"First I want to say thank you, if you tuned in this past Monday to watch the new MSNBC documentary about how the last administration tricked the U.S. into the Iraq War," she said. The film garnered the highest ratings of any documentary in the history of the channel.
"The success is really exciting. It means there will be more of where that came from in coming months and years," Maddow explained before announcing that the film will re-air on Friday, March 15th at 9pm ET. (You can watch the entire documentary online before that right here, if you like.)
Congratulations are certainly due. While there were several new revelations in the film, much of the story of the string of blatant lies and scams culled together to hoax the country into war had already been known to those of us news geeks who follow this stuff too closely. Nonetheless, it was very helpful, and an excellent reminder, to see the entire case laid out in a single, simple, watchable presentation. We're delighted to hear it was a ratings success.
Revisiting that disaster also helped encourage The BRAD BLOG to examine several still-existing loose ends --- beyond the fact that, shamefully, nobody in the Bush Administration has ever been brought to account in any way for what happened, including what are clearly a series of very serious war crimes. Among the points we've been looking into, in the wake of the Hubris documentary, is the questions of whether or not Colin Powell "knowingly lied" in his presentation of what turned out to be blatantly false evidence for the case against Saddam Hussein and Iraq, when the then-Secretary of State spoke to the U.N. Security Council on February 5, 2003 and helped turn the tide of public opinion in favor of an invasion.
Powell's Chief of Staff at the time, Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, admits during the film that he and Powell "did participate in a hoax." But, in a statement in response to our request for comment, Wilkerson vigorously denied that either he or his boss knowingly did so. He sent his statement after we'd published anti-war author and activist David Swanson's critique of the Hubris film, on the day after it initially aired. In the critique, Swanson cites his own 2011 essay which offers evidence to argue that Powell "knowingly lied" during his presentation to the U.N. (Both Swanson and 27-year Sr. CIA analyst Ray McGovern, who was cited in Wilkerson's response, each replied to him in turn. You can read all of their responses here.)
While Swanson "applauded" the MSNBC documentary for helping to "prolong Americans' awareness of the lies that destroyed Iraq," he also offered a number of pointed critiques for the cable news channel itself. His observations are on-point in both regards, and help to raise a suggestion for an important and necessary follow-up documentary that, we suspect, would likely garner ratings at least as high as those earned for Hubris.
After all, though Hubris:Selling the Iraq War focused on the lies told by the Bush Administration in the run-up to war, unfortunately, they were not the only ones "selling the Iraq War"...
I am extremely proud that The BRAD BLOG is now a part of Pacifica Radio's nearly 65-year legacy, as highlighted in the new, very cool video above.
My own show, The BradCast, airs on Pacifica's Los Angeles affiliate, KPFK 90.7 FM on Wednesdays at 3pm PT, and it's an honor that our broadcasts are now part of Pacifica's long and crucial legacy of broadcasting in the public interest over our public airwaves.
While both Brad Friedman and Sue Wilson have written in detail here at The BRAD BLOG about the recent closure of progressive talk radio stations in cities such as Portland and Seattle, along with the FCC's failure to enforce the public interest obligations of the conglomerates that own those stations, there's an interesting development on the other side of the dial, at least in Boston, where the demise of right-wing talk radio --- in a region where the format once dominated --- hints at a downward spiral for a key element of the conservative entertainment complex.
The latest sign of right-wing radio's malaise may be seen in the apparent demise of Boston's WTKK-FM.
Friedman and Wilson have shown conclusively that good progressive radio is not being allowed to succeed --- that the national corporate interests of these large media conglomerates (just as predicted by some media observers decades ago, following the passage of the federal Telecommunications Act of 1996) are being placed ahead of the local public interest obligations which broadcast licensees are required to meet in exchange for their use of our public airwaves.
With the challenges now being faced by good progressive talkers facing obstacles stacked against their success, is there anything wrong with enjoying the spectacle of seeing bad right-wing radio fail, as appears to be the case in Boston at year's end?...
The cover for the final print edition of Newsweek was released earlier today via Newsweek's Twitter feed, noting "Newsweek's last print issue before we go all-digital features a hashtag on the cover: #LastPrintIssue!"
Chris Sacca observes in response (also via Twitter, naturally): "Newsweek's last print issue has just a hashtag on the cover. Like using your final breath to ID the killer."
