Rebecca: This is a roundtable and I'll be acting as moderator. A note on the typed form, it's a rush transcript so deal with errors. Italics do not work at Betty's site so all titles will be put in parenthesis to allow Betty not to have to worry about insterting parenthesis and to allow greater ease in everyone participating posting at their site. This was a last minute thing. I'd been talking about it for a few weeks and everyone was on board. However, I waited until the last minute today to check out if this was good for everyone. It wasn't good for Dona who had an evening with Jim already etched in stone and with tickets already purchased so she is not participating for that reason. We miss her but more than understand. I'm Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude. Participating in the roundtable are Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man, C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review, The Third Estate Sunday Review's Ava, Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills),Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz, Trina of Trina's Kitchen and and Ruth of Ruth's Report. Betty and Kat are participating by phone, the rest of us are at Trina's. We have a number of things on the agenda but Trina includes a cooking item every week, usually a recipe, so in order to avoid her participating in a lengthy roundtable and writing up a post or partial post, let's get cooking out of the way. Trina?
Trina: This month, many, though not all, in this country will be celebrating Thanksgiving. The two biggest questions in my e-mails were about turkeys and desserts. On turkeys, if you're buying a frozen one early due to sales, allow three extra hours to the recommended defrosting. Defrost in the fridge, but add three hours onto the package directions. We have variable settings in our fridges and one of the big issues is that the turkey's not defrosted when you're ready to start cooking. Allowing to defrost and then remain in the fridge for three extra hours will not hurt it but, most important, for many of us the turkey will just be defrosted after the three extra hours. On desserts. If you're having a one to four person get together, absolutely try a dessert recipe for the first time if you want to. If it's a number greater than that, you do not need to cook something for the first time Thanksgiving Day. More than likely, it will not turn out perfectly and you'll be wondering if people are talking about that and what they are thinking. Four people plus yourself is about the number in which you can comfortably gauge reactions. Anything larger and you'll be making yourself a nervous wreck as you worry inside your head about the reaction.
Rebecca: Good points. Seriously. Everyone's laughing because I'm not a cook, but seriously, good points. I should note that Ava and C.I. are taking notes and that they've agreed to type the thing up if no one's worried about typos or "hear" for "here." They're tired, we all are because it's late, but they're especially tired and we're so thankful that they have -- as usual -- grabbed note taking duties as well as typing, that we don't care about typos. "Rush transcript" is the phrase. They'll be typing this up in an e-mail so that people can just copy and paste the e-mail. That may mean that there are no line breaks between each speaker -- there may be, I'm not sure why that sometimes works and other times doesn't -- but no one will have to space through the entire roundtable to avoid everyone's remarks running continuously as one long paragraph. I'm going to toss Kat with the first topic.
Kat: Before I get to that, this roundtable will take the place of a chapter from Betty this week. Rebecca rightly set that guideline when she first proposed another roundtable since the last one was well over a year ago. Okay, in the Bay Area, San Francisco Bay Area, we had an accident that resulted in a ship spilling oil into the harbor. We're going to talk about Iraq and, hopefully, a great deal more, but there's this ridiculous effort by some, including some alleged environmentalists, to push nuclear energy as 'clean' and 'safe.' It's neither, it produces nuclear waste, we have no way to eliminate the nuclear waste so it gets buried here on earth -- though some argue it should be sent into space -- and I just wanted to be sure that everyone take the news of the oil spill, which is highly damaging to the environment, and grasp that a nuclear powered US would mean we'd be shipping nuclear waste across the country even more than we already do.
Betty: And the oil spill, corners may have been cut, I know there's an ongoing investigation, or they may not have been. It might have been unavoidable accident. If you've ever been hit while parked outside the supermarket, you know that accidents do happen to you. But corners will always be cut by business and accidents will also always happen so it's just not worth it to expand the nuclear plant industry in this country. As it stands now, many have the ability to not live near one. But if the industry gets their way, it would be a different story. If you wouldn't want to live near one, you shouldn't want it to be around anyone else.
Rebecca: Kat actually wrote about this on Wednesday and we did want to include the topic because this is an awful incident that we can learn from right now, even as an investigation is conducted to determine what happened. That could get lost, especially once we get into Iraq, so we wanted to be sure to include that upfront. Along with Iraq, we also hope to address the PBS program "Expose'." But everyone wants to get Iraq so let's start there. Elaine?
Elaine: Obviously today's biggest news, as C.I. noted in today's snapshot, is Ehren Watada. Just FYI, at my site I'll be posting this and then the snapshot. The reason for that is if the snapshot's at the bottom of this, I'm not sure that it will get the attention it deserves.
Betty: Good point. I'll do the same.
Elaine: So today saw a victory for Watada and for the Constitution. That is not a final victory because the US military is filing additional briefs and the US District Judge could be overturned, but it is a victory and one that should be noted and celebrated. This is Amy Goodman ("Democracy Now!") today, "There has been a development in the case of Ehren Watada -- the first Army officer to refuse to deploy to Iraq. A federal judge has ruled the Army cannot hold a second court-martial for the Iraq war resister until the court resolves Watada's claim that it would violate his right against double jeopardy. Watada's first court martial ended in a mistrial."
Betty: I've got three kids, during the week, between getting myself ready for work and making sure they're ready for school, I don't have time to boot up the computer in the morning. So I was at work and a friend greets me with C.I.'s entry, stops me to show me it. It really was big news and I was honestly breathless for a second, or about a minute actually. Yes, I teared up, but before that I was just so stunned and holding my breath. This is how the decision should have gone but how long has it been since the any one on the bench stuck up for the Constitution? I mean Judge Anna Diggs Taylor's strong verdict in 2006 stood out because it was accurate and it was an oasis in court decisions since so many were coming down against the people and against the Constitution. So I really was expecting, with the stay ending today, as Ruth pointed out yesterday, that the next news I heard on Ehren would be that the judge was allowing the court-martial to proceed. I didn't think it was likely that he would offer a third stay and I don't see much reason to have faith in the courts at present. So this was just a total shock. A wonderful shock, but a total shock.
Kat: I would agree with that. I'm on the West coast so I'm up later. I'm also self-employed and didn't have my first photo shoot until noon. I got out of bed, booted up the computer, started the coffee, hit the shower and when I was sitting down in front of the computer with my coffee and pulling up "The Common Ills" this morning, I saw Watada's face, the smiling photo that is available for all to use via the Ehren Watada website, and I was thinking, "This photo wouldn't be used if it wasn't good news." Right above it is C.I.'s headline, "Judge Benjamin Settle rules in Watada's favor." But I focus on an image before I notice anything else.
Betty: I love that photo and wish we could include it in the roundtable but I know that would add posting problems and defeat the purpose of us all being able to copy and paste easily into our posts.
Ruth: It is an immediate victory, absolutely, but it is also beyond that because any time you can postpone, it is good news for the defense.
