Barsamian critical of media, U.S.


Published: Friday, January 18, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 18, 2008 at 12:04 a.m.

David Barsamian spoke at a crowded Civic Media Center in Gainesville on Thursday night, lashing out at U.S. foreign policy and the American media.

Barsamian is the founder and director of "Alternative Radio," an independent weekly program based out of Boulder, Colo., that seeks to provide information and analyses that it says are often misconstrued or ignored by the mainstream media.

Barsamian began the night with a bitingly satirical and politically charged soliloquy, mimicking a news report of the arrest of President George Bush for multiple crimes against the state and the American people. The introduction ended with the imprisonment of Bush at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.

Barsamian went on to criticize the American corporate media, labeling the National Public Radio program "All Things Considered" as "Some Things Considered," and commenting on what he considers to be the media's inadequate coverage of many important issues.

In his talk, Barsamian described the U.S. as a modern imperialist power, citing the nation's involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, and he issued a warning that U.S. actions would have dire consequences.

He also offered commentary on U.S. uneasiness with Iran, labeling it unfounded. Barsamian said Iran poses no real threat to the American people.

Approximately 80 people attended Barsamian's talk.

Randy Matthews, a Tampa resident and an avid listener of "Alternative Radio" for years, traveled up to Gainesville after realizing he wouldn't be in town for Barsamian's appearance in Tampa.

"This is leaps and bounds from where I would be normally," Matthews said. "But I just had to come."

Mindy McAdams, a University of Florida journalism professor, said she was more interested in the subject matter than the speaker.

After hearing of Barsamian's visit on WUFT-FM, she decided to attend the event.

"I debated whether I was going to hear anything I didn't already know," McAdams said. "But in the end, I thought, It'll be worth it.' "

Barsamian ended his speech by praising the Pakistani people for taking to the streets and standing up against their government.

Barsamian compared the situation of Pakistan with the situation in the U.S. and encouraged the American people also to take to the streets and become outraged.

"If people in Pakistan can speak up and march in the streets then, what are the Americans doing?" he asked.

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