For many, many years, I have relied on Democracy Now! for relevant news reporting, including voices of those who have alternative perceptions and information from that which we see and hear in the mainstream media.
Every morning, unless some unavoidable event prevented me, I would watch and listen to Amy Goodman and Democracy Now!. For me, as for many others, it became part of our morning ritual . . . like a religious experience.
Where else would we get the news before it was sanitized by the people in power and spoon-fed to the public?
She would also cover news, through interviews with dissenting voices, that the mainstream media chose to ignore, news that may not be favorable to the U.S.
Amy was willing to let us hear the voices of people on the ground as well as those who were challenging the official narratives and often put herself in danger by entering the center of many controversies.
There were differences, over the years, that I had with Amy Goodman. But, as a friend of mine said, “You don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.”
In 2001, after the 9-11 attack on the U.S., I became disenchanted and upset with the coverage given by Democracy Now!. While there was mounting evidence collected by scientists, engineers, and architects that the official story could not be correct, Amy refused to pursue the topic. On one occasion she did invite David Ray Griffin, the author of several books providing documentation illustrating how the government’s story was false, on her show. But, she paired him with a denier, a spokesman for the official narrative, who did not contest the facts provided by Griffin, but instead, did a character assassination of Griffin himself.
Why did she pair him with someone like this? The debate was an insult to Griffin and diluted the impact of the data he presented. Why did she allow or, maybe, promote this kind of insulting avoidance of Griffin’s revelations?
Amy has been challenged many times over the years, by progressives, for her decision to ignore the 9-11 Truth Movement. Yet, part of me understands her possible motives. People who did stand up to challenge the fantasy promoted by government officials, often lost their jobs, their careers were brought to an end, or they suddenly developed convenient health problems and died. One way or another, they were ignored and marginalized.
In 1991, when the U.S. was moving towards a conflict with Iraq (Operation Desert Storm), Amy stood against such a military invasion. However, there was a split within the antiwar movement. Some supported the use of sanctions against Iraq, while others saw sanctions as another weapon of war. Amy surprisingly stated her support for sanctions as an alternative. Hundreds of thousands of deaths and human suffering occurred because of these sanctions, including the deaths of approximately 500,000 Iraqi children. Aggressions being achieved without bullets does not make them less brutal. Sanctions are really another weapon of choice by the imperialist. Whereas, bullets and bombs kill you immediately, sanctions prevent the population from having access to food stuff, medicines, medical equipment, heating oil, etc. providing innocent victims a slow, painful death.
As an aside, it should be noted that during an interview Madeline Albright, U.S. representative to the U.N., was asked whether the loss of 500,000 Iraqi children was worth it. Her response was an emphatic, “YES.”
Still, in 2004, while a coup in Haiti, supported by the U.S. was occurring, there was Amy, right on the spot. President Jean-Bertrand Aristide was being prevented from finishing his second term, and he left Haiti on a United States (U.S.) plane accompanied by U.S. military/security personnel.
Aristide claims that his departure was a kidnapping, accusing the U.S. of orchestrating a coup d’état against him. Aristide was forced into exile, being flown directly out of Haiti to the Central African Republic, eventually settling in South Africa.
Amy was able to get an interview with President Aristide immediately and brought to us his voice before the official lies and cover-ups were put in place.
So, Amy Goodman, through Democracy Now!, was able to provide an important public service bringing “Truth to Power.”
However, there has been a significant change in the programming during the past couple of years.
This morning, Monday, September 28, I found myself yawning through another hour of Democracy Now!. Her guest was Peter Greste, an Australian journalist who was imprisoned in Egypt with two other journalists charged with supporting a “terrorist” organization (the Muslim Brotherhood) by distributing propaganda and broadcasting news that undermined national security. Egyptian officials have since expunged the charges against two of the three journalists and released all three men.
This is an important topic and certainly should be covered. But is it necessary to devote a full hour to this story while the world falls apart?
