Weinberg on WBAI's downfall
J'accuse! The Betrayal of WBAIBy Bill Weinberg on Tue, 03/22/2011 - 09:15.
A Statement of Continued Resistance by the Moorish Orthodox Radio Crusade —in Exile
"Freedom of the press, if it means anything at all, means the freedom to criticize and oppose."
— George Orwell
"You have the right to free speech... As long as you're not dumb enough to actually try it."
— The Clash
"And still it moves."
— Galileo, upon his excommunication for asserting that the Earth moves around the Sun
After more than 20 years on the airwaves of WBAI-New York, the Moorish Orthodox Radio Crusade was officially cancelled the day after my last broadcast of March 15. This was explicitly presented as a result of my relentless criticisms in recent weeks of the station's direction, and specifically of my attacks on "other producers." I will here answer these charges, and demonstrate how the show's cancellation is illegitimate. But first I will make the obvious point that this episode clearly exposes the lie that there is no "gag rule" at Pacifica Radio's WBAI.
The content of the premiums, however, is a more fundamental issue. One of the few positive moves taken by the previous management at WBAI was the sacking of "health" guru Gary Null, who has become a mini-mogul by marketing dubious products ("Gary's Green Stuff," "Gary's Red Stuff") and hubristic claims ("reversing the aging process"). Ironically, Null's return to WBAI comes on the heels of his hospitalization last year for taking one of his own products—an "Ultimate Power Meal," which he claims the manufacturer spiked with more vitamin D than his formula called for. This explanation begs the question of whether Null's own formula was safe. More to the point, the notion that we can maintain good health through purchasing such sexily-dubbed industrial products rather than simply eating right is a reversal of everything good that came out of the "natural foods" movement.
I do not take calling out other producers by name lightly. Gary Null, however, does not even come into BAI, but produces his show remotely; he is nationally syndicated on several other stations across the country; and his recent return to BAI is another embarrassment. Further, he is exploiting WBAI to build his commercial empire, much as he exploits the gullible and ill who purchase his products. I do not consider him a legitimate producer.
In my final broadcasts, in addition to directly taking on Gary Null, I also explicitly criticized the "Zeitgeist" film series by director Peter Joseph—the latest entry in creepily fascistic conspiracy potboilers aggressively promoted by WBAI. This admittedly isn't quite as bad as David Icke (reptilian overlords are a tough act to beat), but probably worse than many similar such offerings in recent years—such as the endless 9-11 pseudo-dissections; or The Money Masters, a turn on the old banking-conspiracy trope with a special endorsement from Milton Friedman, whose free-market doctrines were famously emulated by Chile's fascist dictator Augusto Pinochet.
The oddly named "Zeitgeist" series, in addition to recycling specious theories about 9-11 and hegemonic world conspiracies dating back to biblical times, also appears to promote more sinister and openly right-wing fantasies. (No, I am not going to waste my time watching it, but this is clear from its website and Wikipedia page, which can presumably be considered reliable in this instance.) Among these is the "North American Union" hallucination —the notion that NAFTA was the first step towards a European-style monetary union and dropping of border controls between the US and Mexico. There is not a shred of evidence to suggest that this exists, of course; in fact, the US is notoriously building a security wall on the Mexican border! One would think (or hope) that most WBAI listeners would support a loosening of border controls in the Southwest.
Where does this idea come from? The first promoters seem to have been the John Birch Society, the radical fringe of Cold War anti-communism. With the demise of the Soviet bloc, they had to find a new enemy, and appear to have hatched this theory to exploit anti-immigrant xenophobia just as they once exploited anti-communist Russophobia. Others to tilt at this windmill include Phyllis Schlafly's Eagle Forum and self-styled "Stop the North American Union" mouthpiece Daneen G. Peterson, who luridly warns of an imminent "overwhelming human tsunami of illegal aliens."
What the hell is WBAI doing in this company?
I will be told that the NAU theory is only mentioned in one of the Zeitgeist trilogy, and not the most recent which BAI was aggressively pitching in the last fund drive. I am not impressed. Unless the Zeitgeist producers have clearly repudiated the NAU trope, it remains a part of their (using the word properly, for a change) zeitgeist. Furthermore, I understand that BAI was offering the complete trilogy as a premium package.