THE BLOG
09/02/2008 04:00 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Silencing the town Crier, Democracy in Trouble.

How in the world can this happen? How in the world can citizens remain ensconced
in their houses watching American idol...when a true American, who should be idolized, is getting arrested
for nothing more than asking a few questions.

Amy Goodman, who hosts one of the rare alternative news programs in the country
"Democracy Now", is not known for attracting attention to herself.

She is not a Bill O'Reilly, shouting and screaming at anyone who disagrees. She
is a journalist who loves diverse voices and putting events into perspective
--helping American citizens get the information they need to make informed
decisions.

Goodman witnessed and experienced something very frightening that
likely was not mentioned on your local news.

During the opening of the Republican National Convention, she was arrested for
asking police where her two producers were. They had been arrested and because
SHE asked a question police did not like, she was arrested too.


After more than 20 years as a journalist, Goodman was doing what reporters are
supposed to do. She was gathering news inside the Republican National convention
as well as opposing views outside. Heavens to Betsy---a real journalist
telling both sides!

The video of a demure Goodman walking into a group of police dressed in riot
gear-- looking like guards outside a dictator's palace--is surreal. It also
convinced me Republicans would love to provoke citizens, practicing their
constitutional rights of civil disobedience, into acting like mis- guided
idiots. Then the mass media which has been lifting Pom-Poms for the Bush
administration for years can blame them and make them look like lunatics worthy
only of dismissal.

If Amy Goodman was wearing an American flag on her lapel or a republican emblem
I doubt she would have landed behind bars.

Voices of dissent have always brought balance back after times of extreme, and
if those voices are silenced, can we still call ourselves a democracy?

Goodman is one of the few working to ask tough questions of powerful people and they don't
like it.

This is the age of the bully and those bullies don't want anyone showing America
or the world that there is concern about where our country is headed. Bullies
don't like discussion and yesterday Amy Goodman was bullied right into the paddy
wagon.

Today, many of those in power want to convince sleeping American's that
dissension is evil, that it's unpatriotic and should be feared.

How can a country formed by revolutionaries not understand that there is no
democracy when there is no free press?

To kill those who question, is to kill democracy itself and the end product is
a dictatorship.

When Iraq was invaded and the town criers lost their voices for not asking
why--Americans lost their faith in journalists who are charged with protecting
them.

Now, as a small group fights to wrestle control away from a rich and powerful
few owning our conduits of information, dissenting voices are rarely heard--they
own the people who should be asking the questions.

But they don't own Goodman and that's why she was arrested.

Mass media owned by Viacom (entertainment) General electric (arms dealers)
Disneyland (let's just have some fun) and Fox--Rupert Murdoch--who likes to give
John McCain a lift in his jet once in a while-- are not about to give newsrooms
across the country back to its citizens.

And those sitting in the anchor chairs reading the news are often there because
they will say and do anything the corporation tells them too...and every one of
those corporations has an agenda---and it's not protecting the public.

Our conduits of information have been hijacked; a man, acting like a dictator,
is in the White House; the town criers of democracy are getting arrested; and
Americans heads are so full of infotainment, Prozac and Zoloft, getting off
the couch seems like a real inconvenience.

There is a reason American's rally. It is our right, and it is our way of
pulling a country moving toward self destruction back into the arms of the people who love it most---those who believe
in all sides getting told; those who believe information without perspective is
harmful; those who believe infotainment is not news, and those who believe
corporate control of newsrooms are destroying a democracy.

What a sad time for journalism. What a sad time for America.

What will it take for journalists to put down their pom poms for corporate
media, get out of bed with the bush administration and start fighting to do
their jobs again?

Perhaps Amy Goodman's illegal arrest will get American's to stop listening to
those who tell us the enemies are all around us and understand the enemy is here
within these divided states.

"The freedom of the press cannot be compromised without being lost."

Thomas Jefferson.

--
Leslie Griffith

http://lesliegriffith.org