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In “The Silent Treatment” (7/30), Guy Raz used me to cynically frame his lazy account of WPFW’s censorship of the controversy between management and workers at Pacifica affiliate KPFA. The difference between what I said in a brief phone interview and what went into print is the difference between fact and fiction.

In the interview, I never identified Democracy Now as my “favorite radio talk show” and I hardly listen to it “[n]early every morning.” What I said was quite different. I expressed disappointment in Pacifica’s D.C. affiliate, WPFW, which purports to be a “community radio station.” I described WPFW to Guy as far too limited in musical diversity and public affairs programming.

Do I really sound like the “avid Pacifica fan” he characterized me as?

My point was short and simple: I had chanced to hear WPFW blatantly censor the July 14 segment of Democracy Now because someone at the station disapproved of the content. I found the behavior totally unacceptable and called the station manager to complain. Demonstrating WPFW’s lack of accountability to the community it serves, no one bothered to return my call.

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Of coarse, Raz’s distortion was not confined to me. In addition, he improperly reduced the conflict at KPFA as a “personnel squabble” about as interesting as reading “a volume of municipal housing regulations.” Is WPFW’s censorship not newsworthy, Guy?

Raz’s bias ignores the context the Pacifica debate fits in: the controversial decline of Pacifica Radio, the strong public interest in community radio, Berkeley’s free speech movement, and the historic role Pacifica has played as an outlet of progressive thought and ideas. Ultimately, he has clearly been proved wrong by the widespread national interest and coverage the debate has already captured, from the New York Times to the Washington Post. Who’s “letting the air out of the Pacifica debate,” Guy?

I am not surprised that Raz, who works for National Public Radio, would want to deflect interest around the Pacifica debate and trash a competitor like Pacifica’s Democracy Now. What I am surprised about is that no one at the Washington City Paper caught such an obvious conflict of interest.

As a widely read and respected local paper, I think you owe it to your readers to ensure that writers like Raz get their facts straight and do not serve their own conflicts of interest. I personally will have a hard time trusting anything else that your paper prints unless Raz is held accountable for his sloppy, dishonest reporting.

Capitol Hill

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