Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

January 14, 2014

Alarming Pacifica developments

Filed under: Pacifica — louisproyect @ 5:44 pm

Doug Henwood

This was just posted to the Pacifica Radio Supporters group by Andrew Leslie Phillips, former program director at WBAI, KPFA, and very briefly at WBAI again. It contains some dire information about the leadership of Pacifica and their plans for the network. If you care at all about that institution, please read this. As you can see, this does not seem like a promising future environment for Behind the News, since what I do has a lot in common with Ian Masters.

—-

Andrew Leslie Phillips

I understand that KPFA interim GM, Richard Pirodsky is now interim manager of both KPFA and KPFK; that yesterday (January 13th at 3pm) Bernard Duncan stepped down or was moved aside by Summer Reese and very likely given a pay-out to make way for Pirodsky. Yesterday Summer Reese turned up at KPFK with Pirodsky to take the reigns. The respected current iPD, Alan Minsky is also targeted for dismissal by Summer Reese. Minsky is a supporter of Ian Masters, Reese’s nemesis (Minsky) meet Reese in the KPFK lobby yesterday by she refused to acknowledge him – would not even shake the guy’s hand! So his future looks shaky. He was previously paid senior producer at KPFK but that position is now occupied by Christian Blodsdale (who is the highest paid producer at KPFK) but produces nothing. She pitches with Null (and others) flying around the network pushing sketchy infomercial-like product but has minimal radio experience. She is a PR flack – http://www.goodkarmapr.com/team/team.htm.

Meanwhile the current PNB steps down at the end of this month and a new board steps up and apparently will insist that Summer Reese produce her heretofore withheld personal information – details of parts of her background are included in this message. But none of this information has been vetted by the PNB. Perhaps at last it will be. Pacifica is currently led by people who seem to have very little radio background about whom we know very little. How and why has this happened and why has the current PNB not done their job to protect our valuable network?

Ian Masters, who was suspended by Reese for bringing some of this to the air, says his job is also on the line. Anybody challenging Reese faces termination. I certainly know that from my own personal experience. Masters, with no premiums, consistently returns the most money per hour at KPFA. Masters pitches programming.

I understand his story is about to break on major media in LA and The Nation. As of now very few are aware of these shenanigans. It’s time of staff with backbone and certainly the Pacifica membership take the time to learn what is happening behind the curtain and step up to save what’s left of Pacifica’s legitimacy.

Here is Ian Masters plea for a listener intervention including links to Summer Reese’s background. This information has been forwarded by Masters to the PNB. But don’t hold your breath for the PNB to step up unless “feet are held to fire”.

January 3, 2014

Dear concerned KPFK listeners,

Happy New Year and thanks to all of you who emailed me at savekpfk@gmail.com and who visited our new website at listenerpoweredradio.org or Googled save pacifica radio and offered to join in a listener intervention to save Pacifica and KPFK. We are moving ahead but I have been warned by many inside of Pacifica who support this effort that I will be immediately fired by Summer Reese and Gary Null if I post the following on the website…
As we begin this New Year, Pacifica’s future hangs in the balance and will be determined by a background check. And while I am under a strict gag order on “free speech” radio not to say a word about the dire situation we are in, I can share what I know with you even though it may be difficult to convey just how disastrous our new leadership is and for you to realize that on the inside, the “peoples radio” now operates along totally authoritarian lines.

These dysfunctional boards that represent barely 10% of our listener/members, that tend to attract the most extreme among Pacifica’s various factions, were never meant to be a conduit for the one-eyed person in the land of the blind to maneuver themselves into a paying job. We are supposed to recruit professional management from the outside and our Executive Directors are supposed to administer, not hand pick cronies and micro-manage programming.

The lunatics have indeed taken over the asylum and today the Pacifica foundation is already in the hands of someone with such a dubious background, who is so demonstrably unqualified for any job, let alone running a radio network, but yet has shown sufficient bureaucratic cunning that both Stalin and the Koch brothers would be impressed by her “stealth” right wing takeover of America’s only left wing media outlet.

Pending a background check, Summer Reese will be officially in the position she already occupies and, once approved, she will quickly erase any vestiges of journalism and credibility Pacifica has left. News and Public Affairs will become a joke and so-called “health and spirituality” will be elevated to prime time, meaning that conspiracy and quackery will become our brand, if it hasn’t already come to that.

It is important to stress that I have no objection to “health and spirituality” programs and that many of my friends enjoy Lisa Garr and Nita Vallens and find their guests and ideas interesting and helpful. But just as Oprah is on during the day and not in prime time, so too should these programs be segregated from News and Public Affairs which listeners expect to hear in prime time.

A simple Google search reveals that Summer Reese’s only professional experience was as an office manager for a tax avoidance scam artist, Peymon Mottahedeh, who is not a lawyer but runs the Freedom Law School in the California desert that is neither a school or has anything to do with the law except for breaking it through tax avoidance.

As one of their “paralegals”, Ms. Reese’s job was to con people into believing that the $6,000 package they were buying from the Freedom Law School would immunize them against an oppressive and illegitimate government’s efforts to collect taxes they owed.
Like the “sovereign citizens” movement, these far right wing anti-government conspiracy peddlers don’t believe in paying taxes or having social security numbers. According to information gathered so far which sources inside have leaked to me so it is yet to be officially confirmed, Ms. Reese has not paid taxes and does not have a social security number and operates on false identities.

Her other claim at having a professional background is that she was a lawyer for Sirhan Sirhan. Apparently she impersonated a lawyer representing a client who happened to kill Bobby Kennedy and claimed to be one at public meetings where she billed herself as Sirhan’s lawyer before gatherings of RFK assassination conspiracy theorists.

As for the merits of the case she falsely claimed to be presenting on Sirhan’s behalf, he was not responsible for killing RFK because the hapless assassin was a government-brainwashed “Manchurian Candidate”. Need I say more.

With no clue how to address the network’s declining listenership and slide towards bankruptcy, and with total disregard for Pacifica’s 501-C3 non-profit status, Ms. Reese is now turning our airwaves over to “Doctor” Gary Null whose miracle cure “products” are unregulated and whose fraudulent credentials have been exposed as mail order diplomas by the independent consumer watchdog website run by medical professionals, Quackwatch.com.

Gary Null is a private corporation. His annual revenues are $12.2 million. Should Pacifica become Gary Null’s private Home Shopping Network offering dubious products over our airwaves under the guise of fund raising? His fraudulent claims have certainly turned away a lot of our thoughtful and ethical listeners and I am personally disgusted when desperate terminally ill people are conned into spending money on expensive and unproven vitamin cures for cancer and Alzheimer’s.

“Doctor” Null actually claimed Patrick Swayze would be alive today had he taken his products. And then there are the young men who died following the advice of this HIV denier that Gary Null’s products could cure AIDS. So much for the hollow claim made by the “peoples” radio that we don’t take money from corporations. Meanwhile our non-profit foundation status is being placed in jeopardy from the FDA, the IRS and the FCC.

So I suppose it should be no surprise given Summer Reese’s and Gary Null’s similar backgrounds of scamming gullible folks by distracting them with right wing anti-government dogma as they fleece them, that these two are working hand in glove. And while Gary Null is already on all the other Pacifica stations except Berkeley, the reason he did not participate in KPFK’s latest fund drive was because he is leveraging his position to get on prime time at KPFK and to make a better deal in the next fund drive so that he will be in a position to control the network before it goes into bankruptcy.

The experienced professional Program Director at WBAI Andrew Phillips (who discovered Amy Goodman) resigned when Ms. Reese demanded he take “Background Briefing” off the air at 10 AM in New York City to have it replaced by guess who?…Gary Null!

And in cavalier disregard of a petition from KPFK programmers, she has maneuvered to remove Alan Minsky the current Program Director at KPFK to have him replaced by a loyal flunky from Berkeley who, rumor has it, will propose moving the Pacifica Evening News to 5 PM to get “Background Briefing” off the air.

The head of Pacifica’s Jurassic Jazz station in Washington DC has already been replaced by a person with no prior radio experience who comes from a moving company who helped with the relocation of WBAI. Now Ms. Reese is moving to replace the current General Manager at KPFK in the coming months with a compliant functionary who will unshackle the 9/11 “truthers”, the RFK, JFK, MLK assassination ambulance chasers and the “Chemtrails” proponents waiting in the wings with evangelical zeal to get the real truth out.

Meanwhile, based on its latest public audit, Pacifica Radio’s working capital has declined from positive $2,835,309 in 2007 to negative $1,034,153 as of September 30, 2011. At this rate of decline the Pacifica network is probably already bankrupt, given the millions they owe Amy Goodman and the piles of unpaid bills and lawsuits to collect past dues.

While I am merely road-kill and collateral damage compared to the death of Pacifica, you might ask why is Summer Reese on a Jihad to get rid of me? Well apart from the sin of telling the truth on “free speech” radio, my only personal contact with Ms. Reese was when she strongly urged me to read a book about the Fluoride conspiracy.

As you know, four days a week and on Sunday’s I seek out the best experts to discuss domestic and international events and issues of importance. Iran, Syria, unemployment, the decline of the middle class and the downsizing of working Americans, corporate greed, declining education, etc. So I did not follow up on uncovering the government’s Fluoride plot and that’s apparently how I ended up on her enemies list. But therein lies the tragedy for Pacifica; we will soon be no different from Fox News in our denigration of science and our disregard for facts.

Fox propagates “birther” conspiracies; Pacifica mirrors them with “truther” conspiracies. It’s no accident that the Producer of the “truther” Bible, the movie “Loose Change”, is the far right wing sovereign citizen Alex Jones. By pandering to the anti-government sentiment of Pacifica’s left-leaning listeners, stressing the legalization of pot and opposition to foreign wars, “stealth” right wing libertarians like Alex Jones and Summer Reese count on gullible Pacifica listeners not to notice their real agenda. They are careful not to mention their obsession with government plans to take away their guns and that we can do away with government altogether and have the Koch brothers run America.

We have only days left to mobilize every listener, activist on the left, and every liberal and progressive voice in the land, as well as the few in our politics like my friend Bernie Sanders. We all have to wake up and rescue Pacifica from its impending suicidal implosion. If only for the sake of political diversity in America’s already right wing-dominated media. We are about to lose the country’s last tenuous outlet for bottom-up voices and alternative opinion.

I am embarrassed that we even have to talk about this and that I have to explain the grubby antics of these tawdry characters but, in the short term Summer Reese will accelerate Pacifica’s self-marginalization, and then as the network goes bankrupt, Gary Null will pick up the pieces.

Sincerely,
Ian Masters

15 Comments »

  1. It is a truly a tragedy. I listen to KPFA periodically when I travel to the Bay Area, and enjoy programming that originates locally. But one day, I was listening to some guy go on and on about Oswald, Mexico and the Zapruder film, he must have had the whole hour. Turns out it was a recording of a conspiracy theorist speaking at a conference, and, of course, he has also published books about the conspiracies associated with the killing of RFK and 9/11.

    Given the infighting and technological changes that have occurred since the late 1990s, it is amazing that Pacifica still exists. Like Sears and K-Mart, it is a lumbering dinosaur dying a slow death. If there is any hope of survival, it probably lies in a transformation whereby money and market share are abandoned in the hope of preserving the FCC licenses for use by radical programmers.

    Comment by Richard Estes — January 14, 2014 @ 6:13 pm

  2. Wow…

    Comment by Sabrina Jacobs — January 14, 2014 @ 8:00 pm

  3. I reside mostly in the LA area and used to listen to KPFK more than I do now for the reasons well presented above. These days I listen more to wifi radio which access almost any station on the planet via the RECIVA or FRONTIER SILICON aggregators. I also must note that WBAI in NY now carries many re-broadcasts of the still-beating heart public affairs programs from KPFK or KPFA… but so do a slew of low power stations (WFTE in PA carries only public affairs) and there are many more outlets around the globe doing the exact same bit.

    Back when Lew Hill founded Pacifica the FM band was a new thing and the fledging stations found themselves in the business of hawking FM receivers as most were AM only.

    This past summer WBAI was on the verge of closing for good in part because of a six month arrearage in transmitter payments @ $50k/month rental atop the Empire State Bldg. Such foolishness in light of anemic Arbitron ratings, cheaper digs in Jersey, and a technology allowing anyone with a computer or app to tune in. (Perhaps the New Yorker cover where NYC looms so large and Jersey is depicted as a small strip and California just a dot on the map is iconic for good reason).

    I am guilty of Einstein’s admonishment of doing things repeatedly and expecting a different result when I continue to subscribe and support KPFK and Pacifica. My heart tells me to help keep them on life support but I have been doing this for the last 35 years and I must agree things have gotten worse, not better.

    Leaving the conspiracy loons and quacks aside I still have much more to bitch about with what is “left” over: KPFK carries a show featuring the Avakian’s RCP and Ian Maters seems to carry water for ‘progressive dems’ without too much in between. In fact, I notice as an election nears the shills for the dems get more play and Van Jones et al become frequent guests repeating their ‘lesser evil ‘ arguments… and listening to Ian for over two decades I can report that he too is, “not a socialist” which puts him alongside the MSNBC crowd.

    I also feel that there are sufficient platforms to carry the good programming forward post-Pacifica. I hope so.

    Comment by Scott Edwards — January 15, 2014 @ 5:17 am

  4. I don’t know why Doug thinks that he and Ian Masters are in the same boat or do the same sort of show. Doug does a usually thoughtful show — at least when it comes to economics — and Ian makes a profession of interviewing CIA, State Department, and U.S. government officials, and unlike Doug icing out most of the real left and leftist views.

    Mitchel Cohen
    former Chair, WBAI Local Station Board

    Comment by TakeForwardWBAI — January 16, 2014 @ 3:57 am

  5. I should add, there’s nothing wrong with interviewing predominantly CIA, State Department, and U.S. government officials, IF ONE IS GOING TO ASK THEM TOUGH QUESTIONS instead of pitching them softballs. See, for instance, Ian’s terrible shows on U.S. policy towards Syria, Libya, etc., it would make any thoughtful anti-imperialist puke.

    Mitchel Cohen

    Comment by TakeForwardWBAI — January 16, 2014 @ 4:06 am

  6. here is another site with alarm and headline worthy attractions that I found when I googled for GM changes at KPFK. Too bad there is so much alliance-building and taking-sides and not being balanced or focused on what is actually occurring at the radio station operations either.

    Why is Bernard Duncan – the prior GM – leaving before his allotted time?

    Why is he not telling the rest of us who really care to know the reasons for early exiting ?

    Why are Ian Masters and Alan Minsky campaigning so hard ? Did they actually learn from some authentic sources that their programs and positions were going to be eliminated or that they are easily and quickly replaced?

    Why is Summer Reese so easily and often maligned and distrusted ?

    Has any of these malicious writers met her or questioned her or allowed her to respond to their assumed stories of her or her past ?

    Is everything anyone has ever done in a lifetime then become valuable enough to merit being hounded and maligned by that forever after ?

    It’s as if a KPFK person were attempting to take on the position or power of a USA govt official – that actually has lots of power-of-their-political-cronies-and-the-taxpayers-purse too ?

    As if any long-ago joinings were still valid to dis-repute anything one does in the later future of one’s life ?

    It seems sometimes that others like to search for anything they can USE to discredit a person they dislike or have prejudices against and something somewhere can always be found, or made up.

    It is a sad way to have to always be looking for something awful to say about another person, but it seems to be a common practice. Maybe it could be done differently ? Just admit the one’s opinions are opinions and not marauding as ‘facts’.

    Comment by akpfker — January 24, 2014 @ 1:30 am

  7. Hi Louis,

    Hope all is well.

    Please read the attached open letters to Ian Masters from Tracy Rosenberg and myself to hopefully shed light on some of the misrepresentation that Ian had portrait in his statement.

    I also would like to challenge you for spreading unchecked content of an email to your listserve without really investigating the issue.

    Please give us an equal opportunity to present our facts to your listserve readers as you did to Ian Masters so hopefully people will make better decision to take the right action in their support for Pacifica.

    I am looking forward to have an open dialogue with you if I can provide more facts.

    Thanks for your due diligence,

    Mansoor

    Comment by mansoor — January 24, 2014 @ 7:46 am

  8. An open letter to Louis Proyect,

    Hi Louis,

    Hope you are well.

    Two days ago I sent you two letters—written by Tracy Rosenberg and myself—to clarify the issues in the email ‘alarming Pacifica Development’ you had sent out and asked if you would grant us the same platform and share them with your listserve. Tracy Rosenberg has been involved with Pacifica, KPFA, for three decades, and I about two decades and been listening for over three decades to KPFK here in Los Angeles. My request has been ignored so far by your (lack) of action.

    Unfortunately, you and a handful of others who sent out the same email never did check with other people about the content of that letter. You relied solely on one person’s opinion and accepted the content to be ‘truthful’—we accuse ‘right-wing’ people and ‘journalism’ for not cross-check and double-check their facts before publishing them. You could have sought out information by just sending an email out to your listserve and ask for information regarding what is going on at Pacifica. But, that would’ve been too easy and you had to read people’s input before reaching a conclusion.

    I really question your self-description of being a ‘marxist’. Those who follow the school of Marxism spend time seeking out facts and not hyperbole, they dig information to ascertain their hypothesis. Spreading lies about people who work really hard at Pacifica, especially Executive Director Summer Reese and calling her all sort of name, is not a ‘revolutionary’ act. Shame on you Louis for spreading lies but worst of all for blindly taking part in a ‘fight’ that you know nothing about. You have sullied your name and your work in the eyes of many people and, furthermore, have taken integrity out of your own work now.

    Mansoor

    Comment by mansoor — January 25, 2014 @ 7:46 pm

  9. Already right wing dominated media? I guess you don’t read Yahoo! the NYT or the LAT much, Ian. KPFK is marginalized because it marginalizes itself.

    Comment by William Norton — February 6, 2014 @ 6:22 am

  10. Ian Masters is the worst! He belongs on MSNBC. He always demeans the left movements in Latin America; he is always blasting critics of Obama, on the air; He always has former assistants to the State Department who now teach at Georgetown University; and he can not get himself enough of Robert Baer. I could go on, but listen for yourself, he is a condescending mouthpiece for the Democratic Party way of Empire.

    Comment by adonis — March 5, 2014 @ 2:43 am

  11. Which is why he is no longer on WBAI, thank you Adonis. And yet, some leftists I know are so craving any discussion that’s not overt right-wing talk radio, that they had welcomed (for a while) Ian Masters on Pacifica stations. Pretty pathetic, the very low level of political discussions and the poles of “debate” allowed on the air. Let’s change that!

    Comment by Mitchel Cohen — March 5, 2014 @ 12:12 pm

  12. I don’t know anything about Masters but WBAI is pure shit.

    Comment by louisproyect — March 5, 2014 @ 12:19 pm

  13. And then there’s this document… “Conspiracy Theory”: Foundations of a Weaponized Term in MemoryHoleBlog “CIA Document 1035-960” – Freedom of Information Act unearthed a CIA document calling for discrediting critics of official government stories of 60’s assassinations as “conspiracy theorists”. Subtle and Deceptive Tactics to Discredit Truth in Media and Research by Dr. James Tracy of MemoryHoleBlog dot com. It was released in response to a 1976 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) was released in response to a 1976 FOIA request by the New York Times. The directive is especially significant because it outlines the CIA’s concern regarding “the whole reputation of the American government” vis-à-vis the Warren Commission Report. The agency was especially interested in maintaining its own image and role as it “contributed information to the [Warren] investigation.” The memorandum lays out a detailed series of actions and techniques for “countering and discrediting the claims of the conspiracy theorists, so as to inhibit the circulation of such claims in other countries.” http://memoryholeblog.com/2013/01/20/cia-document-1035-960-foundation-of-a-weaponized-term/

    Comment by Vic Sadot — March 18, 2014 @ 10:41 pm

  14. Masters is paving the way for civil war in the Ukraine by hewing to the the Obama-Kerry-NeoCon line. Compare Masters’ April 16, infomercial on “Background Briefing” with Stephen Cohen’s April 17 analysis on Democracy Now..

    Comment by William Greenberg — April 17, 2014 @ 9:42 pm

  15. The criticisms on Ian Masters is on his programs instead of what else he has attempted in discrediting the ED called Summer Reese.

    He claimed to have googled to find gossip, rumors or misinformation and claimed these as facts. Then many who want to support his programs or his ‘groupies’ post his manifesto – proclamation and petition- with maligning insults and name callings – and then closes the doors to all discussion or corrections.

    It seems that both Ian Masters and Alan Minsky were [so stated and actually heard, not a post read on line ] concerned about being dismissed [=fired] from KPFK if Summer Reese were ED. A campaign to malign her ensued in the hopes of toppling what they considered an enemy, one with authority.

    No possibility of questioning them on facts and about the actual threats of being eliminated from KPFK was given to account for their fears and actions.

    Most assume these are not bad, stupid, mean men. But their actions are possibly out of fear and retaliation. Who is to know ?
    They have not admitted much but accused much.

    The ongoing conflicts of who is iED at Pacifica is driving everyone else crazy. We already sent in our money and cant get it back. We want good programming and hope we dont have to switch to another local station .

    The GM of KPFK, Bernard Duncan, claimed he was leaving his contract/ post early to go back to NZ for “personal reasons”, said to be with his girlfriend. Then Pacifica website announces he is the interim ED instead. What happened ? Who switched what ? Was that move planned? Did Duncan intend to move up the ladder and be disloyal to his prior job ? What is going on?

    There seems to be only 1 local news source for what is happening that affects KPFK and other stations as well – la.indymedia.org.
    There is no on air information except for 1 late night show with a few relevant interviews so far. Los Angeles may be a desert and it is very dry there.

    The KPFK LSB meetings are conflict full and disruptive and difficult to visit and stay to try to hear what is shouted or mumbled.
    To speak there as a public member is also difficult, i.e. maybe have 50 sec comment that goes no where, is not recorded anywhere nor in minutes, is not responded to by LSB members and seems futile over all.

    what is going on ?
    an earthquake may help now.

    Comment by akpfker — April 18, 2014 @ 9:22 pm


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