February 11, 2014

"It's a public space, like the public library, which Barbara Ehrenreich called socialism at its finest."

So said The Progressive's senior editor Matt Rothschild, about WYOU Community Television, which has entered into a relationship with the Madison Public Library:

WYOU still maintains a tiny office in the Social Justice Center on Willy Street, but it now broadcasts its signal from the snazzy new library. WYOU volunteers have access to the Media Lab, which [WYOU volunteer Barbara] Vedder says offers "a beautiful room, all this top-notch equipment, state-of-the-art cameras, computers, editing software, and a green screen… they have everything that's needed."...

Rothschild highlighted the role of the station in the community. "It's where people come together not only to express themselves, but to skill up. And it's open to anyone...."

Vedder notes that WYOU is the only truly independent public access television channel in Wisconsin; many others have had to merge with governments, which can compromise the stations' independence. "That's crucial to our democracy, crucial for voices to be heard by others," says Vedder. "It's not just talk, it's freedom of expression."

52 comments:

rehajm said...

You have funny definitions for words like 'independent' up there in WI.

...and really? Open to anyone? Or just if WYOU are WLIBERAL?

MadisonMan said...

I do suspect that a non-liberal leaning show on WYOU would be shouted down, but I'm not sure. They might surprise me.

mesquito said...

Madison Man: I am certain of it. Non-socialists need not even apply.

MadisonMan said...

The interesting thing about it -- now that the City has an interest in it -- is that Free Speech arguments apply. How can a point of view be squelched without the station/library/city being sued?

garage mahal said...

I do suspect that a non-liberal leaning show on WYOU would be shouted down, but I'm not sure

Like, during the taping?

The Godfather said...

The public library is socialism at its finest? I didn't know Andrew Carnegie was a socialist, but he sure did found a lot of public libraries, so . . . .

BTW, here in Pinehurst, NC we have a privately supported and operated public library. I guess that's capitalism at its finest.

alan markus said...

Earlier this month RS McCain did a post about that fine socialism at the library:

In the 21st century, the rights of decent law-abiding citizens must always yield to the rights of freaks and weirdos.
That’s the lesson in the Chicago suburb of Orland Park, Illinois, where the local public library considers it their duty to provide perverts access to Internet pornography at taxpayer expense. There have been reports of degenerates masturbating in the library and using the library’s computers to access child pornography.

Revenant said...

In Ehrenreich's defense, I have to admit that I can't think of anything socialists have ever done that I would consider better than a public library.

Freeman Hunt said...

I think lots of public access stations in liberal areas have conservative shows. Our neighbor college town has at least one conservative show.

Michael K said...

We had a situation in our small city in California where the city council majority sold the voters on bonds to "expand the public library." Actually, it was to build a big new library. The new library turned into a broadcast studio used by the city council to broadcast its own programming. I don't know who watched it. About as many as watch WYOU, I expect.

lemondog said...

WYOU scheduling

2 1/2 hours of Democracy Now with the monotonic Amy Goodman... is... always..... zzzzzzzz

But Cooking with Bob and Beerpocalypse Now could prove to be edgy.

re: socialism thingy, I don't have/want cable but I can get RT TV previously k/a Russian Talk TV which is where I can see Amy.

gadfly said...

I would think that disgruntled rightists could make the point that taxpayer-provided facilities are being used so access to public-access TV should be granted to conservative and libertarian groups.

Obviously, WYOU can argue that those wanting to express views inconsistent with socialism are welcome to apply for their own FCC license.

Illuninati said...

" It's a public space, like the public library, which Barbara Ehrenreich called socialism at its finest," he said."

Because of Obama, lefties are feeling much more confident these days. That is the reason that some of them no longer try to hide their identity and openly express their collectivist ideology.

garage mahal said...

I would think that disgruntled rightists could make the point that taxpayer-provided facilities are being used so access to public-access TV should be granted to conservative and libertarian groups.

There is nothing stopping a conservative or libertarian from producing a show for WYOU.

Michael said...

Is the station paying rent to the library? What is the economic relationship? Can public entities "collaborate" or "partner" with entities of their choice or political preference? Garage says there is nothing to stop conservative programming, but why did the lady ask for "pitches" from interested parties if any party can produce? The article laments a string of failed leftie outlets, why should this particular one be saved? Who wants a radio station in rheir fucking library?

