Thursday, July 29, 1999

KPFA Staff Expresses Great Skepticism About Berry's Offer A three hour staff meeting attended by more than sixty KPFA paid and unpaid staff members ended with a decision to wait to see if Pacifica board chair Mary Frances Berry's offer is presented in writing at a mediation session set for tomorrow (Thursday) before fully evaluating it.

There was great skepticism expressed by many present, who believed that Berry's offer was probably a desperate public relations ploy to offset the bad publicity ensuing from confirmation that discussion DOES take place in the board about selling KPFA (See board member Pete Bramson's press statement. Listen to press conference.)

Many also stated that Pacifica is offering a very damaged and probably close to bankrupt KPFA back to the staff and community. And that Berry's six (or nine, in some versions) month period for KPFA to program itself was too short and probably much too underfunded to make an impact.

There was consensus that it is VERY IMPORTANT that thousands and thousands of people turn out for the rally Saturday, to demonstrate once again that KPFA is broadly supported in its mission and in its practice.

Contra Costa Times
Posted at 9:43 p.m. PDT Wednesday, July 28, 1999

Pacifica to reopen KPFA

The Berkeley station will have local control, but could be sold if foundation's goals aren't met within a year

By John Simerman and Kate Darby Rauch


BERKELEY -- The nonprofit parent of public radio station KPFA announced Wednesday it would reopen the iconoclastic station with local staff at the helm, ending a lockout that has galvanized leftists throughout Northern California.

The move by members of Pacifica Foundation's executive board will return local talent to the 94.1 FM airwaves at 9 a.m. Friday, according to a statement released late Wednesday. Invited to return are all KPFA staffers who were put on paid administrative leave July 13, when Pacifica shut KPFA's doors and began airing tapes from 50 years of station archives.

According to the release, Pacifica -- which oversees five public radio stations -- will back away and let the staff run the station for six months to a year and remove all security guards. It will watch ratings to look for signs of a more diversified audience. The statement did not squelch persistent rumors that the board has discussed selling the station.

"Reopening the station is a goodwill gesture on the part of Pacifica toward resolving the conflict and moving toward diversification on local terms," Pacifica chairwoman Mary Frances Berry said.

Station staff members and city officials said they were thrilled with the move to reopen the nation's oldest listener-supported station and a bastion of progressive dialogue. But they also expressed mistrust at Pacifica's intentions.

"I think it shows the public and political pressure is finally having some effect," said Aileen Alfandary, a news director at the station. "However, I am extremely skeptical given the bad faith that Pacifica has exhibited up to this point, and still find it completely unacceptable that selling KPFA is still on the table."

Pacifica also announced it would move its national headquarters from Berkeley to Washington, D.C., in the next few weeks.

Pete Bramson, a member of Pacifica's national board, called the decision a good first step, but worried what would happen after six months.

"I think this basically will allow the station to be sold should they not meet some requirements," said Bramson, who lives in Oakland. "My concern is the proverbial bar is too high."

The move by the executive board ends a two-week standoff prompted when Pacifica pulled radio personality Dennis Bernstein from the air for bucking a policy that barred on-air discussion of ongoing labor conflicts at the station. A stream of angry street protests and marches followed, with more than 80 people arrested.

Station employees for months have balked at moves by Pacifica to broaden KPFA's demographics and attract more donors with a focus on polished, national programming. Pacifica also owns stations in Los Angeles, New York, Washington and Houston.

The internal strife became public after the March 31 dismissal of popular station general manager Nicole Sawaya. That move brought on-air rebukes that led to the firing of two longtime programmers, broadcaster Larry Bensky and volunteer folk music host Robbie Osman.

Sources said Bensky and Sawaya are specifically excluded from the deal. Osman's future is not clear.

Few other recent causes have so invigorated the progressive ranks as the fight to keep KPFA local. The station was where beat poet Allen Ginsberg first read "Howl." Patty Hearst called her newspaper baron parents "capitalist pigs" through its mikes. Che Guevara urged listeners to revolution over its signal at 94.1 FM.

Notables such as Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Alice Walker, singer Joan Baez and others have rallied to the cause.

And in a rare unanimous vote Tuesday night, the Berkeley City Council issued a demand for the return of local programming to the station.

Mayor Shirley Dean said Pacifica made some key concessions.

"As I understand it, they are going to be setting some goals to see what will happen over the next six months, to see if listenership can be increased," Dean said.

Dean said Pacifica will talk to local community people about the possibility of selling the station.

"But (selling) is not really where they are at right now. That's not their primary goal. They're going to wait and see what happens," Dean said.

Times wire services contributed to this story. sml AP Wire via FoxNews

Station with longtime ties to radical politics to reopen

12.08 a.m. ET (409 GMT) July 29, 1999 By Michelle Locke, Associated Press

BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) - Public radio station KPFA, a longtime outlet for radical politics, will reopen Friday - more than two weeks after the management closed it down amid passionate disagreements with the staff.

