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In my first installment "Go big or go home": Interview with Paul Jay, IWT/The Real News, Part 1, I returned to 2005 to explore the roots of my obsession with Independent World Television/The Real News.

In Part 2, "Oh, you mean the REAL news!": Interview with Paul Jay, IWT/The Real News, Part 2, Paul talked about cab driver focus groups and how IWT/TRN intends to hit the big time.

Today, Paul talks about how The Real News will boldly go where none have gone before.

IWT - No Strings

Before we start, let me take a few seconds to beg of you:

(a) visit the site
(b) contribute (it's tax-deductible!), preferably as a monthly sponsor (warning for dialup users: short video at this link, but if you hit the pause button quickly, it will stop)
(c) urge your friends to join you in steps (a) and (b). They may be sick of being asked to support candidates or sign petitions, but a chance to reach the masses via a new television network is something quite different. They are your friends, aren't they?
(d) if you live in or can move to Toronto, where production will begin, consider contacting IWT/TRN to help out as a volunteer or apply for a position on the crew
(e) write to if you can help out in other ways, such as hosting an IWT event, or tattooing "IWT" on your forehead


Now, are you ready for the interview? I thought so!

AF: If you talk about questions like election integrity, or US government negligence in 9/11, you run the risk of being shunned, but by ignoring them, you fail to address a big gap in knowledge.

PJ: We're going to do good verifiable journalism, and we don't care about being shunned. We're a group of experienced professional journalists at the core. We'll go where facts take us. Will we do 9/11? You bet! But we're going to start the 9/11 investigation with things that are knowable. What I mean by that is, we know that Condoleeza Rice got a memo saying Bin Laden plans to attack the United States. We know that she went before the 9/11 Commission and said that 56 FBI officers already had open files investigating, and we know that wasn't true. The issue of accountability could at the very least start with what's absolutely verifiable - that she didn't tell the truth to the 9/11 Commission. Now whether she deliberately lied, misled... who knows, and it's almost irrelevant. What we know is there's an objective fact. There was a memo saying Bin Laden planned to attack, and we know nothing or next to nothing was done about it. So let's ask, "Why not?". Then, let's let the trail go where the trail goes.

Do I know whether there were bombs in the bottom of the building or not? Do I know whether a plane hit the Pentagon or not? I'm not afraid to ask the questions. I don't know the answers. I have not been persuaded from what I've seen, but only because I haven't investigated yet. There's nothing we're not going to look into.

And I have to say the most astounding thing for me is that these two stories are equated. What I mean is, how on earth is election integrity put into the same category as whether someone had put bombs in the bottom of the World Trade Center? For the sake of argument, let's assume this is an outlandish theory, that the Bush administration puts bombs in the building. Who knows what history will wind up telling us, but let's assume this is outlandish. EVERYONE knows that there has been fraud in the voting. There's nothing outlandish about that. We KNOW what went on in Florida. We KNOW the problems with the voting machines. We KNOW serious questions have been raised about what went on in Ohio. This is not conspiracy theory. The issue of election integrity and fraud in the voting is verifiable. We know the problems were not just in the machines, but in getting to the polls. We know about the unequal distribution of voting machines between poor African-American areas and rich white areas. We know about the nuttiness of Blackwell in Ohio saying how thick a registration card has to be, and on and on. These are verifiable pieces of information, and the fact that mainstream journalism and mainstream television isn't going after that story full-speed is maybe their greatest indictment, other than lack of accountability on 9/11. We may not be able to prove criminality yet, but there's way more than smoke here. So we're going to go after this election integrity story with great vigor. And I can't imagine being shunned as a result of it, to tell you the truth. On 9/11, if you try to entertain the thought of a direct role of the Bush administration in making 9/11 happen, if you entertain that idea, then yes, almost all professional journalists will not take you seriously. Not all, but most. But when it comes to election integrity, professional journalists know there's a story there. They know there's something wrong. In television newsrooms, they know the crap that happened, and they're not going after it because of the various kinds of pressure not to do it.

AF: What about third parties in the U.S. and elsewhere? Will you be covering them?

PJ: I produced the main debate show on CBC News World for ten years. For elections, of course, we had to deal with this problem over and over again. It’s kind of a balance. There's more than a third party -- there's a fourth, fifth, fifteenth, twenty-fifth, and fiftieth, if you really look at how many parties are running. Maybe just in terms of what gets national profile, or what might affect the outcome, you might be just into a third. But then that opens the whole question, are you going to only report on parties that "affect the outcome"? That's the criterion they're using to not even report on a third party. It's a complicated thing, because you're performing a service for your viewers, and most viewers do want to know about the main parties.

We're going to make coverage of the US 2008 election our "coming-out party". We’re going to redefine what news is in the context of the campaign. News is the problems and concerns that are facing the American people. Those are the issues that are newsworthy. We're going to be HOUNDING the candidates to address the real issues facing people. For a long time the Americans have called their president "the leader of the free world" (and these days that's almost the whole world), so we're going to say, "If you guys think you're electing the leader of the world, it's about time the world had something to say about it." We're going to create a dialogue between the English-speaking world and Americans. Our theme will be: we want to bring Americans to the world, and we want to bring the world to Americans.  We're going to use the 2008 election to start that process.

AF: A lot of people will feel that's too late. [Note: Remember that I conducted this interview in September 2006, when things looked more bleak.]

If people want us to be doing this sooner, then they need to go bat for us. They need to send money, they need to help us raise dough, spread the word, build our lists. There are two parts to this: there's the objective logistical issue; how long does it take to build a studio? How long does it take to get the journalistic alliances in place, the technology in place? And the money issue. If you just look at the Daily Kos readership, it's probably enough to get this kick-started. We're producing  sample programming as we speak, so people get a better taste of what we're about.

One of the things that will also spring big donor money and foundation money is the success of the membership campaign. If we can say we've got 30,000-40,000 people giving us 10 bucks a month or more, those are very serious numbers to big donors. Then they can see that the promise of sustainability is a real promise.

AF: Recently, you put out a call for hosts for The Real News. What are the requirements?

One of the things we're going to do for the pilot which we intend to roll out in January 2007, is a three-minute promo that gives a real taste of what the news show is going to be like. We'd like three or four hosts to front that. They either need to have real journalist credibility, or something similar. What I mean is, when they ask a question, there's a reason to think they know what they're talking about. They need to be uncompromising. They have to be tough. When they hear an answer that's bull, they need to not go on to the second question.  I'd rather an interview stay on the first question for fifteen minutes and never go to question two, if they didn't get an answer to question one. It’s ridiculous the interviews take place these days on TV. They ask the first question, it doesn't matter what the hell the answer is, they move on to question two, question three. You could have had a computer asking the questions.

We want to have diversity in age, in gender, in ethnicity, everything. [Except, in the initial phase, geographic location. For now, all hosts will have to work from Toronto. But it's a beautiful city, if you're considering a move. - AF] They've got to be talented and witty, to have attitude, to have personality.

PJ: And we'd like your readers [Daily Kos readers] to suggest to us who they'd like to see being the hosts. Send us actual names that we should try and get in touch with. Whether they're famous or not is not the point. We want them to be good.

If someone had a mastery of the history of the Middle East, for example, and could present well on TV, but hadn't done journalism, we'd still very open to them.  We really want people who know what they're talking about. We're not looking for models. We're not just looking for faces or presenters. We want people who can really get their teeth into a story.

AF: What about advertising?

PJ: We want to make use of mass marketing methods. So we have made a deal with a marketing company, who know the techniques. A very interesting experienced group who are also tied into the music industry.  

Because we're not for profit, some of these television companies do PSAs, and we might do some 30-second, 60-second spots. One of the things we're doing is a straightforward half-hour infomercial where we'll actually buy a half hour show, explain what we're doing, why we're doing it, and ask people to call a toll-free number. We're going to use many different methodologies to get to a mass audience, both for viewership and to build membership.

More to come. Don't touch that dial!

Originally posted to AlanF on Wed Jan 03, 2007 at 06:37 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

    •  i like very much (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AlanF, m16eib, DWG

      good one

      If I am not for myself, then who will be for me? And when I am only for myself, what am I? And if not now, when? Hillel 1st Century

      by suskind on Wed Jan 03, 2007 at 07:01:57 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  i'm one of the few (5+ / 0-)

      who totally enjoy Gore Vidal, ex-pat returned.... listening to interview with him on IWT

      If I am not for myself, then who will be for me? And when I am only for myself, what am I? And if not now, when? Hillel 1st Century

      by suskind on Wed Jan 03, 2007 at 07:13:02 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I haven't listened to that interview but should. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        m16eib, suskind, DWG

        As Paul said to me, there's no way that he could appear on today's mainstream TV.

        •  I love that (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          AlanF, Cho, suskind, DWG

          these guys have gone out of their way to let the Blogosphhere in on this. Asking for and getting help all along the way.

          They sent me an Email at one point pretty much asking "Who do you want to interview that is involved with it?" (I passed, since it was already gaining traction with some of the bigger Bloggers) They want, and need our help to get this going the right way. And many of their supporters (even the celebrity ones) are willing to take the extra step to do just that.

      •  Just came back from listening to him. (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        m16eib, suskind, moosely2006, DWG

        He was talking about the vote in Ohio in 2004. He claimed the NYT never mentioned the Conyers Report. So I did a little fact-checking by performing this Google search: "Ohio Conyers report". Came up with four hits, of which two were Krugman articles and the other two were dismisive. One of the two, from January 6, began like this:

        WASHINGTON, Jan. 6 - A small group of Democrats transformed the traditionally routine ritual of certifying presidential election results into a tart partisan protest today, forcing both the House and Senate to debate Election Day voting problems in Ohio, the state that gave President Bush the crucial electoral votes needed for his re-election.

        With both houses under Republican control, the move, only the second of its kind since 1877, did not threaten Bush's victory over Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts. Indeed, some Democrats opposed it and the White House spokesman likened it to a pursuit of "conspiracy theories."

        But its rarity underscored a lingering sensitivity to election irregularities like those that overshadowed the 2000 election. Democrats complained this time that Ohio election officials, headed by a Republican who led the Bush campaign in the state, had provided too few voting machines in some Democratic precincts and allowed other irregularities.

        The challenge also demonstrated a readiness among some Democrats, even with the party's diminished presence in the new Congress, to draw a line against a Republican Party that appears determined to make maximum use of its reinforced majority.

        So the move is thoroughly de-toothed with dismissive phrases ("some Democrats opposed it", "conspiracy theories") -- as well as by treating its result as a foregone conclusion, which was by no means the case. It could have indeed threatened Bush's victory.

        But I'm getting off track. Vidal was basically right. That such a pivotal report could be mentioned only four times, ever, by the country's best-known newspaper, is a damning indictment of our current media.

  •  In reply to: (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    m16eib, blueoasis, DWG

    We're not looking for neutered eunuchs.

    I'll be sure not to apply.

    On the other hand, think about that statement.

    Teacher's Lounge opens each Saturday, sometime between 10am and 12 noon EST

    by rserven on Wed Jan 03, 2007 at 06:59:44 PM PST

    •  I think you're saying it's insulting? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      m16eib, suskind

      In that case, I'll consider another title.

      •  Contradictory. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Diversity is desired?  Transsexual people need not apply?

        Teacher's Lounge opens each Saturday, sometime between 10am and 12 noon EST

        by rserven on Wed Jan 03, 2007 at 07:07:39 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't think that was what was meant at all. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          In my mind, and probably in his, eunuchs were people who were forcibly deprived of their sexual organs in order to force them into a role where their behavior was restricted (specifically, in order to prevent them from approaching women sexually). In my mind, that's totally different from what one chooses to do with one's body and life. But I did change the title and remove the quote.

          •  I know it wasn't. :-) (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            AlanF, m16eib

            But sometimes people should think about the words they use because they have other meanings.  What, after all is a eunuch?

            Me, I'm just a transsexual woman.

            Teacher's Lounge opens each Saturday, sometime between 10am and 12 noon EST

            by rserven on Wed Jan 03, 2007 at 07:18:00 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I did think about those words (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              before deciding whether to include them but I came to the (clearly mistaken) conclusion that no one would be offended by them. Interesting, because I generally dislike expressions that equate male gonads with courage. But I guess the word "eunuch" had such specifically historical connotations to me that I decided it was safe.

              •  Sometimes people forget... (0+ / 0-)

                ...the honored place of eunuchs in history and the special forgiveness provided to them in the Bible (not that I'm a christian, but hey), for example, when they consider who the modern version of eunuchs might be.  Perhpas if that word were thought about in that historical context, rather than as a word used to demean and disparage, people whould have such harsh thoughts about transsexual women.  Perhaps not.  It's hard to say, since nobody usually speaks up to try to get people to think.

                I'm not offended.  I am just stirring a pot.  Sometimes learning happens.  One never knows unless one tries.


                Teacher's Lounge opens each Saturday, sometime between 10am and 12 noon EST

                by rserven on Wed Jan 03, 2007 at 07:55:36 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  whould-->wouldn't (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  Teacher's Lounge opens each Saturday, sometime between 10am and 12 noon EST

                  by rserven on Wed Jan 03, 2007 at 07:56:42 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  I didn't realize that the Bible (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  even mentioned eunuchs, other than forbidding them (along with those with certain other permanent physical conditions) from entering the Temple. (That section of the Bible was covered in my bar mitzvah portion. I remember telling the rabbi that I didn't think this was fair.) So I just went on a little web search. Interesting how eunuchs appear in little corners of stories that I thought I knew more thoroughly.

                  If I do a follow-up interview with Paul, I'll ask him what they plan to do in terms of covering gender and sexuality issues and including sexual minorities amog their hosts. You could ask him, too -- there's a question form on the IWT website.

  •  Thank you for this diary! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AlanF, lecsmith

    Again! Now to see If I can stir up a bit of a shitstorm for you! heh This really needs attention, given how many Kossacks have been awaiting this and already invested in it.

    This is what we need... REAL EFFFIN' NEWS!

  •  I am enjoying your diaries, AlanF. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AlanF, Cho, m16eib

    My enthusiasm is bubbling up for IWT. This station has been a long time coming (to sort of quote CSNY). I will go to their site and submit my ideas for hosts and sign up as a monthly donor.

    I'm assuming Naomi Klein will be one of their hosts, but I could be wrong about that.

    Many of us said invading Iraq would result in disaster. I'm waiting for the apology.

    by lecsmith on Wed Jan 03, 2007 at 08:40:30 PM PST

  •  Real News in America? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AlanF, Cho, m16eib

    No Mickey, Coke, Exxon, and KFC?  No shock jocks and eye candy news readers.  No infotainmercialism.  Real instead of "reality."   Journalism instead of sensationalism.  Cool.  Thanks for bringing this to us.

    A tyrant must put on the appearance of uncommon devotion to religion. - Aristotle

    by DWG on Wed Jan 03, 2007 at 09:21:11 PM PST

  •  I've been waiting for IWT for a long time. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AlanF, Cho, m16eib

    I started contributing back a long time ago when I first heard about IWT. It was at least 2 years ago and I wasn't sure where the money was going but I trusted that it was being put to good use. The names of the people supporting this convinced me this going to something I'd always support.

    I started by watching every video interview they had on the site and would check back occasionally looking for new content.

    You've picked a great place to start the push. I'm sure you'll find some great support here. I would talk it up every chance it seemed to make sense but it was always "when this comes online we'll have a great source for more news".

    Yee haa, I love it.

    -4.25, -6.87: I can finally change my sig because the forest fire of the right is over and we're left mostly cleaning up.

    by CanYouBeAngryAndStillDream on Wed Jan 03, 2007 at 11:00:32 PM PST

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