Carnegie was not a socialist, by the way.

jr565 said...

As long as they're paying for it I have no problem with the channel. (As long as I don't have to pay for it).
The better off they do though the better the argument against socialism, no?
It's the market that allows the to get their message out, not socialism.

jr565 said...

Vedder pointed out "all this top-notch equipment, state-of-the-art cameras, computers, editing software, and a green screen… they have everything that's needed."..."

All brought to you by capitalism.

madAsHell said...

Really? A socialist named Ehrenreich.
Ehren = honor, dignity
reich = money, wealth

You can't make this stuff up.

madAsHell said...

WYOU ??

Was the call sign W IOU already taken?

Michael K said...

"There is nothing stopping a conservative or libertarian from producing a show for WYOU."

Except a concern about the lack of an audience. That was the problem with Air America, not the CIA one by the way.

Cliff said...

Public libraries are, in fact, socialist.

David said...

Neither the library nor the tv station are brought to you by socialism. The tv station has survived on government grants. These grants are funded by tax dollars which in turn are products of capitalism.

But nevertheless they manage to put themselves on the brink of bankruptcy. It's endemic to these types of organizations. Take NPR. Nearly bankrupt in the early 1980's, it was saved by funds from tax funded Corporation for Public Broadcasting. It remained indirectly funded by CPB (tax money) through fees paid (mandated by CPB) from local stations, which are funded mostly by tax money and corporate contributions.

In 2005 the Ray Kroc estate gave NPR $235 million. NPR immediately increased its budget by 50% but by 2008 was laying off employees because of a significant deficit. They got more support but by last year had to cut staff by 10% because of further deficits.

All this despite one of the best demographics ($93k income per listener) of any media organization in the nation.

Most of this info came from Wikipedia, which also says

In 2010, NPR revenues totaled $180 million, with the bulk of revenues coming from programming fees, grants from foundations or business entities, contributions and sponsorships.[19] According to the 2009 financial statement, about 50% of NPR revenues come from the fees it charges member stations for programming and distribution charges.[19] Typically, NPR member stations receive funds through on-air pledge drives, corporate underwriting, state and local governments, educational institutions, and the federally funded Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). In 2009, member stations derived 6% of their revenue from federal, state and local government funding, 10% of their revenue from CPB grants, and 14% of their revenue from universities.[19][30] While NPR does not receive any direct federal funding, it does receive a small number of competitive grants from CPB and federal agencies like the Department of Education and the Department of Commerce. This funding amounts to approximately 2% of NPR’s overall revenues.[19]
During the 1970s and early 1980s, the majority of NPR funding came from the federal government. Steps were taken during the 1980s to completely wean NPR from government support, but the 1983 funding crisis forced the network to make immediate changes. Now more money to fund the NPR network is raised from listeners, charitable foundations and corporations instead.[citation needed] According to CPB, in 2009 11.3% of the aggregate revenues of all public radio broadcasting stations were funded from federal sources, principally through CPB.


The notion that any of this is a product of socialism is ludicrous. It's a product of the wealth of America, driven by free enterprise.

MadisonMan said...

Like, during the taping?

I did not mean in the literal sense, no.

David said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cliff said...

David, that is nonsense. Publicly owned providers of services is socialism as classically defined.

broomhandle said...



"I think lots of public access stations in liberal areas have conservative shows. Our neighbor college town has at least one conservative show."

I realize you're probably not being sarcastic, but I guess you could have been with exactly the same statement.

Sam L. said...

And the Public Library is not supported buy tax dollars? Really?

roger said...

Question: Will the staff be discussing the wine-guzzling vagrant and precocious socialist on the air?

roger said...

Sounds like the station was Nickled and Dimed into this relationship with the library.

Zeb Quinn said...

Publicly owned providers of services is socialism as classically defined.

Horse dip.

A "socialist" library would mean the downtrodden proletariat library workers rose up and threw out their capitalistic bourgeoisie library overlords. When did that happen?

It's a frikken taxpayer-supported municipal library. Socialism has nothing to do with it, other than in leftard wetdreams.

madisonfella said...

"I am certain of it. Non-socialists need not even apply."

