October 5, 2009

A Matter to Resolve as Professional Growth

Justin Katz

A couple of weeks ago, a professional television journalist in Rhode Island suggested that I should pay some attention to the audio for my video blogs, especially that which I've collected from public meetings. I agreed of course — could not reasonably do otherwise — but there's a difficulty that bloggers face in other ways. It's sort of like the science of physics, in which one must account for the act of observing within calculations. If I were to put a microphone in the faces of people speaking at a school committee meeting, as the journalist suggested, it would substantially change the results.

I bring this up because I seem to be making a habit, recently, of ticking off people with whom I share just about every goal and with whom I'd previously gotten along well. Today, as you're more likely than not to know (because he has more listeners than I have readers), that person was Dan Yorke. After a contentious exchange between Dan and URI Professor Donna Hughes — with both of whom I've had many amicable communications over the past couple of years — I sent Dan two emails from the parking lot of the Portsmouth Post Office (first mistake, I guess). The first raised pertinent information related to his guest, and the second attempted to convey my reason for empathy with Professor Hughes's being way too evasive in answering questions.

In the second email, I was sloppy with my language. I apparently miscalculated with regard to the attention that Dan would think my opinion worth. And I definitely didn't anticipate how my note would come across. It was a mistake along the line between interpersonal communications and professional activity, and as a now-public one, wisdom suggests that I take it as the final catalyst for my prior intention to devote some prayerful thought to the series of such instances of tension.

Which is not to say that I believe myself to have been equally wrong on the previous occasions (although I won't raise them, here). Moreover, I expect it to be a recurring difficulty because, as with the audio at town meetings, the "citizen journalism" captured under the vague boundaries of the word "blogging" is enriched, in my opinion, by some of the non-professional attributes. The phrase "big shot blogger" is denotatively incoherent. I'm a guy who offers my opinion. That's what I do, and I intend never to write anything for the primary purpose of having it advance my career or have a political effect. Those will hopefully be the results, on occasion, but the moment I become a self-conscious "player" — more than an engaged citizen — is the moment I hope to have the perspicacity to switch back to poetry and fiction.

I do, though, have to strive for a greater empathy with my audience, particularly individual members thereof — and perhaps especially when I think that the individual is the entire audience. So, all of you individuals out there know this: In part because I've never really had all that high an estimation of myself, my public and private writing begins with the assumption that the reader is in every way my superior — even if he or she has inexplicably erred on a particular topic or in choosing a particular pathway of thought.

That's all I have to say about that.

Comments, although monitored, are not necessarily representative of the views Anchor Rising's contributors or approved by them. We reserve the right to delete or modify comments for any reason.

and while he might have more listeners because he has a bigger microphone and about 25KW, who says his listeners like what he has to say?

I find that I rarely if ever can stay tuned to his show for more than an hour and that's not necessarily contiguous listening.

Keep doing what you're doing.

Who says Dan is impervious to criticism even by his most ardent fans?

Posted by: Roland at October 5, 2009 7:12 PM

You are an interesting read but do you realize you used "I" 28 times and "my" 13 times in this post? I remember a former teacher that castigated our class for our first person usage in our writing.

Posted by: David at October 5, 2009 7:56 PM

Though I appreciate his contributions, most of the time, Dan never passes up an opportunity to play "holier than thou".

He too often allows his ego to take is ordinarily good program down hill.

Posted by: George at October 5, 2009 8:21 PM


Yes, that fact was noticed by the author of the post. He would point out, though, that it's difficult to pen self-minimizing mea culpas around the thesis that one's recent errors and heated personal interactions suggest a need for self review of one's own behavior without using first-person pronouns.

If your teacher castigated the class for first-person usage in an essay with the topic to "recall a conversation that you've recently had and describe your feelings and what you should learn," it would have been a peculiar remonstrance.

Justin does, from time to time, find it necessary to remind himself not to slip too dramatically into the informality of online journal writing, but he might not be alone in finding the quick recourse to linguistic psychoanalysis to be indicative of an uncontrolled desire to be critical.

