Pacifica jumps the shark

The precise moment when something iconic is headed to go downhill is called “jumping the shark,” from the Happy Days episode where Fonzie jumped over a shark on water skis.

Pacifica, who owns presumably left-wing and independent radio stations WBAI, KPFK, and KPFA, has gone screaming off the edge. Again. But one wonders if they can make it back this time.

From Iain Boal’s Counterpunch article

On September 17 the Governance Committee of the Pacifica National Board passed a resolution expressly designed to find out whether Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now! program is getting CIA funding through covert channels like the Ford Foundation for suppressing the “truth” about the 9/11 “over-up.”

Who knew Amy Goodman was in cahoots with the CIA (and no doubt Lemurians and Illuminati too) to prevent the truth – the truth I tell you, that these bastards are suppressing – about 9/11 from emerging. (Look, you may have doubts about 9/11. But I’m quite sure Amy Goodman isn’t plotting with the CIA…)

It gets worse.

Pacifica station WBAI in New York made tens of thousands of dollars on gifts promising protection from fungus-causing aerosols that the government is supposedly spraying on its population.

Did I mention the current chair of the Pacifica National Board was thrown out of the Church of Scientology but still claims to follow their teachings?

All of which might be ok, if Pacifica was being competently run. But it’s not. Instead, it’s losing money and listeners at an alarming rate, spiraling downwards into conspiracy theories and junk medicine, while holding near-constant pledge drives. This at a time when it could be providing genuinely important news and coverage of the financial crisis from a left-wing perspective.

It’s like all those itty-bitty Marxist parties that yowl about when the capitalist crisis comes, and surely it must, then they will catapult into prominence and lead the people to a socialist new world. Well, we have a capitalist crisis now and it’s a doozy. So naturally, the response of those Marxist parties has been to do as little as possible and pretend to be asleep. A devious strategy like that is sure to confuse the capitalists, isn’t it?

So, were they all just play-acting? Talking tough, but when the moment of truth arises, folding up? Back in the 50’s, as it turned out, most meetings of the Communist Party of the US had more FBI informants present than actual members. Maybe parts of the far left have all been riddled with informants. Or maybe they flat just don’t understand what’s going on any more, their theories have gone stale and they’re too stunned or wed to their dogmas to look for new explanations.

The right has lots of news sources, they do a good job of getting their views out. The left can and must do the same. But it first needs to stop shooting itself in the foot.


  1. No fan I – I once told the station manager at the community radio where I maintain an information system that if I had a staff I too could do such a radio show – but I’d find it far the more likely that the CIA is endeavoring to prevent the truth – the truth I tell you, that these bastards are suppressing – about 9/11 from emerging than Ms Goodman, whom I’ve met and conversed with a couple of times, or the Illuminati, or Lemurians.

    Regardless our differences as to who, or what, lie behind “9/11”.

    Bummer, I had a lot of fun with some of those folks

    • Be careful how you talk, pal. The government might come by and spray you with their fungus juice.

      A lawyer cousin also has 9/11 doubts, wondering why those Saudis got a quick free pass out of the country, and the Saudi involvement in al Qaeda. But what I don’t get is the Truthers leap from ‘something here doesn’t make sense’ to ‘George Bush orchestrated it.’

      • I’m with you Bob… I don’t think Bush could tie his own shoes most mornings. The ring leader (directly or indirectly) would have to be Cheney if it was anyone in the White House. 🙂

        On the Pacifica thing… Yeah, even the board is starting to show signs of nuttiness now. WBAI has been relatively untouched, since they’ve been leery of following the board since the last major explosion (which caused Amy, among others to go off on their own). I foresee some pretty major upheaval over this soon though, and another board war. Neither of which will help with reporting what’s going on in the world. All the more reason to help the spin-offs that are reporting news, like Amy and FSRN.

        • Doug Henwood, who hosts Left Business Observer on WBAI, has posting posting on their listserv about how a vote for the right board is crucial there, as some real wack jobs are running too.

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