Democracy Now! journalist Amy Goodman speaks in Middletown Monday, New Haven Tuesday
MIDDLETOWN >> Speaking Monday at Wesleyan University, award-winning journalist Amy Goodman got two standing ovations — coming and going — from the midday crowd filling Beckham Hall to hear Goodman speak.
“Democracy Now!” host and executive producer Goodman shared excerpts from her latest New York Times bestseller, “Democracy Now!: 20 Years Covering the Movements Making America,” co-written with her brother, journalist David Goodman, and Democracy Now! colleague Denis Moynihan.
A kickoff for WESU 88.1 FM community radio spring fund drive, Goodman’s talk celebrated 21 years of Democracy Now!, a national, daily, independent news program hosted by Goodman and journalist Juan Gonzalez. Goodman will appear in New Haven Tuesday.
“We are the silenced majority,” said Goodman, who faced an arrest warrant in September — later dropped — for criminal trespassing issued in North Dakota after Democracy Now! covered the Native American-led protests against the Dakota Access pipeline.
After the crew filmed security guards working for the Dakota Access pipeline company using dogs and pepper spray against protesters, the video report went viral online and was rebroadcast on mainstream outlets prior to the warrant being issued.
“I saw the arrest as a nationwide threat to other journalists: Do not come to Standing Rock,” Goodman said.
The protesters she met on the backroads of North Dakota “were amazing” when facing a militarized police force in full riot gear, said Goodman. “They would give them a glass of water and say, ‘We’re doing this for you, too.’”
Resistance to, and protests about, the Republican administration will only continue to grow, said Goodman, who broadcast five hours Saturday during the March for Science in Washington, D.C. The march “champions robustly funded and publicly communicated science as a pillar of human freedom and prosperity,” according to the mission statement.
“We talked to young people, young women of color, young girls involved in science,” said Goodman, who also connected with Avery McRae, 12, one of the youngest of 21 plantiffs suing the government over climate change. The plantiffs claim the government is violating their constitutional right to a healthy planet by not doing enough to limit the use fossil fuels, Goodman said.
On Jan. 21, hundreds of thousands of women took part in the Women’s March on Washington, held the day after the Presidential Inauguration, along with many national and global events focused on issues such as women’s reproductive rights, Goodman said.
A seeming response was received Jan. 24, when President Donald J. Trump signed an executive order banning foreign nongovernmental organizations from counseling individuals about abortion or advocating for liberal abortion policies under the threat of losing all American funding, Goodman said.
“Those executive orders will keep coming and it’s not going to stop,” said Goodman, who described Trump’s Cabinet as an oligarchy, a structure that offers power to just a chosen few over the many.
“That’s what people have to deal with,” said Goodman. “That’s why people are taking to the streets.”
Wesleyan freshman Rose Schuker first learned about Goodman last semester while studying a introductory course in Native American studies, she said.
“She’s telling stories that aren’t being told,” said Schuker, who has an interest in journalism.
The Trump administration’s call to increase the defense budget to an estimated $54 billion while at the same time cutting budgets for humanitarian aid will only create a collision course with disaster, Goodman said.
“Aren’t we beyond all that?” asked Goodman. “What if we said that war is not an option?”
The “Democracy Now!” War and Peace Report provides “access to people and perspectives rarely heard in the U.S. corporate-sponsored media,” according to the news outlet. The show airs interviews of “independent and international journalists, ordinary people from around the world who are directly affected by U.S. foreign policy, grassroots leaders and peace activists, artists, academics and independent analysts,” according to the website.
Driving from Wallingford to hear Goodman speak, Dan Fontaine said he most appreciates the independent programming that he can’t find anywhere else. “You hear voices that you won’t hear anywhere else,” he said.
The mainstream media — now dominated by just six corporations — needs to step up for the best public interests, and hire pundits that actually know what they are talking about, Goodman said. If broadcast networks — legally responsible to their shareholders to maximize profits — refuse to treat fairly our country’s airwaves, a “national treasure,” then those licenses should be revoked, said Goodman.
War, inequality, climate change and racial and social justice are a few top areas of intense focus for Goodman.
“We find her to be an amazing voice for democracy,” said a Higganum couple in attendance.
Goodman will appear at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday at Yale Law School Auditorium, 127 Wall St. A book signing will follow.