so unusual here but not so rare abroad. See Jeremy Paxman at the BBC. But the the Brit media still believe in journalism – not hagiography.

  208. Julia Stein Says:


    At least you can learn how to spell Jerry Quickley’s name, not as you say “Quigley.”

    Jerry Quickly

    his bio:
    Jerry Quickley is one of the most well known and well regarded performance poets in the United States. Most recently he’s performed on the HBO special Def Poetry Jam with Mos DEF, and the PBS documentary series Senior Year, and has been commissioned to develop a one man show. He is also frequently asked to contribute to a variety of books and publications, including the upcoming Elevate the Mind State (Source Books:2002) and Short Fuse (Rattapalax/Putnam:2002).

    Jerry Quickley, originally from NYC, is currently living in Los Angeles. He has performed and been commissioned to perform at festivals and venues across the United States and extensively abroad. Jerry is also a three time Los Angeles Poetry Grand Slam winner, and a multiple National Poetry Slam finalist. He has been featured and his work has been published in several anthologies, magazines, and newspapers including Time Magazine, The Los Angeles Times, SP Mag, Beyond the VCP, LA Weekly, Associated Press, and several others. His work is also published in the book “Soul of the Game” (Melcher Media: 1997), Slam (Penguin-Putnam: 2000) and he is the editor of the anthology “Juke Joint Magic” (Juke Joint Still Press: 1998). He has performed his poetry on the LifeTime Cable Network, CNN, and written for NFL Films. Jerry has also recorded songs with a number of hip hop artists including 2Mex (B-Boys in Occupied Mexico), E-Rule (Cold Currents), The Unbound Project (Chuck D, Pharaoh Monche, Zach de la Rocha, Saul Williams, and others), Senior Year (Medusa, Rakaa Iriescience, Ani DiFranco The Coup, and others) and several others.

    Jerry has also curated poetry and hip hop shows for a number of institutions including the Theater De Klange Dusseldorf, The Carmel Performing Arts Festival, Bordeaux Cultural Affairs, Munich Landsberg Festival, West Hollywood Book Festival, the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, The Mark Taper Forum, and several companies in the private sector

  209. Grumpy Old Man Says:

    Went to the “listener forum” site here, that’s mentioned above.

    It’s an impenetrable forest of acronyms. The processes as designed will filter out anyone vaguely normal and select sectarians and people with no lives. It brings to mind the soul-destroying “participatory democracy” of the ’60s.

    The problem is not just Pacifica. It’s a left that’s out of ideas and so insular and detached from the lives most people live that what remains is some shards of old rhetoric and scraps of old hatreds.

    Sad, really. A healthy democracy needs a dose of radical critique and edgy culture. We aren’t getting it; not at Pacifica or anywhere else.

    Iran’s getting the bomb; Israel has it. Hamas has Palestine. Europe’s population’s plummeting. Mexico’s poor are moving to Arizona. Bird flu might be coming. China’s suppressing riots weekly.

    Bring out the pink T-shirts, the coat-hanger posters, and yell “Free Mumia!” “Gay marriage now.” Listening to the left, don’t you feel ever so much better?

  210. Marc Cooper Says:

    Hey Julia… you should see my doctor’s CV. A lot more impressive than Quigley’s. DOesn’t mean he knows how to do radio either. In the case of Quigley, he’s literally a ranting, screaming heavy-breather who hasnt the most remote clue of how to do an effective radio program. Unless, of course, effective means pleasing a tiny group of people who already agree with each other and — like the listeners of the 700 Club– seek only personal validation when they tune in.

  211. The Ugly American Says:

    Julia are you Captain Queegs girlfriend or a stalker?

  212. Virgil Johnson Says:

    Well, this is a well posted blog. I know I am a bit late to the party, but I say better late than never.

    I have a 42 page piece of trash sitting in front of me that says our form of government is no longer viable – that all checks and balances are off. It says the King George can do anything he wants regardless of laws enacted by congress.

    Marc, later in his posting talked about the application of torture to a general – what an atrocity, but it has been going on for years. Ladies and gentlemen, as far as I read what is taking place today is a “democractic dictatorship” (for lack of a better term). The mixture of a lawless person in power, who claims the right of supreme sway over every living being on the planet is a dictator.

    All conspiracy theories aside, all talk about “moonbats, loonies, etc.” are out of bounds at this juncture – because we have one in the oval office. So find other marshmellows to cook.

    Even if there are questionable rants and raves coming from this corner, essentially, I see them as correct (“essentially,” I say that once again for emphasis). You have cocked and loaded military wrecking machine loose in the world, you have capitalism without any conscience destroying people all over the world (no matter how they phrase their goals – treaties, agreements, whatever).

    I have got to say, if you see nothing wrong with what is going on today either foreign or domestic, you are either on drugs or have no claim to be counted as part of the human race. Did you think that all these atrocities could be comitted in every corner of the globe without any blowback? Every, and I mean every nation that has taken this track historically has always ended up cannibalizing it’s own people, and eventually the offended masses attack the carcass of a once great nation.

    These “moonbats and loonies” you are talking about, who seem to repeatedly rehearse these atrocities (like Haiti) might be insignificant to you – but that is because you are insulated by your indifference to the rest of the human race! Well guess what, the domestic feast on you has begun – and your several branchs of government are not going to do a damn thing about it (except hold insignificant hearings).

