Saturday, March 30, 2013

When the uninformed review

I can't stop laughing at Louis Proyect.  He's forever uninformed so it's always hilarious when he tries to review a film.  Currently, he's trying to review Robert Redford's The Company You Keep.  The biggest laugh comes here:

Everybody has heard of the Weathermen but who the hell would spend $13 to go see a movie about RATF militants, even if bankable stars like Susan Sarandon and Robert Redford played them?

Susan Sarandon is bankable?

Since when?

Her leading lady status evaporated almost immediately after it emerged.

In 1986, she did Witches of Eastwick (and bitched and moaned that Cher stole her role).  It was the only eighties film she did that made over 60 million.  Her second biggest hit was the $50 million Bull Durham.  That passed for successful when successful was defined as carrying a film to the $100 million mark.

In the 90s, Susan Sarandon co-starred in Thelma & Louise which wasn't huge ($45 million) but did make an impact and leave a legacy.  Otherwise?

She was in 17 films in the 90s.  I'll leave out The Player because she's doing a cameo (she's a journalist in a film within a film).  I'll leave out The Celluloid Closet because it's a documentary and I don't believe she's come out yet -- not even as bi-sexual.  James and the Giant Peach was animated so I'll leave that out as well.  So we're left with 14 films.  The Client made $91 million and Step-mom (co-starring Julia Roberts whom Sarandon partied with after the wedding that never was to Kiefer Sutherland) made $92 million.  And those were 'hits' for Susan.  Only two films came close to the 100 million mark. 

And that was her best decade.

In the '00s, she begins doing her supporting and bit parts.

Casting her as the Evil Queen in 2007's Enchanted gave her the biggest hit of her career ($127 million). 

That's the only film she's been in that has crossed the 100 million dollars mark.

The only film.  And she's not the lead.

Three of her films in the 00s failed to even make one million dollars.

Susan Sarandon isn't bankable.  She was briefly considered it in the early 90s.  Lorenzo's Oil, Safe Passage, Light Sleeper and other films quickly resulted in her leading lady card being pulled.

Susan Sarandon isn't bankable, she never was.  She's also not a star.  What is she?  A later incarnation of Karen Black.  An actress with some talent who briefly was considered as a potential star but quickly revealed she wasn't.

Well, a weaker Karen Black.  Unlike Sarandon, Karen actually could bring in some ticket buyers at her

I haven't seen The Company You Keep yet.  I did see a preview for it at Oz and people booed when Susan Sarandon was onscreen.  She's not a 'beloved' entertainer.  She's not a legend.  She's not box office.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Friday, March 29, 2013.  Chaos and violence continue, protests continue in Iraq, Salah al-Mutlaq learns what it is to be hated, we examine another area where the Iraq War had influence, and more.

Kitabat notes that protests took place in six provinces today -- with Saleh al-Mutlaq being called out throughout which well get to.  Kitabat notes that Falluja protesters say they are in it for the long haul, until the suffering Iraqi people ends.  National Iraqi News Agency reports:

The protester's spokesman in Anbar, Sheikh Saeed Allafi highly praised the stand taken by Cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, leader of the Sadrists movement towards demonstrators and protesters in a number of governorates of Iraq, denouncing in the same time what he called the opportunistic pragmatic attitudes by deputy PM, Saleh al-Mutlaq.
Lafi added in a statement to NINA: "Muqtada al-Sadr, chose to stand with the masses when he deduced that the government arbitrary robs the rights of the masses.
He said: "The protesters of Anbar condemn the shameful attitude of Mutlaq, who stripped from the Iraqiya Slate and went to support Maliki government at the expense of the oppressed people.

Al-Shorfa notes:

Protesters in Baghdad, Diyala, Salaheddine, Anbar, Kirkuk and Ninawa asked the Iraqi government to meet 13 demands they said were legitimate and constitutional.
"We hope this Friday will be the start of the end for the peaceful popular movement, by way of the government's response to our demands," said Sheikh Qusay Eddine al-Zein, spokesman for Anbar demonstrators.
"The demonstrators will not leave until the last demand has been met," he told Al-Shorfa. "Not as a favour from the government but as an enshrined right that must be restored to us under the new democratic system in Iraq."
"The government began discussing the demands and announced it would meet four of them," said Sheikh Abdullah al-Samarrae, Friday preacher in Samarra, Salaheddine province. "That is a good sign, but all demands must be met."

