Real journalism is . . .

Amy Goodman, founder, host and executive producer of DemocracyNow!, was co-recipient of the inaugural Izzy Award for outstanding achievement in independent media. The accolade memorializes I.F. Stone (1907-1989), a titan of 20th century political commentary, about whom writer Nicholas Von Hoffman commented:

He could stand alone and stand apart and therefore stand for what he believed in.

That powerful quote applies equally to Amy Goodman. She has, like Stone had, much to tell and nothing to sell. Her audio and online programs depend upon contributions from non-commercial foundations and individuals from the audience. DemocracyNow! accepts no money from advertisers, corporate underwriters or governments.

Bill Moyers, in the forward to Goodman’s latest book, Breaking the Sound Barrier, writes that she is:

Willing to take on the powers that be to get at truth and justice, then spreading the word of those two indispensable gospels to the republic and the world beyond. Through her reporting, we hear from people who barely exist in news covered by the corporate-owned press.

Goodman is the journalist as uninvited guest.

Talking April 30 to a sold out audience at the Salt Spring Forum, Goodman lamented the dominance of money in politics and journalism. She warns the American experience will soon grow worse because of a recent Supreme Court ruling enabling corporate cash to flood the political marketplace without limit. Of course, British Columbia is about to experience that situation too.

BC Liberals are combining millions in taxpayer funds with major funding from business. Advertising, advertorials, editorials, op-eds and opinion columns will inundate the province to protect the multi-billion dollar shift of taxation from corporations to consumers. The parties who gain financially from imposition of HST will invest only a portion of their receipts buying coverage to dominate public discourse about the tax measure. As a result,  consumers and taxpayers burdened by HST will actually pay for the campaign to continue that privilege.

Indoctrination has been going on since March 2009 and a well planned adverting campaign is beginning, along with coordinated press releases from the kennel of economic “experts” paid to convince citizens that the pain will be good for everyone in the long run. That is because whatever is good for big business is good for ordinary people, allegedly.

Whether it is imposing HST on consumers, eliminating corporate income taxes, privatizing public assets, stripping the gears of parliament or corrupting the judicial system, who speaks for ordinary citizens? Traditional media serves its owners and advertisers.

Tax exempt foundations of billionaires use ambitious people to sell the stories. Money greases the wheels and those wheels turn to reward the people at the controls. Corrupt politicians are a dime a dozen, changed like dirty socks by agents paid to keep ready a trunk full of fresh ones.

Who speaks for ordinary citizens? Plainly, it is the journalistic outliers: the independents, the online analysts, the bloggers. The people with journalistic courage and persistence, willing to confront conventional wisdom and official deception. In Amy Goodman’s words,

Real journalism is telling a story somebody doesn’t want told. Anything else is advertising.

Not many reporters today agree with Ms. Goodman because, under the common stenographic model, journalism is simply reporting words that important people want repeated. The words don’t need to be analyzed or tested, as long as they fit the corporate media’s agenda.

Pay attention to Democracy Now! and you will gain a new perspective on international news.  What will you miss by ignoring the mainstream media? Here is an example. It was breaking news that interrupted CBC’s regular program. Neil Macdonald, CBC’s 20-year veteran of international reporting showed that he is not a journalist, he is a partisan.

Neil Macdonald, by phone, from Washington.

It’s huge. This is remarkable. It’s almost as if a war is over. . . [Obama] ended the war, at least symbolically. This is a story of great intrigue and mystery… just the sort of story the American audience loves…

It has a great ending… The Pakistanis, they are being credited for helping us with this…”

5 replies »

  1. I wonder how it is that a country ( The United States) can send it's military forces into another country (Pakistan) without that other country's permission.Under any sort of international rules that would called a military attack on a sovereign country's territory.Therefore the other country (Pakistan) would have been well within it's rights to use whatever force necessary to repel such an attack.Does this mean the U.S. once again reserves the right to unilaterally intervene militarily wherever and whenever it chooses?The U.S.,once they knew of Bin Laden's whereabouts,could have used diplomatic pressure on Pakistan to get the Pakistanis to turn him over,where he could've faced trial in a court of law for his crimes.

    And that leads me to another question;does this mean the U.S. can now go into any country and execute anyone they deem a risk to their national security? Does this mean that anyone convicted of a drug offense,say, in Canada is now considered a security risk? If so then we're all in big,big trouble!


  2. great post.

    We are going to have to really work hard to keep the internet free. That will be the next target and they will be underhanded and sneaky about trying to curb our freedom and stop us citizens from reclaiming society.


  3. Harper and the Conservatives, are pushing for a mandate for internet surveillance. Harper has been fighting for this, for quite some time. Now that he has a majority, consider the internet useless for the citizens, to share knowledge.

    Harper is sneaky and very underhanded, fighting to keep his spending amounts from the opposition, the people, and the House of Commons, where he is in contempt of Parliament.

    Harper's mantra is to control, control and to control. Harper is a dictator, and dictators have to keep their shady deeds hidden from the public and the opposition. He sent his henchmen to storm Guelph University. They were to stop the students from voting, and they were to steal the ballot boxes. Fascism and dictatorship anyone??

    I think he is worried about the saying, Harper cheated to win this election, as he did in the 2006 election. He wants no information leaking out to the internet. He has to control the masses, by withholding information from the people.


  4. There is a past event called Nuremberg, where the Allied countries in WW2 tried war criminals of war crimes, with many being executed.

    Nuremberg was to set the standard of international law, for the future, with the USA agreeing to this.

    The summery execution of Bin Ladin (for that what this was) is nothing more than a wild west show, from a country that ignores international law and believes it is a law unto itself.

    Obama needed an media event and for the pseudo religious televangelist nutbars that live and vote in the USA, this was the tonic the President needed.

    International law is no more and so is the moral standard of the USA. What we see now is a country well past its prime, flexing its waning power to kill a very unpleasant person with out the benefit of a trial. Sadly, this sets the precedent for future actions and maybe may also trigger a war or too. But with Canada's puppet PM, Harper at the helm, America knows that they can send in Canadian soldiers to die supporting US flaunting of international law.

    The rule of law does not exist in the USA only that “might is right”, and wasn't that what Bin Ladin wanted in the first place. The now martyr, Osama Bin Ladin has lost the battle but won the war and all of Hollywood's producers can't change that fact. John Wayne is dead.


  5. Norm,
    I always enjoy your articles… just wondering if everything is fine…It's been a while since your last post ?

    Guy in Victoria


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