Going dumb by thinking young
Expanded from the 5-2-2010 Daily Sparks Tribune
Updated 5-9 and 11-7-2010 and 3-1-2016
Barbwire wins second straight Nevada Press Association first-place award

SUING FOR SCHOOLS: Click here to view the new Barbwire show on your desktop

If Reform Fails: Health Care, Jobs and Unions — new power to the people on the public airwaves

The program premiers were available to every television set in the region because of a high-mileage media hybrid.

The shows appeared on both commercial and community stations. The non-corporate entity produced the events, commercial TV greatly expanded distribution.

Thus began an ongoing series of sane public interest programs which generate both entertaining heat and more than a little light.

Please spread the word and consider contributing to the cause online at ReSurge.TV.

You may also take the public option known as the U.S. Postal Service and send a check or money order to ReSurge.TV, P.O. Box 10034, Reno NV 89510.

Your contribution will help fund the distribution of the Dec. 6 and Feb. 21 programs as well as ongoing efforts at developing new media, including a regional, non-corporate community radio station.

You are present at the creation of what I hope can become a new media model where the programming accurately reflects what's happening on the ground and the media impact is powerful enough to forcefully pass the message upward.


Be well. Raise hell.


Barbwire column on the depredations of Charter Communications and the Reno City Council wins 2009 Nevada Press Association first-place award

Past 12 months
Use the search tool you will find at page right at the above link. It will return the 19 newest TV programs. You may also search by date — M-F for the past year save holidays.

Click here for on-demand re-runs
from the 2009 legislative session

15-year overnight success

Daily Sparks Tribune 2-10-2008

The Barbwire's Greatest Hits
Highlights from radio days
mp3 file

I've gotten consistent heat of late from KNPB TV-5 for decrying the cancellation of Bill Moyers' Journal.

We've been playing word games for a couple of months over the following item which I included in an e-mail bulletin.

"I heard from a union man this morning that PBS is canceling Bill Moyers' Journal. Is there a better reason to support local, non-commercial, non-corporate community radio and television? Help me raise $40,000 toward a dollar-for-dollar match for northwestern Nevada's community radio-TV center (SNCAT)."

Turns out that not only has Moyers gone away as of last Friday, but so has the other investigative reporting show he enterprised, Now.

Now host David Brancaccio and his reporter Maria Hinojosa traveled the nation and the world to the great embarassment of governments and corporations. Now's sole sponsor has been the Orfalea Family Foundation, one of Moyers' mainstays. Now was downsized to a half-hour when Moyers launched his journal. Now, both have evaporated.

So who did what, with which and to whom? Moyers announced his retirement, stating that he wants to do other things as he approaches old age.

"I want to disabuse those of you who fear that we are being pushed off the air by higher-ups at PBS pointing to the door and demanding that we go. Not so," Moyers wrote.

Did Moyers cancel himself?

Apparently yes and no.

The man himself provided a clue in Friday's farewell when he commented about Need to Know, the single hour which will replace both programs: "Hosting Need to Know are two journalists with the fresh perspective of their generation and solid accomplishments in print, broadcasting and web reporting."

Translation: Moyers' shtick skews too old and corporate sponsors want to reach the 18-49 hot consumer group. PBS execs obliquely babbled about "revitalization" and "all the research was pointing toward the need for something fresh and new."

Everything comes back to serving the needs of corporate marketing and, public relations.

The new show will apparently be mostly clips from the previous week's online gatherings.

That's nice, but no one has Moyers' prestige and clout to withstand the slings and arrows of outrageous corporate fortunes.

Now host Brancaccio recently noted that has "stolen" the bedrock of newspaper financial stability: classified ads. (Our indestructible Big Nickel abides!)

He added that without classifieds, who is going to fund reporters going to city hall to cover what we can't do for ourselves?

Brancaccio talked about "a perception of an online shift" in the news. He added the oft-stated asterisk that most online news has its origin in old-fashioned newspaper journalism.

