The progressive community in the U.S. and beyond is mourning the loss and celebrating the life of friend and colleague Danny Schechter on Friday after news broke that the veteran journalist, filmmaker, and warrior for social justice died on Thursday after a battle with pancreatic cancer.
A note posted late Thursday night on the Mediachannel website, which Schechter co-founded, said simply:
Since his days on local radio in Boston in the 1960s and 70s—where he first became known as the “News Dissector”—Schechter was one of the key U.S.-based journalists and activists speaking out on the issue of Apartheid in South Africa and among the most consistent and insightful voices across the media landscape focused on unjust wars, racism, economic inequality, and the scourge of the corporate-dominated media outlets which persistently refused to cover such issues.
“No one who was in Boston during the days of ‘Danny Schechter Your News Dissector’ can ever forget the exhilaration of those marvelous broadcasts, their enlightenment and insight and humor, often in dark days. A wonderful person, a valued friend.”
—Noam Chomsky”Danny Schechter was a legend,” said Jeff Cohen, founder of the media watchdog group FAIR and Ithaca College journalism professor, after hearing about the death of his mentor, friend and colleague. “Danny was a legend in the U.S. movement against South African apartheid and a legend in the independent media community since the late 1960s. He was a mentor to so many of us. He always had time for other journalists and activists. When I think of him, I think of the Jewish word ‘mensch’ – a good person, a person of honor and integrity.”
“If there was a Godfather to the modern media-reform/media-democracy movement,” Cohen continued, “it was Danny.”
Noted social activist and MIT professor Noam Chomsky, in an email to Common Dreams, expressed sadness over the loss and said, “No one who was in Boston during the days of ‘Danny Schechter Your News Dissector’ can ever forget the exhilaration of those marvelous broadcasts, their enlightenment and insight and humor, often in dark days, a legacy that Danny left behind him when he went on to a remarkable career of critical analysis and breaking through media and doctrinal barriers. A wonderful person, a valued friend.”
Annie Leonard, founder of the Story of Stuff project and executive director Greenpeace, declared on Twitter: “The good side is one man down tonight.”
Journalist Jeremy Scahill, in a tweet tagged #RIP, called Schechter “one of the great innovators of the indy media movement.”
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“If there was a Godfather to the modern media-reform/media-democracy movement, it was Danny.”
—Jeff CohenDan Kennedy, a friend and fellow Boston-based journalist, in a blog post on Friday celebrated Schechter’s dual legacy as both chronicler and participant of contemporary struggles. “He was a giant of journalism and of progressive politics,” writes Kennedy, “demonstrating that the two could be combined with passion and integrity. It’s hard to believe that he’s gone.”
As Democracy Now! notes:
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