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Democracy Now!

Democracy Now! is a United States daily progressive, nonprofit, independently syndicated program of news, analysis, and opinion.[1] According to Democracy Now!, it is aired by more than 950, mostly non-commercial radio, television, satellite and cable TV networks in North America.[2] The award-winning one hour "War and Peace Report" is hosted by investigative journalists Amy Goodman[3] and Juan Gonzalez.[4][2] The program is funded entirely through contributions from listeners, viewers, and foundations and does not accept advertisers, corporate underwriting, or government funding.[2]


  • Background
    • Syndication
  • Awards and reaction
  • Coverage
  • 2008 Republican National Convention arrests
    • Notable guests, interviews, and on-air debates
  • See also
  • References
  • External links



Democracy Now! was founded in 1996 at WBAI-FM in New York City by progressive journalists Amy Goodman, Juan Gonzalez, Larry Bensky, Salim Muwakkil, and Julie Drizin.[5] It originally aired on 5 Pacifica Radio stations.[1] Goodman is the program's principal host, with Juan Gonzalez as frequent co-host.[6] Jeremy Scahill, an investigative reporter for The Nation, has been a frequent contributor since 1997.[1] The Spanish version includes the daily headlines, as well as a weekly summary of the news and was begun by Andres Thomas Conteris in May 2005. The program focuses on issues its producers consider underreported or ignored by mainstream news coverage. Television broadcasting began in September, 2001.[1]


WBAI states that Democracy Now!, which is transmitted live Monday through Friday at 8 am EST and immediately replayed for the Central, Mountain and Pacific time zones, is the flagship national program of the Pacifica Radio network.[7] The television simulcast airs on Public-access television stations; on satellite via Free Speech TV and Link TV, and free-to-air on C Band.[8] Democracy Now! is also available via the Internet as downloadable and streaming audio and video.[9] In total, over 950 television and radio stations broadcast Democracy Now! worldwide.[10]

Awards and reaction

Democracy Now! and its staff have received several journalism awards, including the Gracie Award from American Women in Radio & Television;[11] the George Polk Award for its 1998 radio documentary Drilling and Killing: Chevron and Nigeria's Oil Dictatorship, on the Chevron Corporation and the deaths of two Nigerian villagers protesting an oil spill;[12] and Goodman with Allan Nairn won Robert F. Kennedy Memorial's First Prize in International Radio for their 1993 report, Massacre: The Story of East Timor which involved first-hand coverage of genocide during the Indonesian occupation of East Timor.[13]

On October 1, 2008, Goodman was named as a recipient of the 2008 Right Livelihood Award,[14] often referred to as the "Alternative Nobel Prize",[15] in connection with her years of work establishing Democracy Now!.


Democracy Now! is notable for its global coverage of current events, such as Occupy Wall Street, often featuring live interviews with participants.[1]

2008 Republican National Convention arrests

Three journalists with Democracy Now! including principal host Amy Goodman, and news producers Nicole Salazar and Sharif Abdel Kouddous were detained by police during their reporting on the 2008 Republican National Convention protests.[16] Salazar was filming as officers in full riot gear charged her area. As she audibly yelled "Press!" she was knocked down and told to put her face in the ground while another officer dragged her backward by her leg across the pavement. The video footage of the incident was immediately posted on the internet, leading to a large public outcry against her arrest. When a second producer, Kouddous, approached, also clearly marked as a member of the press, he too was arrested, assaulted by the police and charged with a felony. According to a press release by Democracy Now!, Goodman herself was arrested after confronting officers regarding the arrest of her colleagues. The officers had established a line of "crowd control," and ordered Goodman to move back. She was arrested after being pulled through the police line by an officer, and subsequently (as well as Kouddous) had her press credentials for the convention physically stripped from her by a secret service agent.[17] All were held on charges of "probable cause for riot."[18] A statement was later released by the city announcing that all "misdemeanor charges for presence at an unlawful assembly for journalists" would be dropped. The felony charges against Salazar and Kouddous were also dropped.[19]

Goodman, Salazar, and Kouddous subsequently filed a lawsuit against the cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis as well as other defendants.[19] According to Baher Asmy of the Center for Constitutional Rights, "[a]ll three plaintiffs that are journalists with Democracy Now reached a final settlement with the city of Minneapolis and St. Paul, and the United States Secret Service, that will resolve the claims that they had against them from unlawful and quite violent arrests." The settlement includes $100,000 in compensation and a promise of police training.[20]

