Goodman, along with co-writers David Goodman and Denis Moynihan, have a new book out—Democracy Now! Twenty Years Covering the Movements Changing America. They are currently on a 100 city book tour, broadcasting their daily show on the road.
Weekly Alibi chatted by phone with Amy Goodman as she traveled between California cities during the book tour. She will be making her way to New Mexico next week. We talked about her covering 20 years of grassroots movements, independent media, disenfranchised voters, local issues here in our state and the little piece of New Mexico she has in her kitchen.
Importance of Independent Media
Goodman is passionate about the role independent media has had, and can have, in breaking the silence by shining light on grassroots issues. In the book, she equates big, corporate media to a veil of distortion, lies, misrepresentations and half truths that literally obscure reality. But she insists the American public wants more.
Just days before the Alibi interview of Goodman, two reporters from “Democracy Now!” were arrested while trying to cover an anti-Trump rally in New York. We asked Goodman what she thought about the increasing frequency of journalists being arrested or harassed for doing their jobs here in the United States.
“It is unacceptable,” Goodman declared. “It must be challenged.” Goodman asserts that government crackdowns on journalists are a threat to democracy. “It is absolutely critical that journalists be able to function and do their jobs. Journalism is essential to a democratic society,” she added.
Bizarre Election Season
Goodman doesn’t have any predictions as to who will be president. “The only thing I can predict is that we will be there to cover it,” she said. Goodman has called out the corporate national media for fanning the bizarre flames of this election. We asked her for her thoughts about the future of our two party system. “I think conservative and liberal lines are breaking down right now. Certainly the establishment is being challenged at every level from the Republican party to the Democratic party, we are seeing an insurgency rising,” she responded. “I don’t think that is a bad thing. What is important is that the space opens up for many more voices to be included, because we are at a turning point in this country with an ever expanding war, climate change that is cataclysmic on our door step, people needing health care, racial and economic inequalities—all of these issues are now really coming to a fever pitch.”
Goodman disclosed that there are more voters being disenfranchised today than 20 years ago. She describes the long lines in Arizona primaries recently as intentionally made and direct suppression. “We have voter suppression like what went on in Arizona and then you have laws that need to be changed. In places like Vermont and Maine, prisoners can vote from prison. In many states, even when you have served your time, you will never be able to vote. This disenfranchises entire communities. These need to be challenged and covered,” she expounded. But how do these voices get heard? “It is happening; I think we are seeing the immigrant rights movement growing. We are seeing the Black Lives Matter get ever stronger. We are seeing traditionally disenfranchised people fighting back for their voice to be heard,” she said. “You can not predict where a movement will go but you can cover it and give voice to them. It is critical to have young people involved in every level. I found that it is the young people who are most politically active right now.” It is in these movements where she sees hope for the future.
Goodman is familiar with New Mexico because she has tirelessly covered the atomic age and nuclear issues around the globe. “Democracy Now!” has broadcast in the past from Los Alamos, the birthplace of the atomic bomb, and from the Navajo Nation where the federal government mined the uranium, but left Native lands and people devastated. As to nuclear warfare, Goodman stated she questions whether we can afford the risk of nuclear power or nuclear weapons as we move forward. She talked about a report entitled “The Trillion Dollar Train Wreck,” describing a new generation of nuclear weapons proposed to modernize the US nuclear weapon arsenal, and the trillion dollars the United States has recently committed.
Red or Green?
We couldn’t help but ask Goodman the official New Mexico state question—red or green? In an appropriately journalistic answer, she replied she prefers both. She added that on a recent trip to Santa Fe, she wandered through a grower’s market, bought a chile ristra and it currently hangs in her kitchen.