Saturday, November 18, 2006

“RAG” TIME: CENSORSHIP AND NEWS MANAGEMENT IN THE NEW YORK MEDIA “WBYE-BYE-FM”

UP FRONT News November 7, 2006
Published by Tom Weiss
Editorial Advisor: Willard Whittingham

“The paper that can’t be bought and can’t be sold.”

“RAG” TIME: CENSORSHIP AND NEWS MANAGEMENT IN THE NEW YORK MEDIA “WBYE-BYE-FM”

A “rag” in the media is a paper with questionable journalistic standards, e.g. with regard to censorship and slanted reporting. The New York Post is a “rag.” Such media, however, is not only found on the Rupert Murdoch “right.” Less overtly right wing papers such as The New York Times and The Daily News also practice censorship
and manage the news. I know from personal experience. In the coming months UP FRONT News will publish the “Rag” Time series, focusing mainly on the New York media, print and broadcast.

Interestingly those who often yowl most persistently about free speech and a free press are print and broadcast media on the so called “left.” Classic examples are WBAI radio,The Village Voice and the misnomered Indypendent.

I first learned of censorship at “listener-sponsored” WBAI somewhat vicariously late in the last millennium. Over the years I’ve been on several WBAI programs (“Casual Labor”, “Listener Action”, and late Fred Geobald’s “Light Show”) as a guest in the 1970’s and 1980’s. During the 1980’s a lady, Ms. T., a guest at an event at my home, who had been very active at WBAI, asked me if I was aware of the “purges” at the station. While I was somewhat knowledgeable about political infighting at WBAI and at the fund-source Pacifica Foundation, I had never heard the term “purges” used previously. Ms. T. proceeded to describe a scenario in which episodically decisions were reached by the powers-that-be or powers-that-were whereby various people, including employees, volunteers, and program guests were to be separated from the station.

Indeed, I ran headlong into a purge during the so-called “Listener Action for Housing and Homelessness” Christmas season events culminating in a Manhattan demonstration During the 1980’s. This operation was run by a WBAI talk show host named Paul GorMan, who was also a public relations big shot at St. John’s Cathedral. Gorman, who refused to answer questions from participants about management of monies raised from the public during “Listener Action” and about opening the door to Lenora Fulani and her then New Alliance Party neo-fascists, had me physically barred from the station.

My second experience with WBAI games took place when I helped a gifted and very underground, but also very temperamental, musician named Bob Musial get onto one
of WBAI veteran Bob Fass’ shows with me as a co-guest. Fass made certain that I would not be able to say one word on the air. Someone got to the politically controlling Fass be- tween the invitation to me and the program date.

For some months at least in the not too distant past, Mr. Fass has used WBAI as a
Propaganda mouthpiece for Geoffrey Blank, a neo-fascist masquerading as a free speech advocate. Geoffrey Blank, thoroughly exposed in UP FRONT News and facing some likely negative coverage in some mainstream media, is the now multiply convicted criminally inclined psychopathic demagogue who, over a period of time, almost succeeded in politically hijacking a free speech group known as the No Police State Coalition. To summarize (the details are on the internet at www.tomsupfrontnews.blogspot.com) Blank moved in on a group started by activists such as Dennis Griggs and Richie Degen, and literally, while spouting “left” and sometimes jihad-type rhetoric and calling for “free speech”, with threats, violence and embezzlement, tried to intimidate others, conspicuously me, at speakouts in Union Square Park in Manhattan. Blank is also, as first reported in UP FRONT News, directly tied to a group, calling itself the Freedom Socialist Party” that, according to an unrebutted article in the December 26, 2005 New York Post (even that paper can sometimes get a story right), is under international investigation for links to terrorism in Iraq. Indeed, to my knowledge, FSP spokesperson and Blank buddy Stephen Durham has never disavowed his quoted condoning of Zarqawi’s hostage beheadings. But then, Blank used to regale nauseated observers in Union Square with his praises of Saddam Hussein. WBAI, which most certainly knows UP FRONT News, knowingly kept a neo-fascist on the air, while, in another act of censorship, not mentioning one syllable about the fact - as reported in quite a bit of other media - of my candidacy for the U.S. Senate. After receiving several e-mails from me, WBAI executives downgraded Blank somewhat.

WBAI has lost some good people, such as Robert Knight, because of politics. It has failed to cover many major stories, such as the continuing Genocide in Tibet, such as the continuing influence of for example the fascist chameleon (and apparent Blank role model) Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr. in American politics, particularly with the racist Lenora Fulani via the Green and Independence Parties.

If we have to depend on WBAI to protect our civil liberties we are in bad shape indeed. No wonder some leftists - not including me - have resorted to listening to right wing radio.
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