Accuracy in Media

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(Transcription by J. C. Hendershot)

TRANSCRIPT

Interview with Gigi Gaston by Roger Aronoff

The “Take AIM” show on BlogTalkRadio, Thursday, July 22, 2010

ROGER ARONOFF: Good morning, and welcome to Take AIM, Accuracy in Media’s weekly talk show on BlogTalkRadio.  AIM is America’s original media watchdog, and every week we point out biased coverage and bring you the stories the mainstream media ignore.  We encourage you to visit our website at aim.org, and sign up to receive our daily E-mail so you can keep track of what the media are up to.  I am Roger Aronoff, a media analyst with AIM, and we’ve got a really interesting show today.  We have Gigi Gaston, who will be on shortly.  She is the director of the documentary film We Will Not Be Silenced, which documents voter intimidation and corruption at Democratic precinct caucuses at state conventions during the 2008 Presidential primary.  Gigi, you there?  Hi!  How are you?

GASTON: I sure am!  How are you?

ARONOFF: I’m great.  Thank you for being on.  I was just talking a bit about your documentary before you came on, but let me tell our listeners more about you.  I found it fascinating, as I was looking into your background, reading your bio—Gigi Gaston is a native of Greenwich, Connecticut.  She began her athletic career when she began riding at age three.  She moved to Los Angeles with her family, and in 1976 became the youngest rider to win an Olympic competition at the Washington International Horse Show.  She has sold three screenplays to major companies, and a fourth has been optioned by Ron Howard and Brian Grazer’s Imagine Entertainment.  Last year she directed her first feature, The Cream Will Rise, a documentary about singer/songwriter Sophie B. Hawkins, which has been screened at film festivals around the country.  Ms. Gaston is a lifelong Democrat, and her grandfather was a Democratic Governor of Massachusetts.  As I was learning more about you, I couldn’t help but think it sounded like it could be a bio of Katherine Hepburn. A lot of similarities.  Does that fit?

GASTON: I didn’t realize that she rode horses, but I knew she lived in Connecticut.

ARONOFF: I think of The Philadelphia Story—Just seems like a fitting comparison.

GASTON: I’m very complimented!

ARONOFF: So tell us a little more about you.  How did you become a political activist?

GASTON: Oh, well, that’s all because of this movie.  I had no plans on ever becoming political, or becoming an activist, ever.  I was called by a Congressional investigator—or an ex-Congressional investigator—who had worked during President Clinton’s times, and said that there were some discrepancies going on with the caucus systems in Texas, and that they were basically being falsified, and all these horrible things—people being locked out, and intimidated, and running the elderly back and forth, and sending them to the wrong rooms, people being bussed in—all of that stuff.  And I thought, Well, this is ridiculous—and then I’d go down and check it out.

ARONOFF: And at what point was that?  What period was that?

GASTON: It was, I guess, the summer?

ARONOFF: The summer of 2008?

GASTON: Yeah. I think my first interview was around July 8th, believe it or not, when I finally got down to Texas.

ARONOFF: You had not been involved in the campaign until then?

GASTON: No.  Nothing. I didn’t even know who I was voting for.

ARONOFF: I see.  Just a little more background, about your grandfather being the Governor of Massachusetts.  Tell us a little about him.  Who was he?  When was he Governor?

GASTON: Well, my father had me very old, so I basically had a grandfather who had me.  My father was 69 when I came to be.  So his father was rather ancient himself!  He was the 29th governor of Massachusetts.  His name was Alexander William Gaston.  He was one of the people who put together the bank of Boston, Shawmut Bank, and then he had a big law firm called Gaston, Peabody, Snow, and Saltonstall in Boston.  He was first Mayor of Boston, then became Governor of Massachusetts.  He did a lot for people—tried to help them get loans, and do things like that.  One interesting story about him was that a man named Gillette was looking for a loan to start a company, and had this idea about razors.  My grandfather thought it was a great idea, and got him a loan when no one else wanted to give him a loan, so he made a lot of money off of Gillette, off of creating, off of being the financier behind Gillette.  But, you know, he had his own downfalls, which actually carried over to my father, who was shot down over the English Channel, and got a Purple Heart for that.  But my dad actually kind of started—my grandfather drank, and then my father drank, and my father actually ran for Congress against Henry Cabot Lodge, and lost so that was the end of his career.

ARONOFF: And your grandfather was—what, partners with Leverett Saltonstall?