The staffers claimed the station's parent company, the nonprofit Pacifica Foundation, wants to make KPFA more mainstream.

Pacifica's board voted Wednesday to reopen the station as a "goodwill gesture'' toward "resolving the conflict'' said Mary Frances Berry, Pacifica's Chairwoman.

Pacifica will remove itself from the management of the station for six months to one year while continuing to mediate some issues with the staff, the foundations said in a statement said. No details were available. Pacifica's board voted Wednesday to reopen the station as a "goodwill gesture'' toward "resolving the conflict'' said Mary Frances Berry, Pacifica's Chairwoman.

Pacifica will remove itself from the management of the station for six months to one year while continuing to mediate some issues with the staff, the foundations said in a statement said. No details were available.

KPFA has been in an uproar for weeks, with staffers claiming a move is afoot to take their quirky community station mainstream. Managers responded by putting all workers on paid leave and locking up the station.

The ruckus has brought out scores of loyal listeners - including singer Joan Baez and author Alice Walker - who have demonstrated, marched and camped out on the street to show their support for staffers.

Members of the Pacifica Foundation have repeatedly said they don't plan to sell KPFA, which has a 59,000-watt signal capable of reaching much of Northern California.

But on Wednesday, a member of the Pacifica board of directors, Pete Bramson, said his colleagues are secretly discussing such a move.

A spokesman for Pacifica did not immediately return a telephone call from The Associated Press. Pacifica also owns stations in New York, Houston, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.

At 2:43 AM -0400 7/29/99, wrote:

>The deal was offered to a representative fo the CWA - a union person, as part >of Pacifica's ongoing tactic of trying to reduce the issues to a labor/ >management problem, and as part of ongoing efforts by Pacifica to bypass th >Steering Committee or get the staff to distance themselves from the Steering >committee and listener organizations.

In other words, DIVIDE AND CONQUER is their strategy. Old strategy in new disguise. Reflecting back on the conflict at KPFA every sentence of Sun Tzu's classic Chinese guide to the "Art of War" will ring a bell:

Sun Tzu said: 1. The control of a large force is the same principle as the control of a few men: it is merely a question of dividing up their numbers.

2. Fighting with a large army under your command is in no way different from fighting with a small one: it is merely a question of instituting signs and signals.

3. To ensure that your whole host may withstand the brunt of the enemy's attack and remain unshaken - this is effected by maneuvers direct and indirect.

Wei Liao Tzu [4th cent. B.C.] says: 'Direct warfare favors frontal attacks, indirect warfare attacks from the rear.' Ts`ao Kung says: 'Going straight out to join battle is a direct operation; appearing on the enemy's rear is an indirect maneuver.'

Chapter 1 : Estimates

War is a matter of vital importance to the state; a matter of life or death, the road either to survival or to ruin. Hence, it is imperative that it be studied thoroughly.

Therefore, appraise it in terms of the five fundamental factors and make comparisons of the various conditions of the antagonisticsides in order to ascertain the results of a war. The first of these factors is politics; the second, weather; the third, terrain; the fourth,the commander; and the fifth, doctrine. Politics means the thing which causes he people to be in harmony with their ruler so thatthey will follow him in disregard of their lives and without fear of any danger. Weather signifies night and day, cold and heat, finedays and rain, and change of seasons. Terrain means distances, and refers to whether the ground is traversed with ease or difficultyand to whether it is open or constricted, and influences your chances of life or death. The commander stands for the general'squalities of wisdom, sincerity, benevolence, courage, and strictness. Doctrine is to be understood as the organization of the army,the gradations of rank among the officers, the regulations of supply routes, and the provision of military materials to the army.

These five fundamental factors are familiar to every general. Those who master them win; those who do not are defeated. Therefore,in laying plans, compare the following seven elements, appraising them with the utmost care.

1.Which ruler is wise and more able?
2.Which commander is more talented?
3.Which army obtains the advantages of nature and the terrain?
4.In which army are regulations and instructions better carried out?
5.Which troops are stronger?
6.Which army has the better-trained officers and men?
7.Which army administers rewards and punishments in a more enlightened and correct way?

By means of these seven elements, I shall be able to forecast which side will be victorious and which will be defeated.

The general who heeds my counsel is sure to win. Such a general should be retained in command. One who ignores my counsel is certain to be defeated. Such a one should be dismissed.

Having paid attention to my counsel and plans, the general must create a situation which will contribute to their accomplishment. By"situation" I mean he should take the field situation into consideration and act in accordance with what is advantageous.

All warfare is based on deception. Therefore, when capable of attacking, feign incapacity; when active in moving troops, feigninactivity. When near the enemy, make it seem that you are far away; when far away, make it seem that you are near. Hold out baitsto lure the enemy. Strike the enemy when he is in disorder. Prepare against the enemy when he is secure at all points. Avoid theenemy for the time being when he is stronger. If your opponent is of choleric temper, try to irritate him. If he is arrogant, try toencourage his egotism. If the enemy troops are well prepared after reorganization, try to wear them down. If they are united, try tosow dissension among them. Attack the enemy where he is unprepared, and appear where you are not expected. These are the keysto victory for a strategist. It is not possible to formulate them in detail beforehand.

