Still dissecting

Danny Schechter’s bid for media reform
By DAN KENNEDY  |  April 10, 2008


VIDEO: Danny Schechter takes on CNBC

A year after releasing his remarkably prescient film on the then-nascent financial crisis, In Debt We Trust: America Before the Bubble Bursts, veteran progressive journalist Danny Schechter finally made it onto CNBC. A CNBC reporter is trying to interview activists protesting the bailout of Bear Stearns. She’s not having much luck. Suddenly Schechter moves into the frame.

“My hunch is what I’m saying now will never make air on CNBC because you’re only interested, you’re only really interested, in the people at the top, which is your elite audience,” Schechter tells her. “You’re not interested in the people who are actually suffering in this story.”

Schechter was wrong. He says he later saw a few clips of the confrontation on CNBC’s midday show, Power Lunch. So has he been invited on to talk about his film? Well, no. “It’s very frustrating, because you become like Chicken Little, or the little boy who cried wolf. ‘The sky is falling.’ People think you’re a nut,” he says. “And then the sky starts falling.”

Although these days Schechter may find it easier to speak his mind on the BBC and Iranian television (The Kazakhstan Forum with Borat, he jokes) than in the American media, he will have a chance to get his message out in Boston next Thursday during an appearance at the Ford Hall Forum.

“Basically what I want to try to do is assess,” says Schechter. “We’re in the middle of an election, we’re in the middle of a war, we’re in the middle of an economic crisis. Kind of a trifecta of disaster.”

For Schechter, a New York–based filmmaker, author, and blogger, this will be something of a homecoming. He got his start here as the “News Dissector” on the old WBCN Radio (104.1 FM) back in the ’70s, when the station was an independent outlet that celebrated radical politics along with sex, drugs, and rock and roll.

“I’m still going, I’m still trying,” he says. “Either because I’m insane and can’t read the writing on the wall, or I don’t want to.”

Danny Schechter’s Ford Hall Forum talk, “News Dissecting from Boston to a Global Stage: A Multimedia Pioneer Challenges His Profession and Calls for Media Reform,” will take place on Thursday, April 17, from 6:30 to 8 pm at the Old South Meeting House, 310 Washington Street. For more information, go to fordhallforum.org.

Related: Feast or famine?, Corporate parent kills WBCN, A casket gets some airtime, More more >
  Topics: This Just In , Protests and Demonstrations, Danny Schechter
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