The ‘exception to the rulers’

Below is a letter written by Eva Bartlett, Canadian journalist, who has journeyed to Syria on numerous occasions, including this past July and August. Eva is responding to a Democracy Now (DN) program several days ago in which Amy Goodman focused on Syria. Amy’s star guest was Yasser Munif, an assistant professor at Emerson College in Massachusetts.

Munif specializes and teaches courses on Race Relations, Urban Sociology, Nationalism, Political Economy, and Middle Eastern Politics.

One must ask, what is it in Munif’s professional and personal experiences that led Amy to select him as a spokesperson regarding the events in Syria?

Without personally witnessing what was occurring in Syria, Munif proceeded to describe the war in this manner . . .”By slaughtering people in Aleppo, [the Syrian government and Russia are] pushing the moderate groups and al-Qaeda to basically form an alliance, and, as such, pushing the West to basically choose the lesser evil, and that lesser evil being the Syrian regime as opposed to al-Qaeda and ISIS.”

His comments consistently focused on Russia and the Syrian Army as the sponsors of the “slaughter” of people in Aleppo. This is the kind of biased coverage one might expect from the N.Y. Times, MSNBC, or even Fox “News.” But from Amy Goodman’s DN, the “exception to the rulers,” “independent” news outlet , this is outrageous and dangerous. Listeners and viewers to DN assume that Amy’s coverage of the news will be honest and forthright . . . what appears on her program must be true. NOT!!!

People know what to expect from the mainstream media but they have learned to take DN seriously. And, this is what makes her program dangerous.

Why not have an Eva Bartlett or Vanessa Beeley (British journalist) who also has spent much time in Syria, as guests on DN?

Eva writes, “When was the last time Munif was in Aleppo? When was the last time Munif was in Syria? I was in Aleppo in July and August, and can assure people that DN’s (Democracy Now’s) headline is utter garbage, as is Munif’s allegations. Why does DN not care to speak with one of the over 4,100 registered doctors in Aleppo? I did. Their narrative, and those of the over 1.5 million people living in Aleppo is a stark contrast to the lies of DN and Munif. Why not speak with Dr. Nabil Antaki, a specialist doctor also registered in the Aleppo Medical Association (est. 1959, not 2013 like al-Qaeda in Syria, aka the White Helmets, founded and funded by the UK/US to the tune of tens of millions of dollars)? Why not speak with people who have actually been on the ground in Aleppo, not simply relying on non-credible sources like said White Helmets (many of whom have a second job carrying weapons, aligning with al-Nusra.

“As for Munif’s nonsense about ‘moderates,’ please, please produce us a ‘moderate rebel.’ They don’t exist. Would you choose from FSA, who’ve committed massacres across Syria, from the beginning? Or perhaps Ahrar al-Sham, who even US internal documents list as terrorists, and who fire daily an assortment of mortars, missiles, Hell Cannon-fired gas canister bombs, explosive bullets and more not only on the over 1.5 million people of Aleppo, but also on the villages of Foua and Kafarya which they’ve been besieging since March 2015? Or perhaps Nour el din Zenki, infamous for their love of torturing and beheading a 13 year old Palestinian boy? There are no ‘moderates’ . . . but Munif, and apparently DN, live in a fantasy world in which the protests were peaceful for the first 7 months (as Munif claimed at the World Social Forum in Tunis in March 2015), and poor unarmed protesters were driven to take up arms. Tell that to the 29 unarmed police and soldiers gunned down on March 2011 Friday protest in Daraa, or the 52 gunned down the subsequent Friday. Tell that to Nidal Janoud, paraded around by his ‘unarmed’ captors who slashed his faced and tortured him to death in April 2011. Tell that to the Syrian soldiers slaughtered outside Dara’a in April 2011, ‘by cutting their throats, and cutting off the head of one of the soldiers.’ Tell that to Dutch priest Father Frans Van der Ludt, who spoke very clearly about seeing armed protesters from the beginning, and who was point blank assassinated in April 2014 by a so-called ‘moderate.’ There are so many documented instances of early and continued slaughters and assassinations by Munif’s darling unarmed protesters that for DN to host this NATO propagandist truly reveals that DN has zero interest in shedding truth on what is happening in Syria.”

Eva is not alone in her disgust with the coverage of Syria offered by DN. Here are a few of the over 200 comments posted on DN’s site:

Angi Whittiker: Very interesting commentary since the independent peace commission that went in said the Syrian people are joined together to stand behind their president against the terrorists we armed to go in and overthrow him . . . this article seems to be saying we the US are not responsible for this, when in fact we have recruited, paid, armed and trained these ‘disenfranchised’ young men with no future to start and keep this going to make Assad look like the bad guy! This is not the only questionable reporting I have seen from you guys! Which makes you much like mainstream media!

Martyn Richards: While US patrolled the skies above Syria the black flag was allowed to fly over East Aleppo. Had it not been for the Russian intervention last October the black flag would be flying over Damascus now as well. And BTW—the black flag also flies over Mosul in Iraq where 1.3 million civilians are trapped and US has been engaged in “a relentless bombing campaign”. We don’t hear much about that.

Muru Elu: Without a doubt what’s happening in the country of Syria is the most tragic thing going on in the world. But seems like Democracy Now is becoming mouthpiece for US government. Why didn’t you show what the other side, the Syrian government has to say about the situation? Who gives a darn what Obama, who is the real war criminal, has to say about it. And stop showing footage produced by the White Helmet thugs. I am very close to disengage from Democracy Now, forever.

