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Bill Lichtenstein
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Bill Lichtenstein's Peabody Award-winning work as a print and broadcast journalist and documentary producer spans 45 years.

He has received more than 60 major journalism honors, including a Peabody Award; United Nations Media Award; Guggenheim Fellowship; three National News Emmy Award nominations; nine National Headliner Awards; and four Gracie Awards from American Women in Radio and Television.

Since 1990, Bill has been president of Lichtenstein Creative Media, which produces high-quality documentary films; public TV and radio programs; and new media productions focusing on human rights and social justice issues.

Previously, Bill worked for seven years for ABC News, where he produced investigative reports for "20/20," "World News Tonight" and "Nightline." At ABC, Bill was on the team that broke the Atlanta Child Murders story; his groundbreaking report for Nightline exposed the mishandling of E.P.A. Superfund sites; and his report on the FBI’s COINTELPRO program was the first to reveal the scope of the bureau’s efforts to target and harass political activists. Bill has also widely covered child welfare issues including a nine-month investigation of the deaths of children in state institutions in Oklahoma for 20/20; a documentary narrated by Diane Keaton on the conditions faced by juveniles incarcerated in adult jails and prisons; and an article for the New York Times that exposed the use of physical restraints and seclusion rooms with children in schools across the country.

Bill's film and radio work includes the award-winning documentary film, "West 47th Street," which aired on PBS's P.O.V. and won the Atlanta Film Festival; and the national, weekly public radio series, "The Infinite Mind," which for a decade was public radio's most honored and listened to health and science program.

Bill’s current project, “The American Revolution,” is a feature-length documentary film being produced for theatrical and broadcast release that tells the story of the early days of underground radio station WBCN-FM in Boston and how “a radio station, politics and rock and roll changed everything.” The film features the original sights, sounds and stories of the era, shared by members of the public in an innovative crowd-sourcing archival collection effort.

Lichtenstein Creative Media is also a pioneer of the use of 3-D virtual reality in the on-line community Second Life, including producing the first live public radio broadcasts from Second Life featuring Kurt Vonnegut, Suzanne Vega, and Mia Farrow, among others.

Bill has written about politics, the media, and health for the Nation, Newsday, Boston Globe, Village Voice, Entertainment Weekly, TV Guide, 7 Days, Health, and Medical Tribune. Bill's investigative report for the Village Voice, "The Secret Battle for the N.E.A.," which exposed the Bush White House’s role in defunding the artists known as the “N.E.A. 4” received a National Headliner Award, and Bill's news photography has appeared on the front page of the New York Daily News and in the Baltimore Sun.

From 1990 through 2005, Bill was a Member of the Faculty of the New School for Social Research, where he taught Investigative Reporting for TV and Documentary Film.

A graduate of Brown University and the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, Bill began his work at the age of 14, on air at WBCN-FM in Boston.

Entries by Bill Lichtenstein

The President Abides

(1) Comments | Posted November 17, 2014 | 12:19 AM


In keeping with President Obama's newly developed "I don't give an 'F' what the GOP thinks" attitude, here are some lines from The Big Lebowski that the president might consider working into his public comments or discussions with Republicans in the coming days.

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Remembering Gutsy, Radical, Kind, Brilliant Andy Kopkind

(0) Comments | Posted October 27, 2014 | 3:29 PM


[From left to right: Andy Kopkind, Daisy Cockburn, Alexander Cockburn and John Scagliotti at Treefrog Farm, Vermont, 1981. (Courtesy of Kopkind Colony)]

It was 20 years ago this week that journalist Andy Kopkind died from cancer at age 59....

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HONK! for Social Change

(1) Comments | Posted October 27, 2014 | 1:39 PM

For the ninth year in a row, the Honk! Festival of Activist Street Bands, featuring more than 600 street musicians from around the world, gathered in Somerville, MA for four days of live performances and street actions in support of social justice issues, ranging from increasing the minimum...

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Exercising Restraint in Schools

(2) Comments | Posted September 2, 2014 | 5:51 PM

In 2012, I wrote an article for the Sunday New York Times that exposed the use of physical restraints and seclusion rooms with kids in schools across the country.

I learned about these practices, which at the time seemed almost unimaginable to me and many other parents,...

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Ransom for Hostages: Have We Forgotten Ollie, Fawn and Iran Contra?

(1) Comments | Posted June 5, 2014 | 9:49 AM

Let's see if I can remember this correctly: Ronald Reagan not only agreed to pay ransom for 66 Americans being held hostage in the Mideast (Iran). It's believed he negotiated for Iran to hold the hostages until just after he was inaugurated as president. And then because he couldn't give...

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Still a Terrifying Way to Discipline Children: One Year Later

(9) Comments | Posted December 23, 2013 | 9:03 AM

One year ago, I wrote an article for the New York Times exposing the use of physical restraints and isolation rooms with students in schools across the country, a practice I first learned about when we found my then-5 year-old daughter, Rose, locked in a closet where she...

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Laura Poitras, the Independent Filmmaker at the Center of the Snowden Affair

(0) Comments | Posted June 11, 2013 | 2:43 PM

For some time, working on The American Revolution, the documentary film about how underground media, including Boston radio station WBCN-FM, fueled great social, political and cultural changes in the late '60s and early '70s, I have observed how much change was created in the '60s with limited access...

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'What Will You Do When the Lights Come Up' -- RIP Working Film's Robert West

(0) Comments | Posted June 6, 2013 | 6:01 PM

Anyone who makes documentaries hopes they will make a difference.

Robert West, who founded Working Films in 1999 with filmmaker Judith Helfand, spent the last 14 years making sure that they did, by always asking the question: "What will you do when the lights come up?"

Robert West...

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Mass. Problems for Kids

(13) Comments | Posted May 8, 2013 | 5:53 PM

It's been a tough couple of months for the Massachusetts child welfare system.

Governor Deval Patrick and two child welfare officials are facing charges in U.S. District Court in a class action suit, Connor B. v. Patrick, which charges them with failing to protect the 7,500 foster kids...

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Pen vs. Gun: I'll Absolutely Take the First Amendment Over the Second

(5) Comments | Posted May 8, 2013 | 11:35 AM

After looking at the photos of the NRA convention, with all the talk about the sanctity of the Second Amendment, I think I just may revert to being a Justice William O. Douglas First Amendment absolutist. After all, the First Amendment of the Constitution does say:


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"Do You Miss Me?" Asks Ed Koch as Friends and Foes Weigh His Legacy

(0) Comments | Posted February 4, 2013 | 6:07 PM

I took this photo of a New York City subway stabbing, part of a wave of transit crimes that included Renee Katz, a flutist and student at the New York City High School of Music and Art, who was pushed onto the subway tracks at Eighth Avenue and 50th Street...

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Clear Channel to Boston Radio Fans: All Hail EDF!

(4) Comments | Posted December 23, 2012 | 4:00 PM

Radio behemoth Clear Channel, owned by Mitt Romney's Bain Capital and cousin of LiveNation and Ticketmaster, knows what you want to hear on the radio.

At least they think they do.

According to the New York Times, for Boston radio listeners, it's not the local bands,...

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Romney, Clear Channel and the Future of America

(6) Comments | Posted October 22, 2012 | 12:27 PM

All you need to know about Mitt Romney, and the plan for America under a Romney administration, is that his creation, Bain Capital, owns the media behemoth Clear Channel, which according to Wikipedia owns 850 radio stations nationally and reaches 110,000,000 Americans every week.

I am sure...

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Children's Rights Calls Mass. Child Welfare System Fifth Worst-Run Nationally

(2) Comments | Posted August 31, 2012 | 5:29 PM

In a scathing 171-page report, filed in a federal class-action lawsuit against Mass. Gov. Duval Patrick, the New York-based Children's Rights terms the Mass. child welfare system the fifth worst-managed in the country, and says that the mismanagement has resulted in the neglect and abuse of one-in-five kids...

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The Late David Rakoff's Early Radio Days

(0) Comments | Posted August 27, 2012 | 10:13 AM

In one of its earliest shows, our national, weekly public radio series The Infinite Mind, looked at the development of the minds of infants.

One of the subjects the show looked at was the phenomenon of child prodigies, including what produces kid geniuses, and why it was that many lost...

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The Lesson of the Hero Lifeguard: Profits and Heroism Don't Necessarily Mix

(3) Comments | Posted July 9, 2012 | 1:33 PM

I have seen a half dozen accounts of the hero lifeguard, 21 year-old Tomas Lopez, who was fired for leaving his station to save a drowning man, and then was offered his job back.

Everyone agrees that those who fired him are nitwits.

However, the stories miss what...

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The Newsroom: Aaron Sorkin's Love Letter to TV News

(2) Comments | Posted June 26, 2012 | 5:55 AM

HBO's The Newsroom is Aaron Sorkin's love letter to network TV News, at least the way it used to be, and to America. It tells the story of the collision between the way television journalism was and what journalism has become. Neither is a perfect medium, but the window he...

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Will Power to the People (to Remix, That Is) Offset the Super PACs?

(0) Comments | Posted April 30, 2012 | 4:51 PM

It didn't take long. On the heels of the Jimmy Fallon appearance by President Obama, an attack ad from American Crossroads, the Super PAC being "advised" by Karl Rove, hit the Internet and the airwaves, depicting President Obama as a celebrity president whose policies had failed young people.

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The Montgomery and Stonewall of the Mental Health Movement?

(0) Comments | Posted April 16, 2012 | 6:25 PM

Mental health activists supported by young people are engaged in a direct action to prevent the closing of public mental health clinics in Chicago. You can watch it live here.

For the past year, mental health advocates in Chicago have been opposing the closing of public mental...

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Have You Left No Shame, Mr. Limbaugh?

(33) Comments | Posted March 5, 2012 | 12:09 PM

Rush Limbaugh's bullying of the young law student Sandra Fluke recalls the incident that finally knocked Sen. Joe McCarthy off of his pedestal on June 9 1954, after he attacked the integrity of a young Harvard Law grad, Fred Fisher, an associate at Hale and Dorr in Boston....

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