Tough Questions for Big Media

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.

  • Transcript


Question: Did Tim Russert’s death mark a turning point in network myopia?


Amy Goodman: Overall, I think the media has to be much tougher on those in power. His network, as well as the others, it is really a bully pulpit, and I mean they bully people, not those in power. Then the tough questions are, “Are you gonna run for president?” or “When are you gonna announce?” or “Who’s gonna be your vice presidential running mate?” All the speculative stuff. But when it comes down to what they represent and who they’re affecting, and not them being asked these questions but people themselves, breaking the sound barrier of the media, bringing in the people who are the targets of these policies.

That’s the really most egregious… I would say, it’s who the media leaves out, which is the majority of people. They send the talk shows that are sponsored by the weapon manufactures, by the food processors, you know. We’re in a global fuel crisis, oil companies making more money than they’ve ever made in their history. They’re bringing us the Sunday talk shows that set the agenda in this country.

The weapons manufacturers, the Boeings, the Exxon Mobils, they’re the ones that are defining the debate. I’m not saying that they won’t ask questions of them, but it’s a matter of you ask the occasional tough question or you… The continual drum beat, that’s what doesn’t happen when you have a media brought to us by the very corporations that profit off of people’s pain.


Recorded on: August 11, 2008