Pushing the West to choose the lesser evil? You have really outdone yourselves DN! I had doubt about your authenticity for a while now, and this was the last straw.

Dear Democracy Now, one more bullshit Government propaganda spewing article like this and I (and I am sure a lot more folks) will unfollow you. We read your articles for a reason. Who do you think we are? What are you going to tell us next . . . To get behind Hillary? Damn.

Counterbalancetoday: What is going on with your reporting!! there are great investigative journalists on the ground in Syria from Canada Eva Bartlett, England Vanessa Beeley and more and you choose the worst source possible. Very disappointed now you are like Fox News, CNN, CBC or any other main stream media, congratulations you just lost my contributions.

This was not the only incident of biased news reporting from Amy Goodman. Bias is shown not only by how the news is reported but by what isn’t reported.

On September 11, 2001, two commercial airliners flew into the World Trade Center Towers, another was reported to have crashed into the Pentagon, and a fourth plane crashed in Shankesville, Pennsylvania. The country and much of the world was in shock. When the government narrative was released, people accepted that 19 Arabs, 15 of them Saudis, armed with box cutters, outwitted the multi-billion dollar U.S. defense system and created havoc in this country.

Some scientists, engineers, and architects began looking at the official narrative and collecting evidence that demonstrated that the government explanation had no scientific basis.

9/11 was probably the greatest catastrophe in U.S. history. Yet, barely a comment from Amy Goodman. Finally, after some weeks, she invited David Ray Griffin, author of several books on 9/11, to her program along with a spokesman who defended the government’s narrative. During the 45 minute debate, this man never contested the facts that Griffin revealed but instead chose to do 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. Amy allowed or maybe even promoted the avoidance of Griffin’s revelations.

Amy Goodman has spent years ignoring the 9/11 Truth Movement.

Stephen F. Cohen is professor emeritus of Russian studies, history, and politics at New York University and Princeton University. He would never qualify as a radical, he is not a communist . . . he is just a man who has made himself an expert on Russia and the Soviet Union, a man who is a excellent resource for those interested in a point of view that varies from the official one.

Professor Cohen could be found on DN periodically, explaining how he saw the U.S. military activity as dangerous and possibly provoking WW3. He provided insights into the consequences of the U.S. sponsored coup of the democratically elected Ukraine government in 2014,

Then his appearances on DN suddenly stopped, the last appearance being in February , 2015. This was strange considering the U.S.’s efforts to demonize Putin and Russia, provoking them with thousands of troops mobilized on their border while conducting military exercises. One would assume that a “progressive” news program would seek out a dissenting voice such as Professor Cohen.

Cohen has drawn criticism for his “pro-Russian” views, with sources describing him as an apologist for Putin and the Russian government. Cohen personally describes himself as an American “dissenter” and argues that the media stifles anyone who even tries to understand the situation from the Kremlin’s perspective while stigmatizing them as Putin apologists for doing so.

BAR (Black Agenda Report) executive editor Glen Ford appeared on DN in September 2012. During a discussion or debate with Professor Michael Eric Dyson regarding President Obama’s “accomplishments” during his tenure as president, Amy asked Ford for his assessment of Obama. Glen Ford responded, “We at Black Agenda Report have for some time been saying that Obama is not the lesser of evils, but the more effective evil. We say that he is the more effective evil because he is able, being a Democrat, to accomplish more of that right-wing agenda than the Republicans ever could.”

That was Mr. Ford’s last appearance on DN despite the overwhelming amount of killings of Black men by police and the response of the Black Lives Matter movement. One would assume that his is a voice that progressives would want to hear.

The above commentaries make clear why Amy Goodman no longer introduces her program by claiming to be the “Exception to the Rulers.”


Dave Alpert has masters degrees in social work, educational administration, and psychology. He spent his career working with troubled inner city adolescents.

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2 Responses to The ‘exception to the rulers’

  1. Mr. Alpert,

    Amy Goodman, as far as I’m aware, began her descent into the Matrix post-9/11. It may have begun sooner, but that’s when I started to notice. She is the Trojan Horse journalist who neatly complements Obama’s abilities in that characteristic.

    One can only guess at her motivations for this trip down the rabbit hole; Rachel Maddow made the same trip, though in a more blatant fashion. Maddow’s move right seems motivated in part by her concerns for LGBT issues. Obama used LGBT to hook people who felt strongly about them into supporting him by implementing significant improvements for that community. Maddow seemed willing to make the trade of supporting his other programs in exchange for these improvements.

    Goodman, however, seems motivated in part by fearing to be grouped with voices on the left that have been calling the status quo to task, and thus bringing on the “conspiracy theorist” label. It is this label that terrifies Goodman.

    But Goodman is far more subtle than Maddow. She is an experienced journalist with in many cases a noble past history of serving as a legitimate force for the 4th estate. This is what makes her change more drastic for the public.

    What we must do is hold more to the view “But what have you done for me lately?” The example brought here about Syria most certainly demands that sort of scrutiny. Thank you for providing some of that scrutiny.

  2. Amy was oddly silent during the Dem primaries, making sure to show no favortism to either candidate and having her usual “debates” with surrogates, in Hillary’s case, and supporters in Bernie’s case. She’s gone overboard in promoting Jill Stein, imo, so as to not talk about Bernie. One would have to look at Democracy Now!’s funding, if one can find it (is it Soros?), and the damage she has done to Pacifica over the years to see what her real interests are.