Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Courage of Shannyn Moore - Part IV

Shannyn Moore's return to daily radio in Anchorage is now midway through its second week. She has now hosted and co-produced several weeks' episodes of Moore Up North, which is broadcasted on KYES TV and posted on Youtube.

I've missed most of her radio episodes on KUDO, but got a new stereo for my Outback last Saturday, so I'll be getting back into listening to Anchorage talk radio. This afternoon, while driving around the Valley doing errands, I listened to a bit of her show, a bit of Eddie Burke's show, and called in to Dan Fagan's show.

Dan was hosting Amanda Coyne and Craig Medred from the Alaska Dispatch. Maybe this is a weekly feature - I don't know. It sort of sounded like it, though. When Craig began discussing the proposed limited entry system for Gulf of Alaska halibut charter operators, I was disturbed enough by untrue information Craig Medred was broadcasting, I had to call.

He was asserting that North Pacific halibut stocks are not down. He attempted to claim that bycatch of halibut by North Pacific and Gulf of Alaska draggers is not under-reported, in spite of ample evidence that it is. I challenged Craig and the Dispatch to actually do some serious investigative reporting on fisheries issues such as this, instead of being such serious dilletantes. After all, I observed, they're being bankrolled by a billionaire's spouse. They actually have more potential resources than McClatchy.

Comparing the Fagan segment with this well-funded crew to what Moore is doing in local media is simply amazing. It isn't fair to isolate a single segment, though, so I'll expand a bit.

In the past 18 months, Moore has:

1. Been fired from KUDO by a vindictive boss without a clue as to the talent he had on his staff.

2. Started a widely-read blog and became an important Huffington Post contributor.

3. Become Alaska's voice on MSNBC and on several high-volume national progressive radio programs.

4. Gone down to Juneau during the legislative session, where Rep. Mike Doogan locked himself into a bathroom to keep from having to be confronted by her.

5. Been threatened with a lawsuit by Sarah Palin for merely reporting what had been reported by others.

6. Won the Buzzflash Wings of Justice Award.

7. Won the 2009 Steve Gilliard Award at Netroots Nation.

8. Addressed prominent academics at Harvard University.

9. Hosted a weekly program on KBYR

10. Introduced a new weekly TV interview program during a time of diminution of local media coverage of local and astatewide public affairs.

11. Placed high in the Anchorage Press Picks for Best Radio Personality. Shannyn Moore Beat Dan Fagan, Eddie Burke and Rick Reidell. 1st place was Bob and Mark on KWHL. 2nd place was Shannyn Moore. The Press noted, somewhat surprised, that the amazing thing about Shannyn was that she won that award with a hidden Saturday afternoon slot vs everyone else that had prime M-F slots!.

These are all important. Put together, though, her triumph over a somewhat hostile environment is entirely unprecedented in Alaska journalism.

More important, though, is the quality of output Moore is producing in print, on TV and on the radio. She has virtually no staff. Her partner Kelly Walters, has been very helpful. The TV wouldn't be happening without Jeremy Lansman. But this is a very small crew, considering Moore is probably responsible for asking more hard questions to more individuals in Anchorage, Alaska and nationwide, than is any other news source.

Her TV show has gone out of its way to invite people to the live taping at Bernie's Bungalow who aren't progressives, liberals, greenies or dirty fucking hippies. Her last panel discussion before the legislative session was composed solely of three prominent Republican legislators. Talking to all three after the taping, I got the impression that they were more than a little surprised at how knowledgeable and - perhaps more importantly - how gracious was their hostess.

Sarah Palin likes to project a mythical image of herself as somebody who represents the average American. I have to admit, that projection seems to have worked to a certain degree. Mostly upon people who don't know her, or Alaska. Palin's ability to project herself as a person in touch with the average Alaskan has not worked so well, as we've gotten to know her better.

Moore, on the other hand, is more in touch with the average American and average Alaskan. Just a Girl from Homer is far more factual and curious than Just a Girl from Wasilla.

Last Saturday's episode of Moore Up North was a case in point. Moore featured a panel of fisheries experts who are knowledgeable about climate change and ocean acidification. You can watch them here. Moore, who is more klnowledgeable on these aspects of fisheries issues than 99.9% of Alaskans, still wants to know more. She has an obvious hunger for expanding her knowledge.

So that she can share it. Having gotten to know Shannyn these past three years that is one of the most remarkable things about her personality. I like to learn something new every day. Sometimes it seems, watching her digest new information, she wants to know something new every hour.

I wish I could say the same about the crew at the Alaska Dispatch. How is it, with a multi-billionaire Sugar Mommy backing the Dispatch's investigative possibilities, we're faced with a set of headlines from them:

Randy Ruedrich Responds to Obama

You Can Love Your Dog

an incurious suckoff job called Pierre Tapped as Deputy Commissioner
If you do a search at the Dispatch's search engine, no articles about Anchorage Assemblyman Bill Starr appear. Apparently, even though Bill Starr has pretty much jumped the shark in his hatred of former Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich, the Dispatch is steering way clear of covering the story.

Moore, on the other hand, without billions of bucks to back her, mostly using her own resources, is getting interviews with key local, state and national figures, almost on a daily basis. It is truly amazing what one can do when one is truly curious, with a thirst for knowledge and for solutions.

Update - Thursday 6:30 a.m: As requested from overnight emails from Shannyn Moore fans:

The Courage of Shannyn Moore - Part III

The Courage of Shannyn Moore - Part II

The Courage of Shannyn Moore - Part I

image - Shannyn Moore at the Not in Our Names Anchorage Rally, September, 2008 - PA


Martha said...

Well said, Phil! Go Shannyn, I am so proud of you!

Oscar said...

Couldn't agree with you more on Shannyn Moore, Phil. She is a phenomenon. Every Alaskan should be proud of her. Even though she has a definite point of view, she has an endearing, non-threatening quality that softens many who disagree with her opinions.

People respect Shannyn. She has that rare combination of intelligence, charisma, courage, hard work, persistence, curiosity, and more. Oh, and she's also a babe.

Shannyn could easily jump ship from Alaska to become a national media star.

Congratulations, Shannyn, for the success you continue to enjoy. Nah, you're just lucky, right? As Thomas Jefferson once said, "I'm a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it."

AKPetMom said...

Shannyn speaks and acts for those of us with even a tiny modicum of common sense; I mean real common sense. Some of us have fancy degrees but no actual common sense. Some of us have lots of college but no degree, but still have the sense to know right from wrong.

I love it that she entertains both the educated, the common sense conservative and all of those in between and gives every side a voice, whether she agrees or not.

I can say that I knew her way back when and she was whip smart and entertaining, regardless of topic.

I hold her in high esteem because I can't entertain those with differing views without getting pissed off and reactionary. Some have that gift, some don't.

clark said...

her reinstatement weekdays on KUDO was a nice, unexpected surprise and she seems to have exploded out of the gate... really means a lot to me, hearing her out there makes anchorage a better place.
all the more remarkable, that she came to KUDO the first time with no prior broadcasting experience. whoever decided to put her on: pretty shrewd move!
now, podcasts please! i can't listen at work.