PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, MONDAY, AUG. 22, 2011) — One of the most vital debates for any so-called free society has occurred in the “Comments” section of THE PLANET in the past few days. The subject: The role of the press in a free society.

THE PLANET is grateful to our commentator BABY BABY for raising the issue in response to our claim to be speaking for We the People. Here is the sequence of comments and responses:


Baby Baby

August 21, 2011 at 6:34 am # Edit

Who died and made you “We the people”? “We the people” don’t even live in Pittsfield, do” WE”.

  • danvalenti

    August 21, 2011 at 8:59 am # Edit

    Thanks for the feeback.
    I was made WE THE PEOPLE by virtue of my role as a journalist, a member of the press, who takes his role in The Fourth Estate seriously. The First Amendment made me WE THE PEOPLE.

    • Baby Baby

      August 21, 2011 at 10:11 am # Edit

      I disagree. Any journalist could claim that. Do you think the same of the main stream TV reporters? How about the reports at the “BB” as you call it? Are they also “We the people”?

      If not, who makes the decision on who gets the title? And, what are their qualifications to be making such decisions?

      Are these not fair questions?

      • danvalenti

        August 21, 2011 at 3:59 pm # Edit

        Yes, these are fair questions. Great questions, actually, since it gets to the heart of what THE PLANET is all about. Not everyone who is “press” is a member of the Fourth Estate. Mainstream TV reporters are blow-dried stiffs looking pretty and doing the work of Da Man. Every TV station is owned by a conglomerate, and they are not about to tell the truth. As for the BB, it’s an individual thing. For the most part, the long-timers there are settled into a comfortable groove, and they know they better not piss off the “wrong” people. The young ones are eager, too eager, and will do anything to please The Massas. The ones who get the title are the ones who report the news fearlessly and interpret it honestly on behalf of the oppressed and those with office or access to office. Right now, that means THE PLANET and Jonathan Levine of the Gazette. That’s it.

Then came this response from JOE PINHEAD, which basically took the pitch and blasted it out of the park:


“We the People” are “we the people” by birth right. Reporters just like others in every walk of life are free to engage to the level and the extent they wish. If a reporter or journalist chooses to report the happenings IE pancake breakfast or even as spectacular as a hostage standoff that’s their choice. However if you read Jefferson and Paine it would be clear to both the function and the importance of the fourth estate.

“The basis of our governments being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter. But I should mean that every man should receive those papers and be capable of reading them.”

Please see the following link regarding freedom of the press.

And here is the interesting one to me anyways, even back in the day
“The most effectual engines for [pacifying a nation] are the public papers… [A despotic] government always [keeps] a kind of standing army of newswriters who, without any regard to truth or to what should be like truth, [invent] and put into the papers whatever might serve the ministers. This suffices with the mass of the people who have no means of distinguishing the false from the true paragraphs of a newspaper.”
Nuff said


Is the Press in Berkshire County Free? No!

As Joe’s post mentions, one of the assumptions a free society should be able to make is that its press is free. It should expect a press that is in no way muzzled, and lest I remind you, freedom of the press can be blocked as easily with the threat of unemployment as with a loaded gun. An advertiser threatening to pull his account is the loaded gun that holds virtually every media outlet hostage in Berkshire County save this one.

Outside of THE PLANET and to a large extent THE PITTSFIELD GAZETTE, the press in Berkshire County is not free in the classic, Jeffersonian sense.

The  Local Establishment Media: A Mix of Happy Fluff, Irrelevancy, Untruth, and Ignoring the REAL Stories

The two local dailies, one in Pittsfield and the other in North Adams, are owned by the same chain, which is in turn owned by an even bigger chain — one that went into bankruptcy and receivership. Both of these papers employ a “the standing army” of reporters kept in place by the local GOBs. For local coverage, they print a mix of happy-fluffy features, truth about stories that don’t matter, and invented stories that they pass off as the truth (for example, the countless stories the BB has done in the past eight years to convince everyone that the downtown has experienced a full-fledged “renaissance,” a story easily refuted every time anyone with an opened mind visits downtown Pittsfield). More importantly, they ignore the stories that DO matter, stories that find their way, sometimes, on THE PLANET or in THE GAZETTE (for example, Steroidsgate, which this website broke).

