CEO Chartock's control-style censors progressive viewpoints!
by Gregory G. Lewis, The Newsketeer!
I have noticed WAMC has drifted significantly to "main stream," where station CEO Alan Chartock exerts such a micro-managing control style, that more progressive viewpoints are censored. I have actually seen or heard this done on multiple occasions.
Although listeners commonly think WAMC represents the liberal media, which is true in the broad scheme of things, closer scrutiny of what does not get aired at the local level strongly suggests a lot of otherwise important viewpoints are quashed at the executive level.
- Dion Robbins-Zust, who had recently lost in his run for Massachusetts State Senate in 2006, was abruptly cut off by The Roundtable hostess Susan Arbetter. Robbins-Zust was trying to make the point that the media was giving selective attention to two other candidates, one of whom (Benjamin Downing) did win. While I have doubts that Robbins-Zust would have won with fairer treatment, the fact is his treatment wasn't fair. Arbetter more eloquently made Robbins-Zust's point when she hung up on him.
- WAMC recorded an opinion piece I wrote on the recent beef recall. The opinion's angle had to do with humane treatment of animals, rather than the food safety issue to humans. After all, everyone was talking about food safety, but nobody paid much attention to the animals. In my one sentence bio, I referred to myself as "heretic and iconoclast". The opinion strangely never aired. (Read it here: http://blog.newsketeer.com/ 'Sick food, sick society')
- In a case involving a teenager who was arrested for selling Marijuana within a so-called school zone, the teen blundered yet again, but was additionally charged with selling the psychedelic mushroom known as Psilocybe, which Chartock rather cavalierly stated as, "even more dangerous." But, his saying it does not make it true. I have heard many equally valid opinions that Psilocybe, and the whole US DEA Scheduling structure should evolve to a more enlightened decriminalization approach, rather than harsh punitive measures for drugs that have never actually been proven dangerous, except by popular media anecdote. Whether Psilocybe is more dangerous than Marijuana, or perhaps neither are dangerous, we won't hear on WAMC, which has given its moral imperative on the subject. Decriminalization not being a popular view, WAMC is de facto being mainstream by not airing it! Not liberal, and hardly objective.
Of course, listeners would never know this was happening. After all, do you know what letters Chartock is reading, and which he is not reading? I would suggest that WAMC simply post all letters to their own web site, that way we, the public, can draw our own conclusions.
The problem becomes conspicuous once you learn that not all voices and opinions are allowed air time. Not all should, as we know, but certainly Chartock is hiding the most embarrassing to himself.
Chartock maintains his status quo by sticking to safe and popular opinions, while avoiding those views that could be regarded unfavorably by a large number of WAMC's donors. I think he is a cunning fellow who knows how to preach to a target choir.
In conclusion, I think what is lacking is a more democratic content management. Chartock does give one the sense of being the little dictator, at the expense of what a broader base of listeners would like to hear. I don't think this was always true, but sadly, it becomes increasingly apparent.
These are all little things, perhaps, I realize. But they are only a few of lots of little things that are adding up. I like listening to WAMC, but I think it could be more fairly managed.
More and more I find myself tuning the dial to competitor radio station WFCR (Amherst) or WRSI (Northampton) when I've had enough of the whining and ranting. Truthfully, one grows weary of being bombarded with one man's ego. <<<<<
Labels: Alan Chartock, Benjamin Downing, censorship, Dion Robbins-Zust, media, Northeast Public Radio, public radio, Rex Smith, Susan Arbetter, The Media Project, The Roundtable, Times-Union, WAMC, WFCR, WRSI