Two days after the death of Ronald Reagan, Amy Goodman sits in a Chinese antique store/coffee shop a block from the "Democracy Now!" studios and about a quarter mile from Ground Zero. Meanwhile, from towers moved from the World Trade Center to buildings all over Manhattan, radio and other media are busily broadcasting their rewrite of a remarkably bloodstained, corrupt presidency.
Iran/Contra, support for apartheid, the millions of Americans dead because of Reagan's inattention to AIDS, the almost 140 cabinet officers indicted or fired for ethical transgressions, the rampant social cuts and new homeless: All disappeared into some corporate media ether.
But all Goodman will say regarding Reagan is to note some other victims of his policies. "The hundreds of thousands of Nicaraguan civilians, the Salvadorans and Guatemalans. I do believe in respecting the dead," she says between sips of java and nibbles on Cinnamon Dentyne. "But that goes for everyone."
In chic cargo pants and a sort of flak vest with an emphasis on pockets, she looks as much a soldier as a journalist touring in support of a new book doing bang-up business despite mainstream media disinterest. Then again, she doesn't "think the mainstream media is mainstream. It represents the fringe minority and I'm not talking about people of color."
She unwraps another stick of gum. "The great journalist I.F. Stone said to his students, 'Remember two words "governments lie."' But what we don't expect is the media to act as a conveyor belt for the lies. They were used for justification for war. More than 800 U.S. soldiers are dead ... and about 11,000 Iraqi citizens."
Her book tour has met overflow audiences nationwide. "In Michigan, New York, Washington state, Oregon, throughout Maine, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, there's a grassroots hunger for information," she says.
"I really think mainstream America, the movement for peace, a pro-democracy movement is not a silent majority but a silenced majority. Silenced by the corporate media. And that's got to change."