The non-dailies have even more pressure to roll over and play dead to Da Man. We will give a nod to the work done by our esteemed South County colleague, David Scribner, who edits Great Barrington’s THE BERKSHIRE RECORD and has managed to keep that paper somewhat honest — despite the straightjacketing of the ownership group. Scribner has done this with old-fashioned journalistic independence.

It was the same battle he fought, and lost, as editor of the Boring Broadsheet. The BB has put in place a compliant executive editor, one who keeps the reins tight on his managing editor, the latter a find newspaper man who now and then chafes his way into defiance. For several years, Scribner employed THE PLANET as a columnist and fought to keep me in the paper. How else do you think the BB ran stories blasting the Civic Authority or the scams being perpetrated by the Pittsfield teachers’ union?

Where Can the Reader, Listener, or Viewer Turn in Berkshire County?

Where else can the reader, listener, or viewer turn. He and she can’t turn to local radio. Every radio station save one is owned by an out-of-state chain that cares not a hoot about Berkshire County. The one station that does, WBRK, has knocked the teeth out of its product by removing ‘edgy” talk radio, the type that actually brought up issues that mattered and commented freely and fearlessly on those issues, the type that THE PLANET pioneered.

Whether you agreed or disagreed with our views, for 14 years listeners knew they were getting straight talk on THE DAN VALENTI SHOW. They also knew that when public officials came on as guests, they were given the hot seat. Sherman Baldwin followed that up with a year of edge until the plug was pulled.

And what does the TV viewer have? Three Albany stations that report on Pittsfield with satellite coverage, reportage that against sticks with the Moons in June and the Rotary Pancake Breakfasts. THE PLANET, however, credits PCTV for making its airwaves available to citizens for local programming. Some good has come out of the three local-access channels, and THE PLANET supports the PCTV effort.

Does the Press Have a Democratic Mission of Not?

BABY, you see, raised one of the most vital issues of all: Does the press have a democratic mission or doesn’t it? Perhaps journalist Walter Lippmann and philosopher John Dewey were correct. Maybe it’s time to express the truth, the honest pessimism, about our so-called democracy. Do We The People actually self-govern ourselves? Don’t confuse this question with the right to self-govern. We have that right, but do we use it?

Look at the local municipal elections in Pittsfield. The city has the mayor’s office, the council, the school committee, and a state rep’s job up for grabs, and not a peep from the campaigners. It’s Aug. 22, and they’ve been dead in the water. After Labor Day, the campaigns will rev up a bit, and so what? What substantially will be done in two weeks to enlighten We The People?

Maybe it’s time finally to admit that We The People, though we have the right to do so, have elected NOT TO SELF GOVERN. Maybe people simply don’t care. Maybe they have chosen to remain uneducated about politics, distracted as they are by their busy lives and the fluff-n-puff of celebrity-sensational “news” (another story on Lady GaGa, anyone, or the earth-shaking story that news outlets used PhotoShop to alter pix of the new British princess to give her a slimmer waist?).

How Sad: The Govern Operates, and We The People are Bystanders

The reality is: Government operates, and most of We The People are bystanders. Is it a coincidence that this has happened at the same time that the mainstream media has abandoned its role as a freedom fighter? You think about that. Is there a correlation between the endless “feel-good” PR that the editors of the Boring Broadsheet load into their paper and the dismal apathy of We The People?

Have they exacerbated democracy’s fundamental flaw, namely, that without a diligent, educated, and involved electorate, democracy collapses. The limits of human perception have been stretched to the breaking point by the Internet, smart phones, and the constant access to information. People no longer can distinguish between what’s important and what’s not. We are raising a new generation of compliant consumers.

The outlook would be gloom and doom, indeed, except for the possibility of calamitous change.

IF the economy bottoms out, and IF this country is plunged into second-class status, perhaps then revolution borne from hunger will arouse the people out of their lethargy. That is, IF it’s not too late and we have not by then morphed into full-fledged totalitarianism.






  1. Richard
    August 22, 2011 at 7:31 am #

    Baby BabyYou have a Government in Pittsfield that think that they are representing the people why don’t you get up in arms about that.