Al Jazeera and the Christian Science Monitor's Jane Arraf Tweets:

  1. 's beautiful, brief protest art. 'I can see you' young artist tells politicians. His mural taken down tonight

Iraqi Spring MC has video of the Baghdad protests and other cities for protests include Samarra, Baiji, Kirkuk, Falluja, Muqdadiyah, and Tamiyah.  The last one is where Nouri sent his forces in to do searches and arrests.  In addition, Nouri's forces instituted a crackdown preventing anyone from entering or leaving TamiyahRaids also took place in Baiji. At Baghdad's Abu Hanifa, Nouri's forces surrounded the mosque and prevented worshipers from entering and at least one person was beat up by Nouri's forcesDar Addustour reports on the Ramadi and Falluja protests noting that the protesters feel betrayed by certain politicians such as Saleh al-Mutlaq and that they have declared that only protesters from a province can speak for the protesters of that province.  In Falluja, Sheikh Hussein Obeid said that the government's refusal to meet the protesters demands are provoking a crisis.

One topic of the protests was Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq.  Also getting attention was Mohammed Tamimi (Minster of Education) and Ahmed Karbouli (Minister of Industry) who joined al-Mutlaq at the Wednesday Cabinet meeting presuming to speak for the protesters -- they don't speak for the protesters and the protesters don't approve of what was said.  Iraqi Spring MC shows a huge poster carried with Saleh al-Mutlaq's face on it, a big red X across his face and the proclamation that he is a traitor to the Iraqi people.  Alsumaria has a photo of his face being carried on posters.    He was denounced in Babylonian for his "false assertions."  He was denounced at the Baiji protest as someone looking to increase their own stature by pretending to speak for the protesters.

NINA notes that Iraiqya is blaming the al-Mutlaq split on Hayder al-Mulla.  In Samarra, Iraqi Spring MC documents, a banner was raised at the sit-in noting the cry of "No on federalism, no on sectarianism, no on divisions. Yes to the glory and dignity of Iraq."

All Iraq News notes a Kirkuk car bombing today has "resulted in killing and injuring a number of citizens,"And at first, it appeared that was it.  Then it all started pouring in.  All Iraq News reports 5 Baghdad bombings which have claimed 14 lives and left twenty-five injured.  Alsumaria notes a Muqdadiya bombing has left 9 dead and ten injured and, on that Kirkuk bombing, they count 2 dead and thirty-five injured.  In addition, police shot dead 1 suspect in Mosul, and a Baquba bombing left three police members injured.  AFP's Prashant Rao Tweets:

Car bombs kill 18 at Shiite mosques in Iraq, 3 others dead in separate shootings - 's wrap:

And AFP notes that the Kirkuk bombing death toll grew to 4 with seventy-two injured while 2 teachers were shot dead in Kut and the press received the usual treatment: "Security forces elsewhere in the capital threatened to detain AFP journalists for attempting to film and take photographs of the aftermath of the bombings."   On the topic of violence, Jane Arraf Tweets:

Sistani rep Muhsin al-Battat seriously wounded in car bombing of Shia mosque after delivering Friday sermon.

Very bad development - Sistani rep, voice of moderation in , critically wounded by car bomb after giving Friday sermon in .

Remember this:
With very few exceptions, an important event in Iraq went unnoticed in the U.S. media this month. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki sent a force that included helicopters to western Iraq to arrest Rafi al-Issawi, the former finance minister and a leading Sunni Arab opposition member. Al-Issawi, who was protected by armed members of the Abu Risha clan, one of post-2003 Iraq’s most powerful Sunni tribes, escaped capture.
This action came on the heels of al-Maliki’s telephone conversation with Secretary of State John Kerry and took Washington by surprise. Had a confrontation ensued, the results would have been calamitous. It could even have provided the spark for the beginning of a civil war. Still, al-Maliki’s actions represent another nail in the coffin for a unified Iraq. Al-Maliki, a Shiite Muslim, had previously accused Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi, a leading Sunni political figure, of terrorism, forcing him to flee Iraq in 2011. Al-Hashimi was subsequently tried in absentia and sentenced to death.
Al-Maliki’s policies have significantly raised tensions in the Sunni regions of Iraq. There are demonstrations in many of the Sunni provinces that seek to emulate those of the Arab Spring. They are one reason al-Maliki has targeted al-Issawi. He wants to contain the dissent before it spreads.

It's from Professor Henri J. Barkey's "Iraq's great divider: Prime Minister Maliki's actions may lead to the country's breakup, as the U.S. stands idly by" (Los Angeles Times).  We noted it this week when the Los Angeles Times published it, we noted it became huge on Arabic social media (also it was reported on by the Iraqi Times) and now Stars and Stripes is carrying the column.  It's an important column.  I wonder if Barkey had any idea of the reach it would have when he wrote it?

The costs of the illegal war have been many.  Reason  notes the 4 to 6 trillion dollar tab."  Yesterday we noted, Ernesto Londono (Washington Post) report,  "The U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq will cost taxpayers between $4 trillion to $6 trillion, taking into account the medical care of wounded veterans and expensive repairs to a force depleted by more than a decade fighting, according to a new study by a Harvard researcher [Linda J. Bilmes]."  That's where that cost was coming from.  Those costs did not all take place in 2003 -- the veterans who were wounded were wounded throughout the Iraq War and the Afghanistan War.  So it's kind of strange that some want to look at other costs but only look at 2003.  It's also kind of strange the terms they use.   Chris Hedges (TruthDig) had a great column this week with a factual error and Tom Cleveland (All Voices) may have realized it and tried to pad it out by taking "TV news" and adding "broadcast journalism" to it.  But while the reality is that Phil Donahue shouldn't have been pulled from MSNBC -- his was the highest rated program, a fact that no one seems to note, he was beating Chris Matthews in the ratings when he was pulled -- the reality is also that he wasn't doing TV news -- nor is Matthews or any of the talk show hosts on MSNBC or any other channel.  Talk shows are not news.  They can sometimes qualify as public affairs programming but they are not news.

I can remember watching Today on NBC, for example, Monday, January 12, 2004.  It's an entertainment show that features news.  And a breathless report did a live report that Matt Lauer swallowed because eh is so disgusting and such a piece of s**t and that's why so many of us are so thrilled to see his downfall take place in public (hey, Matt, at least you got in some good golfing with George H.W. Bush, right?). So there was Matty Lauer open mouthed in shock at the 'news' being reported.  Ron Suskind's book (which the reporter was waiving on air) The Price of Loyalty would be released the next day and it was all these fantastic charges by former Secretary of the Treasury Paul O'Neill and it included documents that the White House said O'Neill was in trouble for taking and they were talking criminal charges and . . . .

And I was dialing on my cell phone to friends at Today asking WTF was going on.  How the hell did that piece of crap presented as reporting make the air?  I too had an advanced copy and, unlike the NBC 'reporter,' I had actually read the book.  But you didn't need to read the whole book, I pointed out on the phone repeatedly, to know that O'Neill asked permission to take the files when he left the White House -- that's in Ron Suskind's opening introduction.

The next day, January 13, 2004, Katie Couric did a mop up segment where they addressed the fact that, yes, O'Neill did have permission to take those files.  There would be no prosecution and he had broken no laws.  She did it with another reporter. No one mentioned the previous report.  Katie is gone from Today by her own choice, the reporter who did the mop up is at another network because NBC didn't give a damn about facts repeatedly.  Matt Lauer's only being brought down today because he's no longer pretty to look at and the reporter who did the false report, the bag boy for the White House who waived a book on air that he didn't read the first pages of (the introduction)?

That was David Gregory.  And for being a whore and not a journalist, he was eventually promoted to host of Meet The Press -- where he scares away viewers with that creepy forehead that screams for either botox or bangs.

