Two clear instances of Democracy Now misleading public opinion, ie. gatekeeping, on Libya and Syria.
From Bruce Dixon’s ” Are Democracy Now!’s Libyan Correspondents Feeding Us the State Department and Pentagon Line on Libya?”, 10/05/2011, Black Agenda Report:
So like every other Western reporter, Anjali Kamat [Democracy Now’s Libya correspondent] never saw any “mercenaries,” just their oversized bullets. She never saw any mass graves of the hundreds or thousands allegedly killed by Khadaffi’s “heavy machine gun fire” either, or that would be on Democracy Now too. It’s not. Nobody’s located the thousands of wounded survivors either, that must have been the result of shooting into crowds killing hundreds of people, and none of this has stopped Democracy Now from carrying the story just like Fox News or CNN or MSNBC…Something is really wrong with this picture. We have to wonder whether, at least as far as the war in Libya goes, whether Democracy Now is simply feeding us the line of corporate media, the Pentagon and the State Department rather than fulfilling the role of unembedded, independent journalists.
…There have been many persistent reports from too many sources have pointed to widespread persecutions of black Libyans and migrants from sub-Saharan Africa. There are reports of all-black towns in Libya which have been wiped off the map by the Libyan rebels and their allies. Our own Cynthia McKinney has visited the families of some who were lynched — hanged by jeering mobs who used their cell phones to record the ghastly spectacle. Some of the videos of these lynchings were still on YouTube as late as last week.
Make no mistake, Democracy Now is one of the few places that have reported the persecution of migrants and black Libyans. But a careful search of Democracy Now stories from the past six or seven months reveals that of this handful of mentions of ethnic cleansing in Libya, all except one on March 7, 2011,  in which Anjali Kamat interviewed migrants from several countries awaiting transport out of Libya originated from Democracy Now studios stateside.
DN’s correspondents in Libya apparently have more important things to do than interview the black Libyan and migrant victims of what Kamat called “populist rage,” a curious and revealing term for lynch law in Libya.
…Anjali Kamat is one of those lazy and irresponsible reporters. She has carried tales of African mercenaries fighting for Muammar Khadaffi many times over the last few months, with no more proof than the rest….
…Democracy Now reporters used to question authority and empire, not serve it. Goodman in the 1990s and Jamail in 2004 told stories that made US officials furious, all of us uncomfortable, and that sometimes put their own safety at risk. That’s not what we see from Democracy Now’s coverage in Libya today, which can hardly be distinguished from that of Al-Jazzeera or CNN.
Finian Cunningham’s ““Democracy Now” and the “Progressive” Alternative Media: Valued Cheerleaders For Imperialism and War” notes (excerpts):
“With the suppression of mounting facts that Western governments are waging a covert war of aggression in Syria, the Western public is right to treat the conventional media sources with skepticism and outright contempt. Such media are seen as “politicized” and “unreliable”, serving a naked imperialist agenda for Western regime change. In a word, they are damaged goods.
This is where a segment of the so-called alternative media can play a valuable propaganda function for Western powers. Because such media are supposed to be independent, critical, non-corporate, the public tends to consider their reports as objective and unbiased. One such “alternative” news service is “Democracy Now” hosted by Amy Goodman. Goodman is seen as something of a campaigning critical journalist shedding the light of truth on the depredations of the US government, corporations and the Pentagon. But a closer look at what Goodman’s “Democracy Now” is reporting on Syria shows that the purported critical broadcaster has become a purveyor of Western government propaganda. While the mainstream media’s propaganda function is obvious to the informed public, Goodman’s “Democracy Now” plays a more subtle role. Camouflaged with the trappings of critical, independent journalism, “Democracy Now” serves to sow powerful seeds of misinformation in a way that the “compromised” mainstream media cannot.
This misinformation from “Democracy Now” is valuable to the ruling elite because to many of its readers it is not seen as misinformation.
Rather, the “news” on “Democracy Now” is viewed as reliable and representing the views of the anti-war, anti-imperialist constituency. In this way, Goodman is a valuable asset to Washington and Wall Street because her broadcasts can serve to disorient and undermine a constituency that is normally opposed to Western warmongering and imperialism. Many of the subscribers to “Democracy Now” may see through the misinformation. Many, though, may not, and therefore will become embedded with the imperialist agenda. The fact that Democracy Now ratings appear to be holding up would indicate that a lot of its followers are oblivious to the insidious effect of such misinformation. As such, Democracy Now is more valuable to the powers-that-be than, say, the New York Times or the Financial Times. “Democracy Now” ensures that the agenda of the powerful becomes infiltrated in a constituency that would otherwise be opposed to that agenda.
…The Houla massacre on 24 May is a case in point. The BBC and other mainstream media outlets have been shown to be outrageously wrong in their initial rush to blame the atrocity on Syrian government forces when the evidence has slowly emerged that it was most likely the grisly work of Western-backed mercenaries.
It is all the more disquieting when a supposedly informed, alternative news service, Democracy Now, peddles such blatant misinformation – more than six weeks after the massacre occurred and after evidence has been reported that points convincingly to Western-backed perpetrators. On 9 July, Goodman broadcast an interview with Rafif Jouejati, a spokesperson for a Syrian opposition group called the Syrian Local Coordination Committees, based in Washington DC. Despite the mounting evidence of Western, Turkish and Saudi/Qatari covert operations, Goodman gave her guest a free rein to regurgitate the litany of mainstream media calumnies on Syria. Without a hint of scepticism from Goodman, her guest said:
“The bottom line is that the majority of the country is engaged in a popular revolution for freedom, for democracy, for dignity… We have mountains of evidence indicating that [Assad’s] armed forces have been engaged in systematic torture, rampant detentions, massacres across the country.”
Really? The majority of the country engaged in a popular revolution for freedom, democracy and dignity? That sounds more like the fanciful imagination of someone safely based in Washington DC. By contrast, sources in Syria have confirmed that people are terrified by Western-armed gangs running amok in their communities, kidnapping, murdