…..have openly demoted themselves to special correspondents. I’d like to think it’s a public commentary on the limitations of network anchoring and a true hunger to produce 20th-century, middlebrow magazine-like narrative–and those professional aspects might play a part. But hearing these goodbyes, it really sounds more like the intimate results of a work-life balance self-inventory, a real understanding that they are in a post-COVID/pre-old-age-illness vortex. (I mean, even Amy Goodman–who used to helm Democracy Now! no matter how sick she got!–actually took a day off last week to be part of a relative’s graduation.) In Chuck’s case, it’s almost like someone in his family told him, “You’re missing it.” Well, now he, Judy and Rachel won’t.
Tag Archives: Democracy Now!
My Conversation w/Dayvon Love Of The Leaders Of A Beautiful Struggle About “The Intellectual Legacy of Mumia Abu-Jamal”
I wanted to fix some goofs and omissions here from this November 2022 interview. The name of the Philadelphia NAACP president I didn’t remember was Cecil Moore. The “Hinton” I mentioned was Elizabeth Hinton. Also, I meant “ECO-system,” not “ECHO-system.” And the documentary with Raoul Peck was Exterminate All The Brutes, available on HBO Max, platform also containing 40 Years a Prisoner, Mike Africa Jr.’s journey with his MOVE parents.
Judy, Barbara And Juan: Random Thoughts About A Journalism-Filled Holiday Weekend
Watching and, frankly, enjoying the unapologetically hagiographic network television tributes to the semi-retired Judy Woodruff and newly-deceased Barbara Walters over the weekend, and then waking up to this Juan Gonzalez speech on Democracy Now!, shows how stark differences in mainstream American journalism can be–or at least, used to be, pre-Web and pre-1,000 channels. I accept my membership in Juan’s camp. But it’s clear to do today and tomorrow what he did means using Substack, etc. Effective mainstream journalism has this weird history of coming out of the American muckraking and capitalist traditions, and the millions made by mass advertising created a lot of space for approaches that don’t exist today. So you have to make them yourself, the way I.F. Stone and those folks did.
What’s also interesting to me is how in America, “alternative” spaces, if created by middle-class whites, can eventually become mainstream–or, as some critics of the mainstream would say, co-opted. We remember that at its creation almost 50 years ago, The MacNeil/Lehrer Report and All Things Considered, the newsmagazine of National Public Radio, were silent critiques of, and alternatives to, commercial mainstream news. (Note that among NPR’s alumni is former Philadelphia radio journalist and now Leftist legend Mumia Abu-Jamal.) Almost 30 years ago, Democracy Now! was a radical, almost anarchist critique of the million-dollar media institution it now is. 😉 I guess it now sees itself through that Gonzalez lens of outsider-within-the-inside. Which makes me think: is the middle-class, millionaire blond public television anchor Judy Woodruff just a “purer” version of her commercial counterpart, the long-ago-gone-Hollywood Barbara Walters? It’s a good, fair question.
In 2023 and beyond, more and more truthtellers must struggle with Amiri Baraka’s words, applied to race but easily, in this monochromatic circumstance, given to class:
I know it’s hard to be Black, and we’re all controlled by white folks.
[W.E.B.] Du Bois said we always have the double consciousness.
We’re trying to be Black, and meanwhile you got a white ghost hovering over your head that says, “If you don’t do this, you’ll get killed. If you don’t do this, you won’t get no money. If you don’t do this, nobody’ll think you’re beautiful. If you don’t do this, nobody’ll think you’re smart.”
That’s the ghost.
You’re trying to be Black and the ghost is telling you to be a ghost.
I appreciate Walters intervening Egyptian president Anwar Sadat. But I appreciate more that she said a few years ago that in today’s commercial news media climate, no one would care about it. I will appreciate what Woodruff soon will teach me about parts of America of which I know nothing. But I still see ghosts in my TV tube. And with money and stardom on the line, very few Juan Gonzalez-es who will challenge powerful people like Woodruff’s and Walters’ employers.
Juan Gonzalez’s Final NYC Lectures (Before Moving To Chicago)
More on Juan Gonzalez can be found here.
I Guess It Really *Is* A “Family Affair”
My God, who wouldn’t want to adopt Buffy, Jody and Cissy? As a lark, I started binging Family Affair on Prime. It’s a show I vaguely remember from early-to-mid 1970s syndication, since its span (1966-1971) reaches into my zygote-to-“I’m tree-years-old” period. This New York City sitcom was so goody-goody CBS added it to the list of popular rural shows it canceled–all those segregated Mayberrys and Junctions–so the network could enter into the Norman Lear years.
I admit to thoroughly enjoying the show, but I get CBS’ point. Star Trek is more realistic than some episodes. 🙂 Viewed from a 21st-century cultural mirror, the premise could be described as almost a monochrome Diff’rent Strokes: Bill Davis (Brian Keith), a well-off Westside playboy who is Hugh Hefner’s vision personified, adjusts to his dead brother’s kids, who are dumped on him and his valet, Giles French (Sebastian Cabot, also known as the narrator of the original Winnie-the-Pooh Disney animated classics). Davis’ and French’s smoothness-ness interruptedus, the upscale, not-motley crew quickly gel as a family. Although this first season is about the children’s trauma of being orphaned, separated and emotionally abandoned (“Do you really love me? Am I really staying here?” is a common and recurring theme), the tyke’s tears are always dried, their concerns forever found and met.
One particular episode had me on a steady chuckle. Through a misunderstanding, Buffy and Jody, the 6-year-old twins, are left on their own in New York City. They walk around by themselves, Buffy holding a $20 bill visibly in her hand, and nothing bad happens to them. In fact, a nice Latino sees the little darlings and immediately helps them find their way back to Uncle Bill. I mean, who wouldn’t?
Then there is reality:
No Buffys, Jodys or Cissys in Haiti or Cameroon. Wah-wah.
When I saw Biden with this kid, I subconsciously thought, “Whew! Buffy’s no longer in danger! Okay, back to our regularly scheduled programming” 🙂
MOVE Organization Press Conference (4-26-21)
UPDATE: MOVE Protest on 4-28-21:
UPDATE: Some of Democracy Now!‘s coverage:
Mumia Abu-Jamal, on “Democracy Now!”, Speaks About the DNC
Albert Woodfox of the “Angola 3” Is Free!
And Thinking of Music And Conscious Words…..
……Juan Gonzalez, a journalist and historian who is ridiculously deserving of AT LEAST the Deadline Club’s New York Journalism Hall of Fame.
And Happy Early Birthday!