Saturday, December 1, 2007

ADVENTURES IN BLOGGING: Coda to "Dude, Where's My Anchor ?" Which Poses Interesting Questions

Earlier this week, quite out of the blue, I received an email regarding a post on DITHOB that I had written earlier this month . The post, and the email sent to me, concerned the departure from a major local cable news station of one of its more prominent staffers, ostensibly as a result of an on-air call that he had made to another call-in show on the station in which he discussed a former NYPD Commissioner's legal problems, but in making the call, the reporter used a fake name. My post also discussed certain lawsuits that had been discussed in the media last year that had been brought against the station by a woman who was a former reporter at the same station charging sexual harassment and which appeared to implicate the reporter/weekend part-time anchor.

What was eye-opening about the email that I received this week was that the writer indicated that he was the former NY1 reporter/weekend anchor in question, Gary Anthony Ramsay. To quote a character in Miller's Crossing, this posed "an in'eresting et'ical question" since it is difficult to verify the source of an email. The email included a lot of personal information about the call, as well as an explanation of how Mr. Ramsay was exonerated from the lawsuit (that it is directed at the NY1 General Manager). The email was frank, with a lot of information and detail, was extremely well written, exhibiting some frustration and anger, but with a degree of professionalism and restraint that suggested that it was the Real Thing. When I emailed the author of the email back to ask why he was responding to an humble, unknown blog like Deep in the Heart of Brooklyn instead of going more public, at first there was no reply. Maybe it was some kind of web hoax. But would it really matter ? Except for the occasional post picked up by more widely read sites, who reads my lonely little blog?

Nevertheless, I was still reluctant to post it, since I was unclear as to the identity of the author. I wanted to try to pursue some sense of authenticity and quasi-journalistic standard.

Later that evening, I happened to use a different computer to check my email. I usually don't IM on my PC. However, shortly after logging on to see if he had responded, "GAR" IM'd me and we discussed his email. He confirmed that it was indeed Gary Anthony Ramsay and that I was probably surprised to get his email. When I questioned him - Why share this with an humble blogger? , he suggested that he cared more about individuals than the mass (I guess, anonymous) audience, since that is how he viewed his work, tht it should be meaningful to the individual viewer.. When I asked why he wasn't taking his side public, he indicated that he would shortly. He also indicated that he was making a presentation this week at an area college. He also indicated that the original email that he had sent me was written "for the record" in reply to my email, but he did not send it with the intent for it to be posted. In my original post, I mentioned the accusations against him brought by the woman reporter, which I termed "Shenanigans." This seemed to have struck a particular chord in him, and also seems to have prompted the email to me, since he felt that he was being unfairly characterized in response to what he saw as a good deed, giving an upset and partied-out co-worker a ride home, which was then used against him for ulterior motives and reasons. I responded that if I only mentioned one side of the lawsuit, or mischaracterized his involvement in it (he was not involved) it was because that was all that had been reported in the media to date on this issue. Nothing was mentioned about the lawsuit in the any of the coverage of his departure from the station.

When I mentioned the quandry of not knowing 100% the identity of the sender of the email, he agreed that, from a journalistic point of view, it could be an issue, but that he wrote to me for the record; he did not intend for it to be reprinted. I decided to offer him the opportunity to write something that he found more acceptable for posting. Alternatively, I intended to write about it once he did "officially" go public. I subsequently received the "user friendly email below" as he characterized it, which he said was intended for publication. Hopefully, this will not prove to be a mistake on my part. But the email seems detailed, convincing and knowledgeable about goings on at the station. While Mr. Ramsay clearly committed a serious professional gaffe in contacting the show under a pseudonym to give political commentary, it seems unfortunate that he himself has become "a victim of the media" since it would appear that the full story has yet to be told and he, so far from his viewpoint, has been cast in a bad light for not only his own mistake but also for the other (alleged) sins of NY1 management.

Despite all of my quasi-journalistic travails with this issue, I am a writer with a web log, not a professional journalist, more of a 21st century-citizen-media person. I decided to share this because it seems to have the ring of truth and perhaps, having exchanged a number of emails and IMs now, I am more comfortable that the writer is who he says he is and that he has something to say to shed further light on the situation at the station that hasn't been previously heard. I think also, if the only information out there is incomplete, this additional information also needs to be known. If a retraction proves to be necessary, so be it. Interestingly, in our most recent exchange, when I inquired how his meeting at the area college went, Mr. Ramsay indicated that it was a charity event and it went very well, and that people have a way of cutting through to see what is behind the nonsense. Well, sooner or later, one of must know that I really did try to get closer to the story on this, since the media does not seem to be covering it. See what you think.

--Brooklyn Beat

-----Original Message-----
From: -----------
Sent: Wed, 28 Nov 2007 8:01 pm
Subject: A user friendly version

First let's talk about the "incident".

I did not identify myself - a mistake. I did not because I did not want to be bothered with the questions I had to deal with anyway. But when called by John Schiumo 20 minutes later I told him the truth. I made no effort to disguise my voice. If you haven't heard the clip of my exchange with John. (and that HACK, Richard Huff at the Daily News, DID NOT)... You would know that it was not a "crank" call if you heard the clip of the show. Unless you describe a calm, ordered layout of facts already in the public domain as a prank.

I am a weary as a citizen journalist of misinformation being repeated and ranted so much and so loud that it becomes fact as well the non-action/failure of journalists or people who play them on TV to correct it.

My call was ill-advised But I was home after a long day of working on the story topic of the show all day. My first mistake was becoming one of maybe a dozen people who happened to be watching the show. As you know TW cable programs many boxes to make NY1, the first station to come on. I heard person after person come up with all these crazy notions about the topic: Bernard Kerik, the 16 count federal indictment he faced and IF that would affect the campaign of Rudy Giuliani. These comments were inaccurate and unchecked as I told the NY Times. So I picked up the phone.

I said that Mr. Kerik pled guilty to many of that same charges in State court so he has admitted some wrongdoing already. That is true not an opinion.

Yes, I used the word RIDICULOUS when describing the belief that the Hillary Clinton campaign organized this whole thing. To believe it you'd have to believe this scenario:

*So ten years ago Hillary persuaded Mr. Kerik to take gifts and favors from a construction company with suspected ties to the not report that as income* (a charge Mr. Kerik has admitted).

*Then Mrs. Clinton told Mr. Kerik to become homeland security secretary to embarrass Mr. Bush. *
*And finally he convinced Alberto Gonzales, the republican attorney general, who was run out of Washington for being to political, to pursue this investigation to make the front running republican candidate look bad*

If I said it was ridiculous to believe in the tooth fairy or in the notion that men can give birth in 2007, few would argue the use of the word.

I would have said the same thing if I were asked to join a panel discussion of reporters.

I used a fake name to tell the truth in a calm way and it was in no way a prank. You would have thought however, I hit someone while driving drunk or plagerized, Two things I have never done. (There is a network anchor in town who fabricated a story about being kidnapped in Haiti -- He just signed a contract for 8 Million a year) ---- but 15 years of doing a damn good job in this profession was swallowed in one bad news article. let's forget my Edward R. Murrow award, recognition from the AP, the NY Press Club and the National Association of Black Journalists. Let's not mention my dangerous trips to Kosovo, Haiti and Iraq in the tabloid TV piece that was moved to page 7 on a Saturday. Or make a real effort to get my side of the story.

Mr. Richard Huff took all of his info from a mean spirited mediocre producer who I dislikes me because he is mediocre and I have told him so. This person told the Daily News I was drunk and used profanity (two lies) knowing that Huff would not make much of an effort to dig out the truth. This producer also knows that Richard Huff HATES NY1 and uses any chance he gets to put it down. This former racecar reporter/stenographer doesn't even live in the city. Unfortunately, Mr. Huff got played and I got smeared. Oh well I know the drill.

Now on to my what was the word you used? shenanigans??.

I am NOT a defendant in the case of Sammarco Vs NY1. The GM is, the Managing editor is, as well as a former HR person. Again I AM NOT. What I am (or was) is a very high profile witness to her non-case. What you don't know is that Ms. Sammarco case was ruled "unfounded" by the federal agency that investigates those charges but this is America so ANYONE can sue. Ms. Sammarco in on her 3rd set of attorneys in 6 years since she raised the allegations. And lets take a look at her current attorney - Joe Tacopina - who represented cops in the Amadou Diallo shooting, the young man just arrested for murdering Natalie Holloway in Aruba and (in another twist of NY irony) Bernie Kerik. Right after our 2nd set of depositions in 6 years, Mr. Tacopina did his usual thing and planted the story in the NY Post. I was ordered to not repsond. Not in my nature but I did.

