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The Sword and the Shield

This Magazine Staff

Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! just gave her keynote address at the Independent Press Association convention, and it left many attendees in tears.
The event, over lunch here in San Francisco, began with an Indy Media-produced documentary on mass media and its role in promoting war, and her address carried that theme further.
It was a wide-ranging speech that touched on Iraq, media independence, East Timor, Henry Kissinger and what Americans represent to people around the world — the sword and the shield.
“There is no more important time to be an independent reporter than today,” Goodman said. “[People] know they were lied to about weapons of mass destruction… People are angry and they are looking for alternative sources of information.”
“Our job as journalists is to go where the silence is,” and report on it, she added. “Whether we are journalists, students… whatever we do in our lives, we have a decision to make every hour of every day: whether to represent the sword or the shield.”
Goodman’s impassioned talk put things in perspective, especially for media types like us around the tables who tell stories of inspiring people fighting for change, only to ask themselves what they are doing. When you work with the independent press, the answer is: a lot.

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