Propping up the Fourth Estate
by DWIGHT HOBBES
Bill Borea, anchor of Minneapolis Television Network’s cablecast forum “Spectator” (MTN–Ch. 17), is, to say the least, a well-rounded fella. Pretty much self-made, to boot. He never studied television journalism, but has more than held his own, on for just about half of the hour-long show’s almost 20 years of existence. He does have a University of Minnesota B.A. in psychology with a political science minor. And heavyweight, bodybuilding titles as Mr. Natural Minnesota and Mr. Natural Nissan Hard Body. He has wrestled more than 500 professional bouts and sports a respectable film career as a screenwriter, actor and stuntman (doubling for Michael Rapport in “The Naked Man”). Borea, who goes by his birth name William Edmund Reau III on the show, spoke with Pulse about “Spectator.”
PULSE: How’d you wind up doing the show?
BILL BOREA: I was supposed to be a guest and talk about stunt doubling. Chris Pope, the former co-host was given a job on the Philadelphia Inquirer. [Original host, the late Ray Whebbe] asked me to do an hour instead of the 10 minutes I had signed on for. It worked out and he invited me back. There was a sports format, then. I followed politics like Ray followed sports. So, when I became permanent, it just seemed a natural extension to expand the scope. We also started including the arts.
PULSE: How much homework goes into “Spectator”?
BOREA: I read three papers a day and try to pay attention to what’s going on. I have been doing this for most of my life. I circle articles and go over my pile for 48 hours leading up to the show. And sometimes I just wing it. Sometimes it’s a combination of both.
PULSE: How does it work with your producer Richard Darud being politically conservative and you being, well, what are you?
BOREA: A Democrat. I worked with Richard, who’s producer and director, for six or seven years before he revealed himself to be a Bush supporter. I was shocked that he would let me run my liberal mouth all this time and support me as I steered the show slowly to the left. I have a great deal of respect for him for allowing me that freedom.
PULSE: Who have some of your most interesting guests been?
BOREA: The late “Mr. Perfect” Kurt Henning, the [time when] WWF wrestling star Adnan “The Sheik” Al-Kaissy (revealed himself to be a former Minister of Youth in Sadamm Hussein’s cabinet. Gary Hines of Sounds of Blackness [who’s] a former Mr. USA. Booker T. Hodges and his posse from the Urban League, including Spike Moss and Ron Edwards. Any guest that is passionate about what they are discussing.
PULSE: Why is “Spectator” necessary?
BOREA: For many reasons. Primarily because of the media monopoly. The fourth estate has been hijacked. Look at the buildup to the Iraq war and how the media was played. No one asked the right questions and we were sold a war without an exit strategy. Only war profiteers can be happy about the mess we are in. “Spectator” was on during this and we were screaming that this was a huge mistake. It’s popular to be against Bush and the war now. But, six or seven years ago it took courage to share these beliefs. Public access, blogs or just talking to someone in the grocery store has an impact on our world. They might be able to manipulate the media but if enough people can discuss their views the truth will out. And local artists, people like Shannon of Kymara, guitarist Javier Trejo and others need a place to hone their camera skills.
“Spectator” airs Mondays at 5 p.m.