Marc Cooper, a former programmer on KPFK and Radio Nation, a lefty with a few grains of good sense, tells all about the decline of Pacifica:
The potentially biggest media resource – and really one of the largest institutions of any sort—on the American Left has taken one more giant and voluntary step toward oblivion.If there is a rational left anywhere in America, I have yet to find it.
The five-station, listener-sponsored, half-billion dollar Pacifica Radio network has just named a new executive director. Predictable enough that the new guy, Greg Guma, comes straight out of the pwogwessive bubble of Burlington. But what catches the eye is how Guma – who will now oversee the five stations—has written with enthusiasm about truly off-kilter conspiracy theorists like David Ray Griffin who argue that 9/11 was NOT caused by the four Al Qaeda—commandeered planes. Instead, Guma asks us to take seriously the proposition that the attack on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon were the product of a Reichstag-like plot engineered by the Bush Administration.
That proposition was described as “monstrous” by former CIA agent Bob Baer writing in The Nation magazine a couple of years ago (Baer’s story was the basis of the movie Syriana). Baer’s reaction to the same loon praised by Guma is the proper one: The Bushies may be liars but that is no reason to lie to ourselves and swoon over preposterous conspiracy theories.Unless, of course you are the new Executive Director of the Pacifica network. To be frank, for those of us who actually pay some attention to this matter, the selection of a non-credible fringie like Guma is hardly a surprise. Pacifica has been in accelerating decline for two decades – especially in the last five years (disclaimer: I did a daily drive-time show on Pacifica’s KPFK in Los Angeles from 1998-2001. I quit when an extreme know-nothing faction who believed that I and others were engaged in a dark "corporatist" conspiract to -gasp!- "mainstream" the programming took over the entire organization. My Radio Nation show, which was made available for free to hundreds of public radio stations and therefore to Pacifica, was also carried on KPFK until last month when the program moved –without me—to Air America).