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This chronology is not comprehensive but highlights many of the incidents
that have become public knowledge. Only a few examples of the scapegoating
and disinformation and the sexist and racist comments directed at Goodman are
*Mid August 2000: Pacifica management pulls Democracy Now!'s press passes for
Democratic National Convention.
Saying that Democracy Now! (DN) inappropriately lent a floor pass to Ralph
Nader when accompanying him onto the floor of the Republican National
Convention, Pacifica management pulls Democracy Now!'s press passes for the
Democratic National Convention. Amy Goodman says the crowd parted when they
saw Ralph Nader come in and a press pass was not used. In any event, the
mainstream media regularly brings members of opposing parties into the
conventions to serve as commentators. Subsequently, Garland Ganter (a
Pacifica manager), having declared that only reporters could use press
passes, gives the pass to his 11-year-old son.
*9/14/2000: Pacifica wants to rein in Democracy Now! content.
In a meeting between National Program Director Steve Yasko, Pacifica General
Managers and Amy Goodman, KPFK General Manager Mark Schubb expresses his
repeated criticism that audiences don't want to hear graphic details of
police brutality before breakfast, or as he said last year, "before I have my
coffee." He criticizes DN's coverage of Mumia Abu-Jamal, East Timor and
questions asking Spike Lee about his affiliation with Nike. Pacifica's Chief
Financial Officer weighs in with her criticism of coverage of American
prisoner Lori Berenson in Peru. DN has just aired an exclusive interview with
Berenson that receives widespread national press, including the New York
*Mid October 2000: Pacifica propounds unworkable ground rules for Democracy
Now! It appears to observers that Pacifica is trying to make Amy Goodman's
Amy Goodman is threatened with "disciplinary actions up to and including
termination" if she doesn't: 1) provide "a list of possible shows the
following week and a short status report on each," and "determine the topics
of at least three shows the preceding week." (This for a daily news show that
often deals with breaking news.) 2) discontinue the use of volunteers
(volunteers have always played a pivotal role in Democracy Now! and are the
lifeblood of Pacifica). 3) obtain permission for all speaking engagements:
"...you are not to accept any speaking engagements without first informing
the Foundation and obtaining approval. It is also important to know whom you
are speaking to." Amy Goodman called this "an outrageous intrusion into my
personal life and an illegal attempt to control my right of free speech."
*12/23/2000: The "Christmas Coup" - Locks changed at WBAI by Pacifica
Foundation management; General Manager, Program Director and numerous others
fired and banned from the station. Interim General Manager, former WBAI talk
show host, Utrice Leid installed.
*1/1/2001: New Interim General Manager Utrice Leid targets Amy Goodman as
scapegoat for all problems.
"And we got to this point because a particular individual usurped the right,
and unilaterally declared war." - Utrice Leid. In a two hour on-air tirade,
Interim General Manager Utrice Leid, repeatedly accuses Amy Goodman - without
naming her directly - of creating the entire Pacifica crisis.
The ludicrousness of this statement - often repeated, even in court by
Pacifica lawyers (see July below) - is apparent to anyone who reads even a
little about this situation. This is a crisis that began, by most accounts,
in the early '90's, hit every other of the Pacifica stations before WBAI,
(Houston, DC, LA, and most notably Berkeley) and came to a head on February
26, 1999 when the Pacifica National Board overrode the votes of Local
Advisory Boards and staff and made itself a self-selecting body. Following
that grab for power, and without Amy Goodman's participation, a tremendous
crisis unfolded in Berkeley. Popular KPFA (Berkeley) station manager Nicole
Sawaya was fired on March 31, 1999. This set into motion months of turmoil
including armed guards occupying KPFA at a cost of $500,000, KPFA being off
the air for 23 days, and 10,000 people marching in the streets.
*January 2001 - ongoing: Utrice Leid and staffers escalate scapegoating of
Amy Goodman, blaming her for everything. Following are some examples of what
has occurred scores of times on the air:
2/6/2001: Clayton Riley, morning show host, responded when a caller made a
nasty racist comment by saying, on the air, that the caller was "another one
of Amy's army." 6/4/2001: Diabel Faye, formerly a music show host and
promoted by Utrice Leid to be Public Affairs Director at WBAI (in violation
of WBAI hiring policies) says, "If anybody tells you Amy Goodman is being
harassed, it's a lie. If anybody has been harassed it is Amy harassing other
people, it is Amy inciting other people to harass people working over here."
