Last night Amy Goodman came to Baltimore. It was a sell-out, about 500 anti-war activists in a church. I passed out this flyer as people arrived:
About a dozen people wouldn't even take it. I knew many of the people in the crowd. Some of my anti-war activist comrades wouldn't look at me, or they'd shake their heads in disbelief at my new direction in life.
Amy got tremendous ovations throughout the evening. It started with a video where Amy cuts between Amy giving a talk and CNN/Fox newscasts. It was a good critique of the mainstream media and lasted about 25 minutes. Then Amy spoke. I thought it was a boiler plate speech. She did a really good job of critiquing what's wrong with the corporate media. She mentioned some of the nastier things that John Ashcroft is doing. Towards the end she went for obvious applause lines. She said that she believed Osama bin Laden should be tried for 911. (Applause.) Then Donald Rumsfeld for war crimes. Then George Bush. (Big applause.)
She concluded her talk by describing in detail the Santa Cruz massacre in East Timor in 1991. This is the story that makes Amy a legend among so many; she barely survived it. Then she tells people to buy multiple copies of her book because it would send a message to book publishers to publish this kind of material. She gets a standing ovation.
The talk is over and there's a huge rush to buy a book. I wait around for the opportunity to interview her. For the next three hours I wait. She probably sells more than a 100 books. (This is a 70-city tour. Not a bad income stream.)
Around midnight Amy is clearly exhausted. So am I. (I've been telling everyone who asked me for my views that she's betraying the anti-war movement.) A videorecorder is set up. Two other local journalists sit in their chairs and ask her questions. Then I tell her something along the lines of:
"...lately I've been a critic of Democracy Now. In your speech you said OBL should be tried for 911. Can you tell us your reason for thinking he was responsible?"
She cleverly parries this by saying: "I said he should be tried. That doesn't mean I said he was guilty."
Amy: 1. Me: 0.
Then I ask her:
"...a lot of us are disappointed in the treatment given to David Griffin on your show. Meanwhile, FEMA produced a report that discusses the collapses of the Twin Towers. I've read it twice. It never explains conclusively why WTC 7 collapsed. When will Democracy Now demand that the government produce a structural engineer to explain why WTC 7 collapsed, using the same standard you applied to David Griffin?"
She smiled a bit and then said that her program was still looking into the situation. Then an assistant firmly announced "that's a rap!" There would be no more questions.
It is very clear to me that she's selling the anti-war movement out. However, judging by last night, where even people who would listen to me still bought multiple copies of her book, I have to conclude that this crowd likes being fooled. (I want to believe in Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy again myself.)
There's a lot of money to be made leading the lemmings to the edge of the cliff.