GASTON: My father was friends with one of the Roosevelt kids.  They were really good friends, and really worked hard in the Democratic party.

ARONOFF: So did you have brushes with the Kennedys growing up?

GASTON: No, I didn’t.  No, because my family separated at eight.  I was pulled out to L.A., where my mom was, too, in a divorce, so, no, I did not have brush-ups with the Kennedys at all.

ARONOFF: So the movie We Will Not Be Silenced documents how Barack Obama, first-term Senator from Illinois, used, as it says on your website, “falsified delegate counts, falsified documents, and other violations” to beat the seemingly unbeatable Clinton machine and claim the Democratic nomination.  And it describes the “disenfranchising of American citizens by the Democratic Party and the Obama campaign,” and the “infamous campaign of ‘change’ from Chicago encouraged and created an army to steal caucus packets, falsify documents, change results, allow unregistered people to vote, scare and intimidate Hillary supporters, stop them, threaten them, lock them out of their polling places, silence their voices, and stop their right to vote.”  So you got this call.  When did you first see something happening that convinced you that this fraud was really going on?

GASTON: When I met the people, the American people.

ARONOFF: Okay.

GASTON: When you interview so many people—I never was at a caucus because I vote in California, we don’t have them—but when you meet so many people, and see so many challenges—in Texas alone there was 2,000 challenges—and people that work two and three and four jobs, that are not wealthy people, and they bring you into their home, and they go, “We have no money for food, but we’ve gone and asked, and all our neighbors have brought you this lunch, and we’re so grateful that you are here to film us, because our own party, that we drove from El Paso—” one example—“to Dallas, our own party tells us that we’re crazy, and won’t even take our affidavits of what went on here.  And thank you, thank you so much for coming!  And here, please, let us just tell our story!”  When you start interviewing people like that, and all the stories are the same, and you kind of can tell if someone’s lying—I mean, all these people can’t be lying!

ARONOFF: Right.

GASTON: And they’re really sincere people, where you can see that the experience lives in them, and they’d show me things, like sign-in sheets that looked like they had been copied out of the phone book, all in the same handwriting.  In Sioux City, Iowa, alone, out of a caucus where a hundred people caucused for Obama, 40 people had the same address.  Different things like that I saw, but the people are really the things that made me realize what was going on was far more serious than what I’d gone down to do, which was basically to prove everyone wrong.  And I was even more startled that when you actually tried to say something about it, and let people know, especially the press in this country—I think not only is our voting in great jeopardy here, but I think the press is.

ARONOFF: Mm-hmm.

GASTON: No one wanted to hear.  I don’t know if you saw the segment on Fox . . .

ARONOFF: I did.  Yes.

GASTON: Well, if you remember—maybe not, but—Alisyn said to me, “Why didn’t you take it to the press?”  And I said, “I did!  I took it to Fox!  I took it to CNN!  I took it to MSNBC!  No one wanted to hear it.”  And—

ARONOFF: So what about—since you were on Fox, then, has there been any interest with any other media to have you on?

GASTON: Tons of radio.

ARONOFF: Okay.

GASTON: Nobody from MSNBC or CNN, but I assume that’s probably because they want the whole thing buried.

ARONOFF: Right.

GASTON: It’s just tons of radio, and there’s been a lot of wonderful donations, because, like all documentarians, I’m not independently wealthy—though my grandfather did a lot of great things, it got lost by the time it got to me.

ARONOFF: Mm-hmm.

GASTON: So I’m a documentarian, and you run out of money.  I’ve had a lot of wonderful people giving money for me to finish, which has been really wonderful.  I’m just trying to get it done. It’s a story that—I don’t know if it’s ever going to get much play.  I have no idea.  Who knows?  We’re kind of Davids against the Goliath of government, and to me, though, the only way anyone can last in this country is really looking at the truth, and seeing the truth, to keep our country back—not back, but where it started, which is the most important thing to me.  One of them is our freedom to vote.  For me, all these people wanting their vote to count, when I met them, it was so important to them, and a lot of them were immigrants that had come here and become legal, and were so proud of this country, and some of them, it was their first time voting, and it was so important to them.  Those people really touched my heart in a very deep way.

ARONOFF: Let me ask you about a couple more of those things from the film.  One is, you talked about where these delegates were told to go home, that they had already been counted, and they said they hadn’t even signed in.  How—

GASTON: Oh, yeah.  That wasn’t a delegate, those were just regular voters in caucuses.

ARONOFF: Okay.

GASTON: But terrible things did happen to the delegates in the convention.  Okay: Basically, when you go—I don’t know if your listeners know about caucusing, I knew nothing about it—but basically, if you’re going to vote, you have to vote in the morning, in the regular election, or send in an absentee ballot, and then you get to caucus later.  You’re supposed to bring proof of that.  It seemed to me that—I would say 90% of the time—the people who had Hillary Clinton pins on, all of their IDs were checked, they had to make sure that they brought their voting—proof that they had voted in the first election, you know, like what most states do—and so when they came back, a lot of them had left it in the car.  So they would go to the car—one instance is on the documentary, the girl comes back and it’s locked.  They’d basically said, “Well, you have to go get it,” and then they purposely locked her out.  But thank God she had a friend in there.  I think she says on the documentary Alice was in there and let her in because she phoned her.

ARONOFF: Mm-hmm.

GASTON: But if you had an Obama sticker on, they didn’t check ID, they just waved you into the room to stand on the side of Obama.  That happened constantly.  A lot of people weren’t even from that precinct, in that area.  If I want to caucus, and, say I’m in Venice, California, or Santa Monica, California, I can’t go to Malibu and caucus also.  There were a lot of repeats, of people going all over. Bussing in was the worst part.  I don’t know if you saw, in the documentary, where all these parents didn’t know where their kids had been taken, and they’d been taken across from Illinois into Indiana, and caucused, bought dinner, and returned.  It’s not legal to pay someone to vote for you.

ARONOFF: Tell us, who is Helene Latimer?  She’s one of the people in your documentary.

GASTON: Okay. Helene is one of the most amazing human beings I’ve ever met. I wish she was on your show, because she’d make all of you guys cry.  She’s so deep.  Helene, you know, marched with Martin Luther King, knew Dr. King, worked for Dr. King, really went through the Civil Rights Movement, is so amazing and so brilliant—there’s a lot on the documentary I had to cut from her because I couldn’t use as much as I wanted to.  I could have made the whole film about her!  She is someone who watched two African-American guys, with Obama stickers on their shirts, in front of polls, turn all different black—African-American—people away that had Hillary Clinton stickers on.  So, basically, I talked to one lawyer who’d worked in Hillary’s legal team, and basically she had told me—because, of course, I did an interview—5,000 people.  That’s how many affidavits there were, and complaints.  She told me that, mostly, it was Hispanic, and African-American, Indian, and women that they focused on, being very aggressive, that they went for the intimidation tactics on.  There’s certain people in the documentary I’ve had to blur their faces out, because they’ve had death threats.  And it didn’t stop there—that’s the terrible part.  It went on into the convention.  The press made the convention look like the Democrats reunited and, instead, the delegates—and I don’t know if your listeners know about delegates, and I don’t know totally about delegates, but this is what I know about delegates, is that they campaigned to become delegates, they get voted in as delegates, and they represent the candidate that the people have wanted.  So an example is, there’s someone in another city that I’ve just interviewed.  I can’t say where, but let’s just say she’s in the South—I mean, I can’t pinpoint her because she’s afraid.  She’s an elderly woman, 71.  She’s been a Democrat for 35 years, working for them, helped get the Governor in, everything—has won awards.  Her whole dream, as a kid, was to be a delegate.  Well, after what happened at the convention, she has left the party. Basically, what they said to her is, “You have to switch your vote from Hillary Clinton to Barack Obama.”  And she said, “Legally, I can’t.  In this state, it’s illegal.  I would never do it anyway, but, legally, you’re asking me to break the law!  I’m an ex-lawyer, and I won’t do it!”  And they said, “You’re going to do it.”  And she said, “I can’t do it.  I represent 48,000 voters!”  So you can see how—

ARONOFF: Right.

GASTON: —it varies in cities.  Some delegates, I’ve been told, are 18,000 voters.  Another number that’s been told to me is 35,000.  So this doesn’t just stop at the 5,000 caucus people.  These are delegates that represent a huge part of the party, and if you go on the website, which is wewillnotbesilenced2008.com, you’ll see that there’s one delegate that I filmed, a man at the convention, who talked about five states being forced to change their vote, or they would never have a political career again in the party.  Our party—I mean, I don’t know if your station is Republican or Democrat, conservative or whatever—but basically, our party has been hijacked, and they’ve just allowed, they’ve just said—Texas has just okayed the caucus system, after all these complaints!  It’s like these people don’t exist!  And that, to me, that says, “Oh, great—”

ARONOFF: Right.