So spare me your Chevy to levy drive about the day TV news supposedly died.  Worth noting, on the topic of Ron Suskind, that the well researched, by the facts journalist published another look at another administration, this one was Confidence Men: Wall Street, Washington, and the Education of a President.  It was a different administration but the tactics that White House used to discredit Suskind's books were incredibly similar and it's very sad that the American tax dollar is repeatedly misused by administrations to brainstorm how to attack US citizens who say things the White House disagrees with.

That 2011 treatment?  Much more important to a story about the death of journalism than Phil Donahue's firing.  Donahue's firing was well noted in real time and it continues to be.  It's not hidden history.  What was done to Ron Suskind -- by Republican and by Democratic administrations?  Much less well known and representative of the problem in journalism.  We were going to be the media.

That was the promise in 2003.  I didn't understand it.  I was speaking all over the country, starting in February 2003, against the Iraq War.  As I traveled city to city, campus to campus, young America was outraged by the Iraq War but adement that something good would come from this crime: The creation of a new media.  Blogs and websites and serv-lists and micro-radio and web radio and all these other terms I had no idea about.   (This site started in November 2004 and I didn't know what I was doing then anymore than I do today.)

And for a brief moment, that did look possible.  But there was no real desire to build a media and you can see that looking back today.  I think the people I met were sincere, I just think they were lied to, tricked and duped by so many.  Take Air America.  That was the biggest con job in the world, in all of its incarnations which began in 2004.  In terms of being opposed to the Iraq War, the hosts Laura Flanders, Janeane Garofalo, Sam Seder, Mike Malloy, Lizz Winstead (only if Chuck D were on Unfiltered that day, with War Hawk Rachel Maddow who repeatedly stated on air that the US couldn't leave Iraq, Lizz was silent), Marc Maron and Randi Rhodes were.  That may seem like a lot but there were a lot of hours to fill.  And, again, if Chuck D wasn't around, Rachel was pimping her learn-to-love the war b.s.  She repeatedly cited Colin Powell's 'Pottery Barn rule' (if you break it, you buy it -- Pottery Barn has no such rule) and insisted that the US remain in Iraq.  She refused to allow anti-war veterans to come on her show.  (By contrast, Janeane and Sam were happy to interview those currently serving, who'd been deployed to Iraq and were saying that the US needed to withdraw.)

Air America Radio talked about the need to build a new media.  It was just talk to cover the fact that they only existed to get Democrats elected (I'm referring now to the money backing the effort and not the on airs).  So the ratings challenged, money destroying 'network' finally went under as soon as a Democrat was elected to the White House.

But it never needed to be that way.  The so-called history of Air America Radio is largely a lie.  By the summer of 2004, Air America Radio had enough listeners to be a hit, enough to make a healthy profit.  It had listeners all over the country and was breaking records. 

If you're skeptical of this, that's because you've been lied to and misled.  The focus was on land-locked radio stations, physical ones.  That's not where their audience was.  Their audience was in streaming.  Real Player, for example, had never had any demand like it before.  They had to change their streaming procedures and rules for Air America.  This could have been built on, this was the model.  But they weren't interested in a new media.  Again, Real Player had never seen anything like it before.  Streaming in the millions and not for a minute or two but for hours -- it was averaging that over 50% of Air America Radio listeners were listening for six continuous hours.

Air American Radio was a flop and that's because they wanted to be old media.  That's because they whored as well and not just in terms of the Democratic Party.  I can tell all the tales because I know the bulk of the players.  Sam Seder, for example?  Cowed easily.  The first time?  On air, he was repeatedly attacking Adam Nagourney's bad journalism.  A New York Times reader once wished that Nagourney was dead and Drama Queen Nagrouney tried to inflate it into a death threat -- destroying the poor man's life in the process.  So Seder couldn't have picked a worse target.  Nags whined like the little priss he is and got the advertising department to call Air America Radio and threaten to pull the New York Times ads (which were then running once an hour) if Seder didn't shut up.  Seder not only shut up, he immediately deleted his comedy blog Ad Nags.

The one truly independent program Air America had was The Laura Flanders Show.  In part because Laura had decades of experience and was a popular on air in the Bay Area and in part because she broadcast (live) Saturday and Sunday evenings (three hours each night), she was left alone and built up a huge following.  She could and did bring on war resisters.  She could and did loudly decry the illegal war.  Only Janeane matched Laura for eloquence when it came to speaking out against the Iraq War and for devotion to covering that topic.  And that meant that Janeane and Laura called out Democrats as a result.  On Janeane's show, there was Sam Seder to act as rescuer and point out some good quality to the elected officials who was a War Hawk.  There was no such person on Laura's show. 

So how could the curb her?  They needed to partner her, you understand, it will be good for all involved. So began Radio Nation with Laura Flanders.  It started off okay.  But Laura was fighting for everyone of those programs.  I'm not fond of Laura Flanders anymore because she's been a stooge for Barack so don't think this is me doing a favor for someone I like. This is about reality and recognition to those who tried.  Laura fought like crazy to make shows that matter.  Not only was she fighting Air America, she was also fighting The Nation magazine.  And as her show as stripped of hours, The Nation began insisting more and more that since they were 'sponsoring' the show, the guests should include Nation journalists.  Soon that's all it included. Each week was about the pseudo-issues being churned out by that week's bad print edition. Laura created Grit TV for a reason.  I wish it were worth watching, I wish she had the guts and courage she once did to decry what is going on today.  Maybe she can't because of all she went through at Air America?  Maybe the scars are too deep.  But while she was on Air America Radio, she fought to get coverage that mattered, she fought to keep the Iraq War a topic of discussion even though Air America was issuing statements (once Lionel and others were added, orders were no longer needed, the hosts were determined to comply with mere suggestions) that Iraq not be covered (because the Democratic Party had walked away from it).  To her last show on Air America Radio, Laura fought like crazy to make it matter.

And Air America Radio could have mattered.  I was at the meeting in August 2004 where the suits discussed whether to go forward with trying to buy radio stations and syndicate or rather they build on the unheard of web presence.  I was being asked to invest.  I didn't.  If they had built around the web, I would have because that seemed new whereas the plans presented about purchasing radio stations and syndication reminded me of the problems a friend had with her workout studios.  I stated at that meeting that I would invest if it pursued the online model only.  I pointed out the problems that they already had with stations -- including knocking out a Black radio station which the local community greatly (and rightly) resented.  Across the nation, they were going to grab stations (low-rated, yes, but they did have listeners) and try to penetrate new markets as a new entity while pissing off segments of the audience by taking over these existing stations?  I didn't see it as a win and I didn't see that the network could carry off purchasing those stations, let alone running them.

'So that's what happens when a corporation tries to be of the people,' you say.  'It's bound to end in disaster.' 

Maybe, but what didn't end in disaster.  The Iraq War made Pacifica Radio a national presence.  It was something to see.  And on air, they covered Iraq.  They didn't do an Iraq show, that was too much work.  But if it was in the news that day, they did mention it.  Brian Edwards-Tiekert, to his credit, did try to build enthusiasm for an Iraq War program.  When that failed, he tried to talk stations into carrying War News Radio -- which some saw as an effort to kill local voices but was actually an effort to get Pacifica to focus on the wars -- which is why Pacifica is supposed to be around.  But the Iraq War was a cash cow to Pacifica.

They didn't get Air America Radio numbers -- no one had ever gotten those numbers before and probably won't again - but they did see huge increases in streaming.  KPFA being the most news based of the Pacifica stations benefited the most.  WBAI, not able to grasp what a schedule is or that dead men should maybe go off the air after they did and not still be hosting a weekly series, saw starts and spurts.  In terms of streaming, their hits were Law and Disorder Radio, Taking Aim with Ralph Schoenman and Mya Shone, Wake Up Call with Deepa Fernandes and Behind The News With Doug Henwood.  Of those four programs, only Law and Disorder remains (and has greatly increased its syndication around the country).  Wake Up Call remains with a new host who seems to think a party atmosphere is needed.  Deepa now works for KPCC.  Doug Henwood's WBAI show was dumped by WBAI but KPFA saw the value in it (they were repeating it already) and it was such a hit on Saturdays that it's now got prime afternoon time during the week (Thursdays at noon).  Mya and Ralph are no longer on WBAI.  I like Ralph and Mya but they're off because they were greedy.  They were being offered another slot and it wasn't good enough for them.  Since the bulk of their listeners came from archives and not from live radio, the time slot shouldn't have mattered, they would have still had the show and its internet presence would have remained but a pride factor entered in and that's their own damn fault.  All of Pacifica, but especially WBAI hosts, should be made very aware that they do not own any of the airwaves or any segment on the schedule.  The failure to do that has been the biggest downfall for Pacifica and it's why so few of the shows matter today.  In addition, they waste a fortune on Mitch Jeserich's bad program when that money could be spent on programming that matters and not yet another public affairs program.  That features the same guests you hear on all the other Pacifica stations.

