mini mouse | 30.01.2005 18:31 | London
But has she seen what we have to put up with?
Amy Goodman leaving the stage
The all leaves the American public, according to Amy Goodman, “not a silent majority, but a silenced majority”.
Speaking at the LSE Goodman said there was never a time when it was more important to stick together. As thousands “disappear” in the US under the provisions of the Patriot Act, and “rendition” enables the State’s detractors to be flown to countries such as Syria and Egypt for third party torture, it’s essential that we fight back and learn to manage the media.
All very true, and it’s probable that on balance, the Patriot Act is more far reaching (certainly more frequently invoked) than our equivalent legislations, brought in around the same time (and currently under attach by the Law Lords).
But I’m not so sure about her perception - common amongst the thinking US public - that their news is more censored than the rest of the world.
For example, according to Goodman the Democracy Now programme is carried by some 300 radio and TV station across the US. Here we have no equivalent. For news we have principally the "impartial" BBC, where one early morning broadcast by Andrew Gilligan results in a hissy fit by Number Ten, the Hutton enquiry and resignation of the Director General.
And the US, recognising that cable stations enjoy monopolies as a result of their infrastructure, force them to throw open channels for community access. Anyone trying to get a radio license to broadcast anything other than 80s crap music in the UK would find that unbelieveable.
Finally, with honourable (if inconsistent) exceptions including the Guardian, Independent and New Statesmen, we have a press devoted to the inanities of celebrity gossip, racism and bigotry. But read the California based Information Clearing House (2) and you’ll find links to the most unlikely sources of criticism - The Kansas Bugle, The Lincoln County News and The Oregonian to name but three.
Goodman’s talk was entertaining and uplifting, and it’s clear from her terrifying experiences in Indonesia she’s a brave and determined journalist.
Her message holds good over here. I just wonder if she realises how much.