By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Tag: Danny Schechter

Nelson Mandela and Danny Schechter

Nelson Mandela has died at the age of 95. Few Americans know more about the great South African leader than Danny Schechter. Ironically, Schechter wrote about a new Mandela biopic earlier today.


The Russian government’s literally incredible behavior

News Dissector Danny Schechter retweeted this blog post by former British diplomat Craig Murray, who questions the notion that the Russian government warned the United States of Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s radicalism in 2010.

I will confess that I know nothing about Murray. But what he writes is the simple truth about the official story: After raising a warning flag about Tsarnaev, Russia allowed him into the country in 2012 and let him stay for six months, then leave again. Murray’s gloss on those facts also seems worth thinking about:

In 2012 Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who is of such concern to Russian security, is able to fly to Russia and pass through the airport security checks of the world’s most thoroughly and brutally efficient security services without being picked up. He is then able to proceed to Dagestan — right at the heart of the world’s heaviest military occupation and the world’s most far reaching secret police surveillance — again without being intercepted, and he is able there to go through some form of terror training or further Islamist indoctrination. He then flies out again without any intervention by the Russian security services.

Murray adds: “That is the official story and I have no doubt it did not happen.”

The New York Times today reports on Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s time in Dagestan. This passage pretty much sums up the paper’s findings:

During his six months in Makhachkala [the Dagestan capital], according to relatives, neighbors and friends, he did not seem like a man on a mission, or training for one. Rather, they said, he was more like a recent graduate who could not quite decide what to do with himself. He slept late, hung around at home, visited family and helped his father renovate a storefront.

We are at the very beginning of what is likely to be a long investigation. But these reports are relevant at a moment when — as the Boston Globe reports — Republican senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham are despicably calling for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to be treated as an “enemy combatant,” and when Republicans are already describing the Boston Marathon bombings as a breakdown in intelligence.

Not only do we not know that, but early indications are that such irresponsible speculation is not in accord with the facts.

Danny Schechter seeks to revive the Media Channel

Old friend Danny Schechter the News Dissector is seeking to revive the Media Channel, which not that many years ago tracked coverage by national and international news organizations from a progressive point of view. Schechter writes:


From: Danny Schechter, Your News Dissector, and Editor,

Dear Friends,

First, some not so good news.

Last spring, we woke up one morning to find that we could no longer access many of our domains including and, two well-known and respected websites that we launched in the year 2000 to provide a global platform for media analysis, criticism, debate, and activism. I’ll spare you the details of our externally created travails; it was an ordeal no one should have to go through!

But now …

With help from good friends, colleagues, and supporters, we have recovered our domains.

Finally, will be back!

We are rededicating ourselves to revitalizing the fight for media accountability and transparency, because every day, consolidated corporate media shapes our future by disseminating and reinforcing government and corporate propaganda. Too often, this mechanism inhibits social and political change by artificially restricting public debate, undermining democracy for the benefit of narrow interests, rather than strengthening it for us all. will once again become a “one stop shop” for the best writing, reflections, and investigations on the power and impact of media in our world. We will name and shame dishonest journalism, feature stories on best practices, and showcase media resources. We know we have important information and analyses to share, and hope you will join or rejoin us.

Additionally, we will resume sending out our newsletter, Media Savvy, and my blog, News Dissector, recognized as Blog of the Year by the Hunter College Media Department in New York City, directly to your inbox, free of charge.

How You Can Help Mediachannel:

Please write to us at and tell us:

  • How do you think can be most effective?
  • What do you think we should be covering and offering in this new media age?
  • Which media websites do you find most useful and why?

If you can, please click here and help us by making a year-end tax-deductible gift.

Checks can be made payable to: 

The Global Center; P.O. Box 677
; New York, NY 10035 (please note Mediachannel on the check).

Your support will enable us to finally get back into action, providing you with unique investigative journalism that spans the globe.

 As a token of my appreciation for any donation above $50, I will happily send you a copy of my latest eBook, “Dissecting the News and Lighting the Fuse,” published with help of This new 220-page book features updates of our best work along with new articles and essays. It is an exciting collection of timely dissections.

Thank you for your support over the years. We didn’t disappear voluntarily, and we know you will be pleased to read our latest reporting and commentary again regularly as a member of

Danny Schechter
Editor and News Dissector

P.S.: I want to extend a special thank you to Rob Kall of, who rebuilt Mediachannel when our site was taken down, and Aaron Krowne of, for hosting

Dissecting the death of WBCN

Danny Schechter, the “News Dissector” whose progressive approach to the news was such a key part of WBCN’s early years, has weighed in on CBS’s decision to pull the plug. He writes:

The station’s legacy and importance — the reason it built a national reputation and worldwide respect — was deliberately buried in the need to meet quarterly revenue projections and serve its corporate masters. Their goal was to compete with commercial drek by becoming commercial drek. And they did.

And where did it take them? To the radio graveyard. Shame.

Interestingly enough, Schechter says he had recently been approached about doing commentaries for WBCN’s Web site — something that may yet come to pass, given that CBS is reportedly thinking about keeping the station semi-alive online.

Forgotten but not gone — until now

Learning that WBCN Radio (104.1 FM) is leaving the airwaves leaves me feeling a bit wistful, but not much more. There was a time when I would have been outraged. But ‘BCN had become so irrelevant to my life that I had not listened to it in years.

It looks like I wasn’t alone, as the Phoenix’s Adam Reilly reports that CBS is doing a station switch, the main result of which will be a new sports-talk station, WBZ-FM, at 98.5 FM. Anything that makes the boyos at WEEI (AM 850) break into a sweat is all right by me.

