It's strange, difficult and a bit uncomfortable reporting on the $12 million U.S. Chamber disinfo plot and smear campaign after finding myself (and my family), much less VelvetRevolution.us (VR), the non-profit organization co-founded by The BRAD BLOG, as direct targets of it. As you might have assumed, there is much going on behind the scenes that I can't report on at this time, but I've been happy to see some fairly decent coverage --- even by some in the print MSM, if not much in the broadcast media yet --- of this important, disturbing and still developing story.
It's easier to talk and opine on what I've learned about the plot, as I've been doing in a lot of media interviews over the past week (a few of those radio appearances are linked below), than it is to actually report on it, per se. Yet, there have been several noteworthy points and advancements in the story over the past week since I originally covered it in depth here on Monday.
New information being dug up over the last several days, since I initially reported on this story in depth at the beginning of the week, now indicates that the Chamber Plotters had likely intended to use cyber attacks and hacks against us as well.
Those key updates, and the very quickest of backgrounders for those unfamiliar with the sordid tale up until now, follow below...
So, despite all the sturm und drang, despite all the outraged comments from both Republican and Democratic officials, despite all the calls for its founder Julian Assange to be assassinated without trial, criminal charges of any kind, or any due process whatsoever, despite the Vice President of the United States even smearing him as a "terrorist" on network television, it turns out there has been no substantive damage at all from leaked documents published by WikiLeaks and their partner media outfits, according to Mark Hosenball at Reuters, as based on interviews with government officials.
In short, as Salon's Glenn Greenwald describes it today, "To say that the Obama administration's campaign against WikiLeaks has been based on wildly exaggerated and even false claims is to understate the case. But now, there is evidence that Obama officials have been knowingly lying in public about these matters."
Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) said on Friday that the Federal Communications Commission should reinstate the fairness doctrine for broadcast television to ensure that multiple sides of controversial topics are offered to the public.
“For over the airwaves TVs, I think they should bring it back,” said Nadler on Fox Business News with Andrew Napolitano.
“I think it makes sense for people to be able to hear as many sides of political opinions as possible, and as long as it's the people's airwaves that should be used for that purpose.”
Nadler’s comments come in the wake of the recent shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), which has re-launched the debate over what role heated political rhetoric plays in the spurring people to take violent actions.
Nadler's comments follow on the heals of remarks by Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) following the shootings in Tucscon. "Free speech is as free speech does," he is quoted by the The Post and Courier as saying. "You cannot yell ‘fire' in a crowded theater and call it free speech and some of what I hear, and is being called free speech, is worse than that."
Despite originally calling for a "clarif[ication of] the public interest obligations of broadcasters who occupy the nation's spectrum" on the White House website the day he was inaugurated, the Obama Administration has since retreated after false charges by the Right that Democrats intended to "censor" Rightwing talk radio. The passage was quickly removed from the White House website and, more recently, the Administrationhas said they have no interest in revisiting the Fairness Doctrine. (Though, we should note, that doctrine is not the only way to help restore fairness and balance to our public airwaves.)
The Fairness Doctrine, which had been enforced by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) since 1949, required those who used the limited and publicly licensed broadcast airwaves to at least attempt to offer opposing views on controversial issues, was ordered abolished by President Reagan in 1987.
The doctrine's abandonment immediately paved the way for round-the-clock, one-sided propaganda from nationally syndicated talk radio hosts such as Rush Limbaugh and scores of others.
Diversity of viewpoints shared in the public interest over our public airwaves was further brought to an end by the federal Telecommunications Act of 1996, signed by President Clinton. The act, sold as a "boon to competition in the market" lifted the cap on the number of radio and TV station licenses that could be procured by a single corporation. For example, prior to the Telecom Act, the Clear Channel corporation owned just 59 radio and TV stations nationwide. After passage of the act, they were allowed to purchase and control more than 1,200.
In the bargain, real competition --- and virtually all pretense of fairness and balance --- on our public broadcast airwaves largely died, rather than flourish as supporters of the Telecom act had claimed (and as detractors, such as Ralph Nader, had predicted), as corporations were allowed to hold virtual monopoly control over political viewpoints on the nation's airwaves in nearly all major cities across the country.
A discussion I had earlier this week with the non-partisan Allen Handelman on North Carolina's powerful 100k watt "Super Station," FM Talk 101.1 WZTK was particularly enlightening, I think. Most interesting was that the bulk of the callers --- even though I had been hoping for folks to call in disagreeing with my take --- seemed to generally agree with me. That, even on this station in supposedly "red" NC which features both non-RW talkers as well as far RW misinformants and miscreants such as Michael Savage and Neal Boortz who use our publicly owned airwaves to skew the nation with damnable lies and propaganda.
Happily, NC's FM Talk 101.1 is the exception to the national rule, as it uses its licensed airwaves to serve the public interest, as they are supposed to by law, by offering a variety of political viewpoints. In the bargain, they are the area's #1 talk station (yes, even beating the stations which carry Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, etc.). That, of course, would go against a lot of the "conventional wisdom" (propagated, naturally, by RWingers) which says that NC is "red," that RWingers only want to listen to RW talk, and that folks like Limbaugh and Hannity are so "good" and so many people agree with their "point of view" that they can't be beat. Of course, having the biggest 100k watt blowtorch in town never hurts either, as is the case in most places where the most powerful signal also seems to receive the most listeners for some odd reason.
So where RW stations are placed on 50,000 watt clear channel transmitters, they tend to handily beat the 1k and 5k and 10k stations where one may be able to hear progressive talk --- if you are in a town lucky enough to have such a station and live close enough to its transmitter to actually hear it.
If you'd like to listen to my two "hours" (with commercials already removed, they're really about 40 mins each) with Allen, they can be downloaded or listened to online below. My thanks to Allen for both having me and for sharing the audio files. He also informs me that he'll be re-playing these two hours on his nationally syndicated show as well this weekend...
A moment like Columbine, like Fort Hood, like Oklahoma City, yet different; different because the madman's rampage that targeted Tucson, Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was predictable.
It's hot in Tucson --- temperatures soar to 117 degrees in the summertime. But that's nothing compared to the political heat generated recently in this community just an hour north of the Mexican border. Nowhere in the country were the 'Tea Parties' angrier than in Arizona; rage over healthcare and immigration reform boiled over in Tucson.
Who wouldn't be incensed? Reports of increased crime, beheadings on the borders, government takeover of health care, death panels. Given all that, who would not stand and fight to protect their grandmothers?
If all that were actually true. But of course, it is not true. Those reports and other fabrications like them are a creation of Right Wing Talk Radio. It isn't just the vitriol spewing from Savage and Hannity and Boortz and others, it is what is behind the vitriol: a genuine fear born of propaganda. And as a culture, we the people are buying into it.
So, regardless of whether the alleged shooter Jared Lee Loughner actually listened to any of the six "Conservative" stations on the dial in Tucson, Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik was correct when he blamed the attack on a cultural environment built of Talk Radio...
You are also anything but "conservative," since the core of that ideology used to include personal responsibility. Taking none, unfortunately, seems to be the new hallmark of the no longer any more than name-only movement.
Remember what happened after this video-taped moment in September of 2009, when Nancy Pelosi called for "taking responsibility for our words" before tearing up while recalling the assassination of Harvey Milk in her own district in the 70's, and while decrying the scores of death threats and broken windows at offices of Democratic members of Congress after they'd voted in favor of Health Care Reform?...
We're in again tonight guest hosting the nationally syndicated Mike Malloy Show.
We're BradCasting LIVE, coast-to-coast and around the globe, as usual, from the studios of L.A.'s KTLK am1150 9pm-Midnight ET (6p-9p PT). Join us by tuning in, chatting in, Tweeting in and calling in! The LIVE chat room will be up and rolling, as usual, right here at The BRAD BLOG during the show, so please come on by and say hey 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.)
