Posted on February 13, 2023
Democracy Now!: Covering the Movements Changing America, and the World
Note from the CREDO team: This February, Democracy Now! is among three amazing groups that will receive a share of our monthly grant. Funding from the CREDO community will help produce its independent news hour, bringing tens of millions of people critical information about war and peace, threats to democracy, the climate crisis, abortion rights, gun control and more.
Read this important blog post from Amy Goodman, then click here to visit CREDODonations.com to cast your vote to help determine how we distribute our monthly grant to this organization and our other amazing grantees this February.
Going to where the silence is. That’s the responsibility of a journalist: giving a voice to those who have been forgotten, forsaken and beaten down by the powerful. It is the best reason I know to carry our pens, cameras and microphones out to the world.
When you hear someone speaking for themselves—whether it’s an elder from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe or an aunt in Afghanistan—it challenges the stereotypes that fuel division and hate. It’s not that you have to agree with what you hear. How often do we agree with our own family members? But you start to understand where a person is coming from. That understanding is the beginning of peace.
The media can be the greatest force for peace on Earth. Instead, all too often, it’s wielded as a weapon of war.
That’s why Democracy Now! is fighting to take the media back from government interests and corporations that, in the words of George Gerbner, late dean of the Annenberg School of Communication at the University of Pennsylvania, “have nothing to tell and everything to sell.”
On February 19, 1996, Democracy Now! aired for the first time on nine community radio stations. It was the only national daily election show in public broadcasting.
When the 1996 election wrapped up, we thought that Democracy Now! would wrap up as well. But there was more demand for the show after the elections than before. Why? People are hungry for real solutions and authentic voices—not just the same handful of pundits on the network shows who know so little about so much, explaining the world to us and getting it so wrong.
This month Democracy Now! is celebrating 27 years of independent reporting. Over the past quarter-century, our daily, global news hour has become one of the leading independent news outlets in the world, broadcasting on more than 1,500 public TV and radio stations around the world and reaching tens of millions of people through our website, www.democracynow.org, and our social media channels. We also have a Spanish-language website, www.democracynow.org/es.
When we report on the climate emergency, our coverage isn’t brought to you by the oil, gas, coal and nuclear companies. When we cover war, our reporting isn’t sponsored by the weapons manufacturers. Our journalism is powered by the people, which gives us the editorial freedom to report on the issues that matter most: war and peace, the climate crisis, abortion rights, gun control, immigration, racism and police brutality, wealth inequality, LGBTQ rights, healthcare and much more.
Democracy Now! recently interviewed pioneering legal scholar Kimberlé Crenshaw about The College Board’s revision of its Advanced Placement African American studies high school curriculum, which removed Black Lives Matter, reparations and queer theory as required topics. The new curriculum was released on the first day of Black History Month, the same day as the funeral of 29-year-old Black father Tyre Nichols, killed by Memphis police last month. It also came after Florida’s Republican Governor Ron DeSantis banned the original AP Black studies class in Florida schools. The College Board, the nonprofit organization that administers Advanced Placement courses across the country, denies that it buckled to political pressure.
“Anybody who’s concerned about our democracy, anyone who’s concerned about authoritarianism has to wake up and pay attention to this, because this is how it happens,” Crenshaw told Democracy Now! Crenshaw coined the term “intersectionality” to study the overlapping or intersecting social identities and systems of oppression, domination or discrimination people experience.
We also recently interviewed filmmaker Shaunak Sen about his Oscar-nominated documentary, All That Breathes, which follows two brothers who rescue black kite birds in New Delhi. The brothers have saved about 25,000 black kites from the dirty air in India’s capital over the last 15 years. “When you live in the city of Delhi, you’re almost always preoccupied with the air,” said Sen, who explained why he centered the film on the brothers and purposely stayed away from obvious environmental and political messages. “The idea is to open the conversation and not close it,” he said. All That Breathes became the only film ever to win the best documentary prize at both the Sundance and Cannes film festivals last year.
In these challenging times, as we face innumerable threats to our democracy—from the overturning of Roe v. Wade to election denialism to the climate crisis—we need a media that covers power, not covers for power.
We need a media that is the fourth estate, not for the state.
And we need a media that covers the movements that create static and make history. That is the power of independent media.
That is a media that will save us.