GASTON: “—our party’s not going to stop.  It’s going to continue to manipulate what candidate they want in, that will carry out their agenda, whoever ‘they’ is.”  I know that doesn’t sound like correct English—but you know what I’m saying.

ARONOFF: Right.

GASTON: Who is—

ARONOFF: Let me—

GASTON: Who is this group that is—?

ARONOFF: Yeah.  A lot of people are seeing this image of these New Black Panthers in front of the Philadelphia polling station—

GASTON: Mm-hmm!

ARONOFF: —one carrying a billy stick.  Do you know of other such incidents, or was this just a more visible and blatant example of what was going on elsewhere—

GASTON: Oh, I think—

ARONOFF: —without a “Billy Stick?”

GASTON: Listen: Mine were without the Billy Stick, and it wasn’t just African-Americans standing there.  However, Helene was the one that viewed the African-Americans in—Iowa, I think Helene was in—but mine was very aggressive people that were really trained, and someone is trying to get me, and claims they have the pamphlet that was used to train people that were going to handle the caucus systems.  The Indian gentleman on the documentary talks about that, it wasn’t an isolated incident.  These people were trained, and he actually spoke to some of them.  It’s exactly like that—I mean, it’s also like—one woman came to the caucus, she’s an elderly woman, Hispanic, in El Paso, and El Paso wasn’t the worst place.  El Paso was actually the best place—but there were other—like, Collin County was like a Wild Bill Hickok series, like a Western cowboy, crazy situation.  One woman was asked—showed up, on her walker, and they go, “Oh!  You know what, it’s not here.  You’re not supposed to caucus here.”  She says, “Well, it says so.”  “Oh, no, you’re supposed to be at the school cafeteria.”  So she walks across the playground, the athletic field, gets to the cafeteria, it’s closed, comes back and says, “Well, no one was over there.”  And they said, “I’m sorry, you’ve got to go to the library.”  Basically, they ran this woman down until she went home. And it was supposed to be in there! It’s just stuff like that.

ARONOFF: Let me give some other things because there’s a lot of ground I want to cover. Hillary, lot of people don’t think of her as—I mean, she had her supporters in the media, she’s a strong person.  Wasn’t she able to call friends in the media, or people, to overcome this in any way?  In other words, why was…

GASTON: No, I hear you. It’s an excellent question, and that’s been a question I have been asking the whole time.  But if you go on the site, you will see papers where Hillary’s campaign filed papers with the press, and the press wouldn’t even look at it.  So I don’t—all I can say is, Hillary must not have gotten—There were press releases from—like, here, let me read you one.  I just jumped on the site.  March 4th, 2008, from Hillary Clinton For President.  “The legal hotline . . . three most . . . categories are Irregularities: Prematurely Taking Precinct Convention Packets by Obama Campaign” from the caucus system.  “Numerous calls have shown that Obama supporters prematurely remove all convention packets from the polling places.  Packets may not legally be given out until 7:15 PM.”  See—here’s an example.  Tarrant County, Houston, Tarrant, Dallas—they’re just doing it in different—Bexar, Fort [Bend], Harris, Dallas, El Paso, Houston, Harris, Galveston, Harris, Dallas, Dallas, Dallas—[Medina], Walker.  “Voter Intimidation: Lock-out of” all “Clinton caucus goers by Obama campaign.”  Another sample of all the precincts.  It’s another 20 precincts.  “There are numerous instances of Obama supporters filling out precinct convention sign-in sheets during the day and submitting them as completed vote totals at caucus.  This is . . . against the rules.  The sign-in sheets were copied by the Obama campaign from the Texas Democratic Party website and taken by supporters to various polling places—” It goes on and on and on.  So she sent things out.  No one picked it up.

ARONOFF: What about Howard Dean?  The DNC?  Would you say they were on Obama’s side in this?

GASTON: I absolutely, 100%, think they were on Obama’s side.

ARONOFF: And they knew what was going on, and allowed it to happen?