PLUS: Whatever else comes up along the way, including your calls at 877-520-1150 and tweets to @TheBradBlog!...
The Mike Malloy Show is nationally syndicated on air affiliates acros the country and also on Sirius Ch. 146 & XM Ch. 167. You may also listen online to the free LIVE audio stream at affiliate GREEN 960 in San Francisco or via MikeMalloy.com.
Secrets and lies. Secrets and lies. Virtually every problem our nation (and world) now faces, seem to stem from secrets and lies. We'll be discussing that throughout the evening, as WikiLeaks changes our world, and as I guest-host the nationally syndicated Mike Malloy Show once again tonight.
We're BradCasting LIVE once again from L.A.'s KTLK am1150 9pm-Midnight ET (6p-9p PT). Join us by tuning in, chatting in, Tweeting in and calling in! The LIVE chat room will be up and rolling right here at The BRAD BLOG during the show as ever, so come on by 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.)
Don't miss tonight's show!
The Mike Malloy Show is nationally syndicated on air affiliates across the country and also on Sirius Ch. 146 & XM Ch. 167. You may also listen online to the free LIVE audio stream at affiliate GREEN 960 in San Francisco or via MikeMalloy.com.
MUCH MORE ON SECRETS & LIES: Including CNN's recent (and shameful) segment/interview with FBI vet Ray McGovern in which the cable net compared WikiLeaks Assange to a "TERRORIST", and (so far, unreported) details on my conversations with both Lemon and CNN that followed; The deplorably inhumane condititions alleged leaker Manning is being held in, and support for him by other legendary whistelblowers such as "Pentagon Papers" whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg (who I also recently interviewed on this topic); My thoughts on the tremendous, maddening and heart-breaking new film Fair Game, telling the story of secrets, lies and purposely harmful leaks by the Bush Administration in the Valerie Plame case, and much much more...
PLUS: As if that's all not enough, whatever else comes up along the way and your calls at 877-520-1150 and tweets to @TheBradBlog!...
It's been quiet around here over the last 24 hours or so, largely because I've been absolutely fascinated following what is going on with WikiLeaks across the net, the nation and the world, despite the decidedly much-less-than-one-might-have-otherwise-expected coverage of the continuing fall out from new documents as they are released, the unprecedented cyber/info war for and against them which continues to rage, and the various whistleblowing heroes speaking up in defense of the "revolutionary" media organization.
For the record, to date, WikiLeaks has released just 1,295 out of the 251,287 leaked diplomatic cables they purportedly have so far. That's about "0.5% down, 99.5% to go" as they tweeted today. That, despite the inaccuracies you'll continue to hear and read in the media about the organization "causing havoc" and being "anarchists" by "indiscriminately dumping 250,000 classified documents!" It should be noted that almost all of the cable documents released to date have been published first by WikiLeaks' media partners such as the UK's Guardian, Germany's Der Spiegel, Spain's El Pais and the New York Times.
Never mind the very serious substance of the cables themselves --- it's not simply "embarrassing gossip" and "nothing new" as many in the media are shamefully downplaying it, perhaps because they didn't report it first! --- there is so much information and opinion flying out here about WikiLeaks and Assange themselves, it is difficult, if not impossible, to keep up with it all. In general, if you haven't noticed over the years, I only tend post when I feel I have something to contribute to any particular issue. So, of late, I've simply been trying to take much of it in, trying to make sense of it all in this extraordinary moment in history, and tweeting items of note (via @TheBradBlog) as I come across them in the bargain.
A few of those things, and a discussion --- at times, a somewhat contentious debate --- I had with someone on Twitter today in regard to WikiLeaks and Assange et al, are below, and I'd very much love to hear your thoughts on all of it. Read on...
See Greenwald's piece last week at Salon on Sen. Joe Lieberman "emulating Chinese dictators" by what seems to be an abuse of his post as Chair of the Senate Homeland Security Committee in helping to intimidate WikiLeaks' Internet server Amazon.com into shutting them down, and some in the MSM's support of the notion that WikiLeaks is the bad actor here, despite having broken no laws and being charged with no crime.
This seems to be all out "Information/Cyber War", at the very least, and like nothing we've ever seen in this country. Greenwald has more on all of this today, and it's chilling --- particularly his UPDATE on that link.
Some 250,000 classified cables and embassy dispatches from the State Department are being released today via WikiLeaks latest, and reportedly largest, document dump ever. Within the last hour, news reports based on those documents have begun to be published by various world media outlets that are said to have been given advanced access.
Many, if not most, covert operations deserve to be disclosed by a free press. They are often covert not only because they are illegal but because they are wildly ill-conceived and reckless. "Sensitive" and "covert" are often synonyms for "half-assed," "idiotic," and "dangerous to national security," as well as "criminal."
As well, John F. Kennedy's April 1961 speech on what he described as this nation's abhorrence of secrecy, and the necessity of a free press --- as delivered to the American Newspaper Publishers Association at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York a year or so before his death --- is rather astonishing, and more than a bit ironic, in light of today's leaks and, as directly, the actions of the Executive Branch and its enablers in this country --- in Congress, in the mainstream media and in the public --- over the past dark decade. JFK's remarks include these thoughts among others that must be heard or read...
The very word "secrecy" is repugnant in a free and open society; and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths and to secret proceedings. We decided long ago that the dangers of excessive and unwarranted concealment of pertinent facts far outweighed the dangers which are cited to justify it.
And there is very grave danger that an announced need for increased security will be seized upon by those anxious to expand its meaning to the very limits of official censorship and concealment.
And no official of my Administration, whether his rank is high or low, civilian or military, should interpret my words here tonight as an excuse to censor the news, to stifle dissent, to cover up our mistakes or to withhold from the press and the public the facts they deserve to know.
No President should fear public scrutiny of his program. For from that scrutiny comes understanding; and from that understanding comes support or opposition. And both are necessary.
Here is a five minute or so excerpt from that speech (the full 19-minute version, and complete text transcript are both posted here)...
Please read on for both a transcript of the above video excerpt, and one or two more quick, but noteworthy, thoughts on it thereafter...
I hope you'll join me as I guest-host the nationally syndicated Mike Malloy Show again for a few days this week. I'll be on duty tonight (Tuesday), as well as Wednesday & Friday.
We'll be BradCasting LIVE from L.A.'s KTLK am1150 9pm-Midnight ET (6p-9p PT) as usual. Please join us by tuning in, chatting in, Tweeting in and calling in! The LIVE chat room will be up and rolling right here at The BRAD BLOG during the show as ever, so come on by 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.)
So far scheduled for tonight's show...
OH SEC OF STATE JENNIFER BRUNNER. Now that Ohio has again elected a Republican Governor and Sec. of State, will the 2012 Presidential Election look like the 2004 disaster in the Buckeye State? We'll talk about that and much more with the state's outgoing Democratic SoS.
TIMOTHY KARR of FreePress.net and MediaCitizen joins us to discuss the uncertain future for Net Neutrality and, oh, whatever became of that whole Fairness Doctrine thing, and that horrific Telecommunications Act that is now destroying the country?
PLUS: A whole whole bunch more from today's news, your calls at 877-520-1150 and tweets to @TheBradBlog!...
The Mike Malloy Show is nationally syndicated on air affiliates around the country and also on Sirius Ch. 146 & XM Ch. 167. You may also listen online to the free LIVE audio stream at affiliate GREEN 960 in San Francisco or via MikeMalloy.com.
