Radio: Democracy Now

"From Pacifica, this is Democracy Now!"

Democracy Now! slogan

Democracy Now! is a progressive news/op-ed show hosted by Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez, broadcasting out of New York City. It is the flagship program for Pacifica Radio's WBAI, and also airs in television form on Free Speech TV, Link TV, and public or cable-access stations. The show takes great pride in giving an ear to unheard voices and being viewer-supported, while remaining independent of editorial control from corporate media outlets or government funders.

Not to be confused with the Judge Dredd story of the same name.

This show provides examples of:

  • Author Filibuster: The show clearly makes its political and ideological biases very evident.
  • Berserk Button: Averted. Unlike even other left-wing radio hosts, Amy can back adversarial interviewees to a wall without so much as raising her voice.
  • Big Bad: Corporations in general are depicted as this, though the show specifically focuses on Goldman Sachs, Walmart, Exxon, Chevron, Monsanto, and News Corporation.
  • Catchphrase:
    • "From Pacifica, this is Democracy Now!"
    • "This is Democracy Now! — — the war and peace report. I'm Amy Goodman."
  • Channel Hop: From WBAI to a public radio station in Joisey called WFMU, after being exiled by Pacifica (see below). It was allowed back on WBAI five months later.
  • Conspiracy Theorist: While not over the top like Alex Jones, the show occasionally explores alleged cover-ups related to disputed historical events, like the Kennedy assassination and TWA Flight 800.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Pretty much anyone who runs a Wall Street bank or a fossil fuel conglomerate.
  • Government in Exile: The show was briefly titled Democracy Now in Exile after Amy and her staff were shut out of WBAI and Pacifica for a five-month period in late 2001, forcing them to broadcast the show from other community stations until the dispute was resolved.
  • Man Behind the Man: Several multinational corporations are presented as this for nearly every single politician.
  • My Country Tis of Thee That I Sting: Amy, Juan, and their guests are usually critical of U.S. policy on a multitude of issues.
  • Only Sane Man: Similarly to The O Reilly Factor, the show likes to present itself as one to just about everyone else in the mainstream media.
  • The Moral Substitute: For mainstream news outlets — "moral" here meaning "We don't stand by and cheer while the military blows up third world villages", as opposed to the more standard "God bless America, Ronald Reagan, and the heterosexual family."
  • Propaganda Machine: The entire mainstream media, from corporate-and-biased Fox News to government-funded-and-impartial PBS, is regarded as this.
  • Screwed by the Network: In 2000, members of Pacifica's executive board launched what was later called the "Christmas Coup", firing key staffers in the middle of the night and making its station adopt an all-jazz format at the expense of its talk programs. Amy and others, fearing that this decision would allow Network Decay to set in, left WBAI in protest; Pacifica responded by banning Amy in August 2001. Amy temporarily Channel Hopped to another radio station and retitled the show Democracy Now in Exile while negotiations with Pacifica dragged for five months. Pacifica management caved and allowed Amy and her staff to return in January 2002.
  • Viewers Like You: Amy makes it a point to note that the show is supported by listeners and not corporate sponsors.
  • The War on Terror: C'mon, you knew a show like this would go there eventually. It's noteworthy for being among the very first shows in the US to be openly critical of it.
  • Written-In Infirmity: For a period in 2007, Amy suffered from a bad case of Bell's Palsy that left half of her face paralyzed for several weeks. Amy decided to continue hosting regardless of her condition, contrasting her embrace of Bell's Palsy with the physically "perfect" and purely aesthetic Ms. Fanservices on mainstream news shows.