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Five Hours of Democracy Now:
Propaganda on Behalf of
Electoral Fraud and Military Slaughter

  Note: Thanks to the Webfairy for the images which are reproduced under Fair Use guidelines.

On November 3rd, 2004, John Kerry conceded the Presidential race to George Bush while hundreds of thousands of provisional ballots were still uncounted in Ohio. Either he quit believing that he could not win—or something more sinister happened. Specifically, I’m referring to the possibility that Kerry was never running, that his campaign was a charade. Technically this idea implies that something very similar to a coup d’etat has been executed in the US, since a political organization has retained power without an election.

Questions about Kerry’s lackluster “campaign” are natural when considering how lethargically he waged it. For example, his campaign simply skipped the
March for Women protest in Washington, DC. (Held on 4/2/04, it drew 1.2 million, high-energy people many of whom enthusiastically supported him.) Many commentators have also noted that Kerry was swept into the role of Democratic front-runner after the mainstream media abruptly sabotaged Howard Dean’s effort. In addition, much has been said about Kerry and Bush’s similar station and ties to the same mysterious Skull and Bones fraternity at Yale.

We should also take note of Democracy Now!’s revealing programming on 11/3, 11/4, 11/5 and 11/8/04. (DN is an immensely popular hour-long daily news program which airs on Pacifica Radio and which is reportedly now owned by its leading figure, Amy Goodman.) At no point during this period did DN have someone mention that a single company had counted sixty million votes. While DN provided some useful information during this period it provided no single fact (like Christopher Bollyn’s claim) that would galvanize the dejected Left into action. In addition, I will argue that DN served a propaganda function for the pending US assault of Fallujah. Not bad for a news resource that many anti-war activists regard as a treasure.

Democracy Now! – the Aftermath of 11/2

11/3 Broadcast

In reviewing the news shows aired by Democracy Now on 11/3, 11/4, 11/5 and 11/8/04 it is clear that DN was very narrowly framing its discussions about the Presidential election. For example, on the (two-hour) 11/3 program host Amy Goodman mentions an email she received asking why Kerry quit with “a quarter of a million provisional ballots” still uncounted. As if speaking for the Kerry campaign she asks rhetorically whether a candidate is entitled to quit.

All of the other people who appear on DN’s 11/3 program authenticate the election results. DN producer Jeremy Scahill impatiently compares Kerry’s quick concession with the weeks-long, post-election suspense in 2000. (Phyliss Bennis later draws the same comparison.) In addition, guests Mahdi Bray and Pacifica National Board member Leslie Cagan all affirm that Kerry lost an election that he was seriously contesting. Michael Ratner expresses only a marginal amount of concern over the uncounted votes in Ohio.

An ironic choice, Scott McConnell of the American Conservative Magazine appears for a lengthy segment. McConnell argues that Kerry quit because he could not be regarded as the legitimate winner, having lost the popular vote. No one reminds the audience that this is exactly the situation that Bush was in when first inaugurated.

11/4 Broadcast

Early on the next day (11/4) Amy Goodman asserts that Bush won the popular vote. She states that Kerry had quit because of a determination he could not win. We then see an excerpt of Kerry’s concession speech. This is followed by an unusually favorable clip of Bush’s acceptance speech. In it Bush is shown at his most likeable and conciliatory; i.e., Bush humbly asking for the support of all Americans.

Co-host Juan Gonzalez then proceeds into a lengthy segment. First, he’s astonished at how the Black vote largely went to the Democrats. Then Gonzalez takes issue with the long lines that some people had to endure when voting. Then Gonzalez cites voting irregularities with the New Mexico election. (According to news reports most of the allegations of fraud and abuse came from Florida and Ohio.) . Moving to the Buckeye State, Gonzalez is “amazed” that Ohio is publishing voting statistics at the county and not at the precinct level. Then Gonzalez legitimates Bush’s claim he won in Ohio by arguing that it came about from the inherent racism that goes along with that area of the country.