On Friday, as the news was breaking, and even as the unannounced flip was occurring before it had otherwise been planned, I detailed the outrage of Bain Capital-owned Clear Channel killing KPOJ, the only commercial Progressive talk radio station in Portland, one of the nation's most progressive cities, while leaving their two "competing" Clear Channel-owned Rightwing stations in the same market intact.
They flipped the station, one of the first and most successful Progressive talk stations in the nation, over to the Fox Sports format, which, I have since learned, is also syndicated by Clear Channel-owned Premiere Radio, further underscoring the unenforced anti-trust issues that seem to be in violation of, among other things, the 1948 U.S. v. Paramount Supreme Court decision I also briefly discussed in my Friday night coverage.
In that case, the U.S. Supreme Court found that Paramount Pictures was in violation of anti-trust laws because it was unfairly leveraging its chain of movie theaters around the country to keep films made by competing movie studios from being exhibited. The vertical integration, controlling both the production and means of distribution, was the very definition of a monopoly. In this case, as I've argued, Clear Channel is using the very limited public airwaves broadcast licenses that it receives for free from the government --- in exchange, supposedly, for serving in the public interest --- in order to push its own Premiere syndicated programming, even when other, non-Clear Channel owned shows and formats both garner higher ratings and, arguable, are far more in the public's interest than a third sports talk station in the very same market.
More to the point, as I have noted many times in the past, the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which allowed companies like Clear Channel and a handful of other mega-corporations to buy up control of licensing rights to theoretically "competing" stations in the same market --- Clear Channel, for example, owns both the Rightwing and Progressive talk radio stations in many major markets --- assures that there is no real free-market competition in the Talk Radio business. While Rightwing talk radio is allowed to propagandize over our public airwaves in favor of supposed "free-market" competition, there is no such free-market competition in the talk radio business itself. The game is as rigged as it would be if Coca-Cola had the sole distribution rights to both Coke and Pepsi in the same major market.
Shortly after running my piece on Friday, I was informed by someone inside the business, in a very good position to know, that "the Seattle station is next." They were referring to Seattle, Washington's KPTK am1090 Progressive Talk station, owned by CBS-Viacom. On Monday morning, Stephanie Miller, whose very successful show is heard on that station, and many others, along with appearing on Current TV, told listeners the same thing, that the progressive Seattle talk station, in another very progressive market (in a state that just approved the recreational use of marijuana, for chrissakes) was expected to flip to the newly introduces CBS Sports format on January 1...
NPR is as much the problem as the rest of the corporate MSM. Here's how Wade Goodwyn, of NPR's On Point, summarized their "Battle Over Voter ID" show from last Wednesday on their website...
Republicans say the new laws are necessary to prevent possible voter fraud.
Democrats respond it’s a solution in search of a problem, there’s no evidence of fraud except on the smallest of scales.
Well, gosh! Who knows what the truth is?! Both side lie, so the truth must be somewhere in the middle or something! Who can tell?
To make matters still worse, one of their guests was the notorious Hans von Spakovsky, the GOP con-man who has long-ago, and many times, been debunked as a "voter fraud" fraudster. He was there to offer the argument in favor of Republican voter disenfranchisement laws, meant to combat pretend, non-existent, in-person polling place impersonation "voter fraud" --- you know, the type of "voter fraud" that even Republicans, when pressed in a court of law, are forced to admit doesn't actually exist.
I dispatched with von Spakovsky's nonsense on NPR four years ago, when we were both guests on the Tavis Smiley Show. But, I guess NPR needs to keep pretending that his discredited bullshit back then isn't still discredited bullshit now. Or something.
Of course, On Point is hardly alone in their misinformative l he-said/she-said description of this un-American, anti-democratic shame. Their summary of the pretend "problem" is almost identical to the ones you'll read in the New York Times, or from the AP, and everywhere else in the mainstream media. Ya know, from pretty much the very same irresponsible news outlets which also pretended there might be WMD in Iraq, because Republicans said so, when the actual evidence was clear from the jump that there were none.
The cost in that case? Thousands of dead Americans, perhaps more than a million innocent, dead Iraqis. The cost this November? That remains to be seen. But, as before, the media is failing their job of informing the electorate with demonstrable facts.
In a piece this week at the Nieman Watchdog Blog headlined "You Know What the ‘Voter ID’ Push Is All About, So Say So", Dan Froomkin, formerly of Washington Post, currently of Huffington Post and Managing Editor of the blog at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University, called out the corporate MSM, and called on them to start telling the truth about the GOP's purposely disenfranchising polling place Photo ID restrictions, rather than report it, as they most frequently do, as little more than Left/Right "politics as usual".
