Alternative Radio is a concept, sure, but it’s also the name of a long-running talk-radio show that in Edmonton airs on CJSR FM88 and also runs around the world. It’s a weekly hour of speeches by and interviews with progressive organisers, thinkers, artists, and history-makers that corporate media almost entirely ignores. In these dangerous times, few hours on radio or the web will inform you as effectively as Alternative Radio about who’s making the world worse—and how they’re doing it.
Alternative Radio show has been running for more than 32 years, and the man behind it is David Barsamian. He altered the independent media landscape with his radio show and with his books featuring his interviews with Noam Chomsky, Eqbal Ahmad, Howard Zinn, Tariq Ali, Arundhati Roy, and Edward Said.
I spoke by telephone with David Barsmanian on February 25, 2012, just ahead of a speech he was to deliver at the Stanley Milner Library Theatre. As you’re listening to Barsamian list a vast number of US atrocities and the hundreds of military bases around the world that are the muscle of its violent global rule, remember that he’s speaking with me in 2012 while Barack Obama was US president. That’s my way of encouraging you to remember that no matter how evil and deranged Team Trump is, they are not the exception to US power, and that while US Democrats and Republicans rule differently at home on key issues, when it comes to global violence, their victims would have a difficult time telling them apart.
A few months before we spoke, the government of India deported Barsamian for his reporting on Kashmir and other revolts. In our conversation he discusses the sorry state of corporate journalism, the global economic crisis, and rebellions against it.
Janine Jackson is the program director of FAIR, Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting, which produces the nationally-syndicated weekly radio show CounterSpin that uncovers bias in US corporate journalism.
Her articles have appeared in sources such as In These Times, and she frequently contributes articles on media, racist coverage, and labour struggle to FAIR’s magazine Extra! She’s also testified before a US Senate subcommittee that funds the American network PBS.
In today’s episode of MF GALAXY, Jackson discusses:
We spoke at the offices of FAIR in Manhattan in the summer of 2002, for an episode of my old radio show The Terrordome that ran on CJSR FM88 the following October.
A few notes: in the second half of the episode I refer to peace-keeping forces, but while asking about Canadian soldiers during Canada’s war against Afghanistan. They and the occupation troops that followed were definitely not peace-keepers on a mission, but soldiers at war.
Also, I refer to TV host Bill Maher as having lost his career. Back in 2001, Maher lost his show for disputing George W. Bush’s characterisation of the 9-11 hijackers as “cowardly,” because in Maher’s estimation, no matter how evil the attack was, a suicide bombing, unlike launching cruise missiles from more than 3000 km away, was not cowardly. Maher, of course, got another TV show, moved further right, and has enjoyed an endless stream of money ever since.
Finally, our discussion of torture took place two years before the revelations of systematic American torture of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib.
To hear the extensive archive of CounterSpin episodes, visit FAIR.org and click on the CounterSpin links, or search for the podcast on iTunes.
To hear bonus content from my conversation with Janine Jackson, visit mfgalaxy.org to click on the Patreon link to become a sponsor for a dollar or more per week.
By funding MF GALAXY, you get access to all extended editions of the show, plus video excerpts from selected interviews as they become available. Today’s bonus content includes Janine Jackson discussing: