Amy Goodman is the host and executive producer of Democracy Now!, a national, daily, independent, award-winning news program airing on over 700 TV and radio stations in North America. Time Magazine named Democracy Now! its "Pick of the Podcasts," along with NBC's Meet the Press. With her brother, journalist David Goodman, she is the author of Standing Up to the Madness: Ordinary Heroes in Extraordinary Times (2008), Static: Government Liars, Media Cheerleaders, and the People Who Fight Back (2006) and The Exception to the Rulers: Exposing Oily Politicians, War Profiteers, and the Media That Love Them (2004). She also writes a weekly column (also produced as an audio podcast) syndicated by King Features, for which she was recognized in 2007 with the James Aronson Award for Social Justice Reporting. Goodman is the winner of the 2007 Gracie Award for Individual Achievement for a Public Broadcasting Host, from American Women in Radio and Television, and is a 2007 honoree with the Paley Center/Museum of Television and Radio's She Made It Collection, which "Ccelebrates the achievements and preserves the legacy of great women writers, directors, producers, journalists, sportscasters, and executives." She was the 2006 recipient of the Puffin/Nation Prize for Creative Citizenship. Daily reporting from Nigeria and East Timor has earned her the George Polk Award, Robert F. Kennedy Prize for International Reporting, and the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Award. She has also received awards from the Associated Press, United Press International, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and Project Censored.
Amy Goodman: I’ve always felt you have to follow the money, and you have to see where they’re getting their funding from, and we have to look at who their advisers are, who they’re talking to and the positions they take on critical issues that affect people everyday. They have to be challenged too. I speak all over the country and I continually encourage people, don’t use their campaigned stops in your community. More often than not, they’re probably raising money there, and then they do one public appearance there as an opportunity for, you know, a photograph. Ask a question. Make a demand.
You are their constituency, whether they become president or not. You can make demands of these politicians who so often don’t listen, but for this one critical moment do listen because they want your vote. A few years ago, I interviewed a woman from [Guyana] in Democracy Now! and we were talking about globalization, and then we were switching her out to talk about the US elections and she just sat there and she said I’ll be a guest on the segment. I said, no, actually, we have other people, ‘cause at the US elections we’re gonna be talking about… and [she’d], “I’ll be a guest on this segment.” I said, “Why? You’re from Guyana.” And she said, “Well, I believe everyone in the world should get to vote for President of the United States,” and that’s such a powerful point, such a profound point, that what we do in this country our policies affect people around the globe, and so people in this country do get to vote.
She doesn’t, which means we have an awesome responsibility for ourselves, our families, our communities, and for people all over the globe. So it really matters what the stands are of these politicians, and so often they are not pinned down. Now, I’m not saying that a promise will determine what the President does when he is elected, because, in this case, it will be a he. But it matters that they make a commitment. Right now, we’re seeing, you know, on the one hand, you have John McCain. He says we’re gonna be in Iraq for a hundred years. You have John McCain who says, you know, we have to build a hundred new power plants. I don’t know what this “a hundred obsession” is, maybe because he’s approaching it. I don’t know.
And then you have Barack Obama, who doesn’t have a really clear plan for withdrawal, who, yes, has major support from the nuclear power industry, and he’s never ruled it out, who changes his positions when convenient. He changes his positions based on the power or the pressure that’s exerted on him, which is why people have to use our pressure. That’s what politics is. It isn’t to say that the people he’s responding to shouldn’t be exerting pressure. It’s to say that everyone else should be also. And when they exert that pressure, he clearly changes his position. So, it’s about empowering people to get information to demand information.
Recorded on: August 11, 2008