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The Tally Ho

Saturday, April 17, 2004


Majority Report with Howard Zinn

Since their inception, I have listened to Air America Radio a few days a week (Nico, follow the link and listen sometime). For the most part I have enjoyed “Liberal Talk Radio” because television and radio punditry is dominated by right wingers like Hannity, O’Reilly, and Limbaugh. The US news media has been replaced by a Pundocratic oligarchy, so why should the left be left out? I find Majority Report entertaining because their guests include Atrois, Kos, Tom Tomorrow, people running for Congress, and Garofalo’s conservative father. But last night they had on Howard Zinn, I guess to worship the man. Why is Howard Zinn worshipped, and what does he know about Iraq? I saw him give a talk sometime last Spring, and he was less than impressive. It wasn’t just me, it was most everyone I was with. There seems to be this expectation that Zinn speaks the absolute truth. I don’t mean to knock an 82 year old man but he spoke in broad generalizations about getting people to sit down and working it out, while offering no specifics on Iraq. It is a quagmire for a reason. This of course was followed by Kerry bashing and Republicrat talk (if the US left this self-defeating? Repeat after me, Chief Justice Ginsberg or Breyer). He talked about bringing the troops home and letting Iraqis sort it out by themselves. My first though was of Rwanda and Bosnia. Seemingly everything he said was related to Vietnam. Why is that? Is there ethnic and religious diversity similarities, what? I went to a panel discussion that included Joseph Stiglitz, Gayatri Spivak, and others last fall – and that was interesting. I realize this is unfair b/c Zinn was a guest and was talking about his work as much as anything else, but... Al Franken likes to point out that the conservative pundits come out of broadcasting schools and got political shows. I guess the liberals went from standup and television to politics. In the end Zinn has made a significant contribution to historiography and does say some very interesting things (though I still can hear a college history professor telling us how much he doesn’t like Zinn’s work) that I enjoy, but I have to realize that Majority Report isn’t the Leonard Lopate or Brian Lehrer shows on WNYC. AAR is an alternative to right wing talk radio. Nader would never hang up on one of those. But I will keep listening – good guests and funny commentary.


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