WASHINGTON — Rosie Gray reports: A Russian media mogul who helped found the Kremlin-run news channel RT was found dead in his hotel in Washington, D.C., according to reports.
“The Embassy does not have any further comment on the demise of Mr. Lesin out of respect to his privacy. Please refer to the family members or the law enforcement officials.”
— Russian Embassy spokesperson Yury Melnik told BuzzFeed News.
“Our consular officials had an opportunity to confirm that the Russian national who passed away in DC is indeed Mikhail Lesin. Out of respect to the privacy and sensitivity of the matter we are not at liberty to disclose any other information, and would ask you to refer all further requests to his family and the law enforcement officials.”
— Russian embassy spokesperson, to Sputnik, a Russian state media outlet.
Metropolitan Police Department spokesperson Officer Sean Hickman told BuzzFeed News that there had been a death Thursday on the 1500 block of New Hampshire Avenue, where the Dupont Circle Hotel is located. An ABC News article on Lesin’s death reported that the location had been the “Hotel Dupont,” though a hotel by that exact name doesn’t exist in Washington. Read the rest of this entry »
From today’s Fresh Air, a wonderful interview with producer Kevin Howlett. Worth a listen. Hearing about The Beatles early show business career, and early appearances on BBC radio programs, reminds me of interviews with members of Monty Python. As they described it, England’s radio and television landscape at the beginning of the 1960s, was buttoned-down and formal. The notion of performers talking informally in front of a microphone, improvising and being mischievous, was unprecedented. What the Beatles were allowed to do was — though it’s hard to imagine now — was revolutionary.
Also of interest, the BBC never preserved any recording of the Beatles broadcasts, in all those years. Producer Kevin Howlett had to seek them out from individual collectors who’d recorded the live broadcasts. Good thing he did!
NPR: England got a lot more of The Beatles than Americans did during the group’s formative years. Between 1962 and 1965, The Beatles were featured on 53 BBC radio programs, including their own series, Pop Go the Beatles. They performed originals and covers and chatted with BBC hosts.
The Beatles: On Air-Live At The BBC Volume 2 has just been released. Kevin Howlett produced both that and the newly remastered reissue of the first volume, which was originally released in 1994. For reasons he explains to Fresh Air host Terry Gross, Howlett had to search for many of these recordings, and they weren’t easy to find.
Howlett has written a new companion book called The Beatles: The BBC Archives,which includes transcriptions of the band’s BBC radio and TV interviews as well as fascinating internal memos about the Beatles and their music.
On the challenges of his project working in the BBC archive
My quest to restore the BBC archive [of the Beatles] goes way back to 1981 when I joined the national pop network in this country, BBC Radio 1, as a young rookie producer. I was 24 years old. The management knew I was a Beatles fanatic, I was a child in the ’60s growing up with the Beatles, and they gave me this task. What a dream thing to be handed. They said, “Can you investigate what programs the Beatles performed music in and what songs they did?” And the BBC’s written archives are a wonderful place where they kept every single piece of paper relating to the Beatles’ performances, so when I wrote the book it was a magnificent source of material: memos, contracts, audience research reports — so that was fine, you could find out all of the information.
But then finding the music on the tapes? That was a completely different matter. Some of these recordings come from transcription discs, LPs that were distributed by the BBC to other countries for broadcast. Some come from producer listening copies. There were some producers at the time that thought maybe it is worth keeping this material, and in some of these cases, listeners who taped off the radio.
On The Beatles’ audition for the BBC
The very first thing that Brian Epstein did when he took over the management of The Beatles was to fill out an application form for the variety department of the BBC. This, again, reminds us that there was no rock business as we know it. This was show business and they would be on with all sorts of other acts, radio ventriloquists even, that kind of thing. Read the rest of this entry »
— Marc Hilliker (@MarcHilliker) August 8, 2014
For The Volokh Conspiracy, Jonathan H. Alder writes: Blogger Zaid Jilani has a post claiming that when he worked for ThinkProgress at the Center for American Progress Action Fund, he was pressured to toe the White House line, even when that conflicted with the positions his organization was supposedly advancing.
One of the controversial topics that was very constrained in our writing at ThinkProgress in 2009 was Afghanistan. CAP had decided not to protest Obama’s surge, so most our writing on the topic was simply neutral — we weren’t supposed to take a strong stand. . . . Flash forward a couple years, and the Democratic Party’s lawmakers in Congress were in open revolt over the Afghanistan policy. Our writing at ThinkProgress had opened up a lot on the issue, and I was writing really critical stuff. . . . But then phone calls from the White House started pouring in, berating my bosses for being critical of Obama on this policy. . . .
The Daily Caller‘s Brendan Bordelon reports: Zaid Jilani, a former blogger with the left-wing think tank Center for American Progress, explained this week how the Obama administration frequently tries to censor the progressive organization’s content when it departs from the White House’s agenda.
Jiliani was reacting to two on-air protests by journalists opposed to Russia’s invasion of southern Ukraine. The two worked for Russia Today (RT) — an English-speaking media outlet funded directly by Moscow — and felt their bosses were trying to censor their opinions
“Essentially, they were doing the same thing to us RT America is telling its American producers to do now — align with your boss, who is the president of the country.”
In a post titled, ”How Working in Washington Taught Me We’re All A Little Like RT America,” Jilani explained how the White House frequently played the part of the Kremlin — leaning on management to push their writers in a particular direction, and punishing them if they strayed from the party line.
“Phone calls from the White House started pouring in,” Jilani claimed, “berating my bosses for being critical of Obama on this policy…”
“I’m writing this post to explain how working in Washington taught me we’re all a little bit like the good folks who work at RT America,” Jilani explained, “struggling against editorial censors, doing our best to follow our conscience despite sometimes suffocating pressures from our publishers and sponsors.” Read the rest of this entry »
A “Russia Today” anchor broke through the Iron Curtain.
This has been making the rounds..in case you haven’t seen it yet, here it is with video. Don’t you wish anchors and reporters from ABC News, CBS News, PBS, NBC News, or CNN would quit, live on the air? Take a stand in protest to the stream of lies and deceptions pouring out of the White House? Don’t hold your breath.
Liz Wahl, who was a Washington, D.C. correspondent for the state-owned television station, quit live on-air Wednesday because she does not agree with the network’s backing of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s military intervention in Ukraine’s Crimea region.
“I’m proud to be an American and believe in disseminating the truth, and that is why, after this newscast, I’m resigning.”
Just spoke to grandparents who came to US as refugees escaping Soviets during Hungarian revolution. Amazing to hear amid new Cold War fears
— Liz Wahl (@lizwahl) March 5, 2014
The self-described “Filipina-Hungarian-American” said she faces several “ethical and moral challenges” as a reporter for the network. Wahl described herself as the daughter of a veteran who grew up in the United States. Her partner, she said, is a military-base physician “where he sees every day first hand accounts of the ultimate prices people pay for this country.”
“And that is why personally, I cannot be part of a network funded by the Russian government that whitewashes the actions of Putin,” she said as she went off-script on live TV. “I’m proud to be an American and believe in disseminating the truth, and that is why, after this newscast, I’m resigning.”
“There has been an incident in Tripoli tonight, in which there was shelling and attempts to enter the territory of the Russian Embassy in this country,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Aleksandr Lukashevich told RT. Read the rest of this entry »