Notable guests, interviews, and on-air debates

In alphabetical order
  • Alan Dershowitz and Norman G. Finkelstein Finkelstein is a frequent guest. This was a much publicized debate about whether the Dershowitz book, The Case for Israel was plagiarized and inaccurate. Dershowitz has written that he agreed to appear on the show after being told he would debate Noam Chomsky, not Finkelstein.[21]
  • Alan Greenspan, former Chairman of the Federal Reserve by Amy Goodman and Naomi Klein, journalist and author of The Shock Doctrine, September 24, 2007.[22] In a follow-up interview, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalists Donald Barlett and James Steele, based on their October 2007 article in Vanity Fair,[23] call Greenspan "flat wrong" regarding claims by Greenspan in that interview denying Federal Reserve responsibility in the transfer of billions of dollars from the Federal Reserve to Iraq, $9 billion of which the reporters claim has yet to be accounted.[24]
  • Arundhati Roy Recurring guest; Indian writer, anti-war activist, and leading figure in the alter-globalization movement
  • Bill Clinton Interviewed after hours on election day of the US presidential election, 2000.[25] The heated interview on the Clinton Administration's neoliberal policies, bombing of Vieques, Iraq sanctions, Leonard Peltier, the death penalty, the Cuban embargo, racial profiling, Ralph Nader, and the Israel-Palestinian conflict resulted in the outgoing President calling Amy Goodman "hostile and combative." A staffer at the White House press office later criticized Goodman for straying from the topic of getting out the vote and for keeping Clinton on much longer than the two to three minutes agreed. Goodman replied "President Clinton is the most powerful person in the world. He can hang up when he wants to."[26]
  • Bill Moyers Interviewed; former host of the PBS show NOW with Bill Moyers and former host of the PBS show Bill Moyers' Journal.[27]
  • Cornel West Scholar, currently a professor at Union Theological Seminary, formerly at Harvard, Princeton, and Yale; activist; author.
  • Danny Glover Regular guest; American actor, film director, and political activist.
  • Dennis Kucinich, Democratic presidential candidate Interviewed by Goodman and Gonzalez on November 9, 2007.[28]
  • Edward Said was a regular guest; Columbia University professor, literary critic and Palestinian activist and intellectual
  • Evo Morales, President of Bolivia Interviewed on September 22, 2006; talked about his recent speech at the United Nations in New York where he held up a coca leaf and argued for international drug law reform as well as talked about the nationalization of Bolivia's energy reserves among other topics.[29] Morales was again interviewed on April 23, 2010 after the World Peoples Conference on Climate Change in Cochabamba, Bolivia.[30]
  • George McGovern, 1972 Democratic presidential nominee Interviewed on March 11, 2008 about that year's presidential race and how McGovern's chairmanship of the Democratic Party Reform Commission (1969 70) transformed the nominating process.[31]
  • George Papandreou, Greek Prime Minister Interviewed on December 8, 2011 at U.N. Climate Change Conference in Durban, South Africa shortly after resigning due to pressure from European Union and financial institutions.[32]
  • Gore Vidal US-author, essayist, and political activist; interviewed sparsely on a few occasions.
  • Greg Palast Frequent guest; US-born writer and investigative journalist for the BBC and The Observer.
  • Howard Zinn Interviewed by Amy Goodman; late historian and activist; author of several books, including A People's History of the United States.[33]
  • Hugo Ch vez, President of Venezuela Interviewed in September 2005.[34]
  • Jean-Bertrand Aristide on March 16, 2004, the recently ousted Haitian President accused the United States of kidnapping him and overthrowing the government of Haiti.[35]
  • Jimmy Carter Interviewed by on 10 September 2007; former US President: author of Palestine Peace Not Apartheid.[36]
  • Joseph Stiglitz Recurring guest; Columbia University economics professor, Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences winner (2001), and author
  • Paul Krugman Recurring guest; Princeton University economics professor, Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences winner (2008), and author
  • Lori Berenson Interviewed[37] in 1999 in Peru by Amy Goodman; political activist arrested in 1995 and convicted for collaborating with the T pac Amaru Revolutionary Movement, a Peruvian leftist guerrilla organization. It was the first time a journalist was able to interview Berenson inside the prison where she was incarcerated.[37]
  • Manuel Zelaya multiple interviews with the ousted president of Honduras[38]
  • Michael Eric Dyson Regular guest; Georgetown professor, writer & radio host.
  • Michael Moore Filmmaker, author, political commentator; interviewed on March 10, 2011[39] & on September 28th, 2011[40]
  • Mumia Abu-Jamal In its first year, Democracy Now! was one of the first national programs to air radio commentaries from the controversial journalist and former Black Panther Party member, on death row in Pennsylvania for the murder of a Philadelphia police officer. The 1997 decision to air Abu-Jamal's commentaries caused Democracy Now! to lose twelve of its then 36 affiliates.[41]
  • Naomi Klein Author, public intellectual, and critic of globalization and corporate capitalism. Interviewed on March 9, 2011.[42]
  • Noam Chomsky A regularly interviewed guest; MIT linguistics professor, political analyst, and author.
  • Ralph Nader A regularly interviewed guest; consumer activist, corporate critic, author, and former presidential candidate.[43]
  • Ricardo Alarc n President of the Cuban National Assembly interviewed by Amy Goodman.
  • Robert Fisk Frequent guest; British journalist who is Middle East correspondent for The Independent.
  • John Pilger Frequent guest; Australian journalist and film-maker.
  • Scott Ritter Interviewed; former UN weapons inspector who disputed the Bush administration's claims about weapons programs in Iraq.[44]
  • Tariq Ali and Christopher Hitchens took opposing sides in two debates over the Iraq War, on December 4, 2003[45] and October 12, 2004.[46]
  • Tawakel Karman The 2011 Nobel Peace Prize recipient appeared 21 October 2011, while she was in New York for a UN Security Council resolution that would create a path for Yemen President Saleh to resign.
  • Yoko Ono Musician, peace activist and widow of John Lennon. Interviewed on October 16, 2007.[47]

See also

  • Alternative media
  • Alternative press (U.S. political left)
  • Citizen journalism
  • Citizen media
  • Community radio

  • Independent media
  • Independent Media Center
  • Mass media
  • Media democracy
  • Underground press


External links

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