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Pacifica's Harassment, Defamation and Censorship of Amy Goodman and Democracy Now! 2000/2001

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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 
quoted here. 

*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 
job impossible. 

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: 
" 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 
Pacifica personnel. 

*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 
Utrice Leid. 

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 
WBAI programs.