His piece begins: "Does any journalist who is not an overt shill for the right actually believe that Republicans are pushing voter ID laws because they’re concerned about· voter fraud?"...
Whatever questions remain about Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's recall election, there is no question that his campaign was built on big money, the likes of which we've never seen in a gubernatorial campaign before. And where did all that money go? Right into thin air - OUR air.
And as owners of the air - our public airwaves, to be precise - there is plenty we can do to combat the corrosive effect of big money on our elections, by holding our partners in broadcasting, local TV and radio stations, accountable to the communities they serve.
Citizens United, the Supreme Court ruling that the First Amendment prohibits government from restricting independent political expenditures by corporations and unions, is the reason huge amounts of money poured into the Walker camp from third parties like the billionaire Koch Brothers and others, (compared to the relatively paltry sum given to his opponent Mayor Tom Barrett by unions and others.)
Focus will turn to the unprecedented amount of dark money raised and spent in the election, with Walker's campaign raising at least $30.5 million (a majority of it coming from out of state) to Barrett's $3.9 million. That, of course, is just the money raised by the two campaigns themselves. It doesn't take into affect the extraordinary amount of money spent by outside groups on behalf of the candidates, largely in support of Walker by a reportedly outsized ratio of 25 to 1.
So the Walker recall gave us the first glimpse at how the infamous Supreme Court ruling will affect campaigns for years to come unless something changes. . There is a large and growing movement now from organizations such as Move to Amend, to amend the Constitution to help put the brakes on the unlimited spending allowed by Citizens United. Such an effort, however, will take years to accomplish, if it ever happens at all.
But what's not being talked about is where most of this unrestricted money goes: about half of all campaign dollars go directly into your local radio and TV stations' wallets --- local broadcast stations which get licensed in the public/private partnership of broadcasting ONLY IF they "serve the public convenience, interest, and necessity."
As to the First Amendment, the Supreme Court has also ruled, in Red Lion v. FCC that "it is the right of the viewing and listening public, and not the right of the broadcasters, which is paramount."
Nonetheless, until Citizens United is changed or overridden in some fashion, things are only going to get worse --- unless we the people do something about it now with a few, still-unused tools that remain at our disposal...
Anyone remember a time when radio seemed friendly and informative, rather than hostile and manipulative?
I do. And I remember when it changed in 1996, after Bill Clinton signed the Telecommunications Act into law, and suddenly, huge corporations like Clear Channel began using our public airwaves --- those scarce radio frequencies which are owned by us ALL --- as a hammer to pummel Clinton and all other Democrats.
I've been working to correct the problem ever since 1998. I've advocated rewriting the Telecommunications Act, made the film Broadcast Blues to educate people about the problem, founded the Media Action Center to get local groups communicating with their local broadcasters, filed petitions to deny stations' licenses, and more.
But now, I believe I have found the legal means to put Talk Radio on trial at the FCC --- and perhaps eventually at the Supreme Court --- and, ironically enough, we just may have embattled Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker to thank for it...
On today's BradCast on KPFK/Pacifica Radio, Eric Boehlert of Media Matters joined me to discuss that remarkable news, his sobering column yesterday on "Murdoch's Nixonian Demise", what it all means for NewsCorp properties here in the U.S. (like Fox "News", the New York Post and the Wall Street Journal) and how the story is being covered by the media in this country both on the Right and non-Right.
As usual, we're also joined by Desi Doyen for some Green News Report and a few listener phone calls round out the hour.
"Earth Week" has culminated in today's Earth Day, that brief period once a year when you might actually see an in-depth green story, series, or panel discussion about an environmental topic on TV, or hear a few on the radio. Newspapers and magazines can be counted on to do an eco-themed article in late April, but that’s about it.
Sadly, that’s about all the consistent coverage we’ve gotten from mainstream commercial media over the past 15 years. That’s how long I’ve been focused on this odd programming void. While that reality remains unchanged, ecologically and meteorologically speaking, there’s been a groundswell of dramatic events.
This year I caught NBC’s Today Show --- as part of their “Green Is Universal” week (if it were truly “universal” shouldn’t we see coverage more than once a year?) – doing the obligatory eco-friendly products display, featuring bamboo plates, doormats woven from used lobster twine and purses made from aluminum can tabs and candy wrappers. Nice and feel-good, but is this the most useful and deepest offering on a once-a-year occasion? We’ve come a long way since recycling was our biggest environmental concern, no?
