- js reader version
- email this article
- view hidden posts
- tags and related articles
View article without comments
by Joseph Anderson
Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2004 at 1:12 PM
Many people in the KPFA listener community in the San Francisco Bay Area have asked me, Joseph Anderson, for a copy of my UC Berkeley "Daily Californian" newspaper guest column on Pacifica Radio's KPFA character Larry Bensky. At the time of its original publication, I knew nothing about Bensky other than how he came across on the air. I guess it is time for a confirming retrospective. Bensky hasn't changed a bit. This was written during the Pacifica Radio crisis of 1999, when Bensky was fired (thanks to *me*, now it can be told!). I immediately notified and talked to Mary Berry, then, about his insubordination and symbolically offered to let her have Bensky in exchange for Pacifica Radio back. But, it was still nice to have someone Black shut *Bensky* up!
UC Berkeley "Daily Californian" newspaper guest column regarding Larry Bensky:
The Daily Cailifornian
June 15, 1999
FREEDOM TO SPEAK BENSKY'S LANGUAGE!
– by Joseph Anderson
I am writing in regard to the recent articles on KPFA in the Daily Californian. I find it ironic to hear of veteran announcer Larry Bensky's hypocritical pieties about free speech, given his own history.
On his radio programs, Bensky demonstrated a notable lack of respect for the free speech of Black KPFA listeners and others with whom he disagreed – especially those more progressive than he. Bensky freely censored or summarily dismissed more progressive thinkers.
Many white Berkeley liberals simply won't tolerate any analytical criticism of their heroes. They typically try to isolate or marginalize Blacks who do. But, Bensky's anti-intellectual and unprincipled tactics were easy to recognize for anyone who cared.
For example, however concise the inquiry or comment, Bensky would abruptly cut off, undermine or otherwise subtly censor the most compelling Black perspective. Yet, he would permit even incoherent, fumbling white male callers to meander on, seemingly, indefinitely. He shielded white interview guests from accountable, critical inquiry.
Even when a Black guest was especially resonant to an incisive question from a Black perspective, Bensky would often try to block the question and pre-empt the guest's answer with his own.
Furthermore, it is evident that Bensky has an intellectual deficit in grasping many multicultural issues. He was usually irritated by incisive perspectives, and would often interject with inane non sequiturs. Bensky clings to a white male sentiment of what is and what isn't important – even as a 'progressive.' Even some white women from different Pacifica stations regard him as a gigantically egotistical male.
Of course, he's forced by circumstances to treat prominent Black guests with a certain respect – so they're usually not on to him. [Prominent local Blacks are, like author Ishmael Reed or feminist writer/academic Barbara Christian.] However, even then, he usually tries to orient the interview and call-in questions to more shallow, white semi-liberal sentiments.
The "progressive" Bensky once partly excused police atrocities on the grounds that "they [the police] have difficult jobs." This retort was right after Bensky was presented with myth-busting national labor statistics revealing that there are many more jobs far more dangerous than police work.
Bensky censored criticism against a white educational "liberal" (Herb Kohl) who said, 'though Blacks were not genetically inferior, they were culturally inferior.' Such genteel racism represents views also often held by KQED radio's glib, pedantic and pseudo-liberal Michael Krasny, whom Bensky also defends – his alter ego. I, for one, am tired of white-supremacists masquerading as "liberals."
Though Bensky has fooled as many Bay Area liberals as Clinton once did, I am far from the only person (Black or white) who has taken note of Bensky's behavior. In fact, many Black listeners regard Bensky as nothing more than a pseudo-'progressive' racist.
Our own UC Berkeley, recent MacArthur "Genius Award"-winning African American author, Ishmael Reed, has repeatedly noted Bensky's behavior. Unlike Bensky's vocal fan club, many Blacks, including many media and community activists, regard Bensky as not a true progressive – just "a legend in his own mind." Many Blacks once thought that Bensky was finally gone before – but like Nixon, he keeps trying to come back.
While Bensky basks in his fifteen minutes of 'stardom' as a "martyr" to free speech, many of us know better.