Now, if the estimates made before a battle indicate victory, it is because careful calculations show that your conditions are morefavorable than those of your enemy; if they indicate defeat, it is because careful calculations show that favorable conditions for abattle are fewer. With more careful calculations, one can win; with less, one cannot. How much less chance of victory has one whomakes no calculations at all! By this means, one can foresee the outcome of a battle. "

The complete instruction manual by Sun Tzu is at

>To sweeten the offer Pacifica would let the union run the station for the >next 6 months, without a gag rule, with Foundation supervision in the areas >of "Diversity" >( we've seen what that means- the 5 Year Plan and the END of diversity) and >a monitoring of arbitron ratings- presumably either as part of a plan to >enforce a whole new deal at the end of the 6 months or to sell the station at >the end of the 6 months. >The whole situation would be re-evaluated at the end of 6 months

A pseudo-win to split the opposition. The deception #1 of the public and smokescreen rationale for top-down intervention and removal of "critical elements" remains: where do these diversity ratings come from? Who says that KPFA's listener spectrum is not broad and diverse?

>Larry Bensky and Nicole Sawaya would not be reinstated. The violence this >would do to the moral strength of our movement would be incalculable, and >Pacifica knows it. >Once you've sold down the river the original symbolic cause of your >rebellion, what won't you sell?

Again, divide and conquer is their strategy.

Quote from an interview with John Stauber, founder of the Center for Media and Democracy ( and author of "Toxic Sludge is good for you: Lies, Damn Lies and the Public Relations Industry" (Forest Voice, Summer 1999, p.5, Native Forest Council [my commentaries interspersed in brackets]:

Stauber: "Some years ago, in a speech to clients in the cattle industry, Ron Duchin, senior vice-president of the PR firm Mongoven, Biscoe and Duchin (which represents probably a quarter of the largest corporations in the world), outlined his firm's basic divide-and-conquer strategy for defeating any social change movement. Activists, he explained, fall into three basic categories: radicals, idealists, and realists. The first step in his strategy is to isolate and marginalize the radicals. They're the ones who see the inherent structural problems that need remedying if indeed a particular change is to occur. To isolate them, PR firms will try to create a perception in the public mind that people advocating fundamental solutions [i.e. the Steering Committee, Bensky and Sawaya] are terrorists, extremists, fearmongers, outsiders, communists, or whatever. After marginalizing the radicals, the PR firm then identifies and "educates" the idealists - concerned and sympathetic members of the public - by convincing them that the changes advocated by the radicals would hurt people. The goal is to sour the idealists on the idea of working with the radicals, and instead get them working with the realists.

Realists, according to Duchin, are people who want reform but don't really want to upset the status quo; big public-interest organizations that rely on foundations grants and corporate contributions are a prime example. With the correct handling, Duchin says, realists can be counted on to cut a deal with industry [i.e. the Pacifica board] that can be touted as a "win-win" solution, but that is actually an industry victory. Jensen: "Why does this strategy keep working?" Stauber: "In part, because we don't have a watchdog press that aggressively investigates and exposes PR lies [such as the KPFA listener profile studies that Pacifica board members tout as truth and that are unquestioningly colported by the news media]...."

>No provision herein meets the broad goals held by the more radical branch of >the steering committee- Resignation of Berrry and Chadwick ( frankly, it >makes no difference who resigns if the 5 Year Plan which guides them stays in >place)- Restoration of fired staff to their positions- Democratization of the >network, Transformation of the network ( or KPFA alone?) to make it more >"diverse"- and a democratic method of dealing with the gag rule.

>It is not entirely clear how widespread these principles are on the Steering >Committee, although I am assured that they hold significant sway.

Some suggestions for a response (from the "Art of Peace", by Morihei Ueshiba): Four : The Art of Peace is medicine for a sick world. There is evil and disorder in the world because people have forgotten that all things emanate from one source. Return to that source and leave behind all self-centered thoughts, petty desires, and anger. Those who are possessed by nothing possess everything.

Sixty Six : The body should be triangular, the mind circular. The triangle represents the generation of energy and is the most stable physical posture. The circle symbolizes serenity and perfection, the source of unlimited techniques. The square stands for solidity, the basis of applied control.

Sixty Seven : Always try to be in communion with heaven and earth; then the world will appear in its true light. Self-conceit will vanish, and you can blend with any attack.

Sixty Eight : If your heart is large enough to envelop your adversaries, you can see right through them and avoid their attacks. And once you envelop them, you will be able to guide them along the path indicated to you by heaven and earth.

Sixty Nine : Free of weakness, No-mindedly ignore the sharp attacks of your enemies: Step in and act!

Seventy Four: Be grateful even for hardship, setbacks, and bad people. Dealing with such obstacles is an essential part of training in the Art of Peace.

With best wishes, from the sidelines,
Michael Bachmann

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