Trina: Absolutely. The more it is postponed, the futher away it is from the military's alleged 'issues' to begin with. His statements that they are trying to prosecute him for were primarily June through August 2006. His unit deployed in July so that is when his refusal to deploy kicks in, July 2006. They did the Article 32 in August of 2006, they did the court-martial six months later -- six months. We're now 16 months away from his refusal to deploy. With the holidays, I doubt anything else will happen this year.
Ruth: Probably not and that means it will be 2008 before anything else happens and that is only if the military can somehow convince a court that double-jeopardy, that the Constitution, does not apply, that somehow the military is above the Constitution, the same one the military requires service members to take an oath to defend. And Watada finished his service contract almost exactly a year ago. Exactly how long are they going to keep him in the military in order to court-martial him? At some point, even to the military, you hope they grasp how counter-productive the entire thing is.
Rebecca: To toss something out there, I wish Watada had been discharged immediately. But I think the fact that he hasn't been, the way he's handled it since, works to make his case. He's reported for duty at Fort Lewis every day as required. He refused the order to deploy as his training instructed him, Ann Wright's gone all over that, retired army Col. and retired State Department. His service has shown courage and dedication. I think they, the military, made a huge error in extending his service contract and requiring him to continue to report. If there is another court-martial, if, a jury of his peers is not going to look at that record and think, "Oh, you awful person!"
Kat: But there shouldn't be a second court-martial.
Rebecca: Agreed. The Constitution has to be followed. Ava, you, C.I. and Jess were on how many campus today and how did this go over?
Ava: The thing that amazed me was how it was news all day. I don't mean excitement, which I would understand, I mean they were hearing it, students were hearing it, from us for the first time. That's to be expected in the morning. But I have no idea how much play it got from the media. We were scheduled for five campuses, and let me note Ruth and you, Rebecca, joined us for the afternoon, but we also picked up three additional meetings on the fly due to today's news largely. We also had an early evening thing with a women's group. In that last group, I asked for a show hands and two out of thirty-six women had heard the news about Watada. So I'm wondering, this goes out to anyone by a TV or radio today, how much coverage it got? I can't imagine it was a great deal. Which is really appalling.
Elaine: At work, Sunny spent the day searching online. She found 50 articles and that didn't include the Aaron Glantz report C.I. highlights in the snapshot. It did include "AP" being run by multiple sites, a report on a site called "The Jurist," the reports C.I. had already highlighted this morning and not much else. If you eliminate "AP" and "AFP," you had "The Jurist," Christian Hill in "The Olympian", Hal Bernton in "The Seattle Times" and KMGB. Bernton actually had two versions, an earlier version and the extended one. It was very disappointing to hear Sunny share that.
Ava: Oh, it's disgusting. If someone had heard, on campus, they had heard via Amy Goodman. There was male student who voiced strong disgust because he'd been at "The Nation," at their website, right before the discussion, this was in the afternoon, and he couldn't believe that, quote, "as useless as they are, they didn't bother to cover this." Which led Jess to sketch out briefly "The Nation"'s sorry record with regards to war resistance and it was brief only because students had their own examples about that magazine they wanted to share. And I assume we'll talk about the editorial C.I. includes in today's snapshot. For the record, it was lengthier but Jim called me while C.I. was dictating it and asked me to convey that there were points we could bring up at "The Third Estate Sunday Review." I don't know if it's obvious where I'm interrupting to everyone but it is obvious to me and, for the record, I said, "This is what Jim's requesting." I did not say, "Do this!"
Elaine: Ava did say that. I was standing next to C.I., the snapshot was dictated in Trina's backyard where the Iraq study group meeting was held.
Trina: My son Mike started that with friends and we have it every Friday. My husband pointed out the temperature drop and was worried this might be the last weekend when it was possible to hold it outside.
Elaine: It works great outside so the fact that it's getting cold is a bit of a disappointment. But Ava did present it as a suggestion. I know where C.I. was headed so I can tell where the break is. I'll add that this allowed some remarks that had been dictated to be pulled as well. I fought for the "Martha Stewart's Living" to stay in.
Rebecca: I loved that. Elaine caught my eye and I was heading to the back with her when my baby started crying so I ended up going inside, changing a diaper and then feeding. After it was up, Elaine told me I was going to laugh when I read it and I did. For those who haven't read today's snapshot, do so now! Seriously, why did that get included? I know why, but I thought I'd give C.I. the chance to explain since the coffee fetchers usually bombard "The Common Ills" with e-mails.
Ava: Before C.I. starts, let me just represent "The Third Estate Sunday Review" for a moment because we've been accused, by the magazine itself --
C.I.: By the publicity director for the magazine.
Ava: Right, Benji. Benji's accused us of distortions. Benji couldn't supply any, but we "distort" at The Third Estate Sunday Review. Long before Benji showed up to make that false accusation on July 2nd of this year, we'd heard about, in e-mails to our site, an alleged war on "The Nation." Those e-mails start up after Christmas 2006. The reason for that is there was no war. No one had been more supportive of The Nation online than our site and The Common Ills. We provided more links and more kind words than any other site. Before our site started, Dona and Jim were promoting "The Nation" like crazy. We gave it many, many shout-outs throughout 2005, and our site started in January of 2005, and throughout 2006. When we began criticizing their lousy then-emerging record of covering Iraq, we did so with articles entitled "Hint, Hint . . ." The thing that touched a real nerve, the thing that really started the "war" talk coming from the magazine in e-mails -- and not everyone at the magazine thinks we're at "war" nor does everyone at the magazine despise us the way the coffee fetchers and Benji do, we've gotten wonderful e-mails from some at the magazine and C.I. and I know a few with the magazine -- was "The Nation Stats." That was a six-month feature. The background there was that friends of C.I. wanted a meeting which clued everyone that it was something important. Jess, Ty and I attended and Dona and Jim showed up late but did attend, I hope I have that right. But this was women writers, established and emerging, and they were offended because the magazine was printing so few women and was turning down women. The imbalance did not result from women not being able to contribute, it resulted from women not being allowed to contribute. They wanted it noted but 2006 had only three or four months left in it, I believe. C.I. offered that to go back at this point would require more time than was available, they wanted this noted at "The Common Ills," but suggested that if Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess and myself were okay with it, we could track it for 2007 at "The Third Estate Sunday Review." So we did a feature where we tracked every issue. It was sometimes weekly, more often though we just weren't in the mood for the magazine's nonsense, so we'd grab two or three issues at a time. But we tracked every issue in the first six months and the results were --
Rebecca: Let me stop you for just a moment to note that we need to insert links and this appeared at all sites, the results of the six month study. "Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you must have a penis," "Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you have a penis," "Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you have a penis," "Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you have a penis," "Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you have a penis," "Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you have a penis," "Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you have a penis," "Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you have a penis," "Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you have a penis" and "Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you have a penis."
Ava: No problem, we'll insert it right where you stopped. But the results of the magazine's first six-months of 2007 were that they published 255 male bylines and 74 female ones. That is disgusting and it's embarrassing for a magazine where the editor and publisher is a woman. When we began tracking that, and note it was 3.8 men for every woman when we first started tracking the problem and that they did an entire issue where no woman had a byline at all, it's only after they started whining to us in e-mails that they managed to reduce the 3.8 men for every woman down to 3.4 men for every woman, imagine if we hadn't been publishing "The Nation Stats" regularly and had just waited in silence until the end of the first six months? But that's when the "war" accusation started coming in regularly from some at the magazine. My reply to that is, "I'm sorry. You're right. It was wrong of us to have enough self-respect to stand up for women and call out your lousy publishing record." I mean, and we all know this, all of us participating in the roundtable, it was a serious problem. And before we started "The Nation Stats" series, we heard the horror stories about articles turned down that were easily snapped up elsewhere and about the general disinterest in publishing women. My opinion, speaking only for myself, is one of the selling points for the magazine currently is supposed to be "strong woman as editor and publisher." So what? That means nothing if women can't get published. That means nothing if women are being published less than they would be under a man. They can distort it any way they want, but they were in the wrong and they were called out on it. C.I. and I steered the December 25th edition, where "The Nation Stats" started, December 25, 2006. The first 2007 issue of the magazine was already out and Dona, Jim, Ty and Jess were all scheduled to be off. So we figured, C.I. and I, that this was a good time to start the series. But we honestly did not expect we would have to go six-months. We honestly expected that after the third "The Nation Stats" ran, that would be the end of it because the magazine would improve the situation immediately. Instead the reaction was nasty little e-mails -- didn't bother me, I laughed at them and they also went into "The Common Ills" -- that refused to accept responsibility for the situation and instead wanted to blame us for pointing out reality. I don't know if I can go further. I want to talk about Benji's e-mail but that came into "The Common Ills."
C.I.: The e-mail specifically stated -- a lie but he got it from the one who passed on Jess' private e-mail, someone at a media 'watchdog' -- that the e-mail address wasn't posted at "The Third Estate Sunday Review." That was a lie. It was true over a month or two prior when a "watchdog" pointed it out. Maybe instead of composing an e-mail based upon a passed on one, someone should have checked the basic facts. But the point is, that e-mail was intended to be read by "The Third Estate Sunday Review" and considering the baseless charges made in it, it is not protected by any privacy guidelines at "The Common Ills."
Ava: Thank you. That was the lamest e-mail in the world. Do you know why the magazine doesn't publish women? According to the e-mail because of things we write. I think it meant at "The Third Estate Sunday Review" but it specifically meant "Lakshimi shows up late and lost (Ava and C.I.)" -- I know that nonsense claim especially offended Ruth, but it offended me as well. Because, on June 19th, C.I. and I wrote that, their six months of lousy publishing ratios for women happened? Five months after the fact? A year after the problem was noticeable in 2006? Because C.I. and I wrote that piece, Benji says, it makes it hard for "The Nation" to publish women. What a crock. What a cop-out. I'm really sorry that Lakshimi felt the need to rip off Susan J. Douglas' piece already published by "In These Times," I'm really sorry that as usual Lakshimi didn't know the first thing she was writing about. C.I. and I cover TV for "The Third Estate Sunday Review," we're well aware that Lakshimi includes one false 'fact' after another and we had actually called her out many times before in our TV features without naming her, indicating it was a her or stating her outlet. But Lakshimi is not qualified to write about popular culture because she has 'invented' too many 'facts' far too often. We don't give passes based on gender. We do, C.I. and I, always ask, "Is this something we want to write?" And we debate it. "The Nation" running Lashimi's ill-informed rip-off of Susan J. Douglas' commentary on their cover, on their cover, a month after the fact needs to be called out. But there is no way that our June 19th piece is the reason that, from January to July, the magazine only printed 74 women. That is ridiculous. The issues not published by that point, by June 19th, were already planned.
Rebecca: But that's "The Nation" for you, there is no accountability at the magazine. They don't fact check and they only run corrections if they fear they've offended someone powerful. Christopher Hayes invented a remark from the DNC convention that John Kerry never delived at the DNC convention. They never corrected that. They were aware of it, that it was wrong, Christopher Hayes was made aware of it, and no one ever corrected it. That's far from the only example but I choose that one for a reason and Ava knows why.
Ava: I do. But you know I can't go into it.
Rebecca: I know. I'm tossing to Elaine.
Elaine: We're on the alleged "war" still, right? Okay. You know when we were doing "Hint, Hint . . ." features at "The Third Estate Sunday Review," some of us, Rebecca, Jim and myself, felt they were a waste of time. But others really thought they would make a difference and that "The Nation" just didn't grasp what was going on. When those type of features began appearing C.I. would get phone calls from friends with the magazine and "The Third Estate Sunday Review" would get e-mails from people at the magazine explaining that this wasn't "just happening." There was a very real battle going on at the magazine and these were problems that were known. Even so, we continued attempting those kind of features for a little while longer. But life's too short and the illegal war is dragging on and wounding and killing every day. I don't have sympathy for a really bad magazine that wants to cover anything except the illegal war. I don't have sympathy for a really bad magazine that's offering up friends of Katrian and centrists -- often the ones brought in belong to both categories. The magazine had a record high circulation that Katrina vanden Heuvel inherited. She elected to degrade the magazine and remind everyone of how bad it could be. It was never the leading left magazine, in fact it was once plagued with rumors of CIA involvement. But I'm hard pressed to remember a time where it was ever this bad and it's really, really bad. In terms of the "war" allegations coming once "The Nation Stats" started appearing, of course that resulted in it. The magazine's been turned into the Cult of Katrina and she uses it to sell herself when not selling her friends. Calling out her Queen Behavior was calling out the magazine itself. Of course the coffee fetchers would see it as a "war." But the "war" was and remains Katrina's very poor record of publishing women. As Rebecca's noted, she's fond of doing co-authored pieces and has a number of shared bylines but does anyone ever notice it's always males? "The Nation Stats" declared "The Emperoress Has No Clothes On." It was truth telling at its most basic and the reason feminism exists. Of course the very non-feminist magazine would be offended that this was exposed and tabulated. They can't argue with the figures, so Benji invents a claim of "gross factual errors," I believe that was his wording, and yet, in an e-mail that was around 40K, maybe larger, he didn't have the time to point out even one error. There's a reason for that, there were no errors. Excuse me, there was an error. A journalist writing C.I. to share e-mails, private e-mails, from another journalist was an error. Jess replying to said journalist was an error. The journalist then forwarding that e-mail on to "The Nation" was an error. A very huge error because it was only a matter of time before C.I.'s friends would be calling asking, "Do you know that ____ forwarded Jess' private e-mail responding to them?" That said journalist still hasn't apologized to Jess goes a long way towards explaining why C.I. is considering posting the original e-mail Jess was replying to. If that happens, a "watchdog" will be highly embarrassed and journalists will be far less trusting of the "watchdog" when they realize that he was fine with fowarding private e-mails from other journalists on to C.I.
C.I.: On that? The only reason that e-mail hasn't already been posted at "The Common Ills" is I keep attempting to figure out a way to censor it so as not to embarrass the writer of the forwarded e-mail. Not the person forwarding, but the original writer whom I doubt intended for private e-mails to become public. But Jess' reply was forwarded, was ridiculed and fowarded and Jess is owed an apology.
Elaine: It was a cheap attack. It was a whine to C.I. to avoid getting called out and offer up someone else's private e-mails as some sort of sacrfice --
Ava: C.I. didn't know that the journalist had included private e-mails.
Elaine: Right. But having begged for mercy and gotten a nice note in reply from Jess, the creep then disgraces himself yet again by trying to get in "The Nation"'s good graces by forwarding Jess' e-mail on to them. Now when this took place, Jess was in college, he's now in law school, but that a college student had a better grasp on what was appropriate and what was inappropriate than a journalist goes to the problems with independent media.
Betty: And this was an attempt to curry favor with "The Nation," forwarding Jess' e-mail was. Everyone wants some foundation grant money from "The Nation" or some shout-outs from "The Nation." That's why the magazine doesn't get called out more. I'll note I'm quoting a network correspondent who thinks Katrina is a sad joke and shared his opinions, when we were in DC, about how she would bit by bit destroy the left. The more I reflect on that, the more in agreement with it I am. My opinion.
Rebecca: C.I. knows Katrina and will rush to her rescue from time to time. The rest of us do not rush to her rescue. Elaine knew her when she was a "tot." But to avoid this turning into a dispute, you'll hear a great deal of "my opinion." Just clueing everyone in.
Betty: I'm participating by phone so let me say I'm sorry if I've made C.I. uncomfortable.
C.I.: You haven't. You've noted it is your opinion and the issues are real issues that need to be addressed. If I'm keeping quiet that's in part because of a feature that we'll be doing on Sunday. Ava knows about it but no one else does. It will be calling out the steering of the magazine and I'm biting my tongue to avoid spilling that.
Ava: Right. It should be a short feature. But it will be about the magazine and it's publishing record. I've avoided the topic as well but this was suggested to C.I. by a friend with the magazine and it almost made a snapshot this week when it was suggested but there were other things to address that day and C.I. phoned the friend back to say it would be addressed at "The Third Estate Sunday Review" instead. That's what's so funny about Benji's July 2nd e-mail, by the way, the fact that what we're writing is usually coming out of the magazine itself. As Rebecca noted, there is huge displeasure with Katrina's 'leadership' and anyone who doubts that need only examine the masthead in 1995 and compare it today. A huge number of people have left and gone to other outlets and a number with the magazine currently are considering or in the process of doing the same.
Trina: To get back to a point someone made earlier, the magazine had hit a peak under the previous publisher --
C.I.: Victor Navasky.
Trina: Thanks. And we were reading it, in my house, we noticed the shift and stopped reading it. Ruth's written about that as well. Now, in fairness, my parents are socialists. So it's probably too mild for me to begin with, too weak. I grew up in a strongly socialist family with highly political discussions around the table. If I had more drive, I would have become a socialist myself. But, Ruth?
Ruth: My husband subscribed and it was one of the many magazines that I continued subscribing to after his death. I just could not cancel anything with his name on it because his death was . . . I would read it and found many things of use. Then that dropped. Then it dropped so low that I stopped reading it but continued the subscription because my grandchildren would pick it up. Then they stopped reading it and Tracey would see it and ask if she could put it in the trash can, my granddaughter Tracey. As this continued, there was no point to continue paying for a magazine that I did not think was worth reading and that my grandchildren saw no use in.
Trina: If I could add one thing, the level of writing itself is so poor. It was as though I was being talked down too and the reading level seemed geared towards people who dropped out in the eighth grade.
Rebecca: You can always add, anyone can. That's a good point about the reading level. Do we want to go through specific problems with any woman's writing at the magazine?
Elaine: No one, community wide, has ever offered negative criticism of Naomi Klein and I doubt we would.
Rebecca: Katha Pollitt?
C.I.: I want to weigh in there but I'll wait until others have spoken.
Kat: You know, we are all politically aware but we can also miss something. It took Betty to point out that the latest essay collection contained a 2002 essay where Katha Pollitt took it upon herself to tell the NAACP what they should focus on. White Katha Pollitt felt that the NAACP should not be concerned with the portrayals of African-Americans on TV. The appalling lack of portrayals unless it was crook or thug.
Betty: I felt so bad about pointing that out but it did offend me. That was one of those things that I called C.I. ahead about. I said, "I'm going to bring this up and I hope it won't be a problem." As usual, the response was, "Bring it up. I'll stand by you." That was highly offensive. I'm the mother of three children, I'm fully aware of what's out there for my kids to see. We are Black. But on TV, we are invisible. Pollitt may or may not watch TV but TV is a staple in the lives of many Black people. We watch programs where we never see anyone like ourselves, we watch programs where the only people like ourselves are doing a perp walk. It is an issue and that a woman who is mother, even to a White child, couldn't grasp that was appalling. That was our first negative criticism of Pollitt. At that point and after, we also offered positive criticism.
Ruth: But she wouldn't write about Abeer, the fourteen-year-old girl who was gang-raped by US soldiers and then murdered, gang-raped while she could hear her parents and five-year-old sister being shot to death in the next room. That was a huge problem. You cannot claim to be a feminist and ignore a topic like that when you are a columnist. The quality of her work and her topics were so shoddy that we should not pretend she was addressing something 'big' during that time period. She was ignoring reality. "The Nation" was ignoring Abeer as well. "The Washington Post" published an in depth article about her in June of 2006 and yet she did not appear in the magazine until August of 2007, in a column by Alexender Cockburn and then, a month later, Pollitt pops up with a one sentence shout-out. That was embarrassing. She waited nearly a year to mention Abeer and when she finally does, Abeer's reduced to a single sentence. I'm second-wave feminism and I shake my head to this day that a woman with a monthly column could avoid the topic, and avoid it for over a year, only to then dismiss it with a single sentence.
Ava: And, in the Bay Area, we had Arab feminists so upset when Pollitt wrote her attack a few months into 2007. It's not one thing with her, it's been a slow but steady decline. I know what C.I. wants to mention so unless there's another point regarding Pollitt, I'll toss to C.I.
C.I.: She wrote a very strong blog post this week regarding Hillary Clinton. Had it gone up sooner, I would have linked to it at "The Common Ills." I wouldn't have included it in a snapshot because it would have led everyone to wonder whether or not to include it and I wouldn't push that off anyone. The snapshot's reposted at all community sites, for those late to the party, and those reposting it would have to ask themselves, "Do I want to link to Pollitt?" She still has the abilities and talent to be one of the strongest columnists around today -- male or female -- for whatever reasons, that's not come across of late very often. If she made Iraq her focus, she would write circles around everyone else.
Rebecca: But the only one prepared to do that was Molly Ivins who passed away. And of course, despite all the tributes to Molly Ivins by professional writers, no one picked up on that. Patricia J. Williams?
Ruth: She offended Cedric, Ty and Betty with an interview that had Rebecca and I laughing non-stop. I am not dismissing Cedric, Ty and Betty's feelings, by the way. I am just saying she is lousy on radio, regardless of the topic, too many pauses as though silence is what people are tuning in for, too many stammers, too long winded. She was on with the mission of selling Barack Obama to KPFA listeners and it was embarrassing and hilarious. She snapped at a woman with a Middle Eastern accent when the woman pointed out that Barack Obama voted to fund the war. "He didn't vote for the war!" she insisted. Of course he didn't, he wasn't in Congress. What a stupid, stupid thing to say. She cut the woman off and she lost all sympathy to anyone listening when she did because while she will stumble and fumble she had no sympathy for a woman who clearly was struggling with public speaking. Betty?
Betty: Ruth addressed our outrage, Cedric, Ty and my outrage, in her report on that nonsense. Kat called me because she thought I would like the interview, I'm a huge fan of Andrea Lewis, and she puts the phone up to the radio and I'm listening and just appalled by Williams. It was elitist and it was lies. I say "lies" as a Black woman. Barack Obama, no matter how hard Williams tries to pimp it, is not a Black man. He is bi-racial. That is a category and it wasn't that long ago that bi-racial and multi-racial people were finally getting attention. As I've said before, to call him "Black" is not that different from the racist laws that labeled people "Black" if they had X number of "blood," an eighth Black, you were an "octoroon." To hear Williams, an educated law professor, declare Barack "Black" and to say questions about that were only raised by Fox "News" was embarrassing. I wasn't aware that Glen Ford, Bruce Dixon and Margaret Kimberley worked for Fox "News." I must have missed that. And when she wrote the column comparing Black people to dogs -- you know what, I want to stop right there before I get really mad.
Rebecca: Fair enough. That's really it except Katrina vanden Heuvel. I've always called her out at my site. I have bit my tongue and deleted full entries out of fear of upsetting C.I. Just briefly, she's never found time to write about war resistance, has gone out of her way to avoid the topic as when she wrote American Friends Service Committee, but she can offer updates on her daughter's sweet-sixteen party and gush over "American Idol." They publish many men but that's really it in terms of regular features by men. Liza Featherstone blogs more at the magazine site then she probably makes it into the magazine. She was called "feather brained" by Elaine, rightly, when she wished a peace rally could have the 'excitement' of a political candidate's public appearance. Other than that, she's not been called out for anything. Some may toss out "Nation Isle" but Featherstone comes off very well in that. Especially if you consider that she was a wimp in the original version and Ava and C.I., who'd been working on "TV: The 'boys' are back in town," joined us late and immediately said, "Oh no." They reworked the dialogue for Featherstone and vanden Heuvel to create tension for the feature and to make both women stronger characters. Stronger in terms of more fully sketched and stronger in terms of being active participants in the action. You know Benji's letter boasted of big changes -- and of course the laughable summer cover story that C.I. already knew had pissed off a number of participants -- but all this time later, still nothing. Where are the women? Where are the two female bloggers -- which doesn't address the imbalance in the print version of the magazine -- that were being added? It's still a boys club and we rarely even comment on it today. The magazine's problem are their own.
Trina: Let me stop you. The whole point that started this was you were asking about the commentary in today's snapshot.
Rebecca: Thank you! Yes, C.I. the commentary in today's snapshot.
C.I.: As Ava already noted, one male student specifically brought up "The Nation." He was not the only one. But I really don't think you can talk about Ehren Watada without talking about the press coverage and that's especially true today when you had a court finding that not only was a victory for Watada but one for the Constitution. The magazine that can sound the alarms over the possible end of "The New Republican" can't write a word online about Watada today? They can mention him only in one issue this entire time? We're not hiding behind in a desk in NYC, Ava and I and others are going around to campuses and speaking to students. We've been doing that for some time. We have a better grasp of what plays than the magazine does. It has repeatedly missed the large issues overall or it has touched on them in a way that accomplished very little like --
Elaine: Lynne Stewart.
C.I.: Yes, like Lynne Stewart who got little attention from the magazine when the government went after her and what small attention she did get was so weak it might have just been better for "The Nation" to have continued ignoring the issue. Galludet, they never noted it. I mean there is this huge world of issues, mountain of issues, in this country, and the magazine is entitled "The Nation" -- however much someone might wish it was "The Russian," it is still entitled "The Nation" -- and that comment had nothing to do with communism before someone thinks we are red-baiting. "The Nation" isn't a communist magazine. It's too much fluff to have any real ideology. But it repeatedly misses those stories while wanting to reward crap about "apathetic students." Students aren't apathetic, the magazine cannot say the same. Watada is one such story. Now when Ava and I are talking to service members in the military, Watada is the name that is known. He is the Iraq War resister that has received the most press attention. But even with Watada, the magazine has repeatedly failed. Readers of the magazine also don't know, and this is true of those who read the magazine's website, that the US military had Kyle Snyder arrested and entered Canada and posed as Canadian police officers in an effort to track down war resister Joshua Key. Those are big stories that go to imperalism as well as to Iraq and war resistance. And those stories have not been told by "The Nation." It may make someone feel better to whine that we have a "war" with "The Nation" but all we've done is point out the obvious. The magazine has the worst image with students who think political action is something more than voting on election day and there is a reason for that repuation.
Rebecca: The magazine also is among the outlets promoting a Pig. I don't mean Peter Bergen, centrist who attacks women when, apparently, not visiting bordellos in Afghanistan. I mean the one reported by the mainstream media to have been twice busted for attempting to seek sexual encounters online with underage girls. That's pedophilia. And it's illegal. But for some reason, it's not a problem to "The Nation." It's more important that the Republican's writings be posted at the alleged left site than, apparently, that they say no to pedophilia. We've been saying "tonight" for awhile now even though it's already this morning. So we may wrap up after this topic but this is where we get to PBS' "Expose'." Ruth?
