Not everyone who has worked for the man is a benighted, obsequious cog in the death machine. Today I will be speaking to a former academic insider (first hour) and a current mainstream media journalist (second hour), both of whom have behaved honorably under difficult circumstances.
First hour guest: Dr. Howard Ross, former College of Letters and Sciences Dean at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, and staunch opponent of racism and other forms of discrimination in the academy. Dr. Ross has already testified that he was part of the hiring process for a tenure-track Arabic-Humanities job in spring 2006 at the University. He has explained that I was clearly the best candidate for the job, and that I became the only eligible candidate when the other two finalists accepted positions elsewhere; yet I was turned down, the Arabic program was shut down, and federal money for the tenure-track position was returned, for only one reason: Some of the people on the hiring committee were uncomfortable with my views on 9/11 and the so-called war on terror. As Dr. Ross emailed me at the time: “YOU WERE DISCRIMINATED AGAINST.” (Note: This happened in spring 2006, before I became a public figure.)
In his previous appearances on my radio show, Dr. Ross had to speak carefully due to his own legal issues with the University. Now that those issues have been resolved, expect him to boldly tell it like it is!
This show launches my spring 2011 academic freedom campaign at the University of Wisconsin. I will be challenging the University to either (A) find at least one qualified scholar to defend the 9/11 Commission and NIST reports in a public debate, or (B) apologize and remove me from their blacklist. I will also be challenging Republican State Rep. Steve Nass, the man responsible for my loss of livelihood, to either defend the 9/11 Commission and NIST reports in a public debate, or to publicly apologize and personally compensate me for the loss of income I have suffered due to his McCarthyist terror campaign against the University.
Second hour: Robert Koehler, a self-described “peace journalist” whose Common Wonders column is syndicated by the Chicago Tribune. Bob Koehler’s work stands far above the standard editorial-page drivel dished out by mainstream American newspapers. His recent column You Can’t Kill An Idea is a gem. Consider this passage:
Our whole approach to security is built around the assumption that you can kill an idea. Guns, brutality, coercion: This is the common wisdom. It’s sustained by a moral numbness that permeates mainstream culture and is carried along by the corporate media, which perpetuate a facile misunderstanding of the world with the throwaway certitudes embedded in their reportage. Consider, for instance, this stunning little say-nothing sentence that I plucked from an AFP dispatch about NATO’s possible killing of 65 civilians (including 40 children) during a recent strike in Kunar province, Afghanistan: “The accidental deaths of civilians in international military operations is a highly sensitive subject in Afghanistan — particularly in Kunar — which experts and officials say can fuel support for the Taliban-led insurgency.” A reader can glide so smoothly past such military-industrial truisms, hardly noticing that the subject under discussion is flesh and blood, the lives of people who have the bad luck to be living in a war zone. These people, alas, keep getting in our way as we set about the grim task of killing “insurgents,” that is to say, believers in a particular idea.
If more mainstream journalists told truths like these, maybe we wouldn’t be killing millions of people in a doomed attempt to kill the ideas of freedom and justice and dignity and honor and self-determination that motivate “insurgents.”