POST-SHOW UPDATE: Fighting with a cold all night, I think we still had a helluva good show! But you'll tell me. The commercial-free --- and yes, UNCENSORED! Hear what got dumped from the air! --- audio archives are now posted below. See if you can spot the wingnut troll before I did in the final hour! (And the chat room archive is below as well, if you like.) See ya tomorrow night!...
In the October issue of O magazine, Democratic consultant and commentator Donna Brazile did the unthinkable: she used the "F" word --- in Oprah Winfrey's publication, no less! Eyebrows are being raised across the political spectrum.
Okay, not that "F" word, a different one which is, apparently, far more controversial these days: Brazile says that if she "were in charge" her first priority would be to bring back the Fairness Doctrine." She says that that would require "holders of broadcast licenses to present controversial issues of public importance in an honest, equitable, and balanced fashion."
To the uninitiated, bringing Fairness to the public airwaves --- broadcast radio and TV --- is a no-brainer. But to Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and an army of 550,000 amassed to keep the nation's radio airwaves under "conservative" control, Brazile's declaration of priorities could be a call to arms. Is it possible that the Democratic establishment is finally ready for a fight to take control of their message? While no longer with the DNC, Brazile is still closely aligned with the Democratic power establishment after all.
Okay, time for a bit of history.
Our elders will remember a time when radio was America's number one source of news and information. And they remember being horrified at how Tokyo Rose and our enemies used the radio airwaves to promote hate and propaganda against the U.S.
So they watched as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and radio station owners worked together to prevent propaganda from ever being broadcast over the public airwaves in these United States of America. This coalition of government and business put the "Fairness Doctrine" in place to ensure a healthy, reasoned discourse so critical to our democracy.
The thing is --- and a point important for those who believe much more information is now available on cable and the Internet --- radio is still America's number one source of news and information. More people listen to radio than watch television, read newspapers, or go online. Nearly fifty million people in the U.S. listen to talk radio.
But Fairness? Equal Time? Reasoned discourse? Those went out the window in 1987 with - drumroll, please - President Ronald Reagan...
The political positions of those describing themselves as sympathetic to the "Tea Party" represent a vast minority view, far outside of the mainstream positions represented by 2008 voters, according to a new poll commissioned by Project Vote.
The study finds self-described "Tea Partiers," and their political concerns, are far outweighed by the views of everyone else, despite the absurdly out-of-proportion coverage granted to them by the corporate mainstream media.
Analysis of the findings from around the net also underscores what we've long argued here at The BRAD BLOG: the Tea Baggers don't actually give a damn about "the deficit" or even the Constitution. If they did, they wouldn't have waited until after Republicans lost the elections in 2008 to start marching and decrying the deficit explosion (and supposed concerns about Constitutional rights) brought about under the previous Administration. They would have been out marching along with the real Tea Partiers, those who supported Ron Paul as long ago as 2007, and his concerns about unbridled deficit spending and the trampling of Constitutional rights during the eight years of the Bush Administration.
Here are some of the key findings from the new poll. In them, we learn what every MSMer should have endeavored to figure out and take into account long ago, before granting so much free exposure to the radical extremist fringe represented by these people...
I'll be on a panel discussing "The Death & Life of American Journalism," along with fellow journalists Jason Leopold, Marc Cooper, Bill Carter, and Kathleen Sharp. I'm told I'll be able to sign DVDs of Murder, Spies & Voting Lies: The Clint Curtis Story afterward.
A recently published book by media scholar Robert McChesney and The Nation's Washington correspondent, John Nichols, says "American Journalism is collapsing." Investigative reporter Jason Leopold will discuss this explosive claim with a panel of seasoned journalists. The conversation will center on media coverage of hot-button issues including the demise of ACORN, the Bush administration's torture policies, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.
Our panel is 2:00pm - 3:00pm at the fair's "Current Events & Hot Topics Pavilion" in West Hollywood Park, 647 N. San Vicente Blvd., Los Angeles, CA. The event is FREE, there's lots of other stuff going on there as well, and you can get more info here...