GASTON: Yes.  What John Siegel said on Fox News last week was, he said Howard Dean has all the signed complaints.  He has them all.  Here’s the thing: It’s not like I understand this—and please don’t take this wrong—but I understand more a Republican and Democrat cheating against each other.  What really freaks me out about this is that their own party is doing it to their own people.  I don’t know why, but to me that steps it up an extra notch in my gut. Because we’re eating our own now.

ARONOFF: Well, Hillary by accepting Secretary of State—seems like maybe she forgave him, or whatever—viewed it as in her interest, somehow.  But tell me how this has changed you: Your views toward your political outlook, your worldview, your view of the media—

GASTON: It’s totally shattered me.  I could cry today, to you.  I’m an idealist.  It’s wrecked my vision of the—

ARONOFF: Have you left the party or anything?

GASTON: I haven’t left the party yet, because I’m in to try to see if this is one last shot, that they could totally be heroic, unite the party, and address this.  I know it’s a crazy hoop-dream, but I haven’t left the party yet.  I definitely don’t believe in what—the great gifts we were given as people that came to this country.  I don’t believe that it’s still there.  I really am concerned about our voting.  I really don’t feel we’re going to have—that our votes are ever going to be represented again if we, as people, don’t go, “Hey!  You guys have to address this!”  But we need the people, you know?  One girl—me—can’t do this alone.  I need the people.  I need to get this story out, have people see what’s really going on, and understand that this can—it’s just—if Republicans are listening: This can happen in their party.  And this will happen—if you don’t stop it, it’s going to take over the whole system, and we will lose our right to vote, our privilege to vote, in this country.  Our votes will mean nothing.  I got a call from a woman who had done Hacking Democracy—it was an HBO movie, I never saw it, but I guess it won an Emmy, or was nominated for an Emmy—and she said, “Gigi, you don’t understand what you’re doing.”  She goes, “This whole country has lost its ability to have an honest voting system.  Germany changed their voting system—the Germans!—because they were doing the same voting system that we have.”  And she said, “The E-votes are so easily corruptible.  I brought—in my movie—I brought German experts, and they had American experts on, telling the German experts that they were wrong.  Well, these American experts weren’t experts.”  And she said, “I’m telling you, Gigi, our voting system is gone if we don’t do something as people.”  And therefore—you know, everyone says, “Well, Congress doesn’t listen to me, my Senator doesn’t listen to me, no one cares”—that’s where the Tea Party has sprung out of that, is my opinion—and you know what?  No one’s going to have to listen to anyone, ’cause we’re going to want one Congressman, and all the voting is going to be corrupted, and we’re going to get whoever the party wants.  And the party is supposed to be our voice—and it’s not!

ARONOFF: I think people are still very confused.  Let me ask you: Can you stay over a few extra minutes?

GASTON: Sure.  Sure.

ARONOFF: Okay, great.  Great.  You know what happened in South Carolina in this Democratic primary, with this guy, this Greene, who never did one campaign ad, no website, against a pretty prominent person who’d been a judge and a legislator before, and Greene got 60% of the vote, and that might be a preview of what we’re going to see this fall. I agree with you, and am very concerned, and just wonder if our system hasn’t been so totally corrupted.  People are expecting certain things to happen this election, based on polls, but you’ve pointed out what the Obama machine is doing, and it might totally overpower the will of the people.

GASTON: I’m—it’s already happened once, and I’m not saying—I’m not taking a finger and pointing a finger at President Obama and saying he knew about it.  I would assume, since he’s the head, he would know, but he might not have known about it.  Someone else might have done it.  Who knows?  But the point is, is that we’ve got to say something as a people, and say we’re not going to take it anymore, we need our voting system tuned up, and we need the caucus system thrown out of this country, because it’s too easy to cheat.  They knew that, and that’s how they went in, because if you win popular vote—here’s one point I forgot—if you win popular vote, you always win the caucuses.  Hillary won the popular vote.  So that’s what set off this Congressional investigator.  She said to herself, “It didn’t make sense.”  All I can say is, I think we are in terrible trouble.  I think the fact that the leader of the new world was elected through a caucus system really means that the caucus system has got to go.  And I just can’t believe that—in my documentary, I don’t know if you saw, Gloria Allred says we have to eliminate the caucus system.  She says, “Let’s vote a Democrat in, and let’s eliminate the caucus system after.”  Well, no one has tried to do anything about it, and the other thing, too, is, doesn’t anyone in this country—or am I too old-fashioned?—doesn’t anyone in this country care that it’s not winning, it’s how you win that counts?  Integrity—what did Martin Luther King say?  You don’t judge a man by the color of his skin, but by his integrity and his character?  What happened to that?