    • Jeffrey Turner
      August 22, 2011 at 3:18 pm #

      Why don’t you run for government and turn it around? Dan speaks for himself and a bunch of whiners. And he reports all sorts of anonymous accusations and innuendo without backing it up. He;s a gossip columnist.

  2. Shakes His Head
    August 22, 2011 at 8:39 am #


    I would preface the following with the fact I have only read your site for a few months.

    I read papers from all over the county daily. Almost, if not all, are owned buy public and private corporations. They have editorial boards established from employees and members of their communities. Many of them do take controversial positions.

    The body of your work that I’ve examined here seems to be opinion, which is fine. It’s a blog site and you are entitled to your opinion. I find your opinions to be out of context when considering broader, fundamental problems that are endemic to society (and the topics covered), but they are yours and I think you attempt to validate them to your audience.

    The Planet could provide some genuine evaluative, informative reporting and then follow it up with a separate piece clearly stating your opinion. I see the underpinnings of worth and potential to this site, but I’m beginning to feel like it won’t congeal. It would have been a relatively short walk to catalog the signals, actuators, and lack of cohesiveness to the N-S Street traffic operations. I felt like you threw out some inflammatory statements then posted the top hit on your google of signal controls. You get a check for completing the assignment, but not a + because it was devoid of the classical argument. ‘We the People’ is giving an opinionated thesis when your experience and ability can give the disenfranchised public a cohesive and defensible dissertation.

    If you desire a diligent, educated, and involved electorate, then stop peddling to the lowest common denominator.


    • LV
      August 22, 2011 at 7:30 pm #

      I can’t stand the type-os. Sorry. When you miss-spell I can;t take you seriously. In our next life, maybe….

      • danvalenti
        August 22, 2011 at 7:47 pm #

        Typos? Don’t see any, ma’am or sir. But since we’re on the subject: “type-os” is spelled “typos.” Also, “can;t” is not abbreviated with a semi-colon. Therefore, you MUST take THE PLANET seriously. That’s an order. AN ORDER. Get it? You dig?!

        • Shakes His Head
          August 22, 2011 at 9:06 pm #

          I’m fairly sure I spell checked the first post, but in my defense, I am an engineer.

        • LV
          August 23, 2011 at 7:08 am #

          OK big D. I dig!

  3. Baby Baby
    August 22, 2011 at 9:43 am #

    Dan, I largly agree with “Shakes His Head”.

    You post alot of your opinions, and that was my point. You say you represent “We the people”. Last time I checked, I was part of “we the people”, and I rarely agree with you. So you don’t represent me.

    If you are “we the people”, then who am I, or to what group do I belong?

    You never answered my question as to whom gets the right to decide who “we the people” are? What if I think some other journalist represents “we the people”, but they have opinions 180 degrees from yours?

    I think you represent a certain group of people who are disgruntled with Pittsfield and rarely have anything positive to say about anything (in pittsfield or otherwise).

    You represent a group of people, but not “we the people”.

  4. Maxwell Edison
    August 22, 2011 at 10:41 am #

    What happened to DrugTestingPositionStatementGate?

    • danvalenti
      August 22, 2011 at 12:19 pm #

      Great question. Everyone is mum on this. Do you want me to get underneath the scab that has formed over the wound? I will if there is reason to believe the wound needs to be cauterized. By the way, Maxwell Edison, did you major in medicine?

      • Maxwell Edison
        August 22, 2011 at 12:40 pm #

        It sounded like (after several warnings) you were about to open a can of whoopass on Dan Bianchi if he didn’t respond. But he called your bluff. Care to comment on what this means for The Planet’s relevance in the upcoming elections?

        • danvalenti
          August 22, 2011 at 2:21 pm #

          Way to early to open a can of Whoop Ass on anyone, least of all Bianchi. For ignoring THE PLANET before the campaign comes out of its coma? Maxwell, really! The industrial sized can of Whoop Ass is waiting for all comers. Have no fear.

          • danvalenti
            August 22, 2011 at 2:24 pm #

            By the way, Whoop Ass is far more potent and devastating than Whup Ass. Only THE PLANET is strong enough to hold in supply Whoop Ass because of its corrosiveness.