The critics have not given examples of Goodman inciting others to harass
*January 2001 - ongoing: Intermingling of demeaning sexist and racist remarks
directed at Amy Goodman, on air and off, by Utrice Leid loyal staffers.
1/23/01: Transcript of on-air exchange between Amy Goodman (AG) and Clayton
Riley (CR) AG: Please relax and let me say a few thing .... CR: No, No, I
don't think it is appropriate for you to suggest -- as though you are
speaking to one of the children that you don't have, or perhaps your
grandchildren, or perhaps a classroom full of people -- relax. Who are you to
tell me to relax ! 2/6/01: When the morning news anchor Robert Knight, comes
to Amy Goodman's defense after an on-air slandering, Riley, after switching
to music, physically moves in on Knight and calls him a "slave" for "kissing
that white bitch's ass." 6/4/01: On air, Diabel Faye criticizes
African-Americans who refuse to broadcast during the Democracy Now! time
slot, during the period when Democracy Now! has been removed from the air at
WBAI, saying that they didn't want to offend a "white chick."
Several hours later at a meeting with Steve Yasko and Goodman's AFTRA
representative Kim Roberts, Goodman complained to Yasko about the fact that
Mr. Faye had referred to her as a "white chick." Yasko, rather then making it
clear that such comments were unacceptable, told Goodman that the
appropriateness of such a comment "depend[ed] on the context," an opinion
that both Goodman and Roberts contested. At this meeting Yasko continued to
speak to Goodman in a demeaning and sexist manner. While pressuring her to
have lunch with a co-worker, ostensibly to improve their relationship, he
stated: "sharing a meal is more intimate than having sex."
*Late January 2001: Station manager Utrice Leid attacks Amy Goodman on air
and continues to play the race card.
As reported in Newsday January 25, 2001, by Peter Goodman: "...interim
station manager Utrice Leid reportedly said that prizewinning reporter Amy
Goodman was 'defecating on the station,' ... Leid said some of the
dissidents' motives were 'blatantly, trenchantly, undilutedly racist.' But
many of the people on both sides are black, including Leid and fired program
director Bernard White. Asked how the opposition was racist, Leid said, 'Why
do you think it applies to them? Since the people banned are
African-American? You are not logical.'"
*2/1/2001: Democracy Now! engineer threatened with broken legs.
Anthony Sloan, the current engineer for Democracy Now!, reports that Clayton
Riley threatened that he, Clayton, could easily get someone to "break his
[Anthony's] legs for $400." Sloan also reports that Utrice and other staff
witnessed this. This "altercation" starts in the control room, over Goodman's
upcoming interview on the Alan Colmes show (a show on AM radio station WEVD).
*3/3/2001: Pacifica's recently hired PR firm begins defaming Amy Goodman.
A fact sheet handed out to press by Pacifica PR consultant Fred Winters
asserts Pacifica's continued support for Democracy Now! "despite its
consistent fundraising shortfalls."
Democracy Now!, a one-hour show broadcast five days a week, has a budget of
$250,000 per year. Goodman raises at least $1 million for Pacifica (and also
voluntarily pitches for affiliate stations, raising an unknown amount of
additional funds). In comparison, the only other national Pacifica show, the
Pacifica Network News, a half-hour show with a larger staff, has a budget of
$900,000, and raises no money.
*3/9/2001: Friday Wake-Up Call - "New guidelines" - Goodman not allowed on
Mario Murillo, host of Friday's Wake-Up Call, WBAI's morning show (6-9 a.m.),
reports that he has been barred from having Amy Goodman, who usually appears
on his show, appear. He resigns from Wake-Up Call in protest for a number of
reasons, including his refusal to submit to this policy.
*3/14/2001: Amy Goodman officially fired from WBAI's Wake-Up Call.
