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Award Winning Flashpoints Radio Show Under Threat by KPFA Management
by repost
Friday Dec 11th, 2009 5:49 PM
The Concerned Listener's supported management is now retaliating against activist programming at KPFA trying to shutdown Flashpoints. They have violated the union contract in cutting the hours of Nora-Barrows Friedman and others at the show while not cutting hours of other CWA staff with shorter senority. So much for Concerned Listeners concern about union rights and the union contract.
Award Winning Flashpoints Radio Show Under Threat by KPFA Management

By Peter Phillips and Mickey Huff


The Flashpoints radio program is being directly threatened with closure by station management. Budget cuts implemented by KPFA management; reduce staff time for Flashpoints by some 75 hours per week. Flashpoints, an award winning national radio program, originates at KPFA in Berkeley, California, and reaches some thirty cities in the US and serves an on-line audience worldwide.

Nora Barrows-Friedman wrote on December 9, “KPFA has effectively destroyed Flashpoints this week, beginning with the layoff of our technical producer position. Just hours ago, they called me into a meeting and casually informed me that my hours will be reduced by 50%. I cannot afford to keep this job if I'm on 20 hours a week.”

Ms. Barrows-Friedman is a long time investigative reporter specializing in Israel-Palestine issues and is one of the few reporters in the country who covers this sensitive issue in a straightforward manner. She taught herself Arabic and often reports from the ground in the Middle East. Along with Flashpoints producers Dennis Bernstein and Miguel Molina, Ms. Barrows-Friedman was the recent recipient of a lifetime achievement Media Freedom Award from Media Freedom Foundation/Project Censored.

“Nora Barrows Friedman has seniority over at least a dozen more recent and less experienced staff people. She has done an outstanding job at Flashpoints, showing a special dedication and talent. She has top professional qualifications and standards, tested by time and performance,” stated long standing political commentator and author Dr. Michael Parenti.

With the latest cuts Flashpoints has lost some 30% of its annual budget. Flashpoints producer Dennis Bernstein believes that, “This has now been elevated to a political battle. Management has pumped up the budgets of the programs of their internal political supporters, and at the same time tried to kill Flashpoints through intimidation and attrition, and outright disrespect. Over fifteen people were hired after Nora, and yet Nora is one of the first to be hit and hit hard. It appears to the Flashpoints team, and our key advisers and supporters, that KPFA management is about to deal the show a final blow.”

Local KPFA listener Dianne Budd, M.D., a regular contributor to KPFA, threatened on December 11, to withhold her annual contribution to the station. “I have donated regularly to KPFA, sometimes well over $1,000 a year. This year I had planned to donate towards the end of December for tax reasons; however, if this decision to decimate and make impotent the Flashpoints staff is not overturned immediately, I will not make any donation,” Dr. Budd stated.

In a December 11 letter to KPFA station management, Arab community organizer Eyad Kishawi writes, “When the national Pacifica organization attempted to conduct a corporate takeover of KPFA, we the Arab, Muslim, anti-war and Indigenous communities conducted an all out campaign in support of your/our station that carries our voices and the voices for equality and justice. Let me remind you that we lived up to the spirit of ‘Listener Sponsored Radio’ and started organizing fundraising events to keep the station going, and in particular supported Flashpoints . . . Flashpoints had been a thorn in the side of corporate and state-sponsored media. By attacking Flashpoints, you are pitting a large number of your listener sponsors against your station.”

Richard Becker, Western Regional Coordinator, A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition and

Barbara Lubin, Executive Director Middle East Children's Alliance jointly stated in a letter on December 11, that “We are shocked and dismayed to hear about the draconian cutbacks that KPFA management has announced against Flashpoints, the most incisive and cutting edge of the station's programs. Flashpoints reporting and analysis on a wide range of struggles— from Honduras to Iraq, Haiti to Palestine, political prisoners, and many, many other critical international, national and local issues is unparalleled. The activists and organizers of the A.N.S.W.E.R.-Act Now to Stop War and End Racism-Coalition and the Middle East Children's Alliance, along with thousands of other activists and listeners in the Bay Area, have the highest regard for Flashpoints and its dedicated team.”

Becker and Luben call upon the station to restore Nora Barrows-Friedman and the technical producer position immediately, and threaten that “this is not an issue that will simply go away. On the contrary, if these devastating cuts are not reversed, you can be assured that it will only escalate.”

Factional disputes within Pacifica and specifically KPFA have recently emerged among programs like Flashpoints, Guns and Butter and Hard Knock that take aggressive critical positions towards major social justice issues including: racism, American empire and the military-industrial-media complex, Israel-Palestine, Haiti, and other hot button issues, vis-à-vis those programs that favor a more NPR like approach that includes news from corporate media sources like Associated Press and softer more entertaining programming.

Richard Phelps, former KPFA local station board chair, stated in an interview, “that given that the KPFA mission is to bring to people the stories that the corporate media refuses to cover, Flashpoints is one of the most important programs at the station. KPFA management seems to be wanting to tone down programs like Flashpoints and move the station into being just slightly left of center of the Democrat party.”

“The KPFA management doesn’t want critical reporting,” said Attila Nagy former North Bay representative to the KPFA Local Station Board. “They have their priorities backwards,” Nagy added.

The mission statement of Pacifica radio states, "(d) In radio broadcasting operations to engage in any activity that shall contribute to a lasting understanding between nations and between the individuals of all nations, races, creeds and colors; to gather and disseminate information on the causes of conflict between any and all of such groups; and through any and all means compatible with the purposes of this corporation to promote the study of political and economic problems and of the causes of religious, philosophical and racial antagonisms; (e) In radio broadcasting operations to promote the full distribution of public information; to obtain access to sources of news not commonly brought together in the same medium; and to employ such varied sources in the public presentation of accurate, objective, comprehensive news on all matters vitally affecting the community."