But while Iraq was covered, they made money.  KPFA had pledges from all over.  Not token ones, either.  They had people from other states pledging and doing so with the monthly pledge on the credit card.  They were rolling in dough and that was because of the Iraq War.  Yet they refused to create a program for it and when the Democratic Party officials lost interest in the war, so did KPFA and others.  And they lost listeners and they lost donations and it still hasn't hit them.  They still get on air and mention Iraq in pitches for money.  They have to do their beg-a-thons even more frequently these days.  It's because they failed the listener.  The Iraq War gave them a chance to prove they were something different from the mainstream.  Forget that they all whored for Barack in 2008 -- and I mean during the primaries, not just in the general election. They ran off listeners by ignoring Iraq.  Even to this day, when KPFA broadcasts rare Iraq coverage -- take the great radio documentary that Nora Barrows-Friedman just did and  Flashpoints broadcast entitled Iraqi Frequencies: 10 Years of Occupation and Resistance.  If you missed it, you can currently click here and stream. It is also posted at Project Censored for streaming but that's a KPFA stream as well.  Nora made the documentary with Shakomako and they've posted it at their website. But even to this day, when they do rare Iraq coverage, it helps the station.  Nora's documentary helped the station so much that they damn well should be re-establishing her as full time employee -- full time paid employee.  I don't know if she's aware of the huge positive response KPFA has received over that documentary. 

And if they'd continued to cover Iraq, things could have mattered.  Working from a Justice Department press release, Sandra Lupien broke the news of War Crimes that the US was willing to prosecute.  We're talking about Steven D. Green who was convicted  May 7, 2009 for his crimes in March 12, 2006 gang-rape and murder of Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi, the murder of her parents and the murder of her five-year-old sister while Green was serving in Iraq. Green was found to have killed all four, to have participated in the gang-rape of Abeer and to have been the ringleader of the conspiracy to commit the crimes and the conspiracy to cover them up. May 21, 2009, the federal jury deadlocked on the death penalty and instead he was sentenced to life in prison.   From the July 3, 2006 snapshot:

Sandra Lupien noted on today on KPFA's The Morning Show, the military had put the age of the female at 20 years-old when they announced their investigation last week (Friday). Reuters reports that the mayor of Mahmudiya declared today that the woman "was no more than 16 years old when she was killed along with her parents and young sister". Lupien also noted the arrest of Steven D. Green. Green, is 21 and was with the 101st Airborne Division of the US Army. Friday, in Asheville, North Carolina, he was arrested and charged with both the four deaths as well as the rape. According to the US government press release, if convicted on the charge of murder, "the maximum statutory penalty . . . is death" while, if convicted on the charge of rape, "the maximum statutory penalty for the rape is life in prison."

Sandra Lupien always found things that others missed and when no one -- not even the major dailies -- were aware of the arrest, KPFA listeners knew about it.  That's why they donated. That's why people out of state streamed and donated.  KPFA had a national presence and listeners from around the country who were willing to donate for that kind of coverage.  And they threw it away.  Did so knowingly.  There was a slaughter in Iraq one day which was only noted on the newsbreak and Aimee Allison groaned that she was "so sick of hearing about Iraq." It was a mini-rant which was partly recorded in the studio (she wasn't on air during her rant) and part of the reason why, when she was fired, no one gave a damn.  (It hadn't helped that she'd taken to the airwaves to call for book burning -- specifically she wanted copies of The New Yorker burned because they ran an image ridiculing The Prophet Barack.  That kind of nonsense will never build good will in the Bay Area where we don't take to supporting book burning for any reason -- certainly not to whore for a politician.)  