At the time of the Christmas Coup (12/23/01), the Wake-Up Call staff was
gutted. By March, Goodman is the last daily original member still on the air.
*5/16/01: Live Democracy Now! yanked off the air at three stations. Democracy
Now! removed from WBAI for 20 days during the fund raising drive (Note: Amy
Goodman raises more money for Pacifica than anyone in the network's history.)
Democracy Now! is canceled at WBAI in New York in the wake of a Progressive
Caucus Congressional hearing on the Pacifica crisis the day before. Reruns of
DN play in LA. KPFK (Pacifica's LA station) management, in an attempt to
discredit Goodman, provides listeners with the excuse that Goodman supposedly
refused to provide fund drive programming to the station. Even if this charge
were true, which it is not, there is no reason to run an old edition of the
program. KPFK could have easily played the version airing that day. Goodman
pitches normally at Pacifica stations WPFW (DC) and KPFA (Berkeley). No DN,
old or new, airs in New York for 20 days.
*May 2001: During the fund drive, when regular programming is often
pre-empted, Utrice Leid and the staff loyal to her have more air time and the
intimidating verbal abuse escalates.
Utrice Leid casts her attacks on all perceived opponents of the current
management of Pacifica, including Goodman, as a battle against "white
supremacy," and calls for "stalwart soldiers" to come forward to oppose
Goodman and others, telling them that there is "a call to arms." These
attacks have become routine. On June 21, 2001, National Public Radio's
Morning Edition runs a clip of Leid saying: "[w]e're talking here today about
the European psychological, warfare against Africans. And that's what the
whole thing is about," adding: "I need you stalwart soldiers out there . . .
This is a call to arms. I told you it's a war." Utrice Leid also states that
some of those sabotaging the station "are right here with us." Even when Amy
Goodman is not mentioned by name, it is clear to staff as well as listeners
that these attacks are directed mainly at her.
*6/4/2001: Wild disinformation about Amy Goodman escalates. An example:
On-air quotes from Paul DeRienzo (PDR), current staffer of WBAI Morning
Show, and Diabel Faye (DF), Acting Public Affairs Director:
PDR: Indymedia is the George Soros financed organization that's allegedly of
the anarchist ilk but in actual fact is a sort of a hit operation organized
to support Amy. DF: Soros, you mean, which Soros you're talking about? PDR:
George Soros. The right wing guy who destroyed Eastern Europe, the right wing
guy who says he is for all these positive causes but is really financing an
attack on a public radio station and trying to take it over. George Soros.
DF: George Soros? You mean... PDR: The person who [inaudible] the Indymedia
Center when I was in Philadelphia, where I saw Amy working all the time and
never saw her once at the Pacifica site. Who does she work for?
Note: The Indymedia website describes itself as "a collective of independent
media organizations and hundreds of journalists offering grassroots,
non-corporate coverage." The website lists 57 independent centers around the
world: 28 in the US; 2 in Australia; 12 in Europe; 8 in Canada; 5 in Latin
America; 1 in Africa and 1 in Israel. Reportedly, George Soros, an
international financier who is also a philanthropist, gave a one time $10,000
grant to help fund the Los Angeles Indymedia center's coverage of the
Democratic National Convention.
*Summer 2001: Disinformation and smears continue: Bizarre attempts to
discredit Goodman's prizewinning journalism. Utrice Leid and her loyal
staffers question the authenticity of and Goodman's role in a massacre seen
on televisions around the world.
Amy Goodman won numerous awards for the radio documentary she co-produced
with journalist Allan Nairn, "MASSACRE: The Story of East Timor," including
the Robert F. Kennedy Prize for International Reporting, the Alfred I.
DuPont-Columbia Silver Baton, the Armstrong Award, the Radio/Television News
Directors Award, as well as awards from AP, UPI, and the Corporation for
Public Broadcasting .
In 1991 Goodman and Nairn survived a massacre in East Timor in which
Indonesian soldiers gunned down more than 250 Timorese.
Utrice and her allies have been taunting Goodman with such phrases as, "Just
like you witnessed the massacre in East Timor?" One of the staff loyal to the
General Manager has reportedly been assigned to look into whether the
massacre ever happened and whether Goodman's role was as she described. In
response, the camerman, whose film of the massacre was seen around the world,
reiterates the facts and also tells of the pictures he has of Goodman and
Nairn that day.
