Fw: Award-Winning Reporter resigns On-Air from Pacifica
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Wed Jan 31 10:43:58 MST 2001
FAIR (Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting)
For Immediate Release, January 31, 2001
Award-Winning Reporter Resigns On-Air from Pacifica;
Calls for Campaign to Oust Network Leadership
In a dramatic on-air announcement, Juan Gonzalez, the co-host of the
Pacifica Radio Network show "Democracy Now!," resigned this morning from the
network. Citing harassment and muzzling of free speech, Gonzalez said that
"the current management situation at Pacifica has become intolerable...the
last straw being the Christmas Coup at this station, WBAI, last month"--a
reference to the recent unexplained firings and bannings of top staff.
"I've come to the conclusion that the Pacifica board has been hijacked by a
small clique that has more in common with modern-day corporate vultures than
with working-class America," Gonzalez said.
Addressing his co-host at Democracy Now!, Amy Goodman, Gonzalez continued:
"You are a wonderful and committed journalist and you have been subjected to
slanderous personal accusations and constant undermining of your efforts.
And the board of Pacifica has tolerated it and, I think, even encouraged
Gonzalez ended his on-air resignation by announcing a "national corporate
campaign" to oust the Pacifica Foundation's embattled new board leadership,
which he accused of "illegally chang[ing] the Foundation's bylaws." He said
the campaign would call on listeners, instead of donating to Pacifica, to
contribute money to groups challenging the board's legitimacy and working to
democratize the network. (For information about the campaign, phone (212)
879-9322; or email: PacificaCampaign at yahoo.com)
Gonzalez said the current leadership group "does not respect free speech; it
does not respect labor or civil rights; it doesn't even practice due process
for its own managers."
Pacifica's Washington, D.C. station, WPFW, censored most of Gonzalez's
statement, cutting away to taped programming.
Gonzalez, who has co-hosted "Democracy Now!" since 1996, is a staff
columnist with the New York Daily News. He has won numerous awards,
including a George Polk award. His latest book is "Harvest of Empire: A
History of Latinos in America" (Viking 2000). He was a founding member of
the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.
FAIR executive director Jeff Cohen commented: "Juan Gonzalez exemplifies the
best in the Pacifica tradition--a journalist who tells the stories of the
powerless and holds the powerful to account. As the two-year-long Pacifica
crisis worsens and the network's survival is seriously in question, FAIR
joins Gonzalez in calling for the national board leadership to step down.
Whatever these individuals' intentions, unless there is a prompt and
thorough transformation in Pacifica's national leadership, it is impossible
to see Pacifica fulfilling its unique, historical mission."
(Juan Gonalez's letter of resignation can be read below.]
To: Steve Yasko, Pacifica Director of National Programing
CC: Pacifica Board of Directors
From: Juan Gonzalez
This is to notify you that I am resigning as co-host of Democracy Now!
I take this action with much regret since, as you know, I have worked
alongside host Amy Goodman from the show's inception nearly five years ago
and am proud of the groundbreaking work we have done to establish a national
radical news magazine. Even more important, I have listened to Pacifica
programs for more than 30 years and understand the critical role the network
has played in reporting important stories the corporate media ignored, thus
helping to shape
progressive thought and popular movements throughout the country.
But the current management situation at Pacifica has become intolerable, and
despite my hope that the majority of the Pacifica Foundation board of
directors would come to its senses, the situation has only gotten worse. The
last straw was the Christmas coup at WBAI last month.
Quite simply, the Pacifica board has been hijacked by a small clique that
has more in common with corporate vultures than with working-class America.
That clique has illegally changed the Foundation's by-laws, and during the
past two years it has methodically sought to squash dissent throughout the
network -- first at KPFA, then at PNN news, then at Democracy Now!, and now
at WBAI. This group does not respect free speech. It does not respect labor
or civil rights. It does not even practice due process for its own managers.
And it is now seeking to radically alter Pacifica's by-laws to pave the way
for the selling of one or more stations.
Furthermore, this clique insults Pacifica's loyal and sophisticated
listeners by asking them to finance its shenanigans with their donations.
Starting today, I will be joining other Pacifica listeners in a national
corporate campaign that will not rest until every board member who has
orchestrated this hijacking resigns and a new board is in place -- one that
is democratically accountable to the network's listeners, community and
Our campaign will call for listeners across the country to withhold
donations to Pacifica in a mass referendum against your policies. Instead,
we will urge them to contribute their money to a variety of groups around
the country that are battling the Pacifica board -- including the legal fund
for court suits which are currently challenging the board's legitimacy.
Mr. Murdock, Mr. Acosta, Mr. Palmer, you will soon find out that Pacifica is
Contact: Rachel Coen, (212) 633-6700 x318
Steve Rendall, (212) 633-6700 x307
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