The only show I'm aware of that got turned down by WYOU was from the KKK, and the reason they wouldn't broadcast the show wasn't due to content but rather there was no local person that would submit it. (The request came from someone in Janesville)

If you're not referring to that particular situation, can you please tell us which "non-socialist" programs weren't allowed to air?

Cliff said...

Lol. Because it's taxpayer funded that makes it not socialist? Zeb you have me laughing so hard I have tears.

Pogo is Dead said...

I agree that the library is the pinnacle of western socialism.

Everything else it's tried has been a miserable failure (most recently Obamacare).

Yet somehow the socialists believe the librariy represents the promise of future success, rather than the best they can do.

It's a ceiling, not a floor.

The Godfather said...

Michael said: "Carnegie was not a socialist, by the way." I trust we all know that. That was my point in mentioning that he founded lots of libraries.

David said...

Cliff said...
David, that is nonsense. Publicly owned providers of services is socialism as classically defined.


Cliff, that's bullshit. Socialism is an entire economic and social system. You can't say some enterprise is socialist just because it's not owned and operated for profit. Are public schools Socialistic? Roads? A public swimming pool? The air traffic control system? Police?

To say that this dreamy little tv station is a socialist enterprise is ridiculous. It is not and never has been self sustaining. It's just a shoestring charity, supported by the wealth of the economically productive profit motivated sectors of the society.

At least the socialists believe that their socialistic enterprises should be self sustaining. Living by handout does not make you a socialist.

Cliff said...

Pogo- I agree a true socialist would embrace the public library as a pinacle and example of socialist utopia! But the knee-jerk view of socialism that predominates American political discourse is incomplete and inaccurate, as evidenced by people refusing to acknowledge the public library as a socialist institution simply because they view it as good and equate socialism with all things bad.

With the exception of the late 19th century America has always had a mixed economy with some degree of socialist institutions. Hayek acknowledged both the need and beneficial impact of some socialist actions on a capitalist economy. Unless ones preference is laissez-faire, denial of the benefits of some level of socialism is not a principled position. Germany is a perfect example of this essential truth, as they are widely considered to be both more socialist and more capitalist than the United States.

Zeb Quinn said...

Lol. Because it's taxpayer funded that makes it not socialist? Zeb you have me laughing so hard I have tears

Laugh away. By your definition municipal police, fire, parks, water districts, public schools, etc., are all socialist, along with many other sorts of governmental endeavors. I'd be rethinking that one little cowboy.

Cliff said...

David, public schools, police, etc. are indeed socialist institutions. They are the government owning and operating the provision of services and providing those services by taking from those who can provide. perhaps you are confusing socialism with communism?

Kirk Parker said...

Cliff,

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

virgil xenophon said...

FWIW, Louisville has long had a radio station in it's Public Library--WFPL (FreePublicLibrary) Quite good, actually..

Pogo is Dead said...

Cliff, you're confusing government with socialism.

Robert Cook said...

S'funny how some are so terrified by the truth such that they will adamantly deny the commonplace that, as is true in every organized society, our system contains within it elements of socialism.

Sort of like the time years ago when, at a family gathering which included my uncle, the founder and owner of (at that time) the largest advertising agency in the state of Florida, I made some comment about advertising being propaganda (not meaning it as a pejorative but as a descriptive), and some at the gathering protested. My uncle calmly corrected the protestors, telling them that, yes, advertising was propaganda. Having made quite a success for himself in the business, he had no illusions about the nature of his work or qualms about admitting it.

Brennan said...

What if the KKK wants to have a show?

What if the local gun club wants a show?

What if NAMBLA wants a show?

If they are among the people, aren't they entitled to airtime on the people's television station?

Basil said...

Cliff might wish to consult a dictionary. Some definitions of "socialism" culled from

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/socialism

"a way of organizing a society in which major industries are owned and controlled by the government rather than by individual people and companies"

Libraries are major industries?

"a system of society or group living in which there is no private property"

I missed the revolution--when establishing public libraries eliminated all private property.

"a system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state"

This seems to be the definition Cliff is hanging onto. But implicit, if not explicitly stated, is that the govt owns and controls the means of producing PRIVATE goods, not just public goods (or in the case of libraries, club goods).

This session of econ 101 is concluded.

Robert Cook said...

"But implicit, if not explicitly stated, is that the govt owns and controls the means of producing PRIVATE goods, not just public goods (or in the case of libraries, club goods)."

