Where Have All The Trusted Voices Gone?
I listened to former editor of Harper’s Magazine, Lewis Lapham, on Loud And Clear a while ago. I remember 20 years ago reading his work, but somehow I lost track of him over the years. He was of course brilliant, because he is always brilliant. Which got me to thinking about why I haven’t heard from him of late. And then it struck me: I was listening to him on Sputnik radio, a Russian-backed radio outlet. And every person I especially admired 20 years ago, if they were still around, were available to me now on RT and Sputnik: Dennis Kucinich, Ralph Nader, Greg Palast, Noam Chomsky, Cornel West, John Pilger, Roger Waters, Ralph Nader, just about anyone I could think of. Conversely, all those voices I once heard on NPR or PBS, albeit rarely, have been completely silenced in U.S. media.
Of course, Sputnik IS propaganda. In the same sense Russian radio broadcasting dissenting German voices in Hitler’s Germany would have been propaganda. In the same way Russian radio broadcasting German voices in Weimar Germany would have been propaganda had they done so. And yet, from all accounts from people I respect like Lee Camp, RT never tells him what to say or what to think.
Not too long ago I heard Chris Hedges and Cornell West discussing 19th Century Russian literature, specifically Dostoyevski’s Notes From Underground. On RT. I never heard anything like it on U.S. media. Ever. The closest I can come to this would have been an Aldous Huxley interview I saw on YouTube that was originally from a 1960’s 60 Minutes. But nothing from my lifetime. I can only imagine what hearing something like this when I was younger might have meant to me. Something I could have chanced upon between episodes of Charlie’s Angels and Love Boat. Something that would have made me feel not completely alienated from the culture in which I lived.
I recently saw Time Magazine’s 2002 co-person of the year on CNN, whistleblower Colleen Rowley. Just kidding, I heard her on Sputnik Radio, where she’s a regular guest. There was a time I might have heard her on Wisconsin Public Radio. Just to see what they were talking about there nowadays I turned the dial. The subjects discussed were Dog Cancer, Finding Fish That’s Safe To Eat, and Help For People Starting Restaurants. I didn’t have the heart to explore further.
As I stated recently, I’ve long been a fan of Jeff Cohen, founder of FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting). It was not too long ago I used to watch Jeff Cohen on the FOX news program, Fox News Watch, where they gave feedback on news coverage of important events. FOX News! Now he is persona non grata on U.S. media. The media has no room for someone who critically evaluates the media anymore.
You can hear Jeff on Sputnik’s By Any Means Necessary. I did a YouTube search and I couldn’t find any clips of Jeff Cohen on any major American media of late, though I did find Jeff Cohen, the actor who played Chunk in The Goonies. I also found a clip from Fox News where a Dr. Jeff Cohen talks about colorectal screening. But if you want any kind of critique of U.S. media, you’re going to have to go to Sputnik or RT.
This is how bad U.S. media has become. Don’t let them try to blame it on anyone else. Don’t believe it when they try to make you fear independent voices. Don’t permit yourself to believe that those with integrity yesterday are now traitors to their country. They are speaking the truth, as they have always done. They are just no longer permitted to do so in the United States. Truth has become anathema here.
I make no judgment good or bad about RT or Sputnik except to say that if you want to hear America’s voices of conscience from years past you can find them there. And quite a few people of integrity of the present, as well. Does it make me a traitor to say such things? What’s important to me is that I’m showing loyalty to those people of integrity and courage who inspired me in my past.
I don’t expect corporate media to embrace me anytime soon.