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Nation Topics - Alternative and Independent Media

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Pacifica listeners, the most politically pumped-up demographic in Radioland, are taking to the e-mails again. This time they're galvanized by what they see as a move to oust Amy Goodman, for many years co-host and heart and soul of Democracy Now!, a popular news program that showcases the network's avowedly radical take on the world.

The facts are: Goodman was ordered to institute certain changes in the program's operating procedures, to which she objected as unduly burdensome. There were other demands as well relating to more control over her public speaking engagements. If she did not comply, management threatened "disciplinary actions up to and including termination." Goodman struck back by filing a list of grievances through her union, AFTRA, charging various forms of harassment.

Many listeners feel that management's move against Goodman, ostensibly to "professionalize" the operation, is really an attempt to bland down the show. Our main concern is that Democracy Now! be preserved under Goodman and her current co-host, Juan Gonzalez. The program has broadcast a string of scoops and garnered some of radio's highest awards. It features the kind of hard-nosed investigative reporting that only noncommercial radio can do. Its series on the Chevron Oil company's collaboration with the murderous Nigerian dictatorship won a George Polk Award (see Goodman and Scahill, "Drilling and Killing," November 16, 1998, and "Killing for Oil in Nigeria," March 15, 1999). Goodman's reports from East Timor with Allan Nairn resulted in a documentary that collected numerous awards. Democracy Now! has covered a host of other stories that the mainstream media ignored or on-the-other-handed to death. Its reports on the Republican and Democratic conventions focused on the corporate domination of these political trade fairs, still another example of what alternative radio can do that the commercial networks won't.

Even the often admirable National Public Radio has sunk to the practice of corporate underwriting; it recently (and disgracefully) joined the big-bucks broadcast lobby in opposing low-power community radio. Pacifica is one of the few noncommercial radio voices left--"the last bastion of the precept, enshrined in the FCC Act, that the public airways are a public trust," as we said in a previous editorial. Goodman and Democracy Now! belong on Pacifica. Make that with an exclamation point!

Ben Katchor had been a bit of a cultural phenomenon for nearly a decade before he became a MacArthur fellow--a first for a cartoonist--this summer; is this the beginning of comic-strip artists being recognized as "real" artists?

AOL's buyout of Time Warner may have been this year's largest new media/old media merger, but in terms of sheer market consolidation, PlanetOut's purchase of Liberation Publications in late March

Media critics are more accustomed to pointing out problems than pointing to victories.

The recent CBS-Viacom-bination--at $37 billion, the largest media deal ever--mirrored previous purchases, like Disney's acquisition of Capital Cities/ABC and Time Warner's taking of Turner Broadc

In May 1989 a small group of radio and newspaper journalists and media activists from Belgrade took over a small room in Central Belgrade that the Central Committee of the Yugoslav Communist Part

Blogs

While the Times frequently needs pushing on its watery language, there are real ethical reasons to exclude Charlie’s Mohammad cartoons.

January 15, 2015

The billionaire media entrepreneur responds to criticisms that his former company helped block donations to WikiLeaks.

December 4, 2013

The journalist hits back on allegations that his new venture with Pierre Omidyar has “privatized” NSA leaks.

December 2, 2013

The leaked Trans-Pacific Partnership text privileges corporations over consumers in intellectual property.

November 13, 2013

The outspoken civil liberties journalist and longtime New York Times editor outlined the changing face of journalism in a wide-ranging debate yesterday.

October 29, 2013

A new case of lax punishment of sexual assault has arisen in Maryville, Missouri, drawing comparisons to Steubenville.

October 15, 2013

The news-leaking website, in possession of a leaked script, offers rebuttals to the film that dramatizes Julian Assange's relationship with former colleague Daniel Domscheit-Berg. 

September 22, 2013

Eric on Jeff Bezos; and Reed on why you should be reading McClatchy.

August 15, 2013

A multimedia artist, teacher and activist talks about the impact of hop-hop culture on young people from New York to Beijing.

February 25, 2013