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A chronology of "Pacifica's"
harrassment Democracy Now!

This chronology was created by WBAI listener Julie Spriggs, using material from Pacifica producer and activist emails and websites, and transcripts of WBAI programs.

( forwarded by: http://savewbai.tao.ca )


Pacifica's Harassment, Defamation and Censorship of Amy Goodman and Democracy Now! 2000/2001

This chronology is not comprehensive but highlights many of the incidents that have become public knowledge. Only a few examples of the scapegoating and disinformation and the sexist and racist comments directed at Goodman are quoted here.

Mid August 2000: Pacifica management pulls Democracy Now!'s press passes for Democratic National Convention.
Saying that Democracy Now! (DN) inappropriately lent a floor pass to Ralph Nader when accompanying him onto the floor of the Republican National Convention, Pacifica management pulls Democracy Now!'s press passes for the Democratic National Convention. Amy Goodman says the crowd parted when they saw Ralph Nader come in and a press pass was not used. In any event, the mainstream media regularly brings members of opposing parties into the conventions to serve as commentators. Subsequently, Garland Ganter (a Pacifica manager), having declared that only reporters could use press passes, gives the pass to his 11-year-old son.

9/14/2000: Pacifica wants to rein in Democracy Now! content.
In a meeting between National Program Director Steve Yasko, Pacifica General Managers and Amy Goodman, KPFK General Manager Mark Schubb expresses his repeated criticism that audiences don't want to hear graphic details of police brutality before breakfast, or as he said last year, "before I have my coffee." He criticizes DN's coverage of Mumia Abu-Jamal, East Timor and questions asking Spike Lee about his affiliation with Nike. Pacifica's Chief Financial Officer weighs in with her criticism of coverage of American prisoner Lori Berenson in Peru. DN has just aired an exclusive interview with Berenson that receives widespread national press, including the New York Times.

Mid October 2000: Pacifica propounds unworkable ground rules for Democracy Now! It appears to observers that Pacifica is trying to make Amy Goodman's job impossible.
Amy Goodman is threatened with "disciplinary actions up to and including termination" if she doesn't:

  1. provide "a list of possible shows the following week and a short status report on each," and "determine the topics of at least three shows the preceding week." (This for a daily news show that often deals with breaking news.)
  2. discontinue the use of volunteers (volunteers have always played a pivotal role in Democracy Now! and are the lifeblood of Pacifica).
  3. obtain permission for all speaking engagements: "...you are not to accept any speaking engagements without first informing the Foundation and obtaining approval. It is also important to know whom you are speaking to." Amy Goodman called this "an outrageous intrusion into my personal life and an illegal attempt to control my right of free speech."

12/23/2000: The "Christmas Coup" - Locks changed at WBAI by Pacifica Foundation management; General Manager, Program Director and numerous others fired and banned from the station. Interim General Manager, former WBAI talk show host, Utrice Leid installed.

1/1/2001: New Interim General Manager Utrice Leid targets Amy Goodman as scapegoat for all problems.
"And we got to this point because a particular individual usurped the right, and unilaterally declared war." - Utrice Leid. In a two hour on-air tirade, Interim General Manager Utrice Leid, repeatedly accuses Amy Goodman - without naming her directly - of creating the entire Pacifica crisis.

The ludicrousness of this statement - often repeated, even in court by Pacifica lawyers (see July below) - is apparent to anyone who reads even a little about this situation. This is a crisis that began, by most accounts, in the early '90's, hit every other of the Pacifica stations before WBAI, (Houston, DC, LA, and most notably Berkeley) and came to a head on February 26, 1999 when the Pacifica National Board overrode the votes of Local Advisory Boards and staff and made itself a self-selecting body. Following that grab for power, and without Amy Goodman's participation, a tremendous crisis unfolded in Berkeley. Popular KPFA (Berkeley) station manager Nicole Sawaya was fired on March 31, 1999. This set into motion months of turmoil including armed guards occupying KPFA at a cost of $500,000, KPFA being off the air for 23 days, and 10,000 people marching in the streets.

