Sunday, March 22, 2015

Jim's World (Danny Schechter)

Danny Schecter passed away last week.

The death's led to usual amount of lying.

For example, Amy Goodman 'honored' him on Friday's Democracy Now!

Amy Goodman who he hated and loathed.

I met Danny only once.

He was on the West Coast and showed up at C.I.'s home to beg her for money (she wrote a check).

Outside of that, I knew Danny from the many e-mails he and I exchanged over content at this site.  I also responded to two of his last letters (not e-mails, physical letters) he sent to C.I.

The last one, yet another request for money, had me calling C.I. and reading it to her.  She dictated a brief response which noted (a) whoring for Barack isn't a way to make money and that shouldn't have surprised Danny since some Republicans whoring for Bully Boy Bush had learned that lesson in the previous years, (b) after his attacks on Ruth (carried out by him and an assistant) and his public attack on Marcia, he had a lot of nerve asking her (C.I.) for money and (c) "Tina Turner is my friend, you are not."  The dictated portion ended with something akin to 'you made your bed, lie in it alone.'

Marcia and Ruth can respond to the attacks on them if they'd like to.

I'll try not to speak for them.

But I will note the Tina Turner issue because it's about this site.

Domestic terrorist Ike Turner brutalized and terrorized Tina Turner.

When he died, Danny glorified Ike.

December 16, 2007,  "Ike Turner (Ava and C.I. feature)" was written and went up here.

That was the end of the nice-nice from Danny.

Danny was furious that he was (gently) called out.

He wrote in praise of Ike and said that Tina should forgive him.

That wasn't his place -- not to say that for Tina, not to say it for any victim of violence.

I've met Tina many times when she's visited C.I.  She's never brought up Ike.  I would imagine she's put him long behind her and celebrates the freedom she now has.  If she's found distance and detachment, good for her.

Danny interviewed Tina once and thought that gave him the right to lecture/hector online that she needed to forgive Ike.

After Ava and C.I.'s piece went up, approximately 30 e-mails arrived from Danny.  Some were to this site and I responded, some were specifically to C.I. and I would call her, read her the e-mail and she'd dictate a response.

(Ava and C.I. are not home here in California most weeks.  During the week, they're usually in DC at hearings or across the country on campuses speaking about the wars.)

In one exchange to C.I., Danny wrote (in all caps) that Ike Turner was a "BLACK MAN" and as such his actions were excused.

To which I dictated a reply from C.I. that his chauvinism was the chauvinism of the left still present but dying out whereby a Black man trumps everything "even the abuse and battery of an African-American woman.  Your worship of the Black penis may enlighten your erotic fantasies but it's created your own denial on the level of an Israeli who can't acknowledge what's being done to Palestinians."

I found that exchange interesting.

I didn't see at that time what C.I. was seeing.

I wouldn't until  candidate Barack emerged and one White male after another on the left -- one White male of a certain age -- made excuses and whored for Barack (who is bi-racial as my millennial generation knows but who the Baby Boomer male left identifies as "Black").

For example, February 17, 2008, we noted this statement:

I think it is ridiculous not to acknowledge that a black candidate at this level is fundamentally different from all white candidates who have come before or who are now competing. the more so a black candidate who has risked jail by doing drugs, and who has relatives TODAY living in the Third World (Kenya).

We didn't identify the ridiculous, elderly White man making it, to explain his refusal to criticize Barack, but it was David Lindorff.

As numerous e-mails came in from various name Boomer White men we called out in 2008, I got what C.I. was saying.

The White Baby Boomer left refuses to call out any African-American male even slightly left.  They will spin and justify out of their guilt.

They couldn't call out Barack out of their guilt.

They were useless.

They were useless for the last six years.

That's how I will remember Danny who, up until right after Ed Snowden's disclosures, still sent this site angry e-mails that I'd reply to.

Danny felt we were wrong to criticize Barack on the Iraq War, on illegal spying, on Libya, on Guantanamo and on the economy.

In one of his last e-mails, Danny wrote, "As a black man, he faces real risks and could be killed by the government at any time."

Imprisoned in the past, Danny could never acknowledge that Barack was now the government, was now 'The Man,' and that he was responsible for his own actions.

For Danny, it was all about skin color.

I can go into that even more including a very disturbing e-mail Danny wrote.

And, by the way, if you've exchanged e-mails with me and you die, those e-mails are not confidential in death.  (Also, I've never allowed that they would be confidential in life.  C.I. tends to honor that but that is her policy not mine.)

It's an interesting pass that Danny created and he wasn't the only one.

Again, we may go into that some day soon.  For example, Tom Hayden's health is supposedly very poor.  I'd love to write about Tom.

For now, I'll note that Danny did some important work early on during the Iraq War.

That was his golden moment.

By 2006, he'd walked away from the topic.

By 2007, he'd walked away from his own beliefs.

In various e-mails, he attacked various people on the left.

Some of the attacks, I agreed with, some I didn't.

His attack on Amy Goodman was specific to her refusal to talk economics and her refusal to question the government.  Not Barack, the government.

He felt Amy was a defender of the status quo.

He may or may not be right about that.

But he was correct to complain that Amy mocked her audience as ignorant and uninformed and told him, on a break, to simplify his remarks or she'd change the topic.

His other slam I agreed with was of Kris Welch on KPFA.  He'd appeared on Living Room and was furious that Kris was unprepared for the interview and that she tried to cover by bringing in other topics when they were supposed to be discussing the economy.

For the record, he only attacked women in his e-mails.

I never understood his raging about Tina Brown (who he worked for) and his complaints there seemed petty at best.

When whistle blower Ed Snowden came forward with the revelations of illegal spying, Danny e-mailed about some praise that C.I. had offered at The Common Ills.  (We all stand up for Ed and praise his whistle blowing.)  But he said we were wrong to slam Barack because Barack would use this exposure to finally go after Bully Boy Bush for illegalities.

Danny didn't seem to grasp that these were crimes both Bully Boy Bush and Barack had committed and that, as Ed was already saying publicly, he'd hoped that things would change with Barack's presidency and, when there was no change, that was why he went public.

I explained that in an e-mail.

Danny replied with a weak response and another justification of how Barack "is an innocent because of his skin color.  Even if he did the same things Bush did, this is different because he is black and we should refrain from criticizing him."

The Baby Boomer's liberal White guilt will apparently never go away.  Fortunately, they will die off.

Fortunately, my generation believes in accountability.

That's  Danny Schechter's The Death of Media is a must-read. We discussed the book  and also did a second piece on it.

In my opinion. that's his finest work.

It's a shame he couldn't live the beliefs he espoused in this book.

But that doesn't mean others can't.

Danny also made documentaries.

His Weapons of Mass Deception is one we repeatedly praised over the years and is probably his best documentary. He was slammed by some documentary makers for his approach but that approach really screwed with the format and made for a highly effective film.

After that documentary, I'd praise the one he was most proud of, the one he raised when I met him at C.I.'s home, Beyond 'JFK:' The Question of Conspiracy.

This was a project he worked on with Barbara Kopple that you can find on the deluxe edition of Oliver Stone's JFK film.

Danny believed that JFK was assassinated as part of a coup staged by elements of the government.  He found it outrageous that Amy Goodman's "drive for respectability" kept her from exploring this story.  He felt that the left needed to challenge official stories such as the assassination of JFK, the assassination of MLK, the Paul Wellstone plane crash and 9-11.

He went on at length about the co-opting of the left, the left's desire for respectability and so much more.  And maybe if 2008 had seen the election of Hillary Clinton or John McCain could have allowed Danny to maintain his ethics.

But his own limitations and personal blindness and bias and, most of all, guilt made his final years one long public embarrassment.

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