Originally published in the Bennington Banner on April 27, 2017
By Cherise Madigan
BENNINGTON — After over twenty years reporting on the events that shape our nation, Amy Goodman has plenty to say about the state of American politics.
On Thursday the Democracy Now! host joined Bennington College students and community members to discuss her career as an independent journalist, and her new book “Democracy Now!: Twenty Years Covering the Movements Changing America.”
In her lecture, Goodman tied national issues to local action and covered a range of divisive topics including immigration and deportations, U.S. foreign policy in Syria and North Korea, the water crisis in Flint, MI., and the Dakota Access Pipeline.
In her welcome, the director of the College’s Center for the Advancement of Public Action, Susan Sgorbati, emphasized the importance of the political engagement exemplified by Goodman.
“Whether we’re working with our local community and state leaders to respond to an unfolding situation like the PFOA water contamination in our region, or organizing in support of undocumented workers in our state, or in fact doing many of the things that we do, what connects us is a determination to engage in our world,” said Sgorbati.
Goodman was introduced by her brother, Vermont reporter David Goodman, a prolific writer who also co-authored her most recent book. As a fellow journalist, David praised his sister for her bravery in the field.
“As a journalist, courage is not something that happens in hindsight,” said Goodman. “Courage is telling inconvenient truths, it’s speaking truth to power when it matters.”
Goodman is well known for her dedication in the field, having been beaten and arrested by Indonesian soldiers following her coverage of the Santa Cruz massacre in East Timor in 1991, The reporter was again arrested in 2008 while covering an anti-war protest taking place at the Republican National Convention. Most recently, a warrant was issued for Goodman’s arrest after covering the resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota in 2016.
Goodman focused primarily on topical social and political issues, with a heavy focus on the current administration.
“As the Trump administration systematically begins to dismantle the regulatory state, think about what those regulations mean,” said Goodman, referring to President Trump’s repeal of multiple environmental regulations. “You know it very well in Bennington – you’re dealing with a teflon company that polluted the wells of your community.”
Throughout her lecture, Goodman lambasted the pitfalls of the corporate news media.
“There is a reason why our profession, journalism, is the only one explicitly protected by the U.S. constitution,” said Goodman. “We’re supposed to provide a check and balance on power.”
“The demand for Democracy Now! is largely due to a void in our national media,” said David Goodman. “Our corporate media has acted as a megaphone for those in power rather than challenging those in power.”
Goodman received thunderous applause throughout her lecture, and her emphasis on everyday engagement by average citizens seemed to resonate with the audience.
Following her lecture, Goodman later signed copies of her book, sold at the event by the Bennington Bookshop.