We are fortunate in these parts. We have two dailies and a hardassed weekly covering a lot of stuff, although the corporate filter over at Gannett West always colors the equation.

We also have Sierra Nevada Community Access Television cablecasting and webstreaming wall-to-wall live public meetings. A statewide legislative network may finally launch next year so that you may watch your legislature in action (and your lawmakers' inaction) on your TV set rather than online. About one in three households do not have computers.

Granted, SNCAT is currently only available to digital victims of Charter cable like me but that will change and it's not enough. With all due respect to the American Civil Liberties Union, which always argues that the answer to onerous speech is more speech, we have apparently passed the point of diminishing returns.

The Pew Research Center at the University of Pennsylvania did a study a few years ago. They found that people who get most of their news via Lord Rupert Murdoch's multifarious and nefarious Fox outlets are the least informed of all citizens. Worse, they are so arrogant that they think they know the most. The best informed are people who expose themselves to a variety of sources.

I think I see an equation here: Arrogance plus ignorance equals tea baggers, who don't even know that the Boston Tea Party came in protest of a tax cut.

Over the past 30 years, the splintering of media has eroded democracy. The Reagan landslide of 1980 was greased by religious radio stations.

It took Democrats a dozen years to track down the source of all the false and libelous rumors that destroyed the careers of six Democratic U.S. senators, including Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson, D-Wisc.

The Rev. Jerry Falwell's Orwellianly named Moral Majority propagated the lies with direct mail hit pieces and the chicken coop was delivered into the hands of the pre-Fox foxes.

I can't say I blame PBS for defending its turf and wanting to "youngerize" its audience. PBS is certainly not doing its job in this market.

KNPB recently published figures for its website, touting "over 5,500 unique visitors per month, over 13,000 page views."

My flagship website,, does double the unique visitors and six times the page views in a garden variety non-election month.

During the legislative session or as balloting approaches, my numbers geometrically increase.


I can only venture that I consistently kick ass and most of the time they don't. And my only consistent promotional medium is this here little Sparks newspaper. KNPB certainly didn't help itself all the times it bumped Moyers and Brancaccio to the moonlit wee hours of Saturday and Sunday mornings.

The solutions to the problems of print and the tune-outs of TV are obvious but big institutions seem incapable of seeing them. They thus deserve the bitter fruits of their flailing and failing labors.

Stay tuned. (See the May 9 Barbwire, Newspaper Commits Dogmatic Suicide.)

HELP WANTED . Regular readers know that I have been raising money to help Sierra Nevada Community Access Television fully benefit from a matching foundation grant of $40,000. If you can help with a tax-deductible donation, give me a holler at (775) 882-TALK or drop me a line.

HELP WANTED, PART DEUX. The Reno-Sparks NAACP will hold its annual Freedom Fund Banquet on May 22 at the Peppermill in Reno. For ticket and sponsorship information, go to or contact me. This is important.

Be well. Raise hell.


Andrew Barbano is a 41-year Nevadan, chair of the Nevada César Chávez Committee, producer of Nevada's annual César Chávez Day celebration, second vice-president and political action chair of the Reno-Sparks NAACP, labor/consumer/civil rights advocate, member of Communications Workers of America Local 9413/AFL-CIO and editor of As always, his opinions are strictly his own. Check local listings for other Nevada cable systems. E-mail Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Daily Sparks Tribune since 1988.

Smoking Guns...

Nevada Press Assn. annual award winners announced

The campaign against forcibly-paid newspaper obituaries
And they wonder why the newspaper business is dying?