Earth Day Lite, as I call it, is almost a Hallmark holiday – expressed on recycled content cards of course. It’s as predictable as the climate has become UNpredictable. With glaciers melting, sea levels rising and freak storms taking lives and livelihoods at a record rate, why have we not progressed in our coverage of the environment, our life support system, and the tenor of these topics, for the most part, remains unchanged?
Is it because Americans have short attention spans, low tolerance for disturbing news, are just too busy to bother, and programmers fear such content will be a turn-off? I suspect it’s a little of all the above.
The environmental threats facing our country and planet have deepened, grown exponentially in number and complexity --- which is what usually happens when problems are ignored --- and yet, media coverage has, as anemic as it was, actually decreased.
According to Media Matters of America, the major networks --- ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox --- significantly decreased their coverage of climate change between 2009 and 2011 while spending twice as much time discussing Donald Trump as they did our worsening climate. If they compared how often Kim Kardashian “made news” vs. climate change, she would also likely come out on top. Perhaps if we called it "Kim Kardashian’s Climate Change" more Americans would tune in?...
Out of scores of journalists who work for the Gannett Wisconsin Media-owned Green Bay Press-Gazette, just seven were willing to offer their personal, non-business related support for a recall of Wisconsin's controversial Gov. Scott Walker. They are now being disciplined.
The rest, the vast majority of Press-Gazette employees, all cast a vote for their support of the Republican Walker's fitness to complete his term as governor by refusing to sign the petition for his recall.
How can we now trust them to report without bias on the Walker story they are tasked with covering in a neutral fashion?!
Despite the clear and unethical conflict of interest demonstrated by their support for Walker --- for which the Governor is almost certainly grateful --- those journalist are somehow still expected to cover the Democratic Party and union-supported political challenges against him and his administration in an impartial manner.
Clearly, that is impossible. At least according to an editorial published last night by Kevin Corrado, the president and publisher of the Green Bay Press-Gazette...
He charges that "out of touch" Limbaugh "is the proverbial canary in a coal mine" as Americans who have "been in 'attack' mode" for 15 years are beginning to realize "that attack has gained them nothing"...
“For the past 15 years, Americans have been in ‘attack’ mode,” Parikhal told NTS MediaOnline Today. “Against Bush, Obama, big business, welfare, abortion, religion – you name it, they attacked it. Finally, people are realizing that attack has gained them nothing — not jobs, security, safety, or anything else. Today, people are getting sick of attack. It’s like a guest who over-stayed at the party. So people are looking for answers.” Citing changing demographics, an America that’s becoming more brown, and the growing ranks of women in higher education, Parikhal says Limbaugh is the proverbial canary in a coal mine. “He’s out of touch with ‘brown’ America and with women. He attacks the very things that aging Boomers are relying on. Marshall McLuhan used to say that people laugh when they think things are under control. And, that’s why there’s a pile-on now that Rush is under attack. He doesn’t have answers that work. Things are not under control. So he’s fair game. When he ‘attacks contraception’ in a country where 38% of babies last year were born to single moms (much higher among Blacks and Hispanics), he sends a message that he’s out of touch. The way he chose to frame his attack was the straw that broke the camel’s back. It’s not more complicated than that.”
That's one big canary. Don't know if Parikhal has nailed it or not, but his thoughts are certainly of note, as what has happened to Limbaugh --- Clear Channel-owned Premier Radio's $38 million/year baby --- has also served to put other RW talkers on pins and needles at the moment, while they watch to see how thinks shake out for poor Rush, whose big advertisers are now trampling each other to run away from.
On KFI, the 50,000-watt AM blowtorch which has been carrying Limbaugh out here in Los Angeles for decades, commercial breaks are now largely filled with local-only spots, campaign ads for the GOP Presidential primary (usually from Newt Gingrich's Super PAC), with almost every break punctuated with what could be a stinging foretelling of Rush's future: An ad from Glenn Beck and his online-only GBTV venture.
In a related story today, Media Matters' Eric Boehlert looks at the precarious place in which Clear Channel (as currently owned by Mitt Romney's Bain Capital, LLC) now finds itself --- thanks to the less-than-conservative all-in bet the media behemoth has banked on Rush, in "Struggling Clear Channel And Rush Limbaugh's $400 Million Payday".
I actually didn't mean this to be a commercial. I was simply going to share Mike Malloy's brief "Podcast Trivia" question from last Friday night's show since I found it so hilarious and a classic example of why a free world needs Mike Malloy.