January 2001 - ongoing: Utrice Leid and staffers escalate scapegoating of Amy Goodman, blaming her for everything. Following are some examples of what has occurred scores of times on the air:
2/6/2001: Clayton Riley, morning show host, responded when a caller made a nasty racist comment by saying, on the air, that the caller was "another one of Amy's army."

6/4/2001: Diabel Faye, formerly a music show host and promoted by Utrice Leid to be Public Affairs Director at WBAI (in violation of WBAI hiring policies) says, "If anybody tells you Amy Goodman is being harassed, it's a lie. If anybody has been harassed it is Amy harassing other people, it is Amy inciting other people to harass people working over here."

The critics have not given examples of Goodman inciting others to harass Pacifica personnel.

January 2001 - ongoing: Intermingling of demeaning sexist and racist remarks directed at Amy Goodman, on air and off, by Utrice Leid loyal staffers.
1/23/01: Transcript of on-air exchange between Amy Goodman (AG) and Clayton Riley (CR) AG: Please relax and let me say a few thing .... CR: No, No, I don't think it is appropriate for you to suggest -- as though you are speaking to one of the children that you don't have, or perhaps your grandchildren, or perhaps a classroom full of people -- relax. Who are you to tell me to relax !

2/6/01: When the morning news anchor Robert Knight, comes to Amy Goodman's defense after an on-air slandering, Riley, after switching to music, physically moves in on Knight and calls him a "slave" for "kissing that white bitch's ass."

6/4/01: On air, Diabel Faye criticizes African-Americans who refuse to broadcast during the Democracy Now! time slot, during the period when Democracy Now! has been removed from the air at WBAI, saying that they didn't want to offend a "white chick."

Several hours later at a meeting with Steve Yasko and Goodman's AFTRA representative Kim Roberts, Goodman complained to Yasko about the fact that Mr. Faye had referred to her as a "white chick." Yasko, rather then making it clear that such comments were unacceptable, told Goodman that the appropriateness of such a comment "depend[ed] on the context," an opinion that both Goodman and Roberts contested. At this meeting Yasko continued to speak to Goodman in a demeaning and sexist manner. While pressuring her to have lunch with a co-worker, ostensibly to improve their relationship, he stated: "sharing a meal is more intimate than having sex."

Late January 2001: Station manager Utrice Leid attacks Amy Goodman on air and continues to play the race card.
As reported in Newsday January 25, 2001, by Peter Goodman: "...interim station manager Utrice Leid reportedly said that prizewinning reporter Amy Goodman was 'defecating on the station,' ... Leid said some of the dissidents' motives were 'blatantly, trenchantly, undilutedly racist.' But many of the people on both sides are black, including Leid and fired program director Bernard White. Asked how the opposition was racist, Leid said, 'Why do you think it applies to them? Since the people banned are African-American? You are not logical.'"

2/1/2001: Democracy Now! engineer threatened with broken legs.
Anthony Sloan, the current engineer for Democracy Now!, reports that Clayton Riley threatened that he, Clayton, could easily get someone to "break his [Anthony's] legs for $400." Sloan also reports that Utrice and other staff witnessed this. This "altercation" starts in the control room, over Goodman's upcoming interview on the Alan Colmes show (a show on AM radio station WEVD).

3/3/2001: Pacifica's recently hired PR firm begins defaming Amy Goodman.
A fact sheet handed out to press by Pacifica PR consultant Fred Winters asserts Pacifica's continued support for Democracy Now! "despite its consistent fundraising shortfalls."

Democracy Now!, a one-hour show broadcast five days a week, has a budget of $250,000 per year. Goodman raises at least $1 million for Pacifica (and also voluntarily pitches for affiliate stations, raising an unknown amount of additional funds). In comparison, the only other national Pacifica show, the Pacifica Network News, a half-hour show with a larger staff, has a budget of $900,000, and raises no money.

3/9/2001: Friday Wake-Up Call - "New guidelines" - Goodman not allowed on program.
Mario Murillo, host of Friday's Wake-Up Call, WBAI's morning show (6-9 a.m.), reports that he has been barred from having Amy Goodman, who usually appears on his show, appear. He resigns from Wake-Up Call in protest for a number of reasons, including his refusal to submit to this policy.

3/14/2001: Amy Goodman officially fired from WBAI's Wake-Up Call.
At the time of the Christmas Coup (12/23/01), the Wake-Up Call staff was gutted. By March, Goodman is the last daily original member still on the air.

5/16/01: Live Democracy Now! yanked off the air at three stations. Democracy Now! removed from WBAI for 20 days during the fund raising drive (Note: Amy Goodman raises more money for Pacifica than anyone in the network's history.)
Democracy Now! is canceled at WBAI in New York in the wake of a Progressive Caucus Congressional hearing on the Pacifica crisis the day before. Reruns of DN play in LA. KPFK (Pacifica's LA station) management, in an attempt to discredit Goodman, provides listeners with the excuse that Goodman supposedly refused to provide fund drive programming to the station. Even if this charge were true, which it is not, there is no reason to run an old edition of the program. KPFK could have easily played the version airing that day. Goodman pitches normally at Pacifica stations WPFW (DC) and KPFA (Berkeley). No DN, old or new, airs in New York for 20 days.

May 2001: During the fund drive, when regular programming is often pre-empted, Utrice Leid and the staff loyal to her have more air time and the intimidating verbal abuse escalates.
Utrice Leid casts her attacks on all perceived opponents of the current management of Pacifica, including Goodman, as a battle against "white supremacy," and calls for "stalwart soldiers" to come forward to oppose Goodman and others, telling them that there is "a call to arms." These attacks have become routine. On June 21, 2001, National Public Radio's Morning Edition runs a clip of Leid saying: "[w]e're talking here today about the European psychological, warfare against Africans. And that's what the whole thing is about," adding: "I need you stalwart soldiers out there . . . This is a call to arms. I told you it's a war." Utrice Leid also states that some of those sabotaging the station "are right here with us." Even when Amy Goodman is not mentioned by name, it is clear to staff as well as listeners that these attacks are directed mainly at her.

6/4/2001: Wild disinformation about Amy Goodman escalates. An example:
On-air quotes from Paul DeRienzo (PDR), current staffer of WBAI Morning Show, and Diabel Faye (DF), Acting Public Affairs Director:

PDR: Indymedia is the George Soros financed organization that's allegedly of the anarchist ilk but in actual fact is a sort of a hit operation organized to support Amy.

DF: Soros, you mean, which Soros you're talking about?

PDR: George Soros. The right wing guy who destroyed Eastern Europe, the right wing guy who says he is for all these positive causes but is really financing an attack on a public radio station and trying to take it over. George Soros.

DF: George Soros? You mean...

PDR: The person who [inaudible] the Indymedia Center when I was in Philadelphia, where I saw Amy working all the time and never saw her once at the Pacifica site. Who does she work for?

Note: The Indymedia website describes itself as "a collective of independent media organizations and hundreds of journalists offering grassroots, non-corporate coverage." The website lists 57 independent centers around the world: 28 in the US; 2 in Australia; 12 in Europe; 8 in Canada; 5 in Latin America; 1 in Africa and 1 in Israel. Reportedly, George Soros, an international financier who is also a philanthropist, gave a one time $10,000 grant to help fund the Los Angeles Indymedia center's coverage of the Democratic National Convention.

Summer 2001: Disinformation and smears continue: Bizarre attempts to discredit Goodman's prizewinning journalism. Utrice Leid and her loyal staffers question the authenticity of and Goodman's role in a massacre seen on televisions around the world.
Amy Goodman won numerous awards for the radio documentary she co-produced with journalist Allan Nairn, "MASSACRE: The Story of East Timor," including the Robert F. Kennedy Prize for International Reporting, the Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia Silver Baton, the Armstrong Award, the Radio/Television News Directors Award, as well as awards from AP, UPI, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting .

In 1991 Goodman and Nairn survived a massacre in East Timor in which Indonesian soldiers gunned down more than 250 Timorese.