    The only thing holding back the countries that have been assaulted by our National Security interest, was the hope that the people of this nation would oppose this arse in the white house – if that’s not the case than all bets are off! If we make him the sovereign potentate the next explosion we hear might be the last thing we hear. So keep up the elite conversation about meaningful dialog between equally ineffective parties while Rome burns. This is not a cheap shot, nor off subject, it is just the truth. Now have at it (if you care to) about how I am out of touch.

  213. Terry Goodman Says:

    Marc: You appear to enjoy pontificating from ignorance. I am not one of the “meeting-addicts who wouldn’t know good radio if it bit them in the arse” that you imagine, since I am a skilled and experience documentary producer, recording engineer, and disc jockey with an excellent understanding of the broadcast medium. Although I have enjoyed the intelligent conversation in several of your shows, they’re still just unedited or lightly edited interviews, which is a generally poor use of radio’s potential to achieve dramatic, emotional, and educational impact through the careful mixing of music, actualities, and effects.

    Your claim that there are no dissenting views or credible jounalism on Pacifica is hogwash, though I’ll readily admit that current standards overall fall far below what they were and what they should be.

    Per your request, I’ll advise that the largest group of Pacifica-related postings online is at If you join, you’ll discover lively debate of varying quality. If you’d prefer to mine for ammunition, I’ve provided a handy index of my own 2003 posts to that list, at

    It’s only fair that I also mention the Lew Hill Project at, which will be more to your liking, I’m sure, and the KPFK-fm Chat Board at

    There are much better lists, of course, but I’m afraid you’re not invited.

  214. Terry Goodman Says:

    To Marc: Oh, and contrary to your claim, the Local Station Board elections at all Pacifica stations achieved quorum last year and the year before.

  215. Edwin Johnston Says:

    Quorum — sounds like sophisticated word, sounds official.
    But then you look behind he gloss and find that a vote of merely 10% of the paid subscribers is the quorum, and most of the stations barely achieved quorum, those are the facts. What that turns into at some places is as few as 120 votes gets someone elected to the board in a city of millions!
    That’s a ripe situation for a right wing takeover through money influence, or on the other hand a likely dissolution of elections completely due to disinterest.
    “Fare thee well and adieu you fair Spanish ladies ….”

  216. checktheunionlabel Says:

    I remember the interview Amy hijacked from another Pacifica reporter/anchor. I was there. She is full of it. Clinton was calling different radio stations to speak to black and Latino reporters who had specific shows geared to discussing politics in the minority communities. He was being interviewed by a BAI Latino reporter who had a bilingual program about all kinds of issues, and Amy just happened to be walking by and took over the mic and went into this unrelated tirade on the air. It was not the time or place to do it. There was quite a behind-the-scenes struggle, including a real possibility of cutting it off but no one had the guts to cut it off; after all it was the president calling. The prez’s people got very exaperated and this jeopardized the other reporter’s chances of getting any more information/access. Another time she went down to DC and went to a White House press conference and made an ass of herself and the network by yelling and shouting at then-press secretary Mike McCurry. She doesn’t give a damn about anybody but herself, and the fact that she is STILL bragging about what she did confirms that.

  217. Josh Legere Says:

    Quickly… Quigley… What does it matter?

  218. NeoDude Says:

    Damn, this post atracted all the right-wing nihilist.

    It figures, a bunch of self-righteous fascist bloviating on how leftist could become better leftist, if they only listen to the fascist.

    Isn’t this typical of the brown-shirt set?

  219. Robert Johnson Says:

    Re: The Squandering of Pacifica Radio.

    About 3/4 of your rant is accurate. Like a good propagandist, speak truth to gain the confidence of your choir, then spin. The neocons’ very own Reichstag fire, Pearl Harbor, Gulf of Tonkin, Battleship Maine, pick your analogy, needs air and light. The psuedo 9/11 Commission censored the Jersey Girls with a legal order. Left gatekeepers, including Amy Goodman (who should rename Democracy Now! because she did nothing for democracy in her own Pacifica house) and the tired and oh-so-precious left zine, The Nation, do the real work of corralling progressives into irrelevance.

    The left is drawn between race-baiting thugs and mole journalists, and quartered by craven, myopic or lame lip-liberals from all corners. How convenient for the lock-step jolly boys.

    9/11, like any pivotal event, has been interpreted by crackpots, sincere but sometimes careless whistle-blowers, and, of course, covert spin doctors. Present a lot of revealing facts, then shoot that set of facts and your own credibility in the foot with inserted, ridiculous assertions that elicit the general response: “Oh, that theory. But s/he said so and so. It must all be bullshit.”

    The Constitution is unravelling. Rats have always been there to gnaw it, but the fourth estate is now sophisticatedly servile and the public well-hypnotized. The “now it can be told” crew waits in the wings. Organizationally incestuous and inept, Pacifica GM Dan Coughlin steps down. Now Marc Cooper steps to the plate to trash the new GM, who hails from outside Pacifica, with prior sins of Pacifica. Gee, and the new GM apparently wants to keep the case fully open on the 9/11 debacle.

