Why do we need independent media?
Amy Goodman is the host and co-founder of Democracy Now, a daily grassroots, global, unembedded, independent, international, investigative news hour. – http://www.democracynow.org
Rowan Farrell: Why is it important to have non-corporate media?
Amy Goodman: When we cover war and peace we need a media that’s not brought to us by the weapons manufacturers. When we cover climate change, we are not brought to you by the oil, the gas, the nuclear companies. When we cover health care we are not brought you by the insurance industry or by the drug companies. We are brought to you by listeners, viewers, readers, people who are deeply committed to independent information and that’s what’s critical.
RF: On stage at the Women’s power to stop War event in the Hague, you spoke about the limited nature of the “8 second sound bite” as used by most corporate prime time media. Can you tell me some more about this?
AG: What do you get in eight or nine seconds? You can say “Saddam Hussein is like Hitler”, everyone knows what you mean. You’re ready for prime time and they love it, the corporate media.
But when you want to step outside the box and raise complicated issues like [how an] American president may be guilty of war crimes, you have got to explain yourself. What are the Nuremberg principles? What are war crimes? What are crimes against humanity? You need more than eight seconds.
They won’t say it’s a political edit, they’ll say you are just not ready for prime time, [because] you cant speak succinctly enough. But if you want to express a new idea you have to explain yourself or your going to sound crazy.
What are war crimes? What were the Nuremberg trials? Why do we care about these issues? Why do we have to hold people accountable? That needs more than eight seconds to explain. We need a media that provides that space. It’s the oxygen of a democracy.
RF: The global media like most industries is male dominated, why do you think women should have greater representation?
AG: We are a women run organization at DemocracyNow.org. It’s just very important [to] bring out all the voices. I’m speaking to you at The Hague where the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom is having its centennial conference. One hundred years ago, a thousand women gathered here calling for peace in the midst of World War One.
The media was not intensely interested in them but what they had to say planted the seeds for what must be heard today around the world. We need a media that expresses it. We need a media that gives voice to the movements. It’s not one individual, its people joining together. Movements are the engines of change.