*July 2001: Amy Goodman accused of demonstrating in Maine when she was in New
The highest officials at Pacifica continue to lie about Goodman. In Alameda
Superior Court this July, Pacifica's attorney's asserted in court papers,
filed on behalf of Pacifica, that Goodman is involved in "extortions" and
"has engaged in specific harassing conduct constituting economic coercion
against [Andrea Cisco] a Foundation Director". An affidavit falsely claimed
that "Amy Goodman ... led a protest in Belfast, Maine, on July 9, 2001, in an
attempt to coerce my resignation." Amy Goodman has never demonstrated,
protested or leafleted against Andrea Cisco.
*8/8/01 - 8/10/01: Democracy Now! forced to broadcast, with no explanation,
from an unworkable editing booth; General manager laughs and says "Watch them
Steve Yasko, Pacifica's National Program Director, a former marketer at NPR,
and Democracy Now's! "manager," comes to New York from Washington and was at
the WBAI station at the time Goodman and her staff were about to begin a live
broadcast of DN. With Yasko looking on, minutes before airtime, and without
explanation, station manager Utrice Leid orders the DN staff out of the
station's main studio and makes them broadcast from an inferior sub-studio,
Studio 3, otherwise known as an editing booth.
Studio 3 cannot accommodate multiple phone guests, and the clock--a critical
component of professional radio production--has been broken for months. The
clock in Studio 3 is in fact covered with gold foil. When Goodman comments on
the clock to Leid, Leid sarcastically tells Goodman to go buy one. Goodman
then asks National Program Director Steve Yasko for a clock. He brings her
one without numbers. Other morning producers laugh as they watch Goodman and
her staff hurrying to prepare Studio 3 for a complicated show.
Leid repeatedly mocks them by saying, "Watch them run. Watch them run." When
a Democracy Now! producer asks Leid if DN would in fact be broadcast to the
New York audience today, Leid gets right up into the producer's face and, in
a highly agitated state says: "You do not talk to me. You are a producer. You
do not question me. You do not interrogate Utrice Leid."
*8/10/01: Amy Goodman physically accosted by WBAI Interim General Manger
According to eyewitnesses, Goodman came upon two WBAI staffers rifling
through the personal possessions of fired WBAI Program Director Bernard White
in an office that has been sometimes described by management as "sealed under
court order." Goodman objects to the invasion of privacy, and when the two
people refuse to stop, she goes to her office, gets her camera, and takes a
picture of their illegal search.
WBAI manager Utrice Leid, who appears on the scene at this point, rips the
camera out of Goodman's hands and stalks into an adjacent office. Goodman
follows her and demands her camera back. Leid laughs in Goodman's face,
saying she will have the film developed herself. Leid, a tall robust woman
who towers over Goodman and weighs at least 75 pounds more than her, then
physically shoves Goodman out of the way and marches down the hallway to her
own office, shutting the door. Goodman stands outside Leid's office and again
demands the camera back. Leid finally relents, opens the door and hands it to
Goodman reiterates that it is wrong to be going through Bernard White's
possessions. Leid asks how she knew anyone was doing that. Goodman replies
that she witnessed the incident. "Just like you witnessed the massacre in
East Timor?" retorts Leid sarcastically.
*Weekend, 8/11/01-8/12/01: Democracy Now! locked out of their offices. The
weekend is critical work time for the daily (M-F) show.
*8/13/01: Staffers scream at Democracy Now! staff immediately before air time
and use a master key to follow them into their office.
Two WBAI staffers scream at Democracy Now! personnel repeatedly, accusing
them of being the cause of death threats the staffers say they have received.
When the Democracy Now! staff retreats to their offices to concentrate on
pulling together their show which will air shortly, the screaming staffers
use a super master key to break into the office. Morning Show anchor Santiago
Nieves (one of Leid's hirees) comes out and tells them to stop because the
shouting could be heard on the broadcast.
