. . . with Abigail & Gregory . . .
Our old friend Tom Livingston has made a dramatic return to so-called progressive media: new chief executive officer, interim apparently, at The Real News Network. Tom even brushed up for a new photo – after all, this isn’t radio: https://therealnews.com/about/staff (penultimate line of our heroes).
Unlike the Pacifica network, TRNN has typically been socialist in its outlook, rather than solely meliorative of capitalist society, as limped on by either its social democratic or its liberal variant: the first in its post-1914 form, practised today by Sanders, Maduro, Corbyn, & SYRIZA; the second, lacking the honesty & clarity of J S Mill, simply exalted & glorified as progressive.
My most memorable moment in TRNN reports – apart from the many excellent ones from Shir Hever on Palestine – was when Peries showed the dead-end meaning of Leo Panitch’s politics, revealed when it’s stripped of all the talk of ‘[working-class] capacities’ & ‘transforming the [capitalist] state’. The occasion was the SYRIZA Greek government, in July2015, not only rejecting the 61% referendum result but agreeing to administer the austerity insisted on by the Eurozone states, so principally Germany. Part one of the interview was soon deleted from their YouTube ‘channel’ (more precisely, made private, unlisted, in the jargon), but it remains on their own website:
at TRNN, each of the three vids has a transcript – not always accurate; they’re linked from https://therealnews.com/?s=SYRIZA%27s+Stability+Rocked+by+New+Memorandum.
There’s an obvious Baltimore link in all these shenanigans (nod to McNulty): it’s TRNN’s home (its ‘base’, to use the military term loved by today’s youff & ‘hipsters’), & also where both Tom Livingston & Maxie Jackson live. Small world.
In passing, note that on the 11-person TRNN Board, sitting next to Danny Glover, is former KPFA Local Station Board delegate, T M Scruggs: https://therealnews.com/about/board-of-directors.
For this important info on our Tom, many thanks are due to Yves Smith of Naked Capitalism. Below are excerpts from her article, published three weeks ago, F8Nov, that no doubt sound familiar. The whole piece is well-worth a read (link at end), as is Naked Capitalism itself.
Yves Smith started off writing to TRNN – and guess who replied?
I could not help but notice that Paul Jay’s name was not on the current fundraising letter. I went to the site, and I find that Paul and Sharmini Peries have been removed from the staff list. Nor have they hosted any recent videos.
What has happened to Jay and Peries? They were central to TRNN. Why should I continue to support TRNN when the people who built it and were central to its sensibility and coverage choices have disappeared, and without any explanation?
The TRNN reply:
Thank you for your note and request for information about the whereabouts of Paul Jay and Sharmini Peries.
Paul and Sharmini were on leave over the summer and subsequently left the organization, and are in conversations with the TRNN Board about finalizing the terms of their departure. Unfortunately we haven’t been able to comment while that process is underway.
The Board is in the process of launching a search for their successors.
All the best, and thank you for your support
The Real News Network
This is an utter disgrace:
Paul and Sharmini built The Real News Network from nothing. I remember meeting them in NYC in the early years, when Paul, Sharmini, and a staffer were hauling large and awkward bags of lighting, booms, and cameras to be able to set up on a remote location. This was not just a job for them but a mission which they pursued with intensity and intellectual courage, as well as their available funds.
The Real News Network has been and continues to misrepresent the ouster of Paul and Sharmini while in the midst of a $200,000 fundraiser. Paul’s bio page listing [sic] him as ‘CEO and senior editor‘ and Sharmini as ‘a journalist and executive producer for the National and International News Bureaus at The Real News Network.’
Similarly, the existence [of] Livingston as ‘interim CEO’ is well hidden. He is on the Staff page with a photo in a white starched shirt. But even if you thought to click through, the listing is obfuscatory. It gives an idea of what he’s done, but does not give a clue as to what exactly he is doing for The Real News Network.
A teeny bit of additional digging reveals that in addition to serving at Pacifica, which his The Real News Network bio mentions[,] Livingston has also been an interim CEO at a host of radio networks, such as AIR, WKSU, KRCC, WWNO and Capital Public Radio.
Yet The Real News has not been successful in keeping the status of Paul and Sharmini a state secret up to now.(original emphases)
Yves also refers to Tom’s unforgettable time as Pacifica’s IED:
The Real News Network looks to have gone from the frying pan into the fire. Aside from the traffic decline, the involvement of the interim CEO Tom Livingston is another cause for pause. A former board member of Pacifica Foundation [our Kim?] was gobsmacked that he listed his work there as an accomplishment.
Livingston was hired to be Pacifica’s interim executive director for nine months in 2018. After losing the court case when the Empire State Realty Trust sued Pacifica over non-payment of WBAI’s tower rent, the board was bitterly split over whether to take out a loan or go into voluntary bankruptcy. Livingston was recommended to some of the pro-loan board members by the loan broker [our friend Marc Hand: https://pacificaradiowatch.home.blog/2019/07/31/fjc-getting-award-from-marc-hand-one-year-ago/ ]. Unsurprisingly, Livingston signed the $3+ million loan less than two months after being hired. His friend’s fee was estimated at $50,000 [it was $55 500, the 1.5% origination fee re the $3.7m loan (page 6 of the FJC loan agreement): https://mega.nz/#!LnACzIyI!icvjmazfC2TnXJOEpu_JPO3oBIUw7orPcOVzLAdDGRQ (loan closing statement, duly signed by our Tom, undated)].
Livingston was also instrumental in getting the Pacifica CFO to resign.
From the former board member:
‘He took on the title of iCFO but displayed zero interest or competence in this area and did some damage, including signing a 990 he apparently never even looked at because it was full of obvious mistakes. He also recommended Pacifica outsource their accounting to a small firm [NETA] he had worked with. They have performed poorly for Pacifica.’
Livingston was also contracted to do a search for a new Executive Director for a fee above his generous salary. His candidate [Maxie Jackson] lasted only nine months, and Livingston will do a replacement search [still searching], although raising the question of why Pacifica would ask him to double down on a record of failure. Livingston will apparently conduct the search during his Real News Network gig. Has he informed the Real News Network board of this competing demand on for [sic] his time?
Livingston’s comment ‘The Board is in the process of launching a search for their successors’ leaves open the question of whether they’ve yet engaged a headhunter. You can be sure that Livingston pitched the business hard; you can also imagine not-savvy board members being persuaded by Livingston allies that they shouldn’t demotivate him as interim CEO by giving the search business to someone else … as if his fee isn’t enough of a motivator. But there’s no evidence that Livingston has deep enough contacts in TV or online. And it’s not like he did a bang-up job of recruiting at Pacifica, which is in his bailiwick.
And is Livingston hiring cronies as he did at Pacifica [NETA?]?https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2019/11/paul-jay-and-sharmini-peries-ousted-from-the-real-news-network-in-june-current-fundraiser-hides-that-fact-falling-viewership-and-liberal-turn-result.html (original emphases)
The wheels, the wheels, they just keep on turning . . . https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4w-PdZLgDRc (another Paul who’s a real ‘our’, Paul R).