Ruth: The half-hour, weekly program takes a look at investigative journalism. One story this year resulted in a two-parter "A Story in a Small Town." Hopefully, everyone watching it has now seen it. Different stations air different episodes. I noted the first-part last week and received e-mails asking me not to note it in my report, or to note the second-part, because they had just seen part-one that week. Part-two has hopefully aired now. Both parts and other episodes in the series can be streamed online. Briefly, a reporter found out that a pedophile was in a local Boy Scouts chapter and molesting young boys. He futher found out that this was known by some, if not all, in local leadership and ignored. Part-one was about how the story was discovered, researched and it being published. Part-two was about the reaction after it was published which included going after the reporter and attacking him. In addition, it caused an adult male to come forward and discuss how one local board member ignored the rape he reported. Jeff was his first name and he spoke of how, back in the early 80s, as a young man, it was so hard for him to tell because he really didn't have the words to explain what was happening to him at that age and during that time when this abuse was less reported. Another interview noted that men were less likekly to admit it had happened to them to begin with due to social stigma. But Jeff, as a young boy, came forward and the reaction was to yell at him. When he came forward as an adult, they tried to discredit him but didn't succeed. The other pedophile was still having his photos published by the local chapter and there excuse in a letter was that he sends those photos electronically or by regular mail. What? He gets a photo credit. A parent could see it, bump into him, recognize the name and think, "Oh, this is someone my child will be okay with." The local chapter was endorsing him through their actions. This is what "The Nation" and others do when they publish Pig. I would love someone to force the people at "The Nation" to watch the second-part of the show, to see adult Jeff crying on camera about what happened to him and to then have to ask themselves why they print Pig and what sort of liabilities they believe they're leaving themselves open to since they print him, since they give him their stamp of approval, and the mainstream media has reported he was twice arrested for seeking out sexual encounters online with young girls and since he has both refused to answer questions about the arrests and lied that he can't unseal the court records. He can unseal the record. He can also address the charges. He doesn't want to. Big difference.
Kat: And there's the thing. The magazine is published by a woman and she is a mother but she has no qualms about turning over space to a man twice busted for those crimes. For those still not able to grasp that every woman with a title is not a feminist, there you go. Ruth recommended the report to me so I caught it online and only had time for the second-part, she said that's the one to really watch, and really it does bring home the issues of culpability. By the way, I loved the show and am trying to figure out when it airs in the Bay Area, if it does, but we all know how lazy I am.
Rebecca: Second to me, Kat, second to me. And you're right, what kind of a woman is comfortable publishing someone with that public arrest record? It's not a feminist. Now there are others posting his crap as well. But they aren't "the nation's oldest political journal" or whatever they bill themselves as. And if we want to drop back to Katha Pollitt for a second, it was only a little while ago, this year, that she was praising him as one who was right. She couldn't praise Janeane Garofalo or Susan Sarandon or Laura Flanders or any number of women who had spoken out before the illegal war had started but she could praise him.
C.I.: In fairness to her, she might not have been aware of the arrest record. I wasn't. I don't watch TV news as a general rule. A friend will call and say, "My report's airing" or maybe, "We've got a report on right now," and I'll turn on the TV. If I'm home, ha ha, I listen to KPFA mainly. I read magazines, books and several daily papers but TV news has never been something I've wasted a great deal of time on. So I had no idea about Pig until a friend brought it up and asked me, "Why do you link to him?" A friend at CNN, by the way. I said something like, "I don't. Members have highlighted him." And asked what the problem was? That's how I found out. He's not on KPFA a great deal but he had been on and he wasn't anyone I was impressed with before the revelations. I knew he was a Republican and I knew he worked in the 90s to actively undermine Bill Clinton, worked with the right wing. So he wasn't anyone I cared for. But we highlight many people I don't personally care for at "The Common Ills." If it's a voice a member responds to, we will highlight it. But I do draw the line at things like rapists and pedophiles. So when I found out, I called a number of friends to ask if they knew. Some feminists did, some didn't. I have no idea whether Katha Pollitt did or does know. But it was mainly feminists in their 20s who knew about it, which leaves both myself and Pollitt out, and they really were appalled by the soft treatment he was receiving. I don't remember whether I called Ruth or she called me but we ended up discussing it.
Ruth: Like C.I., I didn't care for him. He was on a program, a radio program, that week, yammering on in his usual boring manner and I was griping about that and pointing out, and this was 2005, that war with Iran was a potential war and we had an ongoing illegal war currently if anyone wanted to deal with that. Then C.I. filled me in. I was told, "Ruth, it's your space but his name is never going up at the site again. I just can't support or endorse a pedophile." I agreed completely. As I started reading up on his arrests and other things, and talking to people, I was told, basically, "Oh, the right tried to smear him." He may very well have had his arrest record outed due to speaking about against the war. I would not be surprised by that. But the fact remains that he does have an arrest record, that on air with CNN he refused to discuss it, claimed he could not discuss it, and then it turns out he has two arrests for it. If it was a false smear, any adult would have cleared it up immediately, would have gone on record discussing it. He didn't. So he shouldn't be published. He shouldn't be reposted. Not by the left. It is an endorsement of him. It is sending a message. And if a young, underage female ends up raped by him, it will be something those outlets promoting him will have to accept partial blame for because they've made him acceptable.
Elaine: I don't know him, I don't know of him. I'm not putting him on the couch. But there are some realities we need to note here. Arrests are not common. Most never get arrested. There is a stigma and it does make many victims not come foward. There are also fears other than what people might think that can prevent victims from coming forward. They can be threatened. I think it's safe to say he has a violent nature, that comes across in the way he presents himself on camera. There seems to be this attitude of "the girl would have just been 15 or 16" -- in both instances, it was an undercover police officer posing as an underage girl -- and "that's almost 18." This isn't horseshoes and he's well over 40. Then there's an excuse that he only wanted to meet up for non-pentration according to the mainstream media reports. If the reports are true, and as Ruth has pointed out he refuses to speak about the arrests, then what we're dealing with is a sexual predator and it would not be uncommon for them to tell a female that they only wanted to pleasure themselves while the female watched and then, when face to face, rape the girl. There's this attitude that it was just masturbation. But the reality is that a predator is not going to be honest. He's not going to say, for instance, what I really want to do is drug you, take you off and rape you. I have no idea why someone twice busted for attempting to engage in sexual encounters with underage girls -- or he thought they were underage girls -- is someone you give the benefit of the doubt that he would have just jerked off if he hadn't been arrested in a sting? That goes against everything that is known about sexual predator. It's refuting all the clincial literature and studies on the issue. But it does allow certain people to continue publishing him or having him on as a guest and pretend like it's no big deal. It's a very big deal.
Betty: It is a very big deal. This is true of all my kids but especially my oldest son, they are watching me. They watch my reaction if I'm watching TV. If Condi is on TV and I've got a look on my face, my oldest son will say, "She's lying again, right Mom?" By the same token, they're noticing when I'm enjoying something. They are taking their cues from me. So if I've got a magazine with an article by Pig in it or if I'm listening or watching a program with him on it, I'm sending out a cue. Now it would be one of disgust. But let's say it's Bill Moyer's show, okay? They know I watch that. That's Friday nights and they're in and out, like tonight, because I watch them and my sister's kids and my sister watches her kids and mine on Saturdays. Now I may wonder out of the room, I might get something to eat or go clean something or whatever. They could come into my bedroom -- they're in the living room watching a kid's movie on the big TV -- see Bill Moyers talking to Pig and think, "Mom loves this show. Pig's on. He must be someone okay." Now for my son, that wouldn't be a problem because Pig, as far as we know, just targets females. But my daughter? My nieces? I'm using Bill Moyers as an example for two reasons. First this started on Friday night so it was still on my mind and second Moyers has never had Pig on his show. I'm trying to avoid calling out those who have. But I wonder about that and worry that by not doing so I'm making the situation worse. And my kids are young and I could picture this happening to them. So I do take this very personally.