On September 23, 24, and 25, Amy devoted each hour of these three days to dealing with the pope’s visit to Cuba and the U.S. I recognize his importance as a political and religious leader but should three hours of reporting be devoted to him while the Middle East is in chaos thanks to U.S. imperialism?
We have hundreds of thousands of refugees coming into Europe, seeking political asylum. These people are fleeing from the horrors in their homelands authored by the bombings being carried out by U.S. and their European and Middle Eastern allies.
Russia has recently assumed a more active role in Syria, supporting Assad’s government.
The U.S. and NATO are increasing their military presence along Russia’s borders. Russia has increased their own military presence along its borders.
Israel continues to kill Palestinians, men, women, and children on a daily basis while the U.S. continues to send them military weapons and financial aid. Those are our tax dollars being used to support genocide.
Saudi Arabia, a close U.S. ally is bombing Yemen daily with weapons supplied by the U.S. and causing a humanitarian crisis in that country, as there is in Libya, Syria, and Iraq.
Here, in the U.S., there are daily shootings and killings by police of unarmed men and women, mostly African-Americans.
The above list are examples of crucial, life-threatening events being played out on the global stage. Yet, no in-depth reporting on these events coming from Democracy Now!.
More and more I find her guests are establishment people, people who are moderates and so-called liberals, people who would fit nicely into the MSNBC format. Very rarely do we see the “boots on the ground” or those who would present a more radical view of what is actually occurring.
WHY? It has come to my attention that Mr. George Soros, “progressive,” Democratic billionaire is a financial supporter of Democracy Now!. Soros is one of the 30 richest people in the world.
We all know that agendas are determined by those who offer financial support. When Amy relied on public donations, the agenda was to serve the public. With George Soros supporting the program, the agenda may very well be to serve him and to curtail any radical elements from having a voice.
It’s like MSNBC, the so-called left-wing television station. MSNBC is not a news outlet that will provide the thinking of any voice that is outside the accepted establishment. They are corporate controlled and, therefore, stay within accepted boundaries. Some refer to MSNBC as MSDNC (Democratic National Committee).
What is the difference between Democracy Now! and MSNBC? Not much lately. Big money contributors will provide the boundaries and if those boundaries are not adhered to they will withdraw their support. To accept George Soros as a liberal or radical billionaire is what we mean by an oxymoron. His agenda is to protect the status quo which serves him beautifully.
He is a major contributor to Human Rights Watch which, despite its title, is far from being a progressive voice. While speaking out about human rights violations regarding ISIS and their barbaric beheadings, HRW has remained silent on the beheadings (approximately 100 this year) in Saudi Arabia. In fact, Saudi Arabia will imminently behead and then crucify Ali Mohammed al-Nimr—a young man who encouraged pro-democracy demonstrations during the Arab Spring in 2012, when he was just 17 years old. Not only has HRW remained silent, so has Amy. She has not covered this story except as a headline at the beginning of her broadcast.
The most egregious part of this particular story is that Saudi Arabia has just been admitted to the UN’s Human Rights Council. They will now investigate international human rights abuses. This is not a joke.
It is reported that Mr. Soros has supported the new government in the Ukraine, a government that overthrew, with NATO’s support, a democratically elected government and has a large number of neo-Nazis influencing policy decisions as well as government actions.
Our focus must be to challenge the structure of our society because it doesn’t serve you and me. It is corrupt and serves only the few at the top, the elite. We cannot expect any of the 10% to save us. They will not voluntarily surrender their privileges, we must take it from them.
What have we got if, in fact Democracy Now! is compromised? Thank God for social media. It provides us with the opportunity to speak directly to one another and share our thoughts and ideas. Most important, it provides us with a wonderful tool to organize. The Internet might save us all.
GOD BLESS AMERIKA!!
Dave Alpert has masters degrees in social work, educational administration, and psychology. He spent his career working with troubled inner city adolescents.