People looking for different perspectives on the Democratic Party’s convention must listen to Amy Goodman. (In Seattle she carried on 91.3 FM at 6:00 am and 5:00 pm.) Has anyone else noticed that her cadence and emphasis is exactly like those of Walter Cronkite? The same dramatic silences and slowly building sentences. Her interviews are masterful in the way that she never diverts attention from the person she is interviewing. She is just a stage hand assisting with the telling of a story. When she does not believe that the whole story is being told, however, she is insistent on a rational answer to followup questions.
My admiration grows for her as times passes. There has certainly never been a television and radio reporter like her. Every day for years now she has been reporting what is actually happening on the street and often behind the scenes. Her interviews and interviewees never cease to interest me. She has been at it long enough and has won enough awards to have more access than she did a few years ago, but that has not tempered or altered her reporting or interviewing at all.
Amy reports that Denver’s efforts to keep the streets clean don’t stop with moving the homeless people. The police with names tags removed have been making mass arrests of protesters, striking early and without warning apparently in order to maximize the period in which the protesters are detained and away from the streets.
The Democrats have learned from the Republicans. They have given the delegates talking point memos with instructions about how to answer specific questions and with scripted answers. An enormous amount of labor has gone into maintaining the appearance of unanimity. This of course relates in substantial part to the Republican efforts to court disaffected Clinton supporters. (The attendees have a mantra: “Differences within the party pale in comparison to differences between the parties.”)
But the threat of splintering is not just from the right edge of the party but from the left as well, principally because of Obama’s close association with the hawks of Bill Clinton’s Administration and his scaled-down talk about getting out of Iraq.
In yesteryear conventions were a time to sort out these issues as the party wrestled with its choice of a candidate. Those days are long gone, as conventions are now more like a book launching party, or rock tour launching party. But parties are fun, while Amy Goodman interviews the wait staff and activity outside the living room.