    The Spirit of ’76 sputters dangerously low and I.F. Stone must softly weep somewhere.

  220. sonicfrog Says:

    Mark said:

    No need to ass kiss sonic. Your students will have trouble should you ever be hired. Hopefully not to teach history if they do.

    A) Ass kissing is more akin to “Marc, you are so articulate, I love everything you write. And that tie and jacket go SO well together”. I was simply expressing my regret that you and I got into this weird little disjointed tiff on his site. It’s called being decent and having respect for another mans forum. Sorry you don’t get that, but oh well.

    B) Don’t you think it a little presumptuous to judge my knowledge of history (or lack there-of IYO) based on a silly meaningless aside posted on this comment board. I have not, and will not, question your command of grammar based on the awkward sentence structure quoted above or the poorly worded “compare and contrast” question. We are not enemies here, TTBOMK, and probably have more in common than we know. We’re both MIchael Shermer fans;-)

    (Oooh, now THAT’s getting close to ass kissing).

    PS. I do find it ironic that the Puritans fled England to escape religious persecution, and R. Williams fled (was banished) from the same Puritans for the same reason.

  221. Marc Cooper Says:

    Terry Goodman: Ur quite the joker. Yes, indeed, good radio delivers “dramatic, emotional, and educational impact through the careful mixing of music, actualities, and effects.”

    Too bad you can’t name a single show that does that on KPFK. Too bad that in an age when the technology is so cheap and available, Pacifica cant produce a single national show– with or without any of the attributes you admire. Snipe at my old Radio Nation show as you please — it’s only fair– but it was picked up more than 100 stations, it was indeed basically interviews.. but they were edited, and equalized, and cleaned up and mixed with music and, yes, sometimes, actualities.

    Fact is, Terry… as I said before… the only thing that really counts for a radio station is what is actually on the air. And what is currently on the air is stuff more crude, more marginal and for the most part more irrelevant than ever before in KPFK’s history. Your average quarter hour audience is 5200, the same anemic number it was more than 12 years ago.

    What Pacifica provides nowadays is a rickety structure for a lot of alienated and atomized activists and radicals. With mass media out of their reach, they are tantalized to be a member of one of the myria alphabet soup committees and boards that have been created. They can go to regular meetings, feel part of something bigger than themselves, maybe even feel elevated by the illusion that they are actually helping to manage, govern or direct a whole, huge network.

    But it’s all an illusion. The network is no more run by those committees as the LAPD is run by the Neighborhood Watch. The real power in Pacifica is held by ossified programmers who gang up and eventually expel anybody or anything that threatens their grip on air time. Anyone who dares is smeared as some sort of political criminal. If you dont know that much about Pacifica, then indeed you know nothing.
    Meanwhile, time whizzes right by Pacifica. The radio world is going digital, and Pacifica staff are still trying to figure out how to use Selectric typewriters. LOL!

  222. The Ugly American Says:

    Is it just me or is Robert J. Off his meds?

  223. scooter Says:


    Hey, remeber that morning show that replaced Democracy Now when Cooper’s Cabal ran AMY out of Pacifica? (brilliant move).

    Now THAT was the WORST thing ever uploaded onto a satellite in the history of Radio.

    HMMMMMM, who did that, anyone remember? Weren’t they from KPFK, around the time Coopper and Schubb were running the place?

    KPFK was a real hotbed of talent in those days, huh?

    They really knew how to do radio.


  224. The Ugly American Says:

    you mean Uprising with Sonali Khohatkar? (sp)

    with that lame acordian music for an intro?

  225. Thomas Gomez Says:

    Since being banned from WPFW by Excutive Director Ron Pinchback, a decision upheld by then Executive Director Dan Coughlin through his spokesperson Phil Osegueda I have seldom felt the need to comment on Pacifica politics. Usually people don’t discuss network politics with me anymore, and for my part I don’t raise them either. But as the foundation’s treasurer has seen fit to circulate this garbage far and wide enough that it has reached my desk, I feel compelled to give my response as I have seldom disagreed more forcefully. My only difficulty is that the piece has such wide scope, and such little depth, that it is difficult to find a starting point for my strong dissent from Mr. Cooper’s prespective.

    That being the case, let’s go through it paragraph by distorted paragraph shall we?

    The first paragraph is certainly true enough. Take ANY postion on Pacifica’s internal politics and get ready for a mudfight, even, maybe especially, if you’re telling th e truth. I beleive it was an axiom of certain elements of the left during the conflict in Indochina that you should prehaps consider outright lying to close freinds. The reality was that strong elements within the community of political organizers during that period wanted self determination for Veitnam, hence not only opposed the war, but sided with Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh. Some openly said as much, others prefered not to. Many of these elements beleived that the ends justified the means. The other side, our government, of course played by the same rules of engagement domesticly and internationaly. From spying on Dr. King, to lying about Geronimo Pratt, it could all be justified by the familar rubric of ‘National Security’ and the greater good. As early as the end of the first world war it was observed that “Truth is the first causlty of war” (In truth the statement often atributed to Sen. Hiram Warren Johnson in 1918, was actually made by Authur Ponsby in 1928. He himself plagarized it from Samuel Johnson who first made the observation in 1758).

    The real casaulty of all this was public trust, and the result in the aftermath of Vietnam was apathy. The situation was not helped by the fact that many left intellectuals, like Mr. Cooper, took a sharp right turn after the war leading many to question where there allegiance really lay. Some of the folks working for Allende in 1973 were really CIA operatives planning to murder him, and thousands of his supporters. They did so in a football stadium on another 9/11. I don’t say that to implicate Mr. Cooper, but some may judge the tree by the fruit.

    The second paragraph is true enough. Our listener base is aging. No one is funding innovation. The old guard everywhere has a death grip on institutional power, resources, and air time. We lack either the political will or vision to bring about change. We’re inbred and expect to inspire a new generation to spend days on infighting while our world moves closer each day toward engulfing us in what Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconni predicted in the wake of Sept. 11, 2001 would be ‘A clash of civilizations that will enventually engulf the whole of Europe in which we shall be victorious!’

    I don’t know about the victorious part, a 100 million people on all sides died within 30 years during the first half of the 20th century. As Albert Einstien observed at the close of that period ‘I don’t know how they fight the 3rd World War, but I know how they’ll fight the 4th with stones and clubs’. Even that chilling assesment would look good today. During the mid-eighties Dr. Carl Sagan of Cornell University estimated that the detonation of even one third of the existing nuclear stockpile THEN would rip away the planet’s atmosphere. Those results were not speculative. They reflected the consensus of a large multi-displinary group of researchers at elite Universities who had studied the question.

    The 30 year period during the first half of the 20th century that I refered to earlier was kicked off by a single act of terror that claimed the life of only ONE man in August of 1914.

    Now consider where we are today. Our country is at war in two countries. An additional 50,000 troops are on the North Korean border. Isreal has promised to launch a first strike against Iran should it continue to move forward with its uranium enrichment program. Pakistan, technically a US ally, but an increasingly unstable one, already posses 60 nuclear weapons. North Korea also possses such weapons (as well as long range missles capable of reaching San Francisco). Hamas now controls the occupied territories.

    If Isreal attacks Iran’s production facillities, as it did Iraq’s in 1981, what prevents the Iranians from minning the Persian Gulf, attacking shipping, and shutting off the flow of oil to Europe, the US, and China thereby collapsing the world’s economy? Mines are roadside bombs that float. Unlike ’81, Iran and Iraq are no longer at war.

    If the US goes in on the ground the Iraqi insurgency quadruples, overnight. Meanwhile Iran itself is twice the size of Iraq and has weapons of mass destruction. ‘Regiem change’ can not be accomplished from the sky (Genocide can though). Going in on the ground means a million man force, and that would require conscription. But, the president has nothing to worry about his good freinds in Latin America like president Chavez will certainly help him out if we need oil right. Uh, maybe not.

    Now let’s turn our attention toward Pakistan. Sen. John McCain said recently in defense of the government’s recent missle strike there, intended to carry out its policy of extrajudicial execution “The war on terror knows no borders”. Brilliant sound bite. Give his speachwriter a raise. Unfortunately we all know what he said is a lie, and so do they. Obviously a missle strike on downtown New York, London, Berlin, or Paris would be unthinkable. Hence Osama wins his point ‘Your blood is like like water…’ He actually said that in his speach last year. Act like he’s right and those angry mobs chanting “Death to America!” will overthrow Mussaref and give Osama nukes. Hell you can put a warhead in an oxcart, it’s not that big. So if missile bases and production facillities for making more are destroyed it won’t matter, plenty of cargo ships dock in NY harbor every day. If tons of refined heroin can get here every year, beleive, he already knows how he plans to deliver. So if this shaky goverment collapses what then, go in on the ground, again? Against a bunch of nukes? With what army? Uh, maybe not.

    North Korea has a truce with the US that’s held since the end of hostilities there. If either, or God forbid, both of the scenario’s I’ve just laid out go down how long do any of you expect that truce to last? President Kim’s people are starving. It’s no secret. If the US were to be tied up in ‘clash of civilizations’ it’s quite likely his army, the countries only real assset, will strike south to reunify the peninsula. Again what response does our goverment plan to make? A hailstrom of nuclear fire that ignites the atmosphere? Please. But it could happen.

    That was in my opinion Edward Said’s whole point in his very lucid assesment of Osama and Al Queda’s strategic military objectives in his interview with David Barsamian for KGNU radio immediately after Sept. 11, 2001 (and just before his own death). Said was of the opinion that by provoking an apocalyptic response by the US he could accomplish what the Serbian nationalist to kill the Austrian Arch Duke accomplished, a ‘clash of civilizations’ that remakes the world map, no matter how many people die. The scary thing is its working. Islamist fundamentalism of the Al Queda variety is growing in popularity with every extrajudical killing, disappearence, and act of torture this government commits. The state’s response to Arab political violence seems closely patterened upon Isreal’s response to similar violence there.

    The recent election results (not to mention the over a thousand Isreali dead in the recent Intafada) should make clear just how effective that approach has been. Isreal, created to keep Jewish people safe from the kind of violence that devestated their community repeatedly in Europe, is, on the whole planet, the nation where you are most likely to die for being a Jew. So much for the best defense is a strong offense.