The Dean's List

   The Dean of Reno Bloggers could very well be Andrew Barbano, self-described "fighter of public demons," who started putting his "Barbwire" columns online in 1996 and now runs 10 sites.
RENO NEWS & REVIEW, 11-9-2006

The 2009 first-place Nevada Press Association award winners
Tony the Tiger & the flaky NFL
Barbwire / 11-30-2008
Deregulation is never having to say you're sorry
Barbwire / 8-3-2008
Nevada: A good place to visit, but do you want to live here?
Barbwire / 6-15-2008

...and more ammo

BARBWIRE Nevada Corporate Welfare Archive

Propaganda fuels gasoline price fixing
Barbwire 8-14-2005

Donate to the cable ratepayer legal defense fund at our PayPal-enabled ReSurge.TV Consumer War Room

Phillips, Kevin; Numbers Racket: Why the economy is worse than we know

Harper's Magazine; May 2008; page 43
Phillips has authored numerous books on history and politics over the past 40 years. His most recent, Bad Money: Reckless Finance, Failed Politics and the Global Crisis of American Capitalism, was published by Viking on April 15, 2008.

NAOMI WOLF: Fascist America in 10 Easy Steps
There are some things common to every state that's made the transition to fascism. Author Naomi Wolf argues that all of them are present in America today.
Alternet 5-20-2007

Johnson, Chalmers; REPUBLIC OR EMPIRE? A National Intelligence Estimate on the United States; Harper's magazine; January, 2007. I love it when heavy hitters validate what I've been saying for years in the tiny Sparks Tribune.

Barlett, Donald L. and Steele, James B.; America: What Went Wrong? (1992); America: Who Really Pays the Taxes? (1994); America: Who Stole the Dream? (1996) ; Andrews & McMeel/Universal Press Syndicate.

Review of Alex Carey's Taking the Risk Out of Democracy:
Propaganda in the US and Australia

The Orwell Diversion by Alex Carey
Excerpted from the book available below

ORDER Taking the Risk Out of Democracy
Corporate Propaganda versus Freedom and Liberty
By Alex Carey
Edited by Andrew Lohrey
Foreword by Noam Chomsky
University of Illinois Press

     SEE ALSO: Lapham, Lewis H.; Tentacles of Rage: The Republican Propaganda Mill, A Brief History; Harper's Magazine cover article; September, 2004, page 32.

     By one conservative estimate, the corporate right has spent about $3 billion over the past three decades manufacturing public opinion to suit big business goals. Lapham's number covered the early 1970's to the present day. Alex Carey noted that by 1948, anti- New Deal corporate propaganda expenditures had already reached $100 million per year, not adjusted for inflation, for advertising alone. (Carey, ibid; page 79)

     Adjusted for inflation, that 1948 $100 million becomes $801,659,751.04 in 2005 dollars.

Conservatives Help Wal-Mart, and Vice Versa
As Wal-Mart struggles to rebut growing criticism, it has discovered a reliable ally: conservative research groups.
New York Times 9-8-2006; Free registration may be required.

      BARBWIRE: Labor Day '94: People vs. corporate con job, 9-4-94
Chilling forecasts from Alex Carey

      BARBWIRE: The Nevada Republican Party Becomes Communist, 3-30-97
A prescient Plato on the dangers of oligarchy

The sands of time do not cloud the long memories of the sheiks of Araby
Barbwire 9-10-2006

      Rinfret, Pierre A.; Peace is Bullish; Look magazine, 5-31-1966 | U-News | Bulletins + Almanac
Casinos Out of Politics (COP) | Sen. Joe Neal
Guinn Watch | Deciding Factors
| BallotBoxing.US | Barbwire Oilogopoly Archive
Barbwire Nevada Corporate Welfare Archive
Annual César Chávez Celebration
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Copyright © 1982-2010 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a 41-year Nevadan, editor of and; and former chair of the City of Reno's Citizens Cable Compliance Committee, He is producer of Nevada's annual César Chávez Day celebration and serves as second vice-president, political action chair and webmaster of the Reno-Sparks NAACP. As always, his opinions are strictly his own. E-mail

Barbwire by Barbano premiered in the Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune on Aug. 12, 1988, and has originated in those parts ever since. Tempus fugit.

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