Posted by: Justin Katz at October 5, 2009 8:28 PM

Justin, what I admire about this post is the fact that you point out that you are "guy who offers my opinions". Some people try to mask their opinion as fact, when it really is just an opinion. If we disagree on a way to approach something we can discuss it as adults. Some people attack the person in the debate, and that really does not help either side of the argument. It happens all too frequently in debates, republicans use socialism and democrats use racism and these are just red herrings so the citizens do not get to debate the real issues. This is why no issues get fixed because they can not even be discussed.
Also, I feel for you on the audio issue. I had the same issue when making my film. Audio is the hardest thing to work with.

Posted by: Tara at October 5, 2009 8:49 PM


I wouldn't waste too much time or personal angst trying to figure out what you may have done to tick off Dan Yorke. That's like worrying about the weather outside.

Even as a fairly faithful listener, I have been finding him more and more difficult to listen to, mainly because he is very inconsistent in regarding to knowing the difference between his friends and his enemies. I actually didn't listen at all this afternoon. I listened to some nice relaxing classical music instead.

Posted by: Will at October 5, 2009 9:56 PM

I most definitely do not wish for this post to turn into a forum for attacking Dan. I erred in sending my note in its poorly considered and unclear form (or sending it at all). My angst is that I made the poor decision. Per habit, my response is to dig down to the reason for doing so and to figure out ways to protect against repeating the error.

Posted by: Justin Katz at October 5, 2009 10:38 PM

Justin, I'm in agreement with Will. Yorke runs so bipolar he's hard to figure out and quite frankly he's not worth the effort. The guy obsesses over every move the Governor makes (is critical beyond reason when it comes to the guy), routinely plays swapping spit pattycake with the Lynch brothers (his ridiculously one sided and unfair show with Gio Cicione then Pat Lynch last week was downright embarrassing might be why he didn't bother to podcast any of it) and even suggested Tiny Timmy Williamson would be a better fit as House Speaker than Gordon Fox. Yes, THAT Tiny Tim. Yorke knows the issues inside and out but he's a rather bizarre guy. Justin, I wouldn't lose any sleep over setting him off. Look who Dan Yorke's friends are in R.I. politics, the Lynch boys, Tim Williamson and No show Joe Muschiano. But Dan's a change agent. lol Scary!!

Posted by: Tim at October 5, 2009 10:48 PM

Will is right Justin, most who listen to Yorke listen for the content, but take what he says with a grain of salt. So you sent him a email that he may have taken the wrong way. I consider your opinion more sincere than a host that has to keep sponsors happy by keeping his audience tuned in by stirring the pot.

Posted by: 68Tempest at October 5, 2009 10:52 PM

I certainly understanding not wanting to get WPRO (see way above) mad at you. Dan will get mad for virtually any reason (I really don't know if it's all an act), so I'm just saying, don't worry yourself over it.

I really don't want it to seem like I'm "attacking" Dan. As I stated, I do listen to him pretty regularly and he is usually informative and entertaining. However, as I stated, and which has been amplified by others, for a person who's supposedly taking on the powers that be and representing the "little guy," he spends an inordinately large amount of time railing and trashing those who should be his political allies, as well as those who form the base of his listenership.

Posted by: Will at October 6, 2009 12:13 AM

Without Yorke-bashing as I do love his show, but the one statement that I took most issue with was "No one does more for AnchorRising.com than me."

Oh really Dan? Is that your face at the top of the page? Is that your show that staffers can be heard on Wednesday nights? Is that your show that invites staffers on occasionally (probably what, once every 1-2 months?) for a full hour?

Or maybe you're #2 with doing for the site. I think Mr. Matt Allen has done more. Unless Dan is saying a 10 second plug for the site at 4:45 pm is worth more than the 6:55 spot on Wednesdays or the hour of the Violent Roundtable. Maybe that's a fact, I don't know. But it sure sounds a bit egomaniacal the way he stated it.

Posted by: Patrick at October 6, 2009 3:40 PM

If Dan actually said "No one does more for AnchorRising.com than me." (I don't technically know, as I didn't hear virtually the entire show and missed whatever was the problem referenced here), then he is flat out wrong.

Matt Allen far and above is a lot more valuable to promoting Anchor Rising and vice-versa. I always look forward to hearing one of the Anchor Rising 3 or one or more of them during the Violent Roundtable segments on Matt's show.

Posted by: Will at October 7, 2009 12:20 AM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?

Important note: The text "http:" cannot appear anywhere in your comment.