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No JOURNAL this Week

This week, the JOURNAL is preempted in most areas for Ken Burns' documentary THE NATIONAL PARKS: AMERICA'S BEST IDEA. Some stations will air an encore presentation of Bill Moyers' interview with David Simon, creator of the award-winning series THE WIRE.

In the meantime, you can comment on the David Simon interview, explore previous broadcasts in our archive section, and read JOURNAL senior writer Michael Winship's latest column below.


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I think that we should pull back are troops from the war in Afganistan.

Richard Ellmyer: Reframe the Morgan Holm/Public Broadcasting obstinance as a class issue and strengthen your complaint. It is as simple as saying Holm and his ilk obey corporate policy and the whims of major philanthropists (and their philanthropies) in contrast to the needs of the general public banded together in unions and public interest organizations. From the Holm point of view this is an economic imperative. As much as public broadcasting rhetoric states the preference for wider membership their hunger is for large grants. These appointees' personal careers and perks depend upon such emphasis, as does their economic mobility (revolving doors).

The days of the classical music dilettante station manager and development director are eclipsed by politically sophisticated operators of great avarice. Haven't you noticed their sharky behaviors with a scent of money, and their disdain for lowly community volunteers? (Public broadcasting exhibits all that is negative in a subculture of instrumental and selectively enforced political correctness.

Good programming is increasingly rare as public outlets replace newspapers as community and regional boosters. The result of marauding giants is a populace too ravaged to support genteel niceties. Officials like Morgan Holm have embraced the realpolitik of fundraising/public broadcasting. Their former natural allies are now declasse. (Your lance is too short to joust with CEOs.)

Morgan Holm Dismisses Portland, Lane And Multnomah Counties Et. Al. Single Payer Resolutions As Irrelevant.

OPB VP News & Public Affairs, Morgan Holm, proclaims that the resolutions supporting a Single Payer solution to Oregon's/America's moral and economic health care crisis adopted by the following groups have, "virtually no effect in real terms" individually and in the aggregate and are thus not newsworthy:
AFSCME District Council 75
Amalgamated Transit Union Local 757
American Federation of Government Employees Local 2157
American Federation of Teachers Local 5017
City of Portland
Democratic Party of Lane County
Freedom Socialist Party
International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees
Lane County Commission
Mad As Hell Doctors
Multnomah County Commission
Oregon Academy of Family Physicians
Oregon Education Association
Oregon Federation of Nurses & Health Professionals
Oregon Nurses Association
Oregon Teamsters Local 206
Pacific Green Party of Oregon
Painters Local 10
State Council of Machinists (IAM)

The leaders, members and constituents of all these organizations will be interested to note that OPB VP News & Public Affairs, Morgan Holm, considers their efforts to bring major social and civil rights change to Oregon and America an inconsequential waste of time. Perhaps they will remember that next pledge drive.

"It is not our job as journalists to provoke such a conflict by covering this issue in a manner that is disproportionate to its role in the public arena."

Wake up Morgan. The conflict over Single Payer has been stifled and buried by the Oregon legislature, governor Kulongoski, and the leadership of the U.S. congress. Single Payer advocates (see above) have had not just a disproportionately minor role in the public arena but NO role in the public arena, having been shut down and shut out of the legislative process. None of which has ever been reported on Oregon Public Broadcasting.

"I intend to let public officials set the agenda on this issue rather than trying to push it on to the agenda, an approach which I consider to be responsible journalism."

What do you call elected public officials from Portland, Lane and Multnomah Counties that represent more than a million Oregonians and the elected public officials that signed the letter below, "chopped liver?" They have set the agenda on Single Payer and you ignored them. Your approach is not "responsible journalism" it is irresponsible and cowardly.

President Lyndon Johnson and General William Westmoreland "set the agenda" with the Gulf of Tonkin incident and body counts to prove the Viet Nam war was necessary and going well. Lies. Lies. Lies.

President George W. Bush and General Colin Powell "set the agenda" with weapons of mass destruction and connections to Bin Laden to prove that war with Iraq was necessary. Lies. Lies. Lies.

Since 9-11-2001 about 8,000 Americans have died in the United States, Iraq and Afghanistan at the hands of terrorists. Since 9-11-2001 about 45,000 Americans have died ANNUALLY because they do not have health insurance. That about 360,000. Do the math. Americans are more terrorized by and die at the hands of the brutal and greedy American corporate leaders of the medical-industrial complex and their employees in the Oregon legislature and the US congress than all of Al Qaeda.

The first victim of war is truth. A resolution of support for a Single Payer system is a declaration of WAR against the despised, failed, for-profit private health insurance industry and those that believe that health care is a privilege not a right of American citizenship.

So OPB VP News & Public Affairs, Morgan Holm, put down that bag of potato chips and pick up the phone and call Bill Moyers. Ask him how to find and report the TRUTH about health care reform in Oregon and America. Then, get your ass off the comfortable couch, grab a shovel and a bright light and go digging for the TRUTH. When you find it, tell us.

Bill Moyers, the most courageous journalist in America, has spent more time on the issue of Health Care reform than any other subject he has ever covered. It would be useful for the entire OPB news staff to start watching his show. Especially relevant was Moyers interview with Glenn Greenwald and Jay Rosen. Their discussion exposed media managers, such as Morgan Holm and the producers of OPB's Think Out Loud who avoid persons and ideas that are, in Moyer's words, considered, "heretical by the establishment."

Holm's signs his email with this slogan, "Giving voice to the community." What community would that be? The status quo political powers that be and large corporate OPB funders from the medical-industrial complex? It sure as hell isn't the overwhelming number of Oregonians that support Single Payer.

Under Morgan Holm's indefensible, lazy, self-protective leadership OPB News has FAILED to cover the real health care story in our state. This is expected at commercial stations but inexcusable in PUBLIC broadcasting. Just Ask Bill Moyers.

Richard Ellmyer
Oregon Community Health Care Bill author and project champion
President, MacSolutions Inc. - A Macintosh computer consulting business providing web hosting for artists and very small businesses.
Writer/Publisher - Oregon Health Watchers - Published on the Internet ( and distributed to thousands of readers interested in public health care policy in Oregon.

February 8, 2009 [This message was also sent in 2007. My single payer Oregon Community Health Care Bill was written in November 2004.]

Dear House Speaker Hunt and Senate President Courtney Et. Al.:
The current legislative debate over health care reform in our state does not include our view that the profit oriented private health insurance industry must not be the model upon which a solution to Oregon's moral and economic health care crisis should be based and that Oregon elected officials - public employees - voters and taxpayers must have EQUAL ACCESS to the SAME LEVEL of health care NOT a perpetuation of our current multitiered health insurance CLASS system.

We request that you find a place holder bill in each chamber which would substitute in its entirety the language of the Oregon Community Health Care Bill (see attached) so that an alternative choice may be discussed and debated this session. The Oregon Community Health Care Bill is the only current fully formed piece of proposed legislation which supports our vision of health care reform. We would welcome others that also meet our requirements.

Thank you for your attention.

Richard Ellmyer - Oregon Community Health Care Bill author 2004
Sam Adams - Portland City Council 2007
Jeff Cogen - Multnomah County Commissioner 2007
Edwars "Chip" Enbody - Hubbard City Council 2007
Darrell Flood - Mayor of Lafayette 2007
Bill Hall - Lincoln County Commissioner 2007
Jim Needham - Mollala City Council 2007
Michelle Ripple - Wilsonville City Council 2007
Mary Schamehorn - Mayor of Bandon 2007
Pete Sorenson - Lane County Commissioner 2007
John Frohnmayer - Former candidate for US Senate 2008
Tim Grimes - Staton City Council 2008
David P. Trott - Mayor City of Umatilla 2008
Bill Dwyer - Lane County Commissioner 2008
Dan K. Cummings - Ontario City Council President 2008
Mark Camra - Toledo City Councilor 2009
Don Porter - Mayor of Long Creek 2009
Thomas Bradley - Long Creek City Council 2009
Fred Drake - Long Creek City Council 2009
Alvin Hunt - Long Creek City Council 2009
[Copies of this letter were sent to all members of the 2009 Oregon Legislature]