Dr. Ben Frymer, Director of Project Censored issued a statement today, "It is quite troubling to learn of the recent drastic cutbacks to the Flashpoints program. These cuts will almost certainly be crippling to the vital efforts of the Flashpoints team in raising awareness of social injustice on a global scale. We at Project Censored and the Media Freedom Foundation find these efforts so valuable that we just last week presented life-time achievement awards for Media Freedom to the Flashpoints radio team on KPFA: Dennis Bernstein, Miguel Molina and Nora Borrows-Friedman."

KPFA management did not return e-mailed question regarding this article. Persons wishing to comment should send e-mails to the general manger at KPFA: gm [at] and Dennis Bernstein at Flashpoints: dbernstein [at]


Comments  (Hide Comments)

by Flashpoints Fan
Saturday Dec 12th, 2009 11:06 AM
Since Flashpoints is a national program, why doesn't Dennis and the Flashpoints crew form their own 501c3 and go independent, like Amy Goodman? Surely Flashpoints can sustain itself without the constrictions of KPFA or Pacifica nonsense. They're all going broke, anyway. GO, DENNIS! GO INDEPENDENT! It's time!
by Aaron Aarons
(indy [at] Saturday Dec 12th, 2009 1:11 PM
which is why it will find it harder to fund itself, given that "leftists" with money tend not to fund hard-left, and especially strongly pro-Palestinian, causes.

Also, Democracy Now! does get a large part of its funding from Pacifica, AFAIK.
by ragouman
Sunday Jan 3rd, 2010 11:37 AM
since i live near the oregon border i listening kpfa online and i noticed something wierd for the last two weeks .For few hours several shows are archived under the name of a single show. For exemple saturday morning shows like behind the news and uprising were archived under saturday talkies. So we had saturday talkies at 9 am at 10 am an 11 am. Consequently to listen to uprising one have to click saturday talkies at 11 am. Same thing for the kpfa evening news which was posted like 4 times. the strangest is that after few hours or the following day everything is corrected. The web is a good way to judge the popularity of a show since you can have a real count of everyone who is listening i wonder if it is a way for phony management to altere the number of people who really listen to one show.
by brightpathvideo
Monday Jan 4th, 2010 1:07 PM
I didn't get roughed up by police and spend mega-hours in the streets back in 1999 trying to save the station so that this nonsense could happen. This attack on Flashpoints is a disgrace. Please fire Lemlem, Brian Edwards Tiekert and anybody else in station management that supports this repulsive attack on one of the stations finest shows.

John Parulis, brightpathvideo
by John Smith
Friday Jan 15th, 2010 5:15 PM
It's unbelievable how this people, the so called "flashpoints team," are able to manipulate some on the well intended KPFA listeners. The pattern Dennis Bernstein has been following over the years to attack other workers (management included), just because they refuse to be manipulated and being used for Mr. Bernstein politics inside the first public radio station in the country is totally insane. The suffering and abuse Mr. Bernstein has caused to so many people over the years is more than extraordinary. He has constantly abused many of the women and people of color who have worked for Flashpoints. The overload of work on technicians who have had the bad luck to end up working for these vicious group is more than clear to anybody at the station. One of his more recent victims is Eric Klein, whom they now pretend they are defending Mr. Klein is filling grievances with the union representing the KPFA staff on a case of abuse and mistreatment he says has been very well documented. The corruption, manipulation, lies and nepotism, not to mention the mafia style threats by his slave Miguel Gavilan Molina, to whoever does not agree to go along with them, have to be stopped in order to keep a reasonable safe work place at KPFA. The radio station has spent so much money on lawyers, lawsuits, and medical expenses of the people he has abused, that now run into the hundreds of thousands of money the station needs to keep going. The amount of hours Nora Barrows, Miguel Gavilan Molina and Mr. Bernstein himself work to put together the 5 hours a week radio show is not justified by the salary the get for it. Why Mr. Bernstein, Mrs. Barrow and Mr. Molina don't run the board themselves while speaking on the microphone like anybody else does, including the volunteer programmers? Why they require a technician to make the telephone connections the need for the show? Why they don't edit their own prerecorded interviews?
Please, lets stop this madness of patterns of lies and manipulation for the good of our beloved radio station.
by Original FP Fan
Monday Jan 18th, 2010 2:42 PM
I agree, the time is right for Dennis and team to step-up to the bigtime.
by Zach
Sunday Feb 14th, 2010 10:12 PM
I'm confused why cuts are being made at KPFA but Aimee Allison remains on air. If you're going to fire someone, that's where you start.
This article
quotes Allison's YouTube video
In which she spends minutes and minutes defending President Obama's using drones on Pakistan and in which she states:
And the real question isn't, "Can you send drones to fire missiles in an area and not kill civilians and protect the national interest?" The question that we should be asking as American citizens is: "What are the goals? What is UN foreign -- US foreign policy goals in that region and why is it that those people are dying?" It is that kind of transparency and message to the American people that we need to hear right now.

When you carry the water for AmeriKa's Imperial Project like that, your ass doesn't belong at KPFA.
They need to fire Aimee Allison. KPFA needs Flashpoints, they don't need an AmeriKa apologist.
by Marti
Tuesday Feb 16th, 2010 7:36 AM
I watched that You Tube video. It is outrageous that Aimee Allison, a Pacifica employee, would be making those comments. Her whole point is, "Mr. Obama, sell this policy to us."
We don't need to be sold drone attacks, we need to call them out.
I have not been so horrified or worried about Pacifica's future since the incidents beginning in 1999. Ms. Allison does not belong on Pacifica and she needs to issue an apology to Pakistini and Pakistani-Americans. Her comments were outrageous.