          • Jeffrey Turner
            August 22, 2011 at 3:23 pm #

            Why “least of all Bianchi”? The Planet have a boyfriend?

  5. Concern
    August 22, 2011 at 12:13 pm #

    Shakes and Baby. So if what you read you don’t like it’s not good !!!! Oh well read the editorial page of Eagle and all the articles from Liberal press writers and you’ll have what you like.

    • Baby Baby
      August 22, 2011 at 12:54 pm #

      I’m not saying they are the voice of “We the people” either. I don’t agree with what they write as well.

      My point, Dan, is this…you are NOT “we the people” nor is any reporter. It is presumptuous to think otherwise.

      You are “Some of the people”.

      Don’t take offense to my comments, as none are intended.

      • danvalenti
        August 22, 2011 at 2:22 pm #

        No offense taken. I respect your view.

    • Shakes His Head
      August 22, 2011 at 1:06 pm #

      I didn’t say the opinions weren’t valid or ‘good’. I said, in a nutshell, that a more informative depth may entice more sympathy with his commentary, including my own.

      There also seems to be a bit of grayness between that commentary and the information on this site. Investigative reporting and commentary are two different products. I’ll review the archives as time permits.

  6. danvalenti
    August 22, 2011 at 12:16 pm #

    @RICHARD: I will let Baby speak for himself on the extent, if any, he or she is involved with changing things. Perhaps he is content with everything that goes on in Pittsfield.
    @SHH: You preface identifies the hasty generalizations of your critique. Back issues of THE PLANET on archived if you are interested. That aside, I take your comments constructively and are appreciative. I will say that my primary role is not that of reporter but or commentator. Even at that, THE PLANET has broken many, many stories that did not or would not have appeared in the mainstream press. Also, the media outlets such as the BB take care NOT take up any controversial issues that the GOBs would not like. Jack Dew did it and he left. Conor Berry tried and it cost him his job. Both, I’m pleased to say, have landed on their feet in much better situations, professionally.
    @BABY I did answer your question, though in not so many words. The answer is that We The People decide who We The People are. As a member of the Fourth Estate, I have a bully pulpit and speak for everyone who agrees OR disagrees. In a so-called democracy, that is called the marketplace of ideas. Our Founders didn’t want Divine Right of Kings. They wanted opinion, commentary, and scalding the skin off of those who opposed you. They figured that truth would win out. If you read again what I said about the nature of the press and the “democracy” we allegedly have, you’ll see what I mean. I represent We The People because I am presenting citizens with the information they need to be free and self-governing. If some people choose not to want that, such is there choice. I can only be an agenda setter. I cannot be the sole determinant of positions.
    Thank, all, for your views.

  7. just saying
    August 22, 2011 at 12:27 pm #


    DV reveals a whole lot of truth. He covers topics untouched by the “mainstream” media. DV does offer his opinion. As do all media outlets.
    Try reading the BB or NY Times. Read the Washington Post etc. Its all opinion and spin.
    One large difference is that The Planet site accepts no advertising. DV doesn’t have to cater to big business or even local small business. The unions don’t own DV, the police don’t own DV, get the point?
    You say DV is negative? I say reality is quite negative, this site simply shines a light on the things we don’t usually hear about. The things we NEED to hear about are brought up on this forum.

    • Baby Baby
      August 22, 2011 at 1:00 pm #

      I will not disagee with anything you said here. And, I agree that Dan does bring about some good thru his writings.

      Its the “We the people” thing that rubs me the wrong way. Maybe it is that I don’t like his “style”, if you want to call it that.

      One has to admit (at least I do) that it would be nice to hear some positive stories once in a while. If all you concentrate on is the negative, what kind of life is that to lead? Brings one down real quick.

      • danvalenti
        August 22, 2011 at 2:30 pm #

        Now that you’ve articulated your view, I have to agree with you. I can see how your interpretation of my claim can rub you the wrong way. In daring to claim to speak for We The People, I only refer to the responsibility that journalists, investigative or otherwise, and commentators have to our first obligation, which is to the truth (yes, as we see it). Our second loyalty is to citizens. I am the only media outlet who has refused and will not take commercial advertising, because I do not want ANY compromises on my ability to “go there.” I have had offers to take this site commercial and have thus far rejected them. It’s vital o have a site like this t act an an independent monitor of civil power. Also, the practitioners and professional who make up The Fourth Estate (certainly this one!) must be allowed to exercise personal conscience. Again, I thank you for contributing to the advancement of a vital issue.

