Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting
Media analysis, critiques and news reports
New York -- Washington, D.C. -- Houston -- Berkeley -- Los Angeles

October 23, 2000

FAIR and the San Francisco-based Media Alliance are urging Pacifica Radio listeners across the country to attend protests outside the five Pacifica-owned stations on Wednesday, October 25 to support the show "Democracy Now!" Protests are scheduled outside WBAI in New York City, WPFW in Washington, D.C., KPFT in Houston, KPFA in Berkeley, and KPFK in Los Angeles.

On October 19, FAIR alerted members of our email list to Pacifica management's harassment of "Democracy Now!" host Amy Goodman. The response has been overwhelming: Concerned Pacifica listeners have sent well over 700 letters to the network's national board in support of Goodman and "Democracy Now!" so far, and more are flooding in.

Pacifica Board members Tomas Moran and Leslie Cagan responded promptly to the letters, thanking listeners for making their voices heard and stating that they, along with a minority of other Board members, are working to support "Democracy Now!" and see the issue as "part of an even larger struggle to sustain the vision and mission of Pacifica."

Cagan emphasized that the actions taken against Goodman were instigated not by the Pacifica Board, but "by Bessie Wash, the interim executive director, and Stephen Yasko, the national news director." However, Cagan continued, "what makes the situation worse is that many members of the Board seem to be more than willing to go along with these staff decisions."

Cagan and Moran have called for an emergency board meeting to discuss Wash and Yasko's actions. She noted that though she and others will keep working for the meeting, "it is not at all clear that it will take place."

"Democracy Now!" is still at risk. Please try to attend one of the October 25 demonstrations to support "Democracy Now!" and locally controlled community radio.

You can find more information about logistics online at: Media Democracy Now

and about the New York demonstration at FAIR

If you missed FAIR's last alert on this issue, "'Democracy Now!" in Danger," you can read it at: http://www.fair.org/activism/democracy-now.html .

If you haven't yet written to the Pacifica Board, please do; contact information is in the alert.

*** Below are a few excerpts from the hundreds of eloquent, impassioned letters FAIR activists have written on behalf of Goodman and "Democracy Now!" We hope you find them as energizing as we did.

* "Pacifica is supposed to be a bastion of the progressive world. What are we to do when even our beloved Pacifica is showing signs of autocracy? I refuse to allow the Board of Directors to muzzle a journalist such as Ms. Goodman, let alone the rest of the 'Democracy Now!' crew.... Please don't think that the NY audience will sit by and let this happen."

* "You're messing with something that is much bigger than you. It's bigger that Amy Goodman, bigger than 'Democracy Now!,' bigger than the corporate pressures you might be feeling in your pockets and whispering in your ears. You're messing with the people, the people's ideas and dreams, the people's minds, their hearts, consciences and lives. You don't have the right to play in that sandbox. No one has."

* "I've stayed out of the Pacifica reorganization controversy thus far. But I cannot remain silent when credible reports indicate the Pacifica board is taking actions that are clearly against the interests of Pacifica's audience and of those of the Pacifica network itself."

* "If I want 'soft focus' stories, tepid commentary and namby-pamby middle-of-the-roadism, I will tune in to Morning Edition on my local NPR station."

* "I consider Amy Goodman a national treasure for her courage and honesty in reporting. Because of her show, I first heard that Ralph Nader was running for president and was so excited that I registered to vote and became active in my local green party."

* "Goodman, through 'Democracy Now!,' inspired me to go into journalism. Before her program on Pacifica, I had never been exposed to honest radio journalism."

* "I am a housewife from Long Island, and the Program Trustee at my church, and a volunteer with the PTA, and so on. These days, after walking my 6-year-old to school, I often turn on my radio and listen while washing the dishes.... Listening to DN! and Amy Goodman gives me the most incredible lift in the morning.... Surely you recognize that Amy Goodman and the others who bring us DN! are helping improve the health of our democracy?

* "I am a county legislator and when I went into the county offices all my colleagues were talking about what they'd heard on 'Democracy Now!' 'Did you hear Jessie Jackson Jr.?' 'Yeah, but Paul Wellstone was even better.' 'I liked that local activist, she was amazing."' This was from the Democratic politicians and local political activists. We got to hear people we never hear in the mainstream media, and we loved it.... If this is what you want to stop, then you are indeed the enemy."

* "You will not be allowed to take over and destroy Pacifica Radio, and you will not be allowed to destroy 'Democracy Now!' There are millions of us who are quite happy to hear about police brutality, East Timor and other topics the mainstream media won't touch before breakfast."

* "You simply must understand that an unfettered Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez are not resources that you run into every day, or maybe even more than once in a lifetime. "

* "Amy Goodman should be the president of Pacifica." ***