Sunday, July 16, 2006

The long and winding edition

The long and winding edition.

This is the last thing we're writing for this edition. (Already written pieces will post shortly after.) This is written solely by the core six (Jim, Ty, Dona, Ava, Jess and C.I.).

Should we write about this or not. C.I. thought enough ("more than enough") on the subject had already been said. But we know from the e-mails that readers are expecting something about the topic.

With the exception of Trina, all I have weighed in last week. With the exception of C.I. all have delinked from the site. (Jess points out Kat never linked to it.)

There are a number of points that have been raised. Rebecca even stopped her vacation long enough to address the topic. It's a topic that's on the minds of most community members.

C.I. wrote on it and the rest of us think it was nicely put. We don't, however, share the feelings. We think the show has made errors, yes. The rest of us don't, however, think it's just a down slide or, if it is that, that it's going to turn around shortly. The guest list has been opened up and that could be a good thing if the guest were challenged but that's not been happening. Thomas Friedman got to say whatever he wanted and Amy Goodman's concern seemed to be not with the misinformation he was broadcasting but in noting that she'd had a former member of the Israeli government on the show. We still can't believe that, later, she had said guest on the show and when he was offended with the way a topic was being explored (the other two guests weren't offended) she apologized (on air). We're aware that there are future guests (or they think they will be guests) gearing up to pull a page from the Michael R. Gordon and Thomas Friedman play book which is where you speak dismissively to Goodman and just keep blathering on and you can get away with it.

We were also upset to learn that the show had been contacted about Nancy A. Youssef's article breaking the news that the US government was keeping a body count of Iraqis (despite the oft repeated claim of "We don't do body counts"). We think it should have been noted the second the story broke. We think the fact that it wasn't and that it still wasn't even after it was brought to their attention is pretty embarrassing.

(We also wonder why the show asks for input to begin with if, when a story breaks from a news source they often cite and by a reporter they have had on their show, they're not interested in the news -- it was NEWS.)

The Gaza coverage was a huge let down. The 'roundtable' on Mexico was disappointing.

Maybe C.I.'s correct and it's just a down cycle that will reverse shortly?

That could be. But three of us (Ty, Dona and Jim) reached the point of no return with the show when it used last week's e-mail summary of the program to promote a website that we a) find objectionable, b) find questionable considering all the rumors, c) do not consider it indymedia (nor does that site consider itself that judging by the site owner's essay in The Nation), and d) is a very partisan site. We don't think the show needs to be promoting Democratic sites or Republican sites. It's supposed to be above that fray.

All six of us agree that what we were being steered to wasn't worth reading on any level. C.I. has called it the equivalent of a yearbook post ("2 Cool 2 Be 4gotten") and Ava goes further likening it to a bathroom stall scribble ("For a good time call . . .").

Why promote something so vaccuous and worthless?

The only conclusion the six of us could theorize was an attempt to get in with the site in question in some manner. We find that even more embarrassing.

That site was offensive to Ty. It was irritating to Jim and Dona who've despised it since before this site started.

We agree with Kat's post that a better time could have been chosen to demand that The Common Ills stop promoting the show. ("Could and should have," Jess adds.) But we firmly believe that immediate action was needed. If we promote a site and they're promoting a site we don't believe in, then we're aiding the site we've made a point to avoid.

The show seems to have rested its future success (continued success) with that site. Good luck to the show. But that was the final straw.

A non-inclusive site that's seen as unwelcoming to many African-Americans, that's been dismissive of reprodutive issues as well as to women (even driving off huge numbers last summer) is a problem in and of itself before you get to the whole 'remaking the Party' issues.

We won't promote that site. Now that the show, which was supposed to be non-partisan and providing an independent look, wants to, it will have to go on without our support. We have no use for it now.

The promotion of the site only made it necessary that the break be done when it was done. However, we (and this is true of the community as a whole) were growing disenchanted for awhile as Iraq was treated, to steal from Mike's well received column and speech, "as an After Thought." C.I. is opposed to the way this sentence is going to end but the rest of us want it noted because we agree with Mike, it's a long road from brave voice for East Timor to link whore.

We weren't aware that the show was hurting an audience. Getting the word out on the show is one thing, repeatedly promoting an objectionable site is quite another. We're not sure what dyed in the wool Democrats will make of the program but should they start listening or watching, possibly content can be watered down to their liking?

We feel it has been watered down. We feel it was with Gaza and we're still wondering what the softballs thrown to Bill Richardson were all about?

Bad days are one thing. We were bothered by them and that's what started the reassessment. When bad went to really bad, we had serious issues. The show's decision to promote that website was the final straw. We didn't even want to include the headlines last week but C.I. pointed out that Francisco had compiled them (as a favor to C.I.) and out of respect for Francisco (and the topics he selected) we included it.

But we don't promote things we don't believe in. We can't promote a show that's promoting a website we find vile and repugnant.

Over four hours was spent debating how to handle this topic. We finally decided to handle it with the six of us that are responsible for this website. There are varying degrees of disappointment and C.I. has hopes for the show. The other five don't share those hopes. We think it's moving towards something we don't support and can support.

So we're not promoting it here anymore. Were it an Air America Radio show, the promotion of the website wouldn't be so hard to fathom, but this is supposed to be an independent show, not a partisan one. Continued actions could effect its funding (they might be required to promote a partisan, Republican site now since it's not just a Pacifica show but also one that airs on NPR and PBS). We have no idea but we're not in the business of promoting things that give 'shout outs' and 'traffic' to that which disgusts us.
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