Dear Mr. Ellmyer,

We chose not to cover the Portland single payer resolution vote for the same reason that we don't cover virtually every other resolution passed by the dozens of local governments in our coverage area. While the resolution serves as evidence of support for a particular concept, it has virtually no effect in real terms.
OPB's newsroom has covered the single payer issue where there has been opportunity to show how it fits into the current debate over health care policy. But the political reality right now is that single payer is not an option in the bills Congress is considering. So we are choosing to cover aspects of the health care debate that will have relevance to our audience when the votes are complete, issues like the possibility of an employer mandate or the prospect of a health insurance exchange.
As to the possibility of "internecine political civil war" in Oregon over the single payer issue, if or when such a thing develops, we would certainly cover it. But it is not our job as journalists to provoke such a conflict by covering this issue in a manner that is disproportionate to its role in the public arena. I intend to let public officials set the agenda on this issue rather than trying to push it on to the agenda, an approach which I consider to be responsible journalism.
If you do choose to run for office in 2010 and decide to make the single payer question a part of your platform, that's a legitimate issue for us to cover at that time. In fact, I will be curious to see how health care plays out in the 2010 election cycle overall (especially following any Congressional action this year) and I'm sure we will be reporting on that throughout our coverage.
Thank you for contacting us, and I hope I've been able to answer your question.

Best regards,

Morgan Holm I VP News & Public Affairs I Oregon Public Broadcasting
7140 SW Macadam Ave I Portland OR 97219

Giving voice to the community. Connecting Oregon and its neighbors. Illuminating a wider world

Dear Mr. President Barack Obama:
Please listen (Have you ever watched "The Wire"?). We don't have to let Snotboogie (or the personhood Snotboogie Inc.) in the game. Please understand that we don't need these "pot-grabbers" in our health care or in our national defense. Remember the consequences on "The Wire" (episode 1, and so on), that little snots get shot down but "The King stay the King". (A flawed system is the problem.)

Let me explain Mr. President that the violence and chaos escalates as it rises. We are at a "Hampsterdam" nexxus now where remediation could come, but you're still playing checkers on a chess board. I could call you dumb but "It ain't like that." When you accepted the presidency you promised to act like McNulty. You're not "good police" Obama, and the oligarchy is "doing you" anyway. Get "off the boat" and close some cases! Follow the money... Get Snotboogie out da game! (I though you were beyond his mucous.)
Your friend,

People BILLS show had to be cut out a couple of weeks so the AMERICAN PEOPLE can settle down.Kind of like those town meetings on health care and the TEA PARTY MARCH.The IDIOTS in power were starting to worry so they shut BILL up.Play nice people and sit back and take it.I think the government should supply us with with KY JELLY so the screwing is not so bad.

National Parks Burned
(a protest against Moyers' Journal being pre-empted)

Sometimes I think it would be better if Americans attuned themselves more to a critical reconsideration of history and less to sentimental traditionalism. Beware in our capitalist culture when our common treasures are celebrated and suffer a glorified recounting, because they may be poised on the vortex of commercialism’s drain. Ken Burn’s The National Parks: America’s Best Idea shows powerful justification for this caution, for as the editorial presenter his point of view “cuts both ways” and figuratively severs the baby before the two contentious mothers can state their cases. (Wise King Solomon!) The most powerful incident in the documentary comes when old adversaries of enlarging the Grand Tetons National Park near Jackson Hole, Wyoming admit that today they’re “glad they lost.” Losing a long time ago and having had time to adapt is very different than losing in the present day. For as time has passed corporations have grown larger and more permeating of daily life, and the global legalities establishing increasing “corporate personhood” have accumulated like a rolling snowball down a wintry Yosemite tableau.

You may watch wide angle cinematography on a large screened high definition digital monitor, but when it comes to comprehending the grandeur and full sensory spectacle of this Earthly cathedral we call the National Parks you are living the experience on a level with looking through a pinhole at Citizen Kane’s snow globe. And if Sharon Rockefeller’s
spectacle factory under Burn’s management is our most capable chronicler of this majesty something is sorely amiss. In a nation of 300 million people there should be a hundred, or at least ten crews of equal or greater skill, competing to instruct the populace and preserve the fading heyday of United States Empire.

Try to recall the time your curiosity braked your vacation rental car at an obscure roadside museum in some isolated West Virginia county, and you peered through a brittle stereoscope at some now deceased couple posing atop a geological wonder. Encapsulate that feeling and compare. You will then understand that the equivocation and tortured editorializing of The National Parks: America’s Best Idea fails in it’s originality of conception and in its effort to elicit public enthusiasm. Maybe that is because we are completely immersed in a marketing mentality and procedure that leaves no room for audience spontaneity. It is partly and surely because we have seen the same tricks and techniques used again and again in Ken Burns’ films, and the same participants have repeatedly had their say. There is a comforting continuity from project to project that spoils our hope of freshness and surprise, akin to the Disney smaltz we endured in the mid-twentieth century. Burns films can be likened to an obsolete artifact available only through Lehman’s self-reliance catalog: maybe a stately lamp with a storm proof mantel. You will have lost the wicks and fuel flask before the wild hurricane comes. If you accept The National Parks: America’s Best Idea as a premium during the next PBS fundraiser you can be sure you’ll never watch it again, and at best it might wind up in the Goodwill donations you self-evaluate as a tax deduction. Appreciating Ken Burns is a white lie, like cheating on your taxes.

(Sung to the tune of “Old Joe Clark”)
I watched a film about the National Parks
Made by Old Ken Burns.
It made me wanna turn them over to the big corporations
And let them have a turn.

Take away them National Parks
And give us something fun,
Like Disney World or Dollywood.
I can’t decide which one.
Great men made the National Parks:
Rich men bought the land.
Bruce Springsteen and Bono
Could never be that grand.

Fair thee well National Parks.
Fair thee well I say.
Climate change is coming soon.
You ain’t got long to stay.

There’ll be condos in Acadia,
And geothermal synergy,
All across old Yellowstone,
So we can have clean energy.

Take coal from the mountaintops,
And burn it every day.
The Smokies can’t quit smoking.
It’s supposed to be that way.

Tear down all the National Parks,
And build us something fun.
Chernobyl or Las Vegas,
I can’t decide which one.

*Grady is in therapeutic rehab preparing for major thoracic surgery later this month.

No Bill for the past two weeks! Here's hoping he is well and will return this coming Friday!

Thank you for all you do!

Missed you, wish I had known, or better yet,our local PBS could have informed us of what was up during their replacement show . I record the show, or watch it live when I can. When it wasn't there I called the local PBS for an answer Friday night. They did not have one. And regretfully wrote an e-mail criticizing them for replacing it with a local political round table.
Happy I was in error.

Oh! So that's why I didn't get a new Journal in my Google Reader. Come back soon!

Missing you much. Looking forward to next week's journal.

"There is a striking difference between dishonesty arising from want
of food, and want of principle."--William Penn -- he also said --"He who
never was an hungered may argue finely on the subjection of his appetite;
and he who never was distressed, may harangue as beautifully
on the power of principle"

These statements were used in a case Penn was making for tax collectors who were working on a salary which was not sufficient to live with dignity. I think these points could be made for the integrity of the reporters. What salary does it take to live with dignity for the average reporter to report the truth? What has happened to Bill? The subjects were getting deep into health-care, the unemployment and the deep division that exist now between the few haves and the many have-nots. Now, the subjects have either swerved off the road of truth in the paths of greed or they have stopped all together? Who is running the mouth pieces here where we are used to seeing and hearing what is mute in most other high pay media outlets?
Don’t leave us high and dry Bill! The truth is the fuel for change.
Terry Thomas

I missed my Friday night line-up of The Journal and NOW but after some thought have decided that the area I live in could do with a reminder about why we set aside wilderness areas. Still... I missed my Friday night Journal. :(

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