“Fair and Balanced” on Democracy Now! – Part I

Two weeks ago, now (an eternity in the blogosphere, God knows) Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez interviewed Jim Hansen and myself on their independent news program, Democracy Now!

This particular outlet is probably about as far from Fox News as you can get. “Pioneering the largest public media collaboration in the U.S., Democracy Now! is broadcast on Pacifica, NPR, community, and college radio stations; on public access, PBS, satellite television … ; and on the internet. DN!’s podcast is one of the most popular on the web,” claims their Web site. However, the old (and questionable) Fox News adage about “fair and balanced” reporting springs to mind as I think back on two aspects of the interview, one salutary and the other somewhat less so.

Jim, Amy, and Juan sat around a table in Democracy Now!’s New York studio, while I was wired in from a studio in Watertown, Massachusetts, near my home. Just before we went live, as the sole proprietor of this small establishment was framing me in his camera, he told me to get ready for a good conversation: “This isn’t sound bite news.”

Indeed, Goodman and Gonzalez proceeded to conduct one of the best interviews in my experience, for the simple reason that they listened. When they asked a question, they would sit back and give Jim or myself pretty much all the time we needed in order to respond. I don’t think they once interrupted.

The first pleasant surprise occurred even before the interview began, when Gonzalez’s voice piped up in my earpiece actually asking me if there was anything I wanted to cover that day. There was:

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