ARONOFF: You’re right.  It seems lost, in many ways.  But as you point out, it’s not just the caucus, but it’s the E-vote, it’s voting by mail, it’s allowing felons to vote—I mean, there’s so many things that are seeming to be corrupting the vote that…

GASTON: Yeah, and people that aren’t citizens, I don’t think that people who are not here legally—and you’ll go, “How can you be a Democrat and say that?”  I know too many great people that have come here and fought to become Americans and really cherish that—and I’ve tried to get work in a lot of other countries and can’t even get in.  I really feel that we shouldn’t have people that don’t live here, and that aren’t legal, voting, you know?

ARONOFF: Mmm.

GASTON: I really—it’s going to overwhelm the system and it already has.  And yes, I’m a Democrat and, yes, I believe that, and I’ll probably have stones thrown through my window…

ARONOFF: Well, speaking of that—have you been labeled a racist?  Have you been threatened?  Have you had any bounce-back or feedback from people who don’t like what you’re doing?

GASTON: Of course—but they can’t really label me a racist because, if you go to Gaston County in North Carolina, I come from a whole family that Gaston County was named after my great great grandfather who freed the slaves in 1830.  I’ve never been racist.

ARONOFF: Right.

GASTON: I don’t even look at people with different color.  I’m not raised that way.  So they could say it, but, to me, it makes me laugh.

ARONOFF: Right.

GASTON: It’s crazy.  And I wish Bill Clinton had acted that way when they started calling him racist, because, before Obama, everyone called Bill Clinton “The First Black President.”

ARONOFF: Yeah.

GASTON: And that’s when this movie—I tried to get into the Clintons.  I handed it off to everyone that was close to them.  I sent it to Bill Clinton.  It was when he was called a racist, and I just had a feeling—that’s another reason why it never got to be aired, because if you said anything wrong about the first African-American President, you were called a racist.  I think that stopped it.

ARONOFF: What is your opinion of Obama as president?  Are you happy with the job he’s doing?

GASTON: No, I’m not.  I’m not, and I’m sorry I’m not.  I was hoping that he would be much better than I thought he would be, and I think he’s worse than I thought he would be.

ARONOFF: What are the issues that you’re not happy with?

GASTON: Well, it just seems like for a man that constantly said he wasn’t in the pockets of the banks, it really feels to me that he’s definitely in the pockets of the banks!  I wasn’t happy how they shoved the health care bill through.  I mean, I believe that we do need a health care bill but—I mean, when you start seeing that nobody read it and different things were shoved through and it was so quick, you thought, “Oh my God, we’re in big-time trouble.”  I don’t think he has been what he said he would be: An open book.  I don’t think he has tried to work with the Republicans.  I think everything’s a spin.  I’m doing a show right now with a Republican, that’s about politics, that we’re hopefully going to sell to the networks here, and I’ve never had more fun working with anyone in my life.  And I keep saying to Richard Grenell, and he just—he writes for the Huffington Post and just got a job on Fox.  He’s going to be a commentator—but I said there, “Richard,” I go, “I wish the Senate and Congress could see us because we really can work!”  You know, we talk about our issues, and we work together, and that’s what I was hoping that Obama would do—which he said he was going to do.  I mean, the financial situation is ridiculous.  Big government, having more and more big government—it’s like we, the people, don’t know what we’re doing, so the government has to decide for us?  It’s crazy.  I just—I’m very unhappy with what’s going on.  I mean—and here’s another thing: I was down in the Gulf—do you know the singer/songwriter Sophie B. Hawkins?

ARONOFF: Yes.

GASTON: Okay, well, she wrote her new song, which is called “The Land, The Sea, and the Sky.”  It’s a fantastic song about what’s going on the world—but not the Gulf—but, you know—just that we’re not really—you know how the Indians really appreciated the land, the sea, and the sky, right?  So she donated this song to all the Waterkeeper Alliance and the fishermen down in the Gulf.  So it’s on iTunes, and you can download it and all the monies go to them.  Direct in their pockets.  And so we were down there and I was filming.  Do you know that all the people I spoke to—and they’re mostly African-American, that are very poor, that work in the coffee shops, that are janitors, that are this and that—they all thought Obama was their hope, and they said they wish Bush was back?  They said Bush came to help them with Katrina before Obama ever set foot to help them with the BP incident and that he hasn’t even helped—do you know that they’re being paid by BP, at night, five dollars an hour to go and clean up the beaches before, say, Barack Obama comes, or any publicity comes?  That it’s ten times worse, and nobody is helping them, and nobody cares about them? And my question is, why as a people do we help Haiti only and not help our own people?  I mean, Larry King is the only guy who tried.  I don’t think they raised that much money, but that’s our Haiti down there.

ARONOFF: Yes.

GASTON: Those are the people that voted for Obama, and you should see the signs on the road—that they’ve painted of Obama—that are startling.  No press cover, that.  No press cover, anything anymore.  You cannot believe the press.

ARONOFF: What’s an example?

GASTON: Okay, like a picture.  It’s going to be in one of Sophie’s videos, coming out, but it’s like a picture of a scary kind of character that you’d see in Halloween with a gas mask and a cape—

ARONOFF: Well, it’s sure to be shown in the context of “These are racists putting these signs up!”  I mean, that’s the way—

GASTON: Well, they’re African-Americans putting these signs up, and looking at Obama and saying, “You betrayed us.”  And just—just different things like that.  “Where’s our hope now?”  “When are you coming?”  “When are you going to do something and not just speak?”  The question I have, too—and I was a huge Al Gore fan, I voted for him and I really, like, believed and loved him, and thought all of this whole global warming, and everything he did for that.  Well, let me ask your audience something: Where is he in this big BP spill, the greatest catastrophe of our entire life?  Where is he?  He hasn’t said a peep!  Mr. Environment!  So you’re asking me how this has changed me?  It’s made me look at people more and go, “Wait a minute, actions speak louder than words.”  So, it’s—it’s probably ruined a side of my life, because I was such an idealist about this country and now I think we’re losing our country, and now I’m really sad that we’re losing our country, and no laws are being abided by—and what is it going to teach my son?  I have a two-year-old son—what is it going to teach him?  Where’s his future?

ARONOFF: Well, I think Al Gore would answer that question as “Hiding out,” because he knows that the next time he sits in front of a journalist, whoever it is, is going to have to ask him about what happened…

GASTON: —why hasn’t anyone asked it?  Sophie B. Hawkins wrote an article for Huffington Post—

ARONOFF: Right.

GASTON: She’s a Democrat.  She’s left, right?

ARONOFF: Uh-huh.

GASTON: But I think she’s moved center.  She said—her thing was, “BP lied, Al Gore hides”—I forgot the rest of it.

ARONOFF: Right.

GASTON: And do you know they changed the title of her article and ran it?  And took out everything about Al Gore?

ARONOFF: Oh, they did?

GASTON: Yeah. And so, who’s paid Al Gore?   Hmm, I wonder.  Well, me—who’s no longer an idealist—goes, “I bet he’s on BP’s paylist.”  How else am I supposed to interpret this, as an intelligent human being on this Earth?

ARONOFF: Did you ever look at the fundraising effort from the last campaign on—the Obama campaign?  In other words, there was a lot of evidence and reports about tens of millions of dollars, out of the half a billion or so that he raised, that came from overseas—illegal.  Did that play into anything you saw going on?

GASTON: No, but a lot of people told me a lot of stuff… I’ve heard about all that.  I’ve learned a lot of stuff, like how people break—you know, like, someone wants to give $30 million to your campaign and they break it down in however many increments of 2,500 dollars from all different sources so it totals, eventually, $30 million.  I mean, I’ve heard so many stories.  Who knows if it’s true?  I just sit and go, “Wow, I never would have thought of that!”  [Laughs.]  I don’t know what to say, I really don’t know what to say about that.

ARONOFF: What about this—what’s in the news this week, this Shirley Sherrod, and as someone who’s made films—Give me your take

GASTON: Here’s a good example.  Shirley Sherrod.  I’m so glad that you’re really smart about bringing her up.  Okay, here’s an example about our press:  I’m at the gym—and I never get to watch TV—so CNN is on, and I hear how she says, “Well, I was told that Glenn Beck was going to have me on the show, so the White House asked me to resign, and I had three calls by the time I got to some place and pulled over and then resigned.”  Right?  And then—I never get a chance to watch TV—then the next day I’m at the gym, and someone has Glenn Beck on, and Glenn Beck goes, “Well, I never said that. I never even had Shirley on my show.  The White House should really—shame on the White House, shame on the NAACP, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.”  And I’m like, “Oh, my God, look at all of these lies just spewing around!”—not saying about Glenn Beck lying.  So, here’s the interesting part: So then I call Helene, who you mentioned—

ARONOFF: Mm-hmm.

GASTON: —the civil rights activists—and I said, “Helene”—or I texted her—I said, “Helene, what do you think of Shirley?  What do you think of the NAACP?”  I wish I had my phone in this room.  I’d read you her exact response.  It’s actually downstairs, but, basically, Helene said the NAACP—and I was shocked—doesn’t care about blacks.  They’re an elitist group, and they should be spanked hard. That’s what she wrote.

ARONOFF: Wow.

GASTON: And now, yesterday, you know, they apologized, ’cause they got rid of her [Sherrod] quickly, the White House apologized after first claiming that they had nothing to do with it.  I mean, it’s like, where’s our press in this country?  It seems to me that the only person that spoke the truth was Glenn Beck—and he went and fought for this woman on his show that I saw at the gym!  Then I go and tell a producer that I’m interested in going in business with, and the producer said anyone who watches Glenn Beck is a complete idiot.  So then I get insulted, because, basically, everybody who’s in the music business is—well, not everybody, but I’d say 98%—are all Democrats.  And I said, “Well, I don’t think you could call me—you know, you can insult me, and call me an idiot”—and he just went on and on and on, and went off, and I thought, “Okay, so here’s McCarthyism coming into my business again, in a different way.”  So I think that’s a great example.  I think they made a big mistake, and it just opens your eyes again, ’cause I had no idea that the NAACP really isn’t for blacks.  And no one would know this more than Helene.  I mean, this woman—you should really have her on your show.  She’s an amazing woman.

ARONOFF: Mm-hmm.

GASTON: No one would know more than Helene about the NAACP.  And my feeling is, it’s—and then you hear from CNN that her [Sherrod’s] father was killed by Ku Klux Klan, but then when you see her on TV yesterday she says he was killed by a white man.  Now, she never mentioned the Ku Klux Klan, and so I don’t know if that makes a difference, but it still—who knows what to believe?  It’s terrible that her father was killed by a white man, and the man never went to jail and never got tried.  My question is, does that still live in her?  Or has she forgiven and moved on, and gone through, you know, what Dr. King—she said—has taught?  My feeling is, I just can’t believe that she got the axe so fast without being given a chance, and it’s funny that Glenn Beck, who everyone makes an enemy, was the one fighting for her, and never had even mentioned it.  So I don’t know what to say.

ARONOFF: No, no, it’s quite ironic.  Then the other charge is that Andrew Breitbart had produced this heavily edited version of the tape that he put up there, and so—

GASTON: Well, isn’t he usually very careful, Andrew Breitbart?  I mean, I don’t know him, but I know people who do know him and say he’s usually quite cautious about what he puts up.

ARONOFF: I think so.  We honored him for work he did last year at CPAC, so, I mean—yeah, look: This is still an unfolding story, but—

GASTON: Isn’t he the one who brought out the ACORN situation?

ARONOFF: That’s exactly right.  Yes.

GASTON: Well, see, my producer—who’s a Republican—on this movie, she really believes that this was a whole ACORN thing.  But, see, in the caucus system, ACORN didn’t exist then.  No one talked about ACORN, so I had—no one ever said to me, “Well, ACORN’s organized them.”  It was all the Obama campaign, is completely organizing.  They know exactly what they are doing.  They have pamphlets of how to be aggressive and how to take the delegates to have him as the nominee.

ARONOFF: Well, Gigi, somehow I don’t think you’re going to be voting Democratic in upcoming elections.  It seems like you’re going through a period of change—but we’re going to have to leave it there.  It’s been great having you on as our guest.  Again, it’s been Gigi Gaston, the director of the documentary film We Will Not Be Silenced.  Tell them again what the website is.

GASTON: Oh, yes.  It’s www.wewillnotbesilenced2008.com. And you have to put the “2008” there.

ARONOFF: You’re still trying to raise money to finish this?

GASTON: Right.

ARONOFF: So, people, visit her website.  Help her out.  It’s been great having you on our show, on Take AIM.  Wish you the best!

GASTON: Well I love the title of your show.  Thank you so much!

ARONOFF: Thank you.



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