Review by Joel Patterson
Juan Gonzalez, co-host of the daily “rebel, dissenting arm of the press” news broadcast “Democracy Now” spoke Friday night at the Sanctuary for Independent Media in Troy, and the place was packed. It’s an old church converted into a video camera-equipped meeting hall/concert stage/art gallery, and his appearance was part of their ongoing efforts to present alternative perspectives from established colorful and articulate rabble rousers. There were maybe 300 people or so in attendance. The scruffy crew was video taping his remarks, so I’m sure he’s entered into their archive. The crowd was a mix of aging hippies (some even older than me!) and young people of various hues.
He spoke a little about his background and then summarized his latest book, “News for All the People: The Epic Story of Race and the American Media,” which is all about the successive waves of information distribution media over the course of the last 200 years (starting with the first Colonial newspapers and ending with today’s Internet), and how in each case centralization has led to homogenization and top-down distortions that reinforce a “white man’s narrative.”
He’s a remarkably good natured and good humored man, considering the bleak perspective he’s got to offer: there will be an eternal struggle with the forces of repression that minimize or negate the perspectives and contributions of those outside of the power structure.