    With the US now planning to cut ties to the Palestinian’s in retaliation for electing Hamas, who are you betting will step into the breach? Iran? Isreal can’t use its big weapons on its own soil unless it wants to rerun Masada, and my bet is that a whole lot of folks want to smuggle bigger weapons to Hamas because if you’re bogged down at home, well, a nation in a state of civil war is in no condition to undertake the invasion of its neihbors is it?

    Getting back to the Cooper peice. He has an axe to grind (who doesn’t). After attacking the new ED (has the is guy been in office long enough to find the head at the national office without asking someone?) for following Cynthia McKinney in being interested in the possibility that the administration knew about, or conspired to commit, the atrocities of Sept 11, 2001.

    In the wake of the original Air America, a CIA front, flooding our communities with Heroin to fund the Mekong tribesmen during Veitnam, in aftermath of the October Surprise of 1980 that secretly exchanged missles for the 51 hostages (nice gift, take one apart and you can just keep making ‘em), an illegal and not so secret war in Central America,funded by cocaine, that claimed the lives of 200,000 (mostly civilians) in direct violation of the express will of congress, a 2000 election where the loser got 3 million FEWER votes than the winner….Cooper thinks Gumba wrong to even consider the possibility and examine evidence closely? I don’t.

    In the era of secret prisions, secret evidence, warrantless searches, state sanctioned torture, and extratrajudicial execution all being openly defended as legitimate? Gimme a break. I’m not insane to beleive that the moron who now leads the nation feels the Patriot Act gives him the same sweeping power given the German Chancellor by the Enabling Act (wheather he uses them in the same way or not). Nor do I feel it is insane to beleive that our aggressive foreign policy could result in serious blowback. Russia was a world power not so long ago.

    I won’t take issue though with Mr. Cooper’s assertion that of our potential 50-60 million person listener base, we barely register. Nor can I disagree that we are badly managed. But hell, I’m banned from the building and I still think WPFW is doing better than some of these places. At least we haven’t had to pay some $200,000 to annonomous women so they won’t go the court….or the cops…over Ron, Ambrose, or Mark’s conduct toward women. It ain’t over yet either. Word is the 15 female complaintants at EEOC won the right to proceed. Legal bills alone might reach close to a million. Yikes.

    After the tragic events of Sept 11, 2001 WTOP, the largest station in the DC area, with its all news format doubled in size almost overnight, after the start of the Iraq war it increased again by 40%. That tells me a lot of people are hungry for information. Reeling from our own internal turmoil, as usual, we were unable to deliver the goods in part because we were not willing to put forth the resouses, in part because an entrenched group of people, at every station, defend their ‘turf’.

    WPFW basicly built a news department ‘ex nihlo’ (from nothing) after the strike out of activists willing to volunteer, and finally drove them all out of the building and changed the locks to make sure we’d never come back! You’re safe now. You can listen to 22 hours a day of sooothing Jazz, as the 3rd world war takes you off to that real ‘City on a Hill’.

    So what this network is worth half a billion dollars. What is it doing, and what interests is it serving. I don’t know where Cooper lives, but I live in a polarized segregated society. What mainstream is he talking about? I spent two years going to all kinds of different events for Pacifica. I saw events that were all Black, all White, or all in Spanish. Which mainstream is he in. Because all I saw was a right, a left, and a “Fuck that shit and put on the damn game already!”

    Why have the politics of race played such a big role in the network? Well let’s see there was slavery, genocide against indiginous people, apartheid…Oh yeah I almost forgot. Remember the Civil Rights era when those young white boys killed by some Klansmen in Missisippi? Yeah well the family of one of them gave Pacifica WBAI. The Goodman’s I think. Beleive they’re Jewish, funny thing how on the left its pretty much taken for granted that Jewish people are white, while on the far right it’s pretty much a given their not.

    In New York their may be a mainstream. But you really think it’s the same mainstream as say, Money, Missisippi? Who in America today, after what we just wtnessed in New Orleans, other than Cooper, would deny Cornel West’s simple statement that is the title of his best known work “Race Matters”.

    Do any of us, whatever our internal differences, beleive Cooper’s assertion that the solution is for the white people to stop feeling guilty and take up their burden? Despite the demographics of the nation, in which Blacks and Lationos are close to 50 percent of the broader ‘left’?

    Only the the extremely marginalized (and extremely marginal) white folks within Pacifica can save us? With what? Who in that bunch will do so? Bernstein? Maybe the guy who sent his personel file to the shredder will save us. That’s nonsense (and the basis for asserting Cooper’s peice is garbage). Hey, Campanella was no saint either now. Nor do I plan to stake any claim to sainthood.

    Joel Siegal, aide to Congressman John Conyer’s, stated last that the Progressive Caucus with the Congress now numbers 78 member’s, as of last year, 38 of those are in the Black caucus. Yet African-Americans number only 13% of US society. I’m I doing the math right here? Because what I’m seeing is the Black vote going more than 90% against Bush nationaly, and electing damn close to 50% of the representatives that are even remotely progressive.

    The reality is white people stopped feeling guilty, if they ever did (it’s more like some Jews have progressive politics, face it), long ago and launched the Reagan revolution. That’s how we got here. Yeah the white progressives can put can put a million people in the street, under the leadership of the Worker’s World Party, or the Revolutionary Communists. Such progressive whites, along with other progressive constituancies, are deserving of inclusion, whatever Cooper may think of Chairman Mao. The question is do you want the chairman’s folks driving the car? IMHO We ain’t gonna go too far in that ride.

    But yeah, we’re a voice for the disenfranchised, and these standing formations of whites on the far left can put people in the street to delegitmate goverment policy at a time of increasing loss of our rights at home and the looming threat of a ‘clash of civilizations’ that has the potential to take the lives of untold milllions around the world.

    I also agree with Cooper’s broader assertion that we need more diversity in programing, and better programing. Vera Avery Brown has the distinction of being prehaps the last American Journalist to interview Marwan Bhargouti before the Isreali courts sentenced him to 5 consecutive life terms as the leader of the armed wing of the PLO. Compare that interview with David Barsamian’s interview at KGNU with Edward Said. Both are available online. See what you think. Because we’re spending $70,000 more a year than KGNU (and for your information this is a non-profit, and salary information for the highest ranking officials of non-profits is STILL in the public domain).

    Anyone ever here of Charlene Hunter Gault? Pull her up online. Pacifica throws money at it’s news divisions both locally and nationally. So “where’s the beef”? I am a graduate of the 8th grade and a holder of the esteemed NYS GED. Pull me up online. Now pull up the news director in Berkley. Are we stupid? We’re paying good money for crap and everyone, including our graying listener base knows it. Name one good investigative peice done by our paid news staff at Pacifica in the past tgwo decades? Have we ever produced a single peice, in 20 years, that we thought worthy of even submitting for consideration for a Peabody Award? One thing I’ll agree with Cooper on this network is a half billion dollars mostly just rotting.

  226. Robert Johnson Says:

    Marc said:

    “What Pacifica provides nowadays is a rickety structure for a lot of alienated and atomized activists and radicals. With mass media out of their reach, they are tantalized to be a member of one of the myria alphabet soup committees and boards that have been created. They can go to regular meetings, feel part of something bigger than themselves, maybe even feel elevated by the illusion that they are actually helping to manage, govern or direct a whole, huge network.

    “But it’s all an illusion. The network is no more run by those committees as the LAPD is run by the Neighborhood Watch. The real power in Pacifica is held by ossified programmers who gang up and eventually expel anybody or anything that threatens their grip on air time. Anyone who dares is smeared as some sort of political criminal. If you dont know that much about Pacifica, then indeed you know nothing.”

    This was well put.

    After getting booted by crusty opposition, too bad you didn’t lend your own crusty influence to trying to develop a more democratic playing field. The fledgling democratic governance of a medium this size, a first, is a real raggedy affair subject to the same internal bullying and subterfuge and external naysaying that haunts any democratic endeavor. Read accounts of the closed-door hammering out of the U.S. Constitution. Spend time at a state legislature.

    Would you be as apt in describing expensive sea cruises that feature leftist elites preaching the safe gospel that lets them comfortably fill the vacuum of an eviscerated left? The official 9/11 story, after all, provides the establishment premise to perpetrate new atrocities that can then be muckraked: “Don’t rock the boat too much, we’ll lose our ‘speaking truth to power’ careers.”

    Freedom to carp, to a point, for now, is safe as milk in America. Old rants are a comfort zone: Oppose war, fight oppression. Strangely, with all the inconsistencies, incriminatory leads and roadblocks in the 9/11 story, and precedents for its use as a cover, few are willing to countenance “the war on terror” as being not only the King’s new cloak, but possibly one that was prefabricated and tailor-made.

    What if the linchpin was pulled on “the war on terror”? What would happen if the perps in 9/11 were shown to be our perps? How would cards fall if these perps control most of the deck? The unknown is scarier than even the most miserable known. But truth widely known has a way of taking care of itself.

    It all may become moot, or radio could become the last resort:

  227. sonicfrog Says:

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  228. The Left is Doomed Says:

    The irony is – you are fooling yourself – about some things anyway. The official narrative given about what happened on 9/11 – just has too many inconsistencies. I agree there are a lot of loonies in the scene, “circular firing squad” is one of the best descriptions of the Left I’ve ever heard, but your bitter recrimination filled judgemental post is what is as obviously toxic.

    While “Left” types like you decry radicals, it is interesting that the Right lets their radicals rise to the top, and even set policy.

    It is also ironic that your post is so dismissive about racism and sexism, while being racist and sexist. The Pacifica network is one of the few places you can really hear from militant grassroots struggles instead of the neutred elitist “left” that you seem to represent.

    yes, it is too bad that the firing squad is circular instead of facing outward at the fascist who have murdered by the hundreds of thousands. Call them what you will, but that is what they have done. Not everyone feels like describing reality is comfortable fuzzy terms.

    Sorry if “radical’ makes you uncomfortable – but life is not comfortable.

  229. Ann O'Nymous Says:

    I have been listening to KPFK nearly daily since moving to LA in 1997, and to KPFA during various residences in Berkeley before that. There’s lots to criticize about Pacifica, but I hardly recognize it from Marc’s comments.

    Before going further, let me acknowledge a couple of things:
    1) I am not close enough to the factional conflict in Pacifica to really know the scorecard
    2) I have been around the left long enough to know that such conflicts are often ways of playing out the revolutionary fantasies of M-L sects. That’s obvious with some people at KPFK, perhaps not so with others.

    That said, the quality of programming on KPFK is vastly better than it was before 2001 when the “mainstreamers” were in power. I remember an apolitical drive time show with a formulaic gay man-straight woman pair (don’t remember the names), among many other shows that belonged on commercial or CPB stations, not Pacifica.

    Secondly, there is a wide range of left-of-center opinion represented in KPFK, not a narrow sectarian line. This starts with Leila Garrett’s Democratic-politician interview show (if put to the test, I would guess Garrett is with DSA, if even that far left). It ranges all the way to the RCP show; both of these shows have comparable drive time slots.

    Until recently, in fact, KPFK carried Radio Nation featuring Marc himself, in a prime AM slot; the most memorable of these shows that I remember was an fawning interview with Howard Dean. Marc introduced the show by saying Dean was in favor of national health care and against the war, but most of Dean’s rap was about how he opposed national health care and supported the war. Now, maybe there is a story I don’t know as to why RN moved from Pacifica to the tepid, advertising-supported Air America, and maybe Marc wants to address this, but otherwise I’ll take it at face value that Pacifica ran his show but the Nation chose to move it to AA.

    Suzie Weissman does an excellent drive-time show with interesting, leftist guests and her own serious, incisive commentary. I read her political stance as nonsectarian post-Trotskyist; I bet Marc can correct me if this is wrong. Jon Wiener does a great job balancing a left point of view with pop-culture topics designed for mainstream appeal.

    Marc attacks Pacifica’s cultural programming as too narrow and countercultural. To get specific here, we are talking about such things as music shows featuring afro-pop, blues, bluegrass, etc. These shows offer a few hours a week of radio exposure to valuable artistic forms that are otherwise hard to find in LA radio and may bring in people who otherwise would not listen to leftwing radio. Should they play Mariah Carey instead?

    Now, on the other hand, I’ll say that there is a good amount of substandard programming, at least on KPFK. The RCP show is tiresome; Michael Slate can be witty and provocative but I’m sick of the three Revolutionary Worker columnists his commissars let him interview and I never want to hear another speech by Bob Avakian. Without naming names, I’ll acknowledge that some of the drive-time identity-politics shows are too narrow and not interesting enough. There is a car show that features obviously paid product placement, which I am quite amazed to hear on Pacifica. There is a midday quack show promoting “alternative medicine,” and I wonder why this is not running on a commercial AM station instead, or perhaps as a late-night cable infomercial. Jerry Quickly is entertaining but far overexposed, and I suspect that there is going to be some embarassment when someone checks out the stories he tells about his personal background.

    All in all, I think Pacifica, at least as judged from KPFK programming, is trying to offer a forum for the left and to bring in more listeners. Some of the time it succeeds, which is a better batting average than most of the rest of the movement.

  230. Ann O'Nymous Says:

    And PS, Democracy Now is the best show on American radio. There is nothing narrow, excessively countercultural, or sectarian about it. Marc, why don’t you challenge Amy Goodman to an on-air debate about what kind of programming Pacifica needs to improve its reach?

  231. Rolas de Aztlan » Cooper Blasts Pacifica Says:

    [...] Former Pacifican Marc Cooper cut loose on his former radio network in this piece, following the selection of new ED Greg Guma. Intriguing in some instances, but mostly curious. [...]

  232. Robert Dupree Says:

    Listening to Dennis Bernstein babbling and frothing about how the Israeli-backed Nazi corporations are gonna get my momma is just about the most drive-time fun I can have. During pledge drives, he’s absolutely hysterical. When Leftists get in charge of anything, they fuck it up. Done it to entire nations, so no surprise that they can’t hold together a media organization with a half-bil (isn’t that a little low?) in stored value. The whole Left is marginalized and demoralized, and that’s just the way the rest of us (y’know, the Racist-Sexist-Homophobic-Nazi-Oppressors-Of-The-Downtrodden-Brownskinned-Masses) want them. So keep it up.

  233. Warwick Fry Says:

    One point that seems to be overlooked in all this, lost in the ‘blame the leftists’ hatefest, is that the concept of ‘community radio’ (here in Australia at least) is not to seek audience ratings, but to give a voice to small minorities who might not otherwise get a hearing. So what if (for example) the Albanian community consists of a few dozen people? Why shouldn’t they be allowed their hour or so each week to hear something in their own language? And who knows, the producer of the Albanian language shows might be developing skills and experience which will take him or her further. This US cultural ethic of having goal oriented, ‘outcome’ defined media spaces is damaging to everybody’s sense of civilisation. I also find the general stereotyping of the ‘left’ that I see in many of the posts here as ridiculous, naive, absurd, malicious and dangerous.

  234. Étranger-at-large Says:

    Warwick Fry,

    if I understand Marc correctly, he doesn’t use ratings per se to measeure success. That he does not think that way is very explicit when he talks about Pacifica’s station in Washington.

    Obviously, every action has a purpose. Radio stations, “community radio” have a reason. Liberal community radio have a purpose. It’s not propaganda, but at leat say the truth. “the” truth, not the right’s version of the truth.

    If Pacifica is so huge, it certainly looks like an asset to the Left that is not being used, or is used poorly.

    That Pacifica network is not able to poduce national shows, shows that include most people, is a sad thing. As many in this forum, i love Democracy Now! But shouldn’t Pacifica be able to create more shows like that? Note how inclusive is Democracy Now!

    I’m not against programs that serve small communities. I support the idea. I don’t think Marc is againt it either. Both ideas, of a national appealing network and of a network with small community oriented programs, are not exclusive. They don’t repeal each other.

    I find it pathetic that the most well-known liberal radio is a corporation (Air America) and not a public supported radio like Pacifica.

    That is my interpretation of Marc’s thought.

    And I wish there could be an end to this Pacifica war II between Amy Goodman’s faccion and Marc’s. Democracy Now! is a great programm. It could be one of many Pacifica made nationwide programms. Amy herself knows that what she has to say is important and throughout the years sought stations to carry her show. It’s not that different from Marc’s idea.

    As someone said here, it would really be great to have a debate between Amy and Marc. Maybe we’d get better community radio.

    (apologies for my english. it’s not my first language! i’m from Portugal!)

  235. Étranger-at-large Says:

    Just wanted to add, cause it might not be clear, i think that community radio or public supported radio has an obligation to give voice to those who otherwise would not be listened.

    Wether because it’s the right thing to do, because we support cultural diversity or because that’s the way left is, i don’t know.

    but that’s a pupose. But not the only one. Educate is another. To inform people is another. Amy’s show does that. but a network with such potential could certainly make more than one hour per day of national programm. Or international.

  236. Andrea 'Enthal Says:

    Gee, thanks, burritomama. I am glad that you enjoyed 12 O’Clock Rock.
    The 20,000 records from that show are all still here in this room where I am typing.
    I miss the audience who listened to the show, but not my years of bizarre interactions with KPFK management or all the politics (interpersonal and worldly).
    I trace the downfall of KPFK to the death of Mike Hodel. He was the balance at the station–the one person all sides respected and listened to. And balance was what made it healthy in those early days (I joined in 1978 and I think I left in 1998 or so) . Sure music fought with public affairs and arts, and news, behind the scenes in 1978, but nobody ever won the fights.
    The exchange of ideas in those fights was the station’s health and strength. Good ideas survived, bad ones may have gotten tried, but pushed by the wayside after a bit.
    As soon as one side began to win over the other departments, and one point of view began to dominate, the strength of the station as a whole was gone. It became like a one-legged pony.
    The fittest ideas no longer survived–any ideas of the winning factions did. Any ideas of the losing factions died.
    As satellite radio, internet radio, hand-held personal music machines (such as the iPod) continue to evolve, I don’t predict much of a future for any terrestrial broadcast radio stations, especially KPFK.

  237. Whitehall Says:

    The funny part is that half billion valuation is only because corporations like Clear Channel are eager to exploit the public bandwidth and make money.

    If nobody listened to FM, there would be no advertising dollars and trivial valuations.

  238. wevs 1 Says:

    Yes, WBAI is absolutely horrendous, unless you go for imbecile lefty posturing. It’s just as annoying as listening to Rush on WABC AM.

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  240. ChinoHillster Says:

    I note that KPFK’s Fund Drive is still ongoing as of 28 June 2006; I believe they are still $50,000 or so from their stated goal of $980,000.
    The pitching has taken on a shrill, even desperate cast, with a tinge of wearniness.
    In contrast, KPCC, the NPR station, is positive and upbeat (and trying to raise less money, only $500,000).
    I listen to KPFK, as well as to KFI (gasp, horror), because I am an Ent, as in Treebeard from Tolkien’s “Lord Of The Rings”: “I am not together on anyone’s side, because no one is altogether on my side”. My problem with KPFK is that they refuse to recognize that there _is_ Life Beyond LA (they keep touting how powerful their station is), but I don’t hear _any_ programming about Orange County, or heaven forbid, _The Inland Empire_ (*cough* Chino Hills *cough*)
    By the way, _KPCC _has Orange County programming AND and an INLAND EMPIRE reporter!!!!!!!!!

    The OC and Inland Empire are where people VOTE and they largely vote REPUBLICAN – these are the people that KPFK SHOULD be trying to reach, but they preach to the choir living in West LA and Santa Monica!

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    The best era for listening to KPFK was when Ruth Hershman & Will Lewis were running things. The variety was astounding in those days. It was the only station I listened to. I even went to the fund rasing events. They took their formula for success to KCRW & made that place great. The push for large blocks of prime time spanish langauge programming and lack of interesting programs like “The Wizards”, “Hour 25″
    “In Fidelity”, “The Sunday Opera”, “Genesis of a music”, and so on has caused me to simply forget about tuning in anymore. The content just isn’t there anymore.

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  251. Cappadonna Says:

    What do you expect? The Militant Left in America has a history of cannabilizing its own and sqandering great oppurtunities for progress. I live in New York. NYC is almost predominantly black and latino now — but WBAI still sounds like the same old white hippie clap trap nonsense. No wonder Pacifica fawns over the green party candidates — Both wish to be what they’re not while squandering the great oppurtunities they have.

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  271. » More on Noncoms & Conspiracies Ernesto Aguilar Says:

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