*8/14/01 - 8/21/01: After the preceding week of physical intimidation, verbal
harassment and insupportable working conditions, Democracy Now! team moves to
a workable studio in downtown Manhattan and provides a feed to Pacifica via
ISDN line, but Democracy Now! is yanked off the air by Pacifica for not
working within the walls of WBAI.
Pacifica replaces the live broadcast by a tape of an old DN show. This occurs
after all-night negotiations between management and Goodman broke down early
on the morning of the 14th. Goodman has notified Pacifica that she can no
longer originate the show at WBAI in New York due to the continual
intimidation and harassment she is experiencing at the hands of interim
station manager Utrice Leid.
There is ample precedent for broadcasting outside of the walls of WBAI. At
least three men broadcast from off-site studios daily for Pacifica and WBAI:
Gary Null (M-F, 12-1 pm), Armand DeMille (M-F, 1 to 2 pm), and Pacifica
Network News correspondent Bob Hennelly (daily for PNN and weekly for WBAI).
During the negotiation, on-air verbal harassment and threats continue. During
the negotiations for a safe workplace, the morning show staff encourages
listeners to attack Goodman and Democracy Now! When people voice their
support, the hosts either mock them or cut short their calls with the sound
of a flushing toilet.
On Saturday August 18th, the verbal harassment reaches a peak, when producer
Clayton Riley says on-air:
"When you talk about the enemy, you find the enemy, you isolate the enemy and
you destroy the enemy. These people have put themselves in the position of
being the enemies. This conflict is not going to end, in my judgment and let
me be clear about that, until the dissidents, until the so-called exile
community is destroyed. Unequivocally."
Furthermore, Riley has not been disciplined for his eight-months of
hate-filled invective and menacing behavior, but rewarded: Utrice Leid has
doubled the air-time of his weekly program. While Pacifica management offers
to post a statement asserting that WBAI is a nonviolent workplace, they
refuse to prohibit the on-air personal attacks, which gives a green light for
harassment and the kind of assault which happened recently.
*8/21 - 8/23/2001: Pacifica suspends Amy Goodman without pay. KPFA (the
Berkeley station) and some affiliates are running the show that DN is still
producing daily. Censored DN reruns are being played at the rest of the
stations and affiliates.
Pacifica management suspends Amy Goodman without pay. Incredibly, the
Democracy Now! team finds this out in the morning newspapers.
Pacifica had offered a vaguely worded policy statement reaffirming that the
workplace should be free of threats (while on-air verbal harassment
continued, see above). The same statement contained a so-called "management
rights" clause that required all employees to obey any directives from
management, except those that violate the union contract. Since the AFTRA
contract has no sections dealing with on-the-job safety, that provision
requires Goodman and her staff to follow any orders, even if they feel
physically threatened. Pacifica promises to conduct an investigation of the
alleged assault and to report back on the progress of the investigation by
Sept. 10. In other words, no conclusion to the investigation was required at
that time, only a report of "progress." How long does it take to investigate
whether a supervisor physically attacked an employee? Aren't there numerous
recently installed surveillance cameras at WBAI that probably captured the
assault on tape? Aren't there several witnesses to the act?
Initially, AFTRA supported Pacifica's offer but on Thursday, August 23rd they
issued a statement saying that "because of certain events that have
subsequently occurred at WBAI, which AFTRA considers inconsistent with the
steps that Pacifica had agreed to take to ensure the safety of the Democracy
Now! staff, AFTRA has notified Pacifica that it is no longer satisfied that
the WBAI studios are a safe and appropriate working environment for the
Democracy Now! staff."
*8/24/2001: Democracy Now!'s live, groundbreaking journalism, remains off the
air at four of five Pacifica Stations.
Pacifica management is playing censored reruns of Democracy Now!, having
refused to guarantee a safe workplace to the DN staff. Amy Goodman is
suspended without pay. Morning headlines for the Pacifica version of
Democracy Now! are provided by a news service called Feature Story News whose
clients also include ABC, Bloomberg, Fox News, Radio Vatican, Sky News
(Murdoch), Summit TV (South Africa's business channel) and the Voice of
This chronology was created by WBAI listener Julie Spriggs, using material
from Pacifica producer and activist emails and websites, and transcripts of