Friday April 20, 2018
The dust had barely settled after last weekend’s US-led bombing of Syria before a split in the political class developed. While some Beltway figures, media personalities and former officials hailed the bombings, others decried the “limited” nature of the airstrikes. At the grassroots level, a somewhat different debate gripped the left and the right — those who opposed the bombings were accused of buying into the propaganda of the Syria-Russia-Iran alliance, while would-be defenders of human rights called for increased military measures to degrade the killing capacity of the “Assad regime.”
Democracy Now!, the daily hour-long news show hosted by Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez, has long been the flagship institution for US progressives. With its jaunty 90s opening theme, timely coverage of world events, liberal (maybe radical-liberal) take on global affairs, and impressive range of top-tier guests including authors, government officials, policy experts, and activists, the syndicated program is seen as an exemplary display of independent journalism.
No doubt, the New York-based show is in a class of its own when compared to the vapidity and sensationalism of shock-jock right-wing radio or smug, Beltway liberalism of Randi Rhodes, Thom Hartmann or Cenk Uygur. Like a gust of oxygen in the choking smog of AC360-Maddow infotainment, Amy Goodman resembles an enlightened aunt at a Fourth of July party — a female version of Ira Glass who brings a kale, cauliflower, almond cheese, and cumin-spiced casserole to the potluck while discussing difficult topics in an unshakeably calm, Zen-like manner.