Utrice and her allies have been taunting Goodman with such phrases as, "Just like you witnessed the massacre in East Timor?" One of the staff loyal to the General Manager has reportedly been assigned to look into whether the massacre ever happened and whether Goodman's role was as she described. In response, the camerman, whose film of the massacre was seen around the world, reiterates the facts and also tells of the pictures he has of Goodman and Nairn that day.

July 2001: Amy Goodman accused of demonstrating in Maine when she was in New York.
The highest officials at Pacifica continue to lie about Goodman. In Alameda Superior Court this July, Pacifica's attorney's asserted in court papers, filed on behalf of Pacifica, that Goodman is involved in "extortions" and "has engaged in specific harassing conduct constituting economic coercion against [Andrea Cisco] a Foundation Director". An affidavit falsely claimed that "Amy Goodman ... led a protest in Belfast, Maine, on July 9, 2001, in an attempt to coerce my resignation." Amy Goodman has never demonstrated, protested or leafleted against Andrea Cisco.

8/8/01 - 8/10/01: Democracy Now! forced to broadcast, with no explanation, from an unworkable editing booth; General manager laughs and says "Watch them run."
Steve Yasko, Pacifica's National Program Director, a former marketer at NPR, and Democracy Now's! "manager," comes to New York from Washington and was at the WBAI station at the time Goodman and her staff were about to begin a live broadcast of DN. With Yasko looking on, minutes before airtime, and without explanation, station manager Utrice Leid orders the DN staff out of the station's main studio and makes them broadcast from an inferior sub-studio, Studio 3, otherwise known as an editing booth.

Studio 3 cannot accommodate multiple phone guests, and the clock--a critical component of professional radio production--has been broken for months. The clock in Studio 3 is in fact covered with gold foil. When Goodman comments on the clock to Leid, Leid sarcastically tells Goodman to go buy one. Goodman then asks National Program Director Steve Yasko for a clock. He brings her one without numbers. Other morning producers laugh as they watch Goodman and her staff hurrying to prepare Studio 3 for a complicated show.

Leid repeatedly mocks them by saying, "Watch them run. Watch them run." When a Democracy Now! producer asks Leid if DN would in fact be broadcast to the New York audience today, Leid gets right up into the producer's face and, in a highly agitated state says: "You do not talk to me. You are a producer. You do not question me. You do not interrogate Utrice Leid."

8/10/01: Amy Goodman physically accosted by WBAI Interim General Manger Utrice Leid.
According to eyewitnesses, Goodman came upon two WBAI staffers rifling through the personal possessions of fired WBAI Program Director Bernard White in an office that has been sometimes described by management as "sealed under court order." Goodman objects to the invasion of privacy, and when the two people refuse to stop, she goes to her office, gets her camera, and takes a picture of their illegal search.

WBAI manager Utrice Leid, who appears on the scene at this point, rips the camera out of Goodman's hands and stalks into an adjacent office. Goodman follows her and demands her camera back. Leid laughs in Goodman's face, saying she will have the film developed herself. Leid, a tall robust woman who towers over Goodman and weighs at least 75 pounds more than her, then physically shoves Goodman out of the way and marches down the hallway to her own office, shutting the door. Goodman stands outside Leid's office and again demands the camera back. Leid finally relents, opens the door and hands it to Goodman.

Goodman reiterates that it is wrong to be going through Bernard White's possessions. Leid asks how she knew anyone was doing that. Goodman replies that she witnessed the incident. "Just like you witnessed the massacre in East Timor?" retorts Leid sarcastically.

Weekend, 8/11/01-8/12/01: Democracy Now! locked out of their offices. The weekend is critical work time for the daily (M-F) show.

8/13/01: Staffers scream at Democracy Now! staff immediately before air time and use a master key to follow them into their office.
Two WBAI staffers scream at Democracy Now! personnel repeatedly, accusing them of being the cause of death threats the staffers say they have received. When the Democracy Now! staff retreats to their offices to concentrate on pulling together their show which will air shortly, the screaming staffers use a super master key to break into the office. Morning Show anchor Santiago Nieves (one of Leid's hirees) comes out and tells them to stop because the shouting could be heard on the broadcast.

8/14/01 - 8/21/01: After the preceding week of physical intimidation, verbal harassment and insupportable working conditions, Democracy Now! team moves to a workable studio in downtown Manhattan and provides a feed to Pacifica via ISDN line, but Democracy Now! is yanked off the air by Pacifica for not working within the walls of WBAI.
Pacifica replaces the live broadcast by a tape of an old DN show. This occurs after all-night negotiations between management and Goodman broke down early on the morning of the 14th. Goodman has notified Pacifica that she can no longer originate the show at WBAI in New York due to the continual intimidation and harassment she is experiencing at the hands of interim station manager Utrice Leid.

There is ample precedent for broadcasting outside of the walls of WBAI. At least three men broadcast from off-site studios daily for Pacifica and WBAI: Gary Null (M-F, 12-1 pm), Armand DeMille (M- F, 1 to 2 pm), and Pacifica Network News correspondent Bob Hennelly (daily for PNN and weekly for WBAI).

During the negotiation, on-air verbal harassment and threats continue. During the negotiations for a safe workplace, the morning show staff encourages listeners to attack Goodman and Democracy Now! When people voice their support, the hosts either mock them or cut short their calls with the sound of a flushing toilet.

On Saturday August 18th, the verbal harassment reaches a peak, when producer Clayton Riley says on-air:
"When you talk about the enemy, you find the enemy, you isolate the enemy and you destroy the enemy. These people have put themselves in the position of being the enemies. This conflict is not going to end, in my judgment and let me be clear about that, until the dissidents, until the so-called exile community is destroyed. Unequivocally."

Furthermore, Riley has not been disciplined for his eight-months of hate-filled invective and menacing behavior, but rewarded: Utrice Leid has doubled the air-time of his weekly program. While Pacifica management offers to post a statement asserting that WBAI is a nonviolent workplace, they refuse to prohibit the on-air personal attacks, which gives a green light for harassment and the kind of assault which happened recently.

8/21 - 8/23/2001: Pacifica suspends Amy Goodman without pay. KPFA (the Berkeley station) and some affiliates are running the show that DN is still producing daily. Censored DN reruns are being played at the rest of the stations and affiliates.
Pacifica management suspends Amy Goodman without pay. Incredibly, the Democracy Now! team finds this out in the morning newspapers.

Pacifica had offered a vaguely worded policy statement reaffirming that the workplace should be free of threats (while on-air verbal harassment continued, see above). The same statement contained a so-called "management rights" clause that required all employees to obey any directives from management, except those that violate the union contract. Since the AFTRA contract has no sections dealing with on-the-job safety, that provision requires Goodman and her staff to follow any orders, even if they feel physically threatened. Pacifica promises to conduct an investigation of the alleged assault and to report back on the progress of the investigation by Sept. 10. In other words, no conclusion to the investigation was required at that time, only a report of "progress." How long does it take to investigate whether a supervisor physically attacked an employee? Aren't there numerous recently installed surveillance cameras at WBAI that probably captured the assault on tape? Aren't there several witnesses to the act?

Initially, AFTRA supported Pacifica's offer but on Thursday, August 23rd they issued a statement saying that "because of certain events that have subsequently occurred at WBAI, which AFTRA considers inconsistent with the steps that Pacifica had agreed to take to ensure the safety of the Democracy Now! staff, AFTRA has notified Pacifica that it is no longer satisfied that the WBAI studios are a safe and appropriate working environment for the Democracy Now! staff."

8/24/2001: Democracy Now!'s live, groundbreaking journalism, remains off the air at four of five Pacifica Stations.
Pacifica management is playing censored reruns of Democracy Now!, having refused to guarantee a safe workplace to the DN staff. Amy Goodman is suspended without pay. Morning headlines for the Pacifica version of Democracy Now! are provided by a news service called Feature Story News whose clients also include ABC, Bloomberg, Fox News, Radio Vatican, Sky News (Murdoch), Summit TV (South Africa's business channel) and the Voice of America.

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