American University law professor Jamin Raskin then appears for a long segment. Raskin urges reform of the 225+ year-old Electoral College. He also legitimates the results by suggesting it came about from the GOP’s use of gerrymandering. Following this author Esther Kaplan appears. She also validates the election results by claiming that the GOP won because of a backlash against social concerns like gay marriage. (Goodman and Gonzalez agree with her.) Robert Parry is the last guest on. Parry validates the election by explaining Bush won because of the conservative media infrastructure.


On the 11/5/04 program Goodman says little of significance about the election. She mentions 4,500 lost votes in North Carolina. Also, she briefly mentions that reports over 1,100 calls to their phone number from people protesting the election.


On the 11/8/04 program Goodman again brings up the issue of Kerry quitting the campaign so quickly. However, she directs the conversation towards “…the use of the electronic voting machines..." Then she proceeds to offer a brief list of some of the irregularities with voting.

E-voting activists Bev Harris and Professor Aviel Rubin appear. Harris discusses her organization’s upcoming freedom of information request (FOIA) campaign. She describes her request as requesting audits of selected selection machines at selected, individual precincts. During Rubin’s segment he advocates the use of paper audits. Goodman and Rubin both wonder why there are so many who are not embracing the paper ballot panacea. Neither mentions the alternative of requiring the use of open source software with the electronic voting machines.

All in all, Democracy Now!’s news reports from 11/3 to 11/8 were so favorable to the outcome of those benefiting from the “election” that anti-war activists should reevaluate the integrity of this program and the people on camera. If this weren’t enough, DN simultaneously provided a great propaganda service to the military with regards to their upcoming assault/massacre of civilians in Fallujah.

Democracy Now! and Fallujah  Top

Democracy Now!’s propaganda effort on behalf of the US military assault on Fallujah is obvious when reviewing the 11/5/04 broadcast. Early on Bush is seen at a press conference. Speaking about Fallujah the reporter asks him “What the objective is, stakes are for the United States, the Iraqi people, and the Iraqi elections coming up in January.” Curiously, Democracy Now! letter boxes both the reporter’s question and Bush’s reply. Bush’s reply to the question appears smarmy, smirking, sadistic and rambling. However, the red letter box featuring animated sound waves dispersing above Bush’s head distracts attention from Bush’s lack of statesmanship. The chaos that DN is inserting above Bush’s head is window dressing designed to improve Bush’s effectiveness.

Zarqawi...Zarqawi... ...this is very powerful coming from...the Hoover Institution...[from] a senior advisor to the Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad...

Shortly after this Amy Goodman has on Larry Diamond, senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. Diamond is also affiliated with the National Endowment for Democracy. Goodman never mentions it but both the Hoover Institute and NED are said to have long-time connections with the CIA. (So does Pacifica, apparently.)

Goodman and Diamond both discuss Fallujah with just their faces and bodies lit; the background is black. Diamond repeatedly states that the objective of the US military is to remove the threat posed by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. (As with any ghost story Zarqawi’s menace is enhanced by the limited lighting.) Goodman never hints that there is enormous skepticism around the world about whether Zarqawi is CIA fiction designed to justify the slaughter of Fallujah’s civilian population. When Diamond concludes his presentation with only modest criticism of the top military brass Goodman effusively praises him, saying:

“…this is very powerful coming from you, working at the Hoover Institution. We hear this from others, actually, in government as well, but peace activists, but for you to be at the prime Bush think tank in the country, for you, who was a senior advisor to the Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad, is quite astounding…(Goodman, 11/5/04).” What happened to the ‘Exception to the Rulers’ here?

Space precludes conducting film analyses of the audio and visual montages that DN aired in the four programs cited (from 11/3 to 11/8/04). In brief, they all appear to this author to be examples of cinematic propaganda designed to serve the Pentagon’s interests. The most obvious is the video clip DN aired (11/4) of a smiling Bush standing with his lovely wife and daughters (11/4) as they wave to people off camera after Kerry’s concession. Did Karl Rove select it?

In conclusion, Democracy Now’s propaganda function on behalf of power was never more transparent than in the aftermath of the 2004 Presidential “election”. If DN is not currently being sponsored by the CIA--it should be.

Scott Loughrey

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