        • Baby Baby
          August 22, 2011 at 5:40 pm #

          On this we can agree. Thank you for seeing my point.

        • Jeffrey Turner
          August 22, 2011 at 5:52 pm #

          You’re paid off by Buddy. Stop lying about not taking any advertising dollars. The worse the Clownials do, the less we read about them from the Planet.

  8. Jeffrey Turner
    August 22, 2011 at 3:12 pm #

    Har! What happened with the important story of the kid who put his hand through a window? The Planet might as well be working for Murdoch. Or on the paid staff of the Pittsfield Colonials. Oh, he is. The Colonials rarely lose here.

    • JoeBlow
      August 22, 2011 at 6:55 pm #

      Do your research……Dan is a media consultant for the Colonials! Why are you so angry? I don’t agree with Dan all of the time but he’s exposed some of the corruption in this town! Sunlight is the best disinfectant,if you don’t like it put your shades on!

      • danvalenti
        August 22, 2011 at 7:55 pm #

        JOE B
        Yes, that is correct. I am grateful for the support, and I, too, am puzzled by Jeff’s hostility and anger. He would do much better for himself offering substantive comments for contribute to the advancement of the issues this website brings to attention.Or perhaps he just enjoys this kind of attention, even though it doesn’t present him in a good light. I’ve never asked anyone to agree with me. The only thing I ask is consideration of the points I bring up and the arguments I make, for or against. And it’s true, this website had broken many, many stories that otherwise would never have seen the light of day. We will take no commercial dollars. We will not be bought. We will not be bossed. The majority of We the People understand what this site is all about, as you obviously do. Again, thanks.

    August 22, 2011 at 4:10 pm #

    Wow Jeff, a kid who puts his hand through a window several weeks ago is an important story today!!!! Maybe to you but not many other people think so.

    • Jeffrey Turner
      August 22, 2011 at 5:48 pm #

      The Planet claimed it was important news for the future of Pittsfield. Don’t blame me.

  10. Evian
    August 22, 2011 at 4:40 pm #

    JEFF TURNER has the hots for THE PLANET!!! He follows Dan around like the pathetic little squirt that he is. JT, your jeaolousy of Dan is so obvious!!! Youre making a fool of yourself.

    • Jeffrey Turner
      August 22, 2011 at 5:50 pm #

      No, Evian, I only make the Planet look like a fool. You must have the hots for him as you keep coming to his defense. Maybe the BB can publish some photos. ROFL.

  11. Robocop Steroidcop
    August 22, 2011 at 6:45 pm #

    Let me get in on this. Without Valenti, the county especially the city of Pitts would be much worse off, for he does what this site says he does, he sticks up for the little guy, basically. Hes broken a lot of stories and give the hardest hitting opinions.

    And Jeff T: I agree with Evian. You are a PLANET wannabe! Sorry but youre only embarrassing yourself. Youre pathetic a sad case, really. Must be that RPI water.

  12. Nomad
    August 22, 2011 at 7:22 pm #

    This is off the current subject…but I noticed this morning that TFB (Trish) had been out putting up lawn signs over the weekend. Most of the ones that I noticed on Elm St. were placed illegally on city property. The most interesting one was on the city’s tree line in front of Sacred Heart Church’s Rectory. I’m not a parishoner there, so I wondered if a vote was taken at the weekend masses to select the Democratic candidate for representative, that the parish would endorse.

    Don’t know if someone complained, but the sign was gone late this afternoon. However, it showed that she either isn’t aware of the separation of Church and State…and the ordinance against the placement of political signs on city property…or that they don’t apply to HER.

    • danvalenti
      August 22, 2011 at 7:49 pm #

      I, too, saw the veritable blooming of TRISH signs. I didn’t make note, but many if not most were illegally posted. The Sacred Heart sign was taken down after a complaint was made to Fr. Joyce, so we heard.

      • Shakes His Head
        August 23, 2011 at 5:53 am #

        A quick search of the City’s code did not find readily apparent ordinances for signs- political or otherwise. Can anyone help by posting a link? or it is safe to presume that if the signs are in the right of way, they are illegal?

  13. just saying
    August 22, 2011 at 8:50 pm #

    Remember, laws are only for the little people. TFB is far and above you. Just ask her.

    • Dusty
      August 23, 2011 at 1:22 am #

      She was appointed but she thinks she was annointed

  14. rick
    August 23, 2011 at 5:28 am #

    seems like tfb would fill the larded ones seat well in boston shes already making her own rules with the signs…. seems like robertos right hand people feel the citys there for the taking…..any half baked politician knows churches are off limits…… is this what we want to represent us!!!! i dont think so.

    • Shakes His Head
      August 23, 2011 at 5:55 am #

      Any church or not-for profit should be concerned because they can lose their tax exempt status. Its not the City’s rules, its the Federal government’s rules.

  15. rick
    August 23, 2011 at 5:49 am #

    “we the people” is a great catch phrase to try and unite all, to a common goal, but with all the political dancing that goes on with candidates the word democracy gets lost in the shuffle. wouldnt it be nice to actually believe what comes out of a politicians mouth…or to stop the special interest groups from rearing their ugly heads, or maybe the people running would let us know whos backing them and whats in it for them if they win……. maybe then people will go back to the polls and feel that their vote counts, instead of a couple of wards calling the shots. seems like we the people is all we have left after the politicians and special interest groups get done with us.

    • A Vet
      August 23, 2011 at 7:47 am #

      Thats the only shot ‘we the people’have, is if theres a heavy turnout. The Gobs win elections year after yr because they make people apathetic then they bring out their core of block of voters and steal elections that way. Thats how TFb will take larded lout’s place in boston

  16. Concern
    August 23, 2011 at 6:11 am #

    Remember one thing every candidate has their “special interest groups” every one of them.

  17. rick
    August 23, 2011 at 6:59 am #

    yes concern i know that, wouldnt it be nice to just once have a poll. who says.. im here for we the people and only the people..with a candidate like that he/she could pretty much straigten this mess out. the only one close to that in my opinion is nichols. the special int. groups havent been doing such a good job. no new jobs have come into the city, and the ones that did are low pay,and even then we have to help move their cooling towers , they cant do it out of their profits.. but then again we dont know if there is a profit because they wont open their books ….and the beat goes on in the pitts.

    • Dusty
      August 23, 2011 at 2:36 pm #

      I am still trying to figure out where their water comes from. Consumer Reports says that most bottled water comes from municipal taps….the same water that comes into peoples homes…the same water you pay taxes for. Does anyone see big tanker trucks pulling into this place with water from some magical Ice Spring? Let me know if you see them.

      Do people know that most of the water they pay for in the grocery stores is available from their own faucets? For FREEEE???

  18. rick
    August 23, 2011 at 7:05 am #

    p.s. lothrop says 12.50 an hour is nothing to sneeze at, at ice water bottling plant. these are the people who are in our corner..try paying your bills on that…and then going up on north street to help bail out the people our tax dollars are bailing out. people….pay attention when you vote!!!!!!! this last city council shoul have been a wake up call.

  19. A Vet
    August 23, 2011 at 7:50 am #

    i agree with rick. My vote is going to nichols, why? bianchi and marchetti are both insiders, both bought ans sold, just one is more boughtand sold than the other. Nichols has shown an independent streak and has the common touch. Nichols is goingto surprise a lot of people, but as i said before the only true hope is for a heave turnout wouldnt it be great f we got 75%..?

    • Steve Wade
      August 23, 2011 at 12:47 pm #

      So you want a Pizza maker to run our city? Boy you fit right ih ih Palukaville!!

    August 23, 2011 at 11:55 am #

    Vet: Trouble is people in MASS keep voting same people in no matter how bad they are. Examples: Kerry, Oliver, Barney, and on and on

  21. just saying
    August 23, 2011 at 4:53 pm #

    Steve W. –

    Mr Nichols ran an international real estate company if my memory is correct. And the Cove is a successful business.
    What company do you own? Do tell.