Ms. Sammarco wanted to be an anchor--a talent she DID NOT have. I had a job she coveted and said publically, the only reason I had it was because of race. Trust me, it was a job I had to fight for but that is another story. She drove the tech crews crazy asking them to re-tape minor stories over and over again. She and the gay male reporter who allegedly made that picture of her were the closest of friends. She and he once crashed a party of mine that she was not invited to. Sound like a person who was afraid and intimidated by the two of us? I once felt sorry for Adele after her long time fiance DUMPED her. We were leaving a good-bye celebration when she fell apart. I moved her away from the front door so our coworkers would not see her in the state she was in. On the night she speaks of in her lawsuit. She was drunk out of her mind at a Channel 47 party, in a room full of men she did not know. I took her home out of courtesy - My mistake.

If I had know she was looking for an opening in this long planned lawsuit against NY1 --- I would have left her there and read about what happened in the papers the next day. That is my philosophy now given the trouble it has caused. Do you know after the article in the paper about the lawsuit. My family received death threats from racist psychos and I had to have an armed guard with me THRU the holidays last year. Sound like fun (shenanigans) to you??

You are right about one thing -- NY1. It could be so much more than it is which is why I decided to leave there in July 06. They asked me to stay at the end of my contract. The guy who runs the station surrounds himself with substandard people so he can look like a brilliant guy. 2 reporters are golf buddies, another is a golf buddies wife. Two managers are in there positions because of "special relationships". One barely comes to work and the other is perhaps the dumbest person in NY TV news. This boss once embarrassed one of our BEST reporters by describing him as a "Ghetto Superstar" during the Republican National convention here in NYC. Now who was he trying to impress.

The reason you don't hear about this stuff is the same reason you hear about Government or Police corruption until its too late. When the gate keepers are the wrong doers who can you trust?

As you can tell there are frustration I too have with journalism. Its like loving a woman that doesn't love you back. But as many of my colleagues, relatives and friends would tell you, I gave it the very best I had and put my life on the line for it many times. That includes giving the best to you and your better half:who may have only seen it as wallpaper till you got to the weather.

But thanks to my one, minor but human error you don't have to be bothered with me on your set.

I know this is long but considering your extended indictment of me I thought I should get equal time.

Good Life and Good Luck


Current Reading

  • Midnight Rising: John Brown and the Raid that Sparked the Civil War- Tony Horwitz
  • A Sultan in Palermo - Tariq Ali
  • Hitch-22: A Memoir - Christopher Hitchens
  • Negropedia- Patrice Evans
  • Dead Funny: Humor in Nazi Germany - Rudolph Herzog
  • Exile on Main Street - Robert Greenfield
  • Among the Truthers - A Journey Among America's Growing Conspiracist Underworld - Jonathan Kay
  • Paradise Lost - John Milton
  • What Is Your Dangerous Idea? Thinking the Unthinkable - John Brockman
  • Notes from the Edge Times - Daniel Pinchbeck
  • Fringe-ology: How I Can't Explain Away the Unexplainable- Steve Volk
  • Un Juif pour l'exemple (translated as A Jew Must Die )- Jacques Cheesex
  • The God Delusion - Richard Dawkins
  • Pale King - David Foster Wallce
  • David Bowie: Starman bio - Paul Trynka
  • Tobacco Stained Mountain Goat - Andrez Bergen
  • The Future of Nostalgia -Svetlana Boym
  • Living in the End Times - Slavoj ZIzek
  • FIrst as Tragedy Next as Farce - Slavoj Zizek
  • How to Survive a Robot Uprising - Daniel Wilson
  • Where is My Jet Pack? -Daniel Wilson
  • Day of the Oprichniks - Vladimir Sorokin
  • Ice Trilogy - Vladimir Sorokin
  • First Civilizations
  • Oscar Wilde -Andre Maurois
  • The Beats - Harvey Pekar, et al
  • SDS - Harvey Pekar, et al
  • The Unfinished Animal - Theodore Roszak
  • Friends of Eddy Coyle
  • Brooklands -Emily Barton
  • Abraham Lincoln - Vampire Hunter - Seth Grahme-Smith - Entertaining and historical
  • Dictionary of the Khazars - Pavic
  • Sloth-Gilbert Hernandez
  • War and Peace- Leo Tolstoy
  • Charles Addams: An Evilution
  • Life in Ancient Greece
  • Time - Eva Hoffmann
  • Violence - S. Zizek
  • Luba - a graphic novel by Gilbert Hernandez
  • Life in Ancient Egypt
  • Great Apes - Will Self - riveting and disturbing
  • Lost Honor of Katherina Blum - Heinrich Boll - could not put it down
  • Yellow Back Radio Brokedown - Ishmael Reed (author deserving of new wide readership)
  • Living in Ancient Mesopotomia
  • Landscape in Concrete - Jakov Lind - surreal
  • 'There Once Lived A Woman Who Tried To Kill Her Neighbor's Baby'-Ludmilla Petrushevskaya - creepy stories - translation feels literarily "thin"
  • Mythologies - William Butler Yeats (re-read again & again)
  • How German Is It ? - Walter Abish
  • The Book of Genesis - illustrated by R. Crumb - visionary
  • "Flags" - an illustrated encyclopedia - wish I could remember all of these. Flag culture
  • Sirens of Titan - Kurt Vonnegut
  • Ubik - Philip K. Dick
  • Nobody's Fool - Richard Russo
  • Hitler's Empire - Mark Mazower
  • Nazi Culture - various authors
  • Master Plan: Himmler 's Scholars and the Holocaust - Heather Pringle
  • Eichmann in Jerusalem - Hannah Arendt
  • Living in Ancient Rome
  • Traveling with Herodotus -R. Kapuszynsky
  • Oblivion - David Foster Wallace - Some of his greatest work
  • Infinite Jest - David Foster Wallace - still wrestling with this great book
  • Netherland - Joseph O'Neill - staggeringly great read
  • Renegade - The Obama Campaign - Richard Wolffe
  • Mount Analogue - Rene Daumal
  • John Brown
  • Anathem - Neal Stephenson - love Stephenson but tough slogging first few chapters
  • 7 Deadly Sins
  • ALEX COX - Alex Cox
  • FIASCO by Thomas Ricks
  • I, Fellini - Charlotte Chandler & Federico Fellini
  • Best of 20th century alternative history fiction
  • Judah P. Benjamin - Eli Evans - Confederacy's Secretary of State & source of the W.C. Field's exclamation
  • Moscow 2042 - Vladimir Voinovich - Pre-1989 curiosity & entertaining sci fi read; love his portrayal of Solzhenitsyn-like character
  • Gomorrah - Roberto Saviano - Mafia without the It-Am sugar coating. Brutal & disturbing
  • The Sack of Rome - Celebrity+Media+Money=Silvio Berlusconi - Alexander Stille
  • Reporting - David Remnick - terrific journalism
  • Fassbinder
  • Indignation - Philip Roth
  • Rome
  • Let's Go Italy! 2008
  • Italian Phrases for Dummies
  • How to Pack
  • Violence - Slavoj Zizek
  • Dali: Painting & Film
  • The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight - Jimmy Breslin
  • The Good Rat - Jimmy Breslin
  • Spook Country - William Gibson
  • A Blue Hand - The Beats in India - Deborah Baker
  • The Metaphysical Club - Louis Menard
  • Coast of Utopia - Tom Stoppard
  • Physics of the Impossible - Dr. Michio Kaku
  • Managing the Unexpected - Weick & Sutcliffe
  • Wait Til The Midnight Hour - Writings on Black Power
  • Yellow Back Radio Brokedown - Ishmael Reed
  • Burning Down the Masters' House - Jayson Blair
  • Howl - Allen Ginsberg
  • Cat's Cradle - Kurt Vonnegut
  • The Palace Thief - Ethan Canin
  • John Adams - David McCullough
  • The Wooden Sea - Jonathan Carroll
  • American Gangster - Mark Jacobson
  • Return of the King - J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Gawker Guide to Becoming King of All Media
  • Jews and Power - Ruth Wisse
  • Youth Without Youth - Mircea Eliade
  • A Team of Rivals - Doris Goodwin
  • Ghost Hunters -William James and the Search for Scientific Proof of Life After Death - Deborah Blum
  • Dream -Re-Imagining Progressive Politics in an Age of Fantasy - Stephen Duncombe
  • Love & Theft - Eric Lott
  • Exit Ghost - Philip Roth
  • Studio A - The Bob Dylan Reader

Current Listening

  • Alexi Murdoch Wait
  • Wilco Summer Teeth
  • Wilco The Album
  • Carmina Burana - Ray Manzarek (& Michael Riesmann)
  • Polyrock - Polyrock
  • 96 Tears - Garland Jeffries
  • Ghost of a Chance Garland Jeffries
  • Yellow Magic Orchestra
  • Mustang Sally Buddy Guy
  • John Lee Hooker
  • Black and White Years
  • Together Through Life - B. Dylan
  • 100 Days 100 Nites - Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings
  • DYLAN: 3 disc Greatest...
  • Glassworks - Philip Glass
  • Wild Palms - Soundtrack -Ryuichi Sakamoto
  • Dinah Washington - Best of..
  • Commander Cody& His Lost Planet Airmen Live at Armadillo