So corporate new media failed, public media failed.  But what of this new media? 

As great magazines like Clamor closed shop, the left model wasn't apparently going to be print.  But there was Independent Media Center.  Remember that?  It had seed money and it would depend upon contributions from locals.  It was all over the world.  In the US, it was hundreds of sites with most states having multiple Indy Media Center sites. 


The circus is falling down on its knees
The big top is crumbling down
It's raining in Baltimore fifty miles east
Where you should be, no one's around
I need a phone call
I need a raincoat
I need a big love
I need a phone call

-- "Raining in Baltimore," written by Adam Duritz, first appears on Counting Crows' August and Everything

It's raining in Baltimore, Baltimore Indymedia announced it was shutting down February 25, 2012.  Binghamton IMC was one that regularly updated.  Visit today and find "The Binghamton IMC site is gone, RIP."  San Franciso Indymedia is no more (its rival Indybay remains active).  Arizona IMC, Kansas City IMC Madison Indymedia, . . . so many gone.  Indymedia US pretends it's still around but would the top story on your page be from September 26, 2012 if you were really still around?  Seattle Indymedia was the first (1999) and it's no longer around.  Not everyone ceased publication.  California is represented by, among others, Santa Cruz Indymedia, Los Angeles Indymedia, In addition, Atlanta Indymedia, Chicago Indymedia, Boston Indymedia and Colorado Indymedia are still around.

That should have been huge, IMC.  It had the least overhead.  It did face attacks from the Justice Dept, true.  But most destructive, if you talk to Indymedia vets, was the Cult of St. Barack.  I disagree.  The most destructive aspect was catering to the Cult of St. Barack.  No one forced you to cater.  But once you did, your readers -- or drive-bys -- knew you could be bullied into submission so they then controlled what you covered and what you didn't.  You traded influence for likability failing to grasp that influence is the only thing that matters.  Or, for that matter, that the people who say they'll love you when you write just what they tell you forget to inform you that they won't respect you and they won't read you.  You sealed your own fates.  In the process, you ran off your real audience -- a group of independent thinkers from across the political spectrum who didn't see anything 'independent' about an outlet becoming suck-up to teacher each day.  The brown nosing is what killed IMC.  The sites that survived tended to be willing to fight for what they believed in.  San Francisco offers the best example. San Francisco Indymedia was an embarrassment.  It was nothing but a megaphone for the Democratic Party.  Indybay was independent.  The two fought like crazy and there was bad blood.  Both claimed to represent the Bay Area.  In the end, San Francisco Indymedia was the one to go under.  Colorado IMC was incredibly independent and that's why it thrives today.  But so many of the outlets became nothing but cheerleaders.  They'd cheerlead politicians and they cheerlead TV personalities.  They offered no critique that was worth reading.  They were rehashing talking points about 2003 and 2004 and the GOP is evil and blah blah blah.  It didn't reflect the changed landscape.  It was artificial and fake.

And so it died.  Indymedia can't applaud, for example, the Libyan War and expect to have an audience.  It goes against everything IMC was created for. 

IMC had a huge audience when it was able to provide Iraq commentary and some coverage.  Those outlets that continued to be about justice flourished.  The bulk went under as they twisted themselves into pretzels to justify one sell-out after another by the now-in-charge Democrats.  There are answers here for future generations and for media activists.  But notice how this topic has been ignored.  Notice how the deaths of IMCs all over the country have taken place with no comment from the same outlets that used to promote them.

The Iraq War is illegal.  It has also been a non-stop teachable moment demonstrating what we refuse to look at as a people, what we refuse to examine, what we will put up with and what we will gladly ignore.  All the people wasting time trying to pinpoint the so-called death of TV news or news or whatever miss the reality that a vibrant healthy media has been one of the biggest casualties of the Iraq War -- and that took place after 2003.