I challenge KPFA staff and supporters to examine their own ranks when they complain about gag rules, censorship, and disrespectful treatment. Instead, whenever minorities complain, many white liberals scream, as Martin Luther King, Jr., often observed, that, "Now is not the time!" Then in times of white liberal crises such whites want, "in the spirit of (whatever), to all pull together."
However you support KPFA, Bensky's departure was long overdue.
Joseph Anderson is a member of the National Council for African American Men.
Report this post as:
by Joseph Anderson
Monday, Nov. 15, 2004 at 5:52 AM
"Jeff Blankfort: Time to Take Back KPFA?"
– by concerned KPFA listener, Tuesday, Oct. 05, 2004
And SEE comment post:
"LARRY BENSKY -- THE BILL O'REILLY OF KPFA!"
– by JA, Friday, Nov. 12, 2004 at 1:27 AM http://www.indybay.org/news/2004/10/1697924_comment.php#1705203
Report this post as:
by KPFK Listener
Monday, Nov. 15, 2004 at 6:13 AM
I really haven't followed Bensky and so cannot generalize about his career or programming, but I did happen to tune in to his program last Sunday and was quite appalled to hear that his entire presentation was from the perspective of how the U.S. could have succeeded better in its imperialistic aims. That is, he criticized U.S. policy as ignorant, heavy-handed, short-sighted, but never as imperialistic or even as unethical. Nor did he focus at all upon how peoples' movements could take advantage of the stupidities that Bensky and his guests were pointing out.
The entire show was, like, "Oh, they didn't see Ayatollah Khomeini coming in Iran, how dumb could they be? Oh, they don't understand that attacking Fallujah will just alienate the entire world from their policies, how dumb is that?" Well, Larry, why not send a nice letter to Dick Cheney pointing out his mistakes so that he can be a more effective imperialist? Maybe he can get you a position as a commentator on NPR. Because I don't know why you would waste the time of a bunch of Pacifica listeners whose main goal is bringing this imperialist system and its wars to a halt.
Report this post as:
Violence Against Poor In Venice
California Safe Schools Honors 11 Year Old Daniel Randall
NPR's Marketplace: The Voice of Loanshark Capitalism
Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez, Pandering to the Corporate Whores of the Storage Industry
Lartiste Maestro iTunes télécharger de la musique gratuit et Légalement 2016
Spring 2016 National Immigrant Solidarity Network Monthly News Alert!
KPFK and Pacifica, more doings, reposted here
Liberated Political Prisoner Sekou Odinga Speaks Out
Solidarity With Anaheim
Tribune Company Stock Bought By LAPD Union To Silence Criticism Of Police
KPFK as Pacifica may be in legal jeopardy, again...
Anaheim Anti-KKK Fund Drive
March For Bernie 2, Pasadena and Los Angeles
Innovative Approach To Fighting The Droughts
International Day of Solidarity with Leonard Peltier
January 2016 Honduras Coup update
More Local News...
Flaws in cops/fbi are fatal to our free country
Joan Benedict Steiger to Sign Her Autobiography Brooklyn Baby at DIESEL, A Bookstore
Fbi murderous corruption, per validated " fbi whistleblower "
Puerto Rico Debt Bill Heads for Full House Vote
A Case Against Hillary Clinton, Candidate Of Endless War
Interior Designer Dorothy Willetts: Where Art, Soul, And Space Meet
Swami in a Strange Land
Benevolence vs. Evil
Duterte offers cabinet posts to Maoist Communist Party of the Philippines
Who Owns the Sky? The Climate in the Globalization Trap
Gaza to overtake Saudi Arabia with executions per capita
Bernie Sanders in Lincoln Heights
Fbi and its severely misguided Director, murderous agents and insane operatives
30 years passed in an instant. Ubi Sunt?
Hillary Clinton Flunks Animal Rights And Environmental Issues
USPI Corrupted by fbi Assassins , II
Propaganda Countdown to WWIII: Armenians in the Crosshairs
Clash Royale Hack - How To Get Unlimited Gems iOS - Android
Message for YOU!
Paraphysique du chômage
The Language of Neoliberalism
The Shortwave Report 05/20/16 Listen Globally!
The fbi's Future Crime Project
Los Angeles Sit-In to Fight Voter Suppression
The Case for Public Housing
A summary of fbi's crimes against me and the American people
More Breaking News...