What makes something a "private" good, as opposed to a "public" good? It's merely a matter of how things are organized and paid for.

At one time, prisons were all state-funded and run; they were considered part of the public sphere, (as they should be). In recent years, private corporations have entered/created the "incarceration industry" and are building and running private prisons.

Formerly, in the military, the cooking was done by servicemen; in recent years, the military has been outsourcing these functions to private vendors.

If a private entity can figure out a way to monetize for itself what heretofore had been a public function, and can convince the state to transfer those services to the private entity, the public function becomes a private one. In the process, these functions are removed from public oversight and become more expensive. Also, with the profit motive in place there is a great pressure to cut costs, resulting often in substandard facilities, performance, safety, etc.

You're hewing to a willfully literal reading of "socialism" in order to deny there are elements of socialism in our society, (as there are in any large, organized societies).

madisonfella said...

"What if the KKK wants to have a show? What if the local gun club wants a show? What if NAMBLA wants a show?"

Those conservative groups are allowed to air a show on WYOU if a local person is willing to submit the show for broadcast.

Does anybody at all have any actual examples that back up the claim made at 2/11/14, 4:06 PM?

Cliff said...

Basil, you are a little confused. Robert Cook is explaining it fairly well. To go a bit further, Basil, if we were to use your definition, a truly socialist society would not be socialist simply because society decided there were no private goods. Basil's definition seems to rely on it's only socialism if its government control of something I wish was private, but if I approve of it being public then its not socialism simply because I like the idea of it being public. In that way I suspect basil would say government regulation of a private health care market is socialism, but government ownership of an entire industry (the education system for example) is not socialism. That's simply an inconsistent application to serve soleley political preferences.

In a 100% capitalist economy the schools, libraries and police forces would be run by private entities for profit.

As to econ 101, any trained economist (and anyone who has ever actually studied economics) will tell you we have a mixed economy, as do most first world nations. We incorporate elements of socialsm (and always have since our founding) and elements of capitalism.

Basil said...

Cliff/Robert Cook:

The terms "public good" and "private good" have accepted meanings in economics you do not seem to wish to acknowledge. Since you feel free to define terms in your own way, I'm not sure there is room for any meaningful discussion here.

RonF said...

I didn't know Benjamin Franklin was a socialist. He founded more than one library, including the oldest public library in the U.S. in Franklin, Massachusetts, where I spent a fair amount of time as a youth.

Our Daily Fred said...

A friend of mine, a member of the city's library board asked me what should be done about both the issue of allowing porn and protecting employees from harassment. This was in a city outside of the USA but with arguably more liberty.

I suggested big signs identifying "content supervised" computers, and "pornography computers". I also suggested the "pornography computers" could be placed on a raised platform to assist pornography seekers to find them quickly in the event of a porn emergency.

There could also be surveillance cameras to ensure there was no masturbation while still protecting the cameras from displaying what was on the patron's screen.

This protects everyone's rights, collects evidence to have someone judicially banned from that library for violating public decency laws, and it allows library patrons to quickly find the appropriate group of computers for their interests.

I had also suggested special bright "Day-Glo" (tm) colored special "porn viewing" glasses that with special computer screens that would be invisible unless the perv -- err viewer had the special glasses.

This idea was rejected as we feared it would become a big rage with the kids to sport the porn glasses at school.

I do hope that helps with the discussion, and Ms. Althouse thank you for the thoughtful blog.

F.

I even suggested a slogan, "We have adult content computers. You can't beat it."

Cliff said...

Basil, don't overturn the chessboard and run home just yet.
Public and private goods have accepted meanings in economics indeed, and they relate specifically to the idea a mixed economy that you seem to be unwilling to acknowledge. Any discussion of public and private goods in this context is incomplete without acknowledging the fluidity between them- that is to say that there is no strict definition that police can only be a public good. Society can define for themselves what is a public good or a private good, and in fact we have a history of doing so. If we defined everything as a public good, we would be entirely socialist. If we defined everything as a private good, we would be entirely capitalist. We are neither. It may pain you to hear this, but if you acknowlege the benefits of public ownership of goods and services you are indeed somewhat of a socialist.

Robert Cook said...

Some things should be socialized, (i.e., run by the government). See video at the link.