Trina: Well I saw the second-part because Ruth was praising the series so much and when they went after the report, when they tried to attack him because he was gay, his editor noted that saying the reporter wasn't fit to cover the story because the Boy Scouts practice homophobia was silly because if he had assigned a mother to the piece, they could have called her prejudiced because she was a mother. Now I don't think you have to be a mother or even a woman to be offended but I do think what Betty's talking about is a natural reaction. It's probably more so when, like Betty, you're raising your children on your own. But I had that same reaction to news stories when my children were younger. It's a natural reaction to hear about something like this and then think of your own children. Betty, am I wrong on this, did you not immediately make a list of every adult that's around your child?
Betty: Exactly, that's exactly what I did. If the story was about a bad cop, I would've gone through my head trying to think of what police officers my kids were around? That is where I go when I hear a story about children. A story on a fire means my kids are going to have to go through another fire drill.
Rebecca: Betty and Kat, the tapping you hear is typing. Ava and C.I. are trading off note taking to get the typing up of this started. Which is a sign that we should begin winding down because it's nearly three a.m.on the East coast. Ava, have either of you located links?
Ava: Not yet.
Rebecca: Okay, how this works is if you mentioned something, you find the link for them and provide it to them. They don't have time to type and hunt down links because we want to get this up 'tonight.' Really this morning. We're going to go out on Iraq and just share some general thoughts -- or specific thoughts. We'll start with Trina.
Trina: Watada is the story of the day. The story of the weekend and should be a big story come Monday. I think C.I.'s point was a really strong one, the story of Watada includes the story of the press coverage. Both in who covered him and who didn't. And that we're talking about non-coverage with Watada -- clearly the most well known Iraq War resister whose case is not settled, really underscores what a failure independent media has become. I've been fortunate enough to hear from one war resister and the families of two over my tiny posts at my site. They were appreaciated. Let me note, I appreciate war resisters. I am very proud of those who have the Courage to Resist -- and I'll hunt down the link for that -- but it says a great deal about how sad things are that one of my badly written posts results in thanks. I agree completely that the 2007 crops of war resisters, the ones who went public in 2007, have gotten zilch. There stories matter. They are taking brave stands and risking a great deal. To not cover it is irresponsible. I'll leave it at that.
Ruth: Trina's talking about the snapshot today when she refers to C.I.'s comments about the lack of coverage for the 2007 crop.
Trina: I am. Sorry. Thank you for catching that.
Ruth: I was actually going to talk about something else but Trina's point brings up e-mails. I'm behind in the e-mails to me but on Wednesday I was replying to the parent of a soldier whose child really needs attention. I was, probably badly, trying to get across that while I appreciated the thank you, thank you back to the parent who really stands up for their adult child. Not everyone is so fortunate to have a parent that does that. So I wrote that e-mail on Wednesday. Then on Thursday, I found myself writing a similar e-mail to another parent and then two today. In some of those cases, by the way, I need to note that they were identifying things C.I. had written as my own statements. I did clarify that. When we're done with the roundtable, I need to pass on those because I noted my reply would be the reply from the site. C.I. and Ava are headed back to California first thing in the morning. They'll spend the rest of Saturday and Sunday there and then be back out on the road on Monday. So if I didn't reply it might be weeks before a reply went out. But what Trina's talking about is so true. And it does a disservice to the people speaking out and it does a disservice to our own understanding of what's going on in the country and what's going on in Iraq. James Burmeister is the best example of that. Had independent media bothered to cover him last summer when he went public, they could have scooped the mainstream press on the story of the "kill teams" instead of being left without any way to cover the topic other than to reference the mainstream reporting. Betty?
Betty: You know, we've had three strong books published this year by war resisters, Camilo Mejia ["Road from Ar Ramadi: The Private Rebellion of Staff Sergeant Mejia"}, Aidan Delgado ["The Sutras Of Abu Ghraib: Notes From A Conscientious Objector In Iraq"] and Joshua Key [" The Deserter's Tale"} and those books are not the same story told three ways. Each story is unique and when I'm following the tiny coverage of the Iraq War these days, I will often hear or see a story and be reminded of something in one of the three books. So I think we're all robbed, we're all denied, when war resisters aren't included in the coverage. And Jeremy Hinzman and Brandon Hughey are going to hear shortly whether the Canadian Supreme Court will hear their appeals. This is big stuff here, this is about their lives, and it's really not covered. And if I read one more dopey woman writing on a dopey topic, I'll scream. I mean, our focus, for any who missed it, has revolved around women for this roundtable, so few women do have a voice. We're in the minority on TV, we're in the minority in publications, we're in the minority on radio. If you have a forum, if you're fortunate to have one, use it to make a change. No one needs Carrie Bradshaw type jottings. No one needed it in the 90s. But with so much at stake today, no one can afford it. As a Black woman, I will note that I have been at rallies, I have marched to end the illegal war. I'll be kind and not mention the apparent voice of Black Peace -- I didn't vote him in -- by name who continues to repeat the lie that the peace movement is all White. Carl Webb, one of the earliest war resisters is not White. He is Black. Ehren, who we've spoken of at length, is not White. Aidan and Camilo are Latinos. Where does this idea that the peace movement is all White come from? It's not all White. It has never been all White but when, like Katha Pollitt, you make up your "They were right!" lists and you don't include people of color and you don't include White people, maybe Mr. Black Peace isn't as crazy as he sounds, he's just a victim of the limited coverage of the peace movement. That said, all this time later, if you're repeating the canard that the peace movement is all White, someone needs to tell you to sit down and check your facts before you speak again. You are repeating a false stereotype and far from making people of all races feel welcomed, you are telling them that up until you came along, no one even thought about race. It may create a mini-name for you but the lies distort reality and harm the peace movement. Sit down already, just sit down.
Ava: Well said. Nothing irritates me more than hearing that the peace movement is an Anglo movement. I'm a Latina, I've protested at every national protest, I've done regional protests and I've never been the only non-Anglo present. I always think, when you know who repeats that lie yet again, about the young Arab woman we quoted in one of our pieces on the rally, I'm not looking it up.
C.I.: "Show Me What Democracy Looks Like (1-27-07)."
Ava: Tangent, that's the amazing memory of C.I. who remembers the title to that piece which, obviously, we are going to provide a link to it. Tracey, Ruth's granddaughter, Wally and C.I. spoke with a 16-year-old Arab-American female. It was so difficult for her to come to the rally. Her mother was scared that she'd be targeted either before the rally or for attending it because she is Muslim. It took a lot of guts for her to come and she really doesn't need some uninformed yahoo putting out the lie that the peace movement is all White. Want to build the peace movement? Quit lying. Quit creating roadblocks with your lies. We're all sick of it. We hear about it on campuses, we hear about it in e-mails. Someone needed to check you a long time ago but instead you've been repeatedly given a pass. I am sick of women not getting credit for their work and I am sick of non-Anglos not getting credit for their work. Anyone who wants, at this late date, to repeat the lie that the peace movement is all White is not anyone I would bother listening to or would bother linking to. People have always stepped up and it insults us all when they are erased with the claim that the peace movement is all Anglo.
Kat: Elaine, go ahead of me. I think we're going to grab the same topic.
Elaine: Okay. And we probably are because I'm going to focus on the peace movement. I would say "no one can deny the accomplishments of the peace movement" but I know a man with UPFJ did just that last summer on the radio. Oh, crap. We're not doing a roundtable at Third and I just remembered something. Does anyone have a problem with my going into that? I doubt Kat does and I'm sure C.I. will be fine with limiting comments to that.
Rebecca: No one's voicing objections so go ahead.
Elaine: "CounterPunch," which I love, allows the peace movement to express itself as well as be covered but sometimes maybe some people shouldn't express themselves? Someone, and I think it was Sharon Smith --
C.I.: It was Sharon Smith.
Elaine: Thank you. Sharon Smith wrote about the disgusting nature of one of last month's rallies and how Democratic candidates were invited but not Dennis Kucinich. This was the mid-west rally. Smith was right in every point she made. A few days later two men with UPFJ wrote an insulting piece of nonsense which was also run by "CounterPunch" -- and I'm not insulting that it got run, if they want to make fools out of themselves, let them. In it, they smeared ANSWER. Now United for Peace & Justice is my group, I don't claim the two males, but I was offended by the nonsense. Kat and I'll go back and forth on this and anyone can jump in.
Kat: UPFJ and A.N.S.W.E.R. have tensions -- like northern Iraq and Turkey! Fine. Not everyone has to get along. But for two men self-identifying, self-representing as UPFJ to produce that piece of garbage was a huge mistake. Those two losers didn't just embarrass themselves, they insulted the press and they made it really easy for the press to ignore that weekend's rallies which many in the press did. I'm going to toss to C.I.
C.I.: People are tired and if Ava or I stop talking, the other has to take notes so the typing is on hold. So if it's okay, I'm going to try to wrap up the issues really quick and then Kat and Elaine can talk about it some more to round it out -- as well as anyone else that wants to add something. Okay, here's what the two men did, they aired their problem with A.N.S.W.E.R. Fine. Students know there's a huge rift and they're tired of it. They blame UPFJ and with articles like the one that appeared that's not a surprise -- but to be clear they blamed UPFJ before the article appeared. Airing your differences -- in any languange or tone -- is fine. Do what you want. But when you call A.N.S.W.E.R. a liar, when you say they lie regularly about their turnout, you're not just insulting them. I don't know of A.N.S.W.E.R. every lying about a turnout but maybe I missed something? I do know that the two writers ridiculed the notion that 100,000 people were present in September for the A.N.S.W.E.R. led rally in DC. The two writers weren't present. Why they feel they can call A.N.S.W.E.R. a liar, I don't know. But I do know that thing made it to the mainstream press. That's how I heard about it. We go to lunch, Kat, Ava and I were on the road, and I'm checking my voice mail and it's one phone call after another saying, "Call me about this story on the peace movement." I'm returning as many calls as I can and it's about that piece of s**t article. Now the dumb asses may have thought they were attacking A.N.S.W.E.R. with their nonsense. They weren't. They were attacking the press. Many outlets had published or broadcast the 100,000 number or 100,000-plus. Those two idiots, and UPFJ needs to address this internally, did more damange than they will ever know. Papers knew about the article, cable knew about the article, NPR knew about the article, network news knew about the article. Saying the figure so many of them reported was a lie guaranteed coverage would be low for the weekend. Why? Just covering the rallies from a 'balanced' view, without taking sides and acting as if a tiny group of pro-war protestors is the same as thousands of peace activists already results in cries of bias from the right. I'm not talking about anything other than straight down the middle with a right lean reporting. And they are attacked for it. That article spread like wildfire among many in the press and it guaranteed that the press coverage would be non-existant. When the figure you previously reported has been called a lie from the left and the right is already attacking you for covering the protests to begin with, you're not sticking your neck out. You're covering your own ass and deciding to skip out on the upcoming protest. That's what I heard, it was for this protest and they wouldn't cover it. Hopefully that's true and it won't have longterm effects but those dumb asses killed the coverage that the media could have provided by saying that A.N.S.W.E.R. was lying about their figure for September when that number was repeated by press outlets. The number is correct, by the way. We were there. Everyone participating in this roundtable was present. There were over 100,000. And for the two UPFJ liars who weren't there, go pick up a copy of the November issue of "The Progressive" and turn to page 18. You have three photos and the one to really pay attention to is the huge number of people in the street in marching. In what is obviously an error, the magazine steers you to the UPFJ website. UPFJ did not, as an organization, participate in that action. So that must be an error on the magazine's part, but look at the "Associated Press" photo and you'll grasp that A.N.S.W.E.R. and other participating organizations produced a HUGE turnout. All that article, by the two dumb asses, did was scare the press off from UPFJ's actions. Here's a tip for UPFJ, quit letting dumb asses represent themselves as part of the organization. And learn a little bit about the damn press. You do not ever -- and this is so basic that I shouldn't have to make this point -- call a large number a "lie" if it was reported by the press on the eve of your own protests because all that's going to do is scare them off. Two members of UPFJ may have thought they were going to score some cheap shots off A.N.S.W.E.R. with that nonsense. All they did was ensure that their own rallies didn't cover the weekend that nonsense went up at "CounterPunch".
Kat: I don't know that I have anything to add. That said it all. It was a huge mistake and UPFJ should institute media training for those that are going to present themselves to the public.
Elaine: I'll just add that I saw the article in real time and it ticked me off. I called C.I. and hear, "Oh, you should talk to the press." How did UPFJ members think they could hide behind UPFJ and attack A.N.S.W.E.R. without the press noticing? And since the press was going to notice, it wasn't 'smart' to call A.N.S.W.E.R.'s figure a "lie" since it was reported by the press. It was also the true figure but in terms of making an already skittish press more so, congratulations boys, you guaranteed that the protests wouldn't be covered.
Rebecca: Okay, that's it. We spent hours on this roundtable. We're not censoring our opinions or editing. Typos are typos. It's a rush transcript. Live with it.