In grabbing it from the archives to post the segment here, I also heard his earlier plea for folks to consider subscribing to the Mike Malloy Show podcasts to help the show continue to stay on the air. So I've tacked that to the front of the clip I'd planned to run here below.
I hope you willconsider subscribing, if only as a way to help support Progressive Radio over our public airwaves, since those airwaves have been, by and large, "bought" up by mega-corporations who have removed all true market competition from them (here's just one recent, appalling example), and we have a government either too cowardly or too corrupt to protect them for its citizenry.
So it's up to folks like you and me to do whatever we can. Thanks in advance for your help!
And now, here's the clip that had me LOL'ing on the way home from dinner last Friday night, along with the quick plea from Malloy added to the top. Don't worry. The whole thing is barely four minutes long...
FULL DISCLOSURE: I am a regular guest host for the Mike Malloy Show, and will be filling in once again this Tuesday night (9p-Mid ET), on the night of the Michigan and Arizona primaries. If the gods are with us, I'll have not one, but two different Presidential candidates as my guests that night! So I hope you'll tune in! As ever, we'll have streaming audio links (and a live chat room) during showtime right here at The BRAD BLOG, if you're not lucky enough to live in a town where you can hear Mike Malloy, for free, over our public airwaves (or haven't chosen to pay money to hear him on SiriusXM's channel 127.)
[Now UPDATED with tonight's nightmarish audio archives below! Enjoy!!!]
Mike has the night off! So we're back! Guest hosting the nationally-syndicated Mike Malloy Show on Friday the 13th! It's a Nightmare on Malloy Street!...
We'll be BradCasting all the horror LIVE from 9pm-Mid ET (6p-9p PT), coast-to-coast and around the uprising globe from the studios of L.A.'s KTLK am1150 in beautiful downtown Burbank. Join us by tuning in, chatting in, Tweeting in and calling in! Our LIVE chat room will be up and rolling right here at The BRAD BLOG, as usual, while we are on the air. Please stop by and join the fun while you're listening! (The Chat Room will open at the bottom of this item a few minutes before airtime, see down below, just above "Comments" section.)
Scheduled tonight (so far):
YOUR WORST NIGHTMARE! Me! With three hours over our public airwaves to talk about Iowa, New Hampshire & South Carolina voting nightmares! The nightmare that is Election 2012! And other related and unrelated nightmares!
GRAEME ZIELINSKI, Spokesman from the Wisconsin state Democratic Party, with some late breaking news on the "Recall Scott Walker" effort in the Badger State!
PLUS! The fraud that is James O'Keefe; the "cold" War against Iran; the failure that is the NY Times; the GOP wants more corporate money in campaigns; and all the nightmares on your minds, via your calls over your public airwaves at 877-520-1150 and your tweets to @TheBradBlog!...
POST-SHOW UPDATE: Tonight's show was a NIGHTMARE! Don't believe me? You can now listen to the full show, sans commercials, in the archives posted below. (You can also read the nightmarish chat room archives below too!) Be afraid...Be very afraid!...
In the latest tracking poll released out of New Hampshire, the Suffolk University/7 NEWS poll [PDF], TX Governor Rick Perry receives 1% support from 500 likely voters in the Granite State. Former LA Governor and four-term U.S. Congressman Buddy Roemer also received 1%. In fact, Roemer received approval from a higher number of respondents (6) than Perry did (4). And yet, Perry was allowed to participate in both last night's GOP Presidential debate in NH as televised on ABC, as well as this morning's on NBC. Roemer was not allowed to participate in either of them.
In fact, out of some 16 GOP Presidential debates to date, Roemer has not been allowed to participate in a single one of them.
The exclusion of Roemer from every single Republican Presidential Debate provides but the latest example of how the corporate-owned media limits the ability of the American people to elect --- or even hear from --- individuals who challenge oligarchic corporate control of our ostensibly democratic institutions.
A candidate like Roemer, who has embraced Occupy Wall Street and spoken (and Tweeted) powerfully and openly and passionately and continuously against the corrupting influence of corporate money on our democratic institutions, poses a direct threat to the corporate media bottom line --- a corporate media which is looking forward to approximately $3 billion in political ad revenues in 2012, courtesy of Citizens United --- the U.S. Supreme Court's infamous 2010 decision which has flung the door wide open to the corrupting influence of unlimited anonymous corporate campaign expenditures.