The Mail 3/18/15

Absurd Alternative

Alan Barysh (The Mail, Feb. 25) provided rather colorful perceptions about the Israelite School of Universal Knowledge and claimed the group's politics were "absurd." He provided support for this viewpoint by giving an example. The group at Lexington Market refused to distribute his "Free Mumia Abu-Jamal" literature. He further claimed that the same group of individuals attempted to disrupt a march supporting Mumia Abu-Jamal.

I looked up the incident concerning Abu-Jamal on Wikipedia and it is unclear that refusing to distribute literature supporting his freedom is politically absurd.
What prompted me to respond to these perceptions was the idea Barysh presented as "real liberation." What the Revolutionary Communist Party proposes to do is patently absurd. Imagine a vote with only black people deciding whether they wanted to secede from the United States of America? Who would be black? And where would the land come from? Moreover, it is quite racist to assume a monolithic black people.


It is a fine thing to take underhanded swipes at religion and fringe groups.  American laws provide this right. But at least provide reasonable alternative political ideas for edification and consideration in the future.

William Stokes

Great article! It was great to see the events of the march presented with the groups involved. In many demonstrations and marches, women are often under-represented or simply ignored. It was great to see issues of women, especially African-American women, being represented on Sunday. Many activists on the march have been dedicated for years to working on campaigns to improve the lives of others and the award dinner was nice touch.

–“Bruce Emmerling,” March 10

I've been wanting a new challenge. Maybe it's time I looked into working at the Blast ticketing office.

–“Josh Reynolds,” March 11

Awesome to see an article promoting the Blast, but why the unnecessary bashing of traditional soccer? Indoor soccer has been around for decades and has yet to really catch on. Tons of shots are fun to watch, but the value and excitement of a goal is seriously diminished when teams are scoring over ten a game.

–“Kyle Schaefer,” March 12

snideness and malice stripped of all ideology, principle, plan and thought. it's fine to be mean to people. but with you Dennis nothing ever comes next. you are a fastidious archivist of gaffes and errors. well, who cares. are you suggesting that some alternative group of politicians do not make errors? no, you aren't. because you aren't suggesting anything. these people dismiss you and your ilk because that's all there is to be done. what should they do? there's nothing to engage. "haha, you got a bad poll result." you should be dismissed. you have nothing to offer.

–“Mike000,” March 11

Our Mayor has problems, and the will to govern certainly seems to be a big one, however, this kind of brutal, vicious attack serves no purpose other than the opportunity for McIver to show-off his overwritten hysteria. When a critic suggests that another has failed to do their job, one wonders why McIver can get away with doing nothing useful but rant, or is that now a "job" at the City Paper?

–“Jan Angevine,” March 12

Biting stuff. Like the days of a younger, angrier Mark Russell.

–“Paul_D,” March 13

The great thing is that he plays a lot of songs he played on the old HFS. The bad thing is that he plays a lot of songs he played on the old HFS.

–“Chris Plummer,” March 11

Always a good show. His music history knowledge is incredible! Long live Wease!!!!

–“Dan Poe,” March 12

i learned a lot from him on how to format music–tempo, key, themes–i have always thought that he is a genius and an encyclopedia of american music

–“Marcia Potts,” March 12

I knew Weasel back in the late 1970's at the 102.3 Bethesda location. I was a nightclub DJ and nights when I wasn't working I sometimes visited the station. I won the WHFS "Radio Activity" thing a couple of times too. It was because of the wide range of music they played that I ended up with over 7000 LP's and a lot of vintage audio gear. Weasel, Bob here, Josh, Milo, Dianne were all great. I sure miss the old days.

–“User9434400001333,” March 13

Trading underwriting for airtime on a public radio station is a problem, for a number of reasons:

1. Given the use of public airwaves, and public funding, their responsibility is to providing quality news coverage for Baltimore city residents. When they use airtime to promote crappy shows that promote individual egos or private companies or organizations, they are misusing public funds and resources. This is theft.

2. When they air crappy shows to promote private interests, they are not airing real news coverage, voices of Baltimore residents who are not CEOs, or covering news and issues important to Baltimore. Every time one of those shows is on listeners are missing NPR news stories, and possible local news stories that are produced by actual journalists, not fundraisers.