Charles Laquidara greets the news of WBCN’s demise with an obscure one-liner, while Danny “The News Dissector” Schechter hasn’t mentioned it yet.

WBCN, an independently owned “underground” station that launched in 1968, was an ear-opener for an exurban adolescent growing up in the early 1970s. I listened to Laquidara and Schechter and Old Saxophone Joe and Maxanne Sartori and all the rest of that great crew.

Along with alternative papers like the Phoenix, Boston After Dark and the Real Paper, WBCN was my main source of information on leftist politics and the counterculture.

But the station had long since disappeared into the cog of corporate radio. It’s not that it won’t be missed. It’s that the time to miss it expired about 20 years ago.

Coming tomorrow

Welcome, Danny Schechter readers, who may be looking for my blog item on an important Internet freedom-of-speech issue that we were confronted with during our time in Kazakhstan at the Eurasian Media Forum. The News Dissector, ever more diligent than I am, has already weighed in. I expect to have something up tomorrow morning.

Dissecting the news in Brookline

Friend of Media Nation Danny Schechter will be speaking and screening a new film next Monday, March 23, at 7 p.m. in Brookline. His appearance will benefit Brookline Access Television. Here’s Danny’s announcement:

I may no longer live in Boston, but Boston lives in me.

Danny Schechter, your News Dissector here, inviting you to an event I am being saluted at on Monday evening, March 23, at 7 p.m. at the Coolidge Corner Theatre on Harvard Street in Brookline.

It is a benefit for Brookline Access Television, a vital community TV station.

I will be screening a “self-dissection,” a film called “WORK IN PROGRESS: Putting the ME Back In MEDia,” a hour retrospective on my work including my years at WBCN, WGBH, WCVB, the Harvard Nieman Journalism Fellowship, etc.

Produced by Marie Sullivan, it is a fast-paced romp through my media career from the ’60s to 60 and beyond, with many fun moments and serious ideas. I did it because media folks rarely scrutinize their own work or try to draw lessons for younger people enchanted with the media world. Folks who have seen it say they were surprised that it is not self-promotional. (Well, maybe just a little!)

In my career I have told many stories — including my most recent, still-unreleased film on the Barack Obama campaign — so why not tell my own?

I would be pleased if you can come, support a good cause — people’s TV — and see what I have been up to in the years before and after I lived in Boston. (Incidentally, Ijust learned that the year after I left, Obama moved into an apartment around the corner from our house in Somerville. Smile.) Another connection of interest — this event takes place at the very cool Coolidge Corner, a great theater that my brother Bill, who lives nearby, helped save year back. I am proud that he did that.

Disclosure: They are looking for a $10 donation. Thanks to BATV for the invite and for organizing it. For more information: Peter Zawadzki, who can be reached at peter {at} batv {dot} org.

Until then,

Danny Schechter

For more on what our company, Globalvision, is up to these days, go to

Photo of Schechter with another Boston media legend, Sarah Ann Shaw, is (cc) 2006 by the Boston chapter of the Action Coalition for Media Education and republished here under a Creative Commons license. Some rights reserved.

Jerry Schechter

Media Nation’s best wishes go out to Danny Schechter and his family. Danny’s father, Jerry, died on Tuesday at the age of 90. Danny writes:

He had achieved all that he wanted when confronted with the reality of a terminal illness. He decided to prolong his life as long as he could and enjoy it as much as he could. He did. He wanted to die at home. He did. He wanted to be surrounded in his last hours by his family. He was. He wanted to avoid becoming dependent. He never complained, and faced his fate calmly. He was philosophical and practical about it. He left us in dignity and without pain. He was gutsy throughout. He had even instructed us to have the body removed immediately so no children in the neighborhood had to be scared by the sight of a dead person. All of the nurses, doctors and health workers who helped him became his friend and he ended up helping many of them. He was like that.

Three years ago I met Jerry Schechter, who lived in Brookline, when Danny was up from New York to speak at Northeastern. Despite his advanced age, he was sharp and energetic. I know Danny had been dealing with his father’s illness for a long time. But that doesn’t make it any easier to lose a parent.

Still dissecting

Veteran progressive journalist Danny Schechter will be speaking in Boston at the Ford Hall Forum next Thursday, April 17. I’ve got a preview in the new Boston Phoenix, where you can also find a video clip of Schechter challenging a CNBC reporter at a protest outside Bear Stearns. You can check out Schechter’s voluminous blog here.

Funding crisis hits MediaChannel

The MediaChannel, a nonprofit watchdog organization founded seven years ago, is in danger of going under by the end of June.

The organization was begun in 2000 by two former Boston journalists, Danny Schechter and Rory O’Connor. Schechter recently released a new documentary, “In Debt We Trust.” O’Connor is a founder of NewsTrust, a social network that rates news stories and organizations.

Here’s an excerpt from MediaChannel’s fundraising appeal:

“It is sad to have to shut down an important service in the public interest because our not-for-profit site can’t attract sufficient resources to support a very small staff or to pay necessary bills including rent, server fees and utilities,” said Danny Schechter, co-founder of the international web platform that launched February 1, 2000. “The ultimate irony is that MediaChannel has never been better — its traffic is up and its impact strong, as is the quality of its timely and diverse offerings, which include original reports, blogs, videos, features and media news from across the world.”

MediaChannel may not get as much attention as Media Matters for America, which also analyzes the media from a left-of-center point of view, but with a more partisan political edge. But it does good work, and it would be a shame if it disappeared.

Also banging the tin cup: Christopher Lydon’s excellent public radio program, “Open Source,” which lost its funding from UMass Lowell last year. Clea Simon has the update in Wednesday’s Globe.

Page 2 of 2

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén