Amy Goodman has reported from the field in Egypt, South Africa, Standing Rock, or wherever the news takes her.

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. – The Middlebury College community turned out in force on April 26 to hear journalist Amy Goodman champion her independent, national news program Democracy Now! as a force for truth and equality.

With more than 200 people in Wilson Hall, Goodman delivered “Democracy Now!: Covering the Movements that Changed America” and described some of the important stories — from the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt to Occupy Wall Street and Standing Rock — she has reported on for her award-winning news program carried on radio, television, and the Internet.

“On Democracy Now! you will discover a whole new universe of media with road signs to all different places where you can learn about the world, and that I really think represent the mainstream in this country,” she said after being introduced by Maeve Moynihan ’17, by co-author David Goodman, and by Democracy Now! colleague Denis Moynihan.

“I think those who are deeply concerned about war and peace, about the growing inequality in this country, about climate change and the fate of the planet, about racial, economic, and social justice, and about LGBTQ rights are not a fringe minority. Not even a silent majority. But the silenced majority, silenced by the corporate media, which is why we have to take it back!”

Democracy Now! is funded entirely through contributions and does not accept advertising, corporate underwriting, or government funding. It is broadcast five days a week by Middlebury’s student-run radio station, WRMC, and has carved out a following among undergraduates here, many of whom were anxious to hear the message from the tireless, 60-year-old investigative journalist.

In Cairo’s Tahrir Square in 2011, Goodman recalled, “as the corporate media showed you the very impressive crowd of one million people in Tahrir, we were bringing you the voices that fomented this revolution, the family members and neighbors who were involved.”

How Democracy Now! covered the Egyptian revolution was emblematic, she said. “It was so important that you could hear the voices of the Egyptian people speaking for themselves. That is the philosophy of Democracy Now!”

The guest speaker (left) waited just off stage while being introduced to the crowd. (Click on image to enlarge.)

Goodman also was in Wisconsin in 2011 when “150,000 people marched on the state capital because the governor, Scott Walker, was trying to bust the public unions.” She was in Washington, D.C., that same year when 1,200 people “including your own [Schumann Distinguished Scholar] Bill McKibben” were arrested in protest of the Keystone XL Pipeline. And she was in lower Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park for the Occupy Wall Street movement “that changed everything.”

“Think about it,” the guest speaker exclaimed. “When you say one percent and 99 percent, people don’t think you are talking about milk. They know exactly what you mean. Occupy occupied the language, and when you change the language you change the world.”

On climate change, Goodman said the “corporate media” hardly pays any attention to United Nations’ climate conferences in Copenhagen, Durban, Doha, Paris, and elsewhere, and so “you might ask, ‘Why should we go? What gets accomplished there?’”

Democracy Now! covers those summits “mainly for the people who are gathered outside – the thousands of people who come from all across the planet and are most affected by climate change.” The United States and China should be held accountable for producing the most greenhouse gases on Earth, Goodman said, and “it is our responsibility in this country to do something about it.” That’s why Democracy Now! brought its listeners and viewers a boy from Maldives who said, “You are drowning my country,” and people from sub-Saharan Africa who said, “You are cooking our continent.”

“That’s why we go to these summits,” Goodman explained.

The recipient of a George Polk Award for Journalism, a Gandhi Peace Award, and a lifetime achievement award from the Nieman Foundation, Goodman also spoke about covering the recent uprising in protest of the Dakota Access Pipeline and the ill-advised “militarization” of police forces in America, such as at Ferguson, Mo.

She closed with a few remarks about the Trump Presidency and its “oily-garchy” trio of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, “the former head of the largest private oil corporation in the world”; EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, “who as attorney general of Oklahoma sued the EPA 14 times and is now the head of the agency he tried to eviscerate”; and Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, whose presidential ambitions “were bankrolled to the tune of $6 million by Kelcy Warren, the CEO of Energy Transfer Partners, which owns the Dakota Access Pipeline.”

America needs a media “that covers power, not covers for power. We need a media that is the fourth estate, not for the state. And we need a media that covers the movements that make history,” Goodman said.

“Yes, I believe in reality television – the reality on the ground of what’s really happening to people. That’s what we show on Democracy Now! and that’s why it is so critical that we have independent media in this country and that we support it.”

- Reporting by Robert Keren and photography by Todd Balfour

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