Who’s ‘More of an Advocate Than the Corporate Press’?

In a discussion with Jessica Newman of Campus Progress (2/17/09), Democracy Now!‘s Amy Goodman gives her motivations for entering journalism: “I just always saw it as a way to pursue issues of social justice, to hold those in power accountable, to really work hard to get at the truth.” When asked if she sees “a successful and profitable way to embrace multimedia…in a for-profit system, like the mainstream media,” Goodman makes an important distinction: “It depends on what you mean by a ‘for-profit system'”:

For the profit of society, yes. I can only speak from my own experience with what we do. [I] deeply believ[e] that we need to work on every kind of platform to get independent information out, which is why we’re on community radio and NPR, Pacifica radio and PBS and public access TV and then on the Internet. We believed from the very beginning in working online and open source so that everyone can get information out there…. When we’re on a station, it’s bringing attention to that station, bringing resources to that station. Public access is under threat in the United States. You know, the telecoms and the cable companies don’t want to have these free channels. But they’re the ones–the cable companies–that get the monopoly in a town to have their cable network. They’ve got to give something back to the community. What better way to serve a community than to provide a space where people can make their own media, because the media are the most powerful institutions on earth.

In response to the old question of “what line as journalists should we draw between advocacy and objectivity,” Goodman points out: “You really canâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢t become more of an advocate than the corporate press. They provide the model. Just look at the lead-up to the invasion [of Iraq in 2003]. All of the networks, over and over again, beating the drums for war. I know what every one of those journalists thinks because they talked about it all the time.” See the FAIR article: “In Iraq Crisis, Networks Are Megaphones for Official Views” (3/18/03)