R.I.P. Studs Terkel

studs terkelOne of the greatest radio voices of all time, pioneering storyteller Louis “Studs” Terkel died today. He was 96. What he gave to journalism and radio storytelling has everything to do with my addiction to podcasts, public radio and journalism of the people for the people and to the people.

It goes without saying that Terkel’s unique traveling interview style, best illustrated on 1963’s “This Train” is the model for great audio and visual storytelling of today. While riding the train from Chicago to the civil rights march in Washington D.C., Terkel gathered the voices of anger, joy and ultimately optimism from people of all ages making that historic trip. Just listen to part one of “This Train” below and, suddenly, you won’t think This American Life is the most revolutionary program to hit radio.

Studs was a Chicago guy but his stories had a purely American bent, touching on difficult matters of importance and celebrating life coast to coast. I’m sorry that he will not be around to see Barack Obama become president, although he discussed as much with a Huffington Post scribe in the days before his passing. I’m also sad that the Cubs couldn’t pull it out this year for Terkel and other Cubs fans who’ve waited the better part of 100 years to see a championship.

Studs Terkel was an activist until his dying days, playing a prominent role challenging AT&T’s corroboration in releasing records to the National Security Agency in 2006.

I hope to locate the full audio of this amazing piece to post later. For now, here’s the first 50 minutes of “This Train.”

Video and more below:

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Small but Reckless Anti-Obama Media: How Do You Like Your Crow?

fox news loves joe the plumber hates israel

Campaign Coverage FAIL! FoxNews has been striking out all over the place in recent weeks, along with much of the so-called Conservative media. It’s enough for them to actually go and interview this Joe the Plumber hack again but to quote his admittedly racy and barely informed point-of-view in a headline?!? It looks funny. It looks straight outta the Onion. But it’s effective as another hollow strawman for anyone reaching reaching reaching for reasons to vote for McCain.

Now I don’t disagree with Jack Shafer’s assessment today in Slate, that journalists will have us all retching upon hyperbole and re-statement to the effect that “Obama’s candidacy is momentous, without parallel, and earth-shattering, so they can’t file garden-variety pieces about the ‘winds of change’ blowing through Washington.”

At least I won’t be as ill as I was in 2004, when I couldn’t sleep for days after Bush was crowned a second time, or in 2000, when I was overseas and left to make excuses for my country’s inability to select a winner in a national election in the world’s bastion of democracy. And then, weeks later, to hand the keys to the kingdom to The Imbecile.

But I digress. The GOP doesn’t appear to have an October surprise that will stick. Not in today’s 24-hour social media climate. McCain is literally cracking himself up on the campaign trail thanking his pundits for not eating up the Hall-Obama-ween candy. Muahahaha, he might add.

Here’s a sample of what’s been brought to the table by the ever-desperate anti-Obama minority — and yes, it is a highly-unbalanced minority — in recent days:

DrudgeReportLOLWTFBBQ: The site trumpeted a headline featuring audio that was edited to change Obama’s words in a 2001 interview on Chicago Public Radio’s midday program Odyssey (which, by the way, featured the all-time best NPR theme song, as written by OKGo for host Gretchen Helfrich). WBEZ promptly delved through the archives and posted the unadulterated audio on it’s web site, along with an article clearing up the smear.

There’s the continued attempt of McCain backers (and now, apparently, the campaign itself) to get the LA Times to release video of Obama at a party for Rashid Khalidi, a former University of Chicago professor but also — or so they claim in right blogistan — a former PLO operative.

Regardless of Obama’s alleged association with Khalidi, it is McCain who is on the record has having given more than just a hug to the Palestinian sympathizer, in a relationship that dates back to 1993, according to Seth Colter Walls in the Huffington Post:

A 1998 tax filing for the McCain-led group shows a $448,873 grant to Khalidi’s Center for Palestine Research and Studies for work in the West Bank. (See grant number 5180, “West Bank: CPRS” on page 14 of this PDF.)

I could go on and on and if I have the time, I will. For now, prepare to eat crow, and until then you might just want to hide your hands behind your back.