Students looking to get their daily dose of political commentary are in luck today, as radio journalist and author David Barsamian visits UCSB to deliver his speech “Media, Propaganda, and Iraq” at the MultiCultural Center (MCC).

The MCC will host the lecture by Barsamian, founder of Alternative Radio – an independent radio station that broadcasts weekly interviews and lectures on public affairs – at 2 p.m. in the MultiCultural Center Theatre. Barsamian said his talk, which is cosponsored by Campus Greens and KCSB, will focus on the influence of corporations and government interests on the mainstream media.

Barsamian said he thinks today’s mainstream media is too focused on serving the interests of government and corporate leaders, making it hard for journalists to present objective information.

“The role of a journalist is to serve the public, not the powerful, but today’s journalists do the opposite,” Barsamian said. “The corporate control of the media has diminished the ability of citizens to get a range of information upon which they can make logical judgments.”

The talk will also focus on Barsamian’s opinion that the media helped convince Americans to support the war in Iraq by presenting the public with misleading information about the presence of weapons of mass destruction, sociology professor and event organizer John Foran said. Foran, who is a member of the Green Party along with Barsamian, said he thinks the media is not critical enough of the current presidential administration.

“The media has become a mouthpiece for what the administration tells them to say,” Foran said.

Barsamian said he feels journalists are responsible for challenging the government, but the media has lost its ability to be skeptical of government policies.

“The media never challenged the declarations of weapons of mass destruction, and became a conveyor belt of government lies,” Barsamian said.

KCSB Development Coordinator Ted Coe said Barsamian’s radio show is broadcast Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. on KCSB-91.9 FM. He said the show provides a forum for political scholars like Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn to discuss topics that are not usually addressed by the mainstream media.

“It allows important opinion makers to give justice and substance to their ideas, without commercial interruptions,” Coe said.

Barsamian will also deliver his speech “Another World is Possible: Public Power in the Age of Empire” from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Santa Barbara Public Library tonight.