3. Continuing to air those who can pay for air time results in fewer voices of people of color, people with dissenting views, and people who are working on issues that don’t make money. The Board, management, and voices on this station are overwhelmingly white, male, older, and upper class (look at the list of Board members and management). Rich and lily white status quo supportive programming does not represent or serve Baltimore, again violating the mission of the station.

4. The head of the station, Tony Brandon, has made poor programming, management, and staffing positions, which have resulted in high turnover of staff and reduced listener support. He is trying to make up the funds for his mistakes by raising money with on-air perks. This is mismanagement, plain and simple. He is incompetent at his job, and the station, the listeners, and the staff, are the ones paying for it. It is time for him to go.

5. When privately funded and non-journalist produced shows are aired, they are not only crappy, they give out only one-sided or wrong information about important issues. For example, and I am sure listeners can provide others, when Warnock “interviewed” Jason Botel from KIPP and MDCAN on the air, there was no mention of the problems that have plagued KIPP charter schools around the country, such as kicking out students unfairly, providing substandard services etc., or of who MDCAN is, which is a Michelle Rhee, right-wing venture capital funded group that seeks to destroy unions. Even if you don’t agree with these characterizations, it is irresponsible to not mention the controversies. These are relevant, important aspects of covering local and national groups, which are completely left out when a rich guy decides to play charity man and uses his money to give coverage to his appointed ones. This is not a service to listeners; this violates the ethical rules of journalism. These shows need to get off of our airwaves.
–“Aimee Pohl,” March 12

Thank you so much for this piece. I moved to Baltimore recently and could not understand why national programming on WYPR (particularly during Morning Edition and All Things Considered) was continually interrupted by short, uninformative, banal "news." Now I know. I stopped listening to WYPR and instead tune to 88.5 WAMU out of DC. Thank goodness for a high quality antenna.

–“Jill,” March 12

This is an important and useful article.

When I worked in the Baltimore market as chief marketing officer for a local health system, I learned that "pay for play" was commonplace on the network-affiliate TV media. The news staff of a couple of TV stations commonly featured the medical staff of major advertisers as "experts" during regular news segments. Baltimore is a strange market--a sort of Wild West of ethics contortions and rule-bending.

–“DRGA,” March 13

I don't think the poll indicating that listeners don't care about underwritten programming is useful. People do not really understand what the reality is and the consequences. For example, why don't Wolff & Foreman underwrite a food show? Because they give money to WYPR and then are given free air time to advertise themselves. But it's not transparent that their show is actually advertising placement. Same with Anirban Basu. His frivilous reading of the WSJ or national reports poses him as an Baltimore personality with a valued presence. Why does he have this show? He gives money to WYPR, not because he is THE expert. The quid pro quo is disturbing and unethical. I stopped listening to and contributing to WYPR because of these BS shows. But worse, that NPR is accepting underwriting by Monsanto, DOW and other egregious entities, has pretty much silenced my Public Radio listening.

–“Jan Angevine,” March 13

Let me ask about an issue that seems quite obvious to me, but not to other media critics:

People that are critical of the potential conflict of interest with for-profit media sources taking advertising from companies and corporations, under the assumption that the media would thus be far less inclined to objectively cover said companies or "hold them accountable" for various perceived transgressions such as making a profit, seem perfectly content to ignore the similar potential conflict of interest with public broadcasting media having to cover both the government and the non-profit foundations and underwriters that fund their continuing existence.


It seems to me that WYPR is simply doing, openly and transparently, exactly what these media critics condemn commercial broadcasting for doing--and, at the same time, what public broadcasting has been doing for decades now discretely: currying favor to their underwriters with favorable coverage.

–“Alexander Mitchell,” March 15

Great job. That is sickening to see people thinking the way they were.

–“Alex Rediger,” March 11

Disgusting! Racists whites in Essex/Middle River area? Who whouldve thought? "lol"

–“Joel Barish,” March 11

I'm glad u made their names public. If they're They have to be the biggest idiots of all time

–“Brittany Nicole Hemmingway,” March 11