Currently on a 100 city tour promoting her new book, The Silenced Majority, Democracy Now!‘s Amy Goodman recently stopped at Fort Lewis College in Durango, CO. It is even more obvious in person: Goodman is a relentless voice for change that I’m sure many wish would just shut up. But fortunately for all of us, she won’t.
The Silenced Majority is as much a critique of traditional media as it is a terrifying insight into the stories many of us have missed in the last few years – gross human rights violations linked to The United States, the rising rate of police brutality on innocent civilians and journalists, and the power money holds over any real action against climate change. Co-written with Democracy Now!’s former director, Denis Moynihan, The Silenced Majority is a collection of stories from the radio program “set against the backdrop of the mainstream media’s abject failure, with its small circle of pundits who know so little about so much, attempting to explain the world to us and getting it so wrong.”
Goodman is a staunch supporter of the independent media, free from the weight of ad sales, corporations and governmental influence. Before founding Democracy Now!, Goodman worked as an investigative reporter, covering conflicts and uprisings around the world. Michael Moore describes her in the foreword:
When the Israeli soldiers started firing their rubber bullets at us and a group of unarmed Palestinians, we would all run the other way (i.e., away from the bullets) and Amy Goodman would be running the opposite way – straight into melee.
Two years later, while covering the East Timor independence movement, Goodman and journalist Allan Nairn were severely beaten by the Indonesian army after witnessing the massacre 270 Timorese civilians.
Democracy Now! began in 1996, originally airing on just 5 stations. Today, it is broadcast on over 950 radio and TV stations, as well as the internet. If you’ve never listend to Democracy Now!, you should. Like The Silenced Majority, Democracy Now! is disturbing in its ability to reveal how thin – how weak – our standard sources of news and information really is. When the likes of the Big Three, CNN, and Fox turn their cameras away from protestors, Democracy Now! turns the opposite way – “straight into the melee.”
Democracy Now! could be easily written off as lefty media lib-tard fodder, but Goodman is as unforgiving toward Democrats as she is toward Republicans. No one is cut any slack. No one can hide off-stage. Former President Bill Clinton described Goodman as “hostile and combative” after she grilled him on the death penalty, racial profiling, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, among other topics. The first section of The Silenced Majority is entitled “Obama’s Wars: A Tragedy in Three Acts.” Everyone is accountable for their actions and Goodman strives to ensure that their actions are made public. Transparency is the best policy.
Goodman describes the role of media:
I see the media as a huge kitchen table, stretching across the globe, that we all sit around, debating and discussing the most important issues of the day: war and peace, life and death. Anything less than that is a disservice to the service-men and -women of this country. They can’t have these debates on military bases. They rely on us in civilian society to have the discussions that determine whether they live or die, whether they are sent to kill and be killed. Anything less than that is a disservice to a democratic society.
Goodman and Moynihan will be on tour until November 17th. Often speaking in different cities on the same day, there’s a good chance you can catch them. Click here for tour dates. Otherwise, get the book at your local independent bookseller and tune into Democracy Now!