Amy Goodman

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Amy Goodman

Amy Goodman speaking at Power To The Peaceful Festival, San Francisco 2004

Born April 13, 1957 (1957-04-13) (age 51)
Bay Shore/New York
Show Democracy Now!
Station(s) over 750
Network(s) Pacifica Radio
Style Investigative journalism

Amy Goodman (born April 13, 1957) is an American broadcast journalist, syndicated columnist and author.

A 1984 graduate of Harvard University, Goodman is best known as the principal host of Pacifica Radio's Democracy Now! program, where she has been described by the Los Angeles Times as "radio's voice of the disenfranchised left".[1]

Michael Delli Carpini, dean of the Annenberg School for Communication, said, "She's not an editorialist. She sticks to the facts. She's not a Rush Limbaugh-type who is simply letting her ideology drive what she does. She provides points of view that make you think, and she comes at it by saying, 'Who are we not hearing from in the traditional media?'"[2]

Coverage of the peace and human rights movements — and support of the independent media — are the hallmarks of her work. As an investigative journalist, she has received acclaim for exposés of human rights violations in East Timor and Nigeria. Goodman is the first journalist to receive the Right Livelihood Award.


[edit] Democracy Now!

Goodman had been news director of Pacifica Radio station WBAI-FM in New York City for over a decade when she co-founded Democracy Now! The War and Peace Report in 1996. Since then, Democracy Now! has been called "probably the most significant progressive news institution that has come around in some time" by professor and media critic Robert McChesney.[3]

In 2001, the show was temporarily pulled off the air, as a result of a conflict with a group of Pacifica Radio board members and Pacifica staff members and listeners. During that time, it moved to a converted firehouse where it continues to broadcast today.[4]

Goodman credits the program's success to the mainstream news makers who leave "a huge niche" for Democracy Now! "It's just the basic tenets of good journalism that instead of this small circle of pundits, you talk to people who live at the target end of the policy," she said. When the Bush Administration didn't find weapons of mass destruction, it "laid bare more than the Bush Administration, it laid bare media that act as a conveyor belt for the lies of the Administration. You know governments are going to lie, but not the media. So I think people started to seek out other forms of information."[3]

When President Bill Clinton called WBAI on Election Day, 2000, for a quick get-out-the-vote message, Goodman and Gonzalo Aburto challenged him for 28 minutes with questions about Leonard Peltier, racial profiling, the Iraq sanctions, Ralph Nader, the death penalty, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Clinton defended Democratic policies against criticism, but charged Goodman with being "hostile, combative, and even disrespectful".[5]

[edit] Investigative journalism career

In 1991, covering the independence movement in East Timor, Goodman and fellow journalist Allan Nairn were badly beaten by Indonesian soldiers after they witnessed a mass killing of Timorese demonstrators in what became known as the Dili Massacre.[6] She has speculated that the only thing that spared her the fate of the Australian-based journalists who were killed in East Timor in 1975 was an American passport; the United States was providing military support to the Indonesian army at the time. The U.S. did not cut off military aid to Indonesia until 1993.

In 1998, Goodman and journalist Jeremy Scahill documented Chevron Corporation's role in a confrontation between the Nigerian Army and villagers who had seized oil rigs and other equipment belonging to oil corporations. Two villagers were shot and killed during the standoff.[7] On May 28, 1998 the company provided helicopter transport to the Nigerian Navy and Mobile Police (MOPOL) to their Parabe oil platform which had been occupied by villagers who accused the company of contaminating their land. Soon after landing, the Nigerian military shot and killed two of the protesters, Jola Ogungbeje and Aroleka Irowaninu, and wounded 11 others. Chevron spokesperson Sola Omole acknowledged that the company transported the troops, and that use of troops was at the request of Chevron's management. The documentary won the George Polk Award in 1998.

[edit] Arrest at 2008 Republican Convention

During the 2008 Republican National Convention, several of Goodman's colleagues from Democracy Now! were arrested and detained by police while reporting on an anti-war protest outside the RNC.[8][9] While trying to ascertain the status of her colleagues, Goodman herself was arrested and held, accused of "obstruct[ing] a legal process" and "interfer[ing] with a peace officer",[10] while fellow Democracy Now! producers were held on charges of probable cause for riot.[11] The arrests of the producers have been criticized as unlawful and a violation of the freedom of the press.[12] Goodman and her colleagues were later released, but as of September 2008 they still face charges stemming from their arrests,[13] although City Attorney John Choi has indicated that the charges will be dropped.[14]

"She's more confrontational than most reporters," said Fred Melo, reporter with the St.Paul Pioneer Press, after Goodman's arrest.[15]

[edit] Other writing

In 2004 Goodman published her first book, a New York Times bestseller, The Exception to the Rulers: Exposing Oily Politicians, War Profiteers, and the Media That Love Them (ISBN 1-4013-0799-X), co-written with her brother, Mother Jones reporter David Goodman.

Their second book, published in August 2006, is entitled, Static: Government Liars, Media Cheerleaders, and the People who Fight Back (ISBN 1-4013-0293-9). She appeared on the Colbert Report on Thursday October 5, 2006 to promote the book. Their third book, Standing up to the Madness: Ordinary Heroes in Extraordinary Times (ISBN 1-4013-2288-3), which details the capabilities of ordinary citizens to enact change, was released on April 8, 2008.

Goodman also writes a weekly column called "Breaking the Sound Barrier," for King Features Syndicate. In her first piece, released October 24, 2006, she wrote, "My column will include voices so often excluded, people whose views the media mostly ignore, issues they distort and even ridicule."

[edit] Film

In 2006, Goodman narrated the film One Bright Shining Moment — The Forgotten Summer of George McGovern. Directed by Stephen Vittoria, the documentary chronicles the life and times of George McGovern, focusing on his 1972 bid for the presidency. The film features McGovern, Gloria Steinem, Gore Vidal, Warren Beatty, Howard Zinn, Ron Kovic, and Dick Gregory. The film won the Sarasota Film Festival's award for "Best Documentary Feature."

[edit] Recognition

Goodman has received dozens of awards for her work, including the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award and the George Polk Award. In 2001, she declined to accept the Overseas Press Club Award, in protest of the group's pledge not to ask questions of keynote speaker Ambassador Richard Holbrooke and because the OPC was honouring Indonesia for their improved treatment of journalists despite the fact that they had recently beaten and killed reporters in occupied East Timor.[16]

On October 1, 2008, Goodman was named as a recipient of the 2008 Right Livelihood Award, often referred to as the "Alternative Nobel Prize" — the first journalist to be so honored. The Right Livelihood Award Foundation cited her work in "developing an innovative model of truly independent grassroots political journalism that brings to millions of people the alternative voices that are often excluded by the mainstream media." The prize was awarded in the Swedish Parliament on December 8, 2008.[17]

[edit] Personal life

Goodman describes herself as a secular Jew, a Jewish American, and the granddaughter of an Orthodox rabbi.[18] She has relatives who died in the Holocaust and spent part of her youth in Israel.[19]

[edit] References

  1. ^ Democracy Now! | Los Angeles Times
  2. ^ Tanya Barrientos, She’s taking the watchdog to task, Philadelphia Inquirer May 13, 2004
  3. ^ a b Amy Goodman's 'Empire'
  4. ^ village voice > news > A year after 2000's Christmas Coup, has Pacifica decided to give WBAI back to its listeners. Jennifer Block tunes in. by Jennifer Block
  5. ^ Democracy Now! | Bill Clinton Loses His Cool in Democracy Now! Interview on Everything But Monica: Leonard Peltier, Racial Profiling, the Iraqi Sanctions, Ralph Nader, the Death Penalty and the Israeli-Palestinian Con
  6. ^ Democracy Now! | Massacre: The Story of East Timor
  7. ^ Democracy Now! | Drilling and Killing: As President Bush Meets with the CEO of Chevron Texaco in Nigeria, a Look at Chevron's Role in the Killing of Two Nigerian Villagers
  8. ^ "Amy Goodman, Others Detained Outside RNC". The Nation. September 1, 2008. Retrieved on 2008-09-02. 
  9. ^!_producers_unlawfully_arrested_at_rnc/
  10. ^ "Scenes from St. Paul -- Democracy Now's Amy Goodman arrested". San Francisco Chronicle. September 2, 2008. Retrieved on 2008-09-02. 
  11. ^ "Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman arrested at RNC protest". Minnesota Public Radio. September 1, 2008. Retrieved on 2008-09-02. 
  12. ^ "Amy Goodman and Two Democracy Now! Producers Unlawfully Arrested at RNC". Alternet. September 1, 2008.!_producers_unlawfully_arrested_at_rnc/. Retrieved on 2008-09-02. 
  13. ^ "Democracy Now!’s Amy Goodman, Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar Released After Illegal Arrest at RNC". press release (Democracy Now!). September 1, 2008. Retrieved on 2008-09-02. 
  14. ^ "No charges for reporters arrested in GOP protests". Associated Press. September 19,2008. Retrieved on 2008-09-20. 
  15. ^ The Brian Lehrer Show, WNYC, Friday, September 05, 2008.
  16. ^ Democracy Now! | Pacifica Rejects Overseas Press Club Award
  17. ^ "2008 Right Livelihood Awards honour champions of independent journalism, peace-building and social justice" (press release from the Right Livelihood Award Foundation)
  18. ^ Amy Goodman Remembers Her Grandmother, on the Democracy Now website.
  19. ^ Peace Correspondent: 'Democracy Now!' Host Amy Goodman Is Making Her Voice Heard on Iraq by Michael Powell, Washington Post, March 10, 2003

[edit] External links

NAME Goodman, Amy
SHORT DESCRIPTION Journalist and author
DATE OF BIRTH April 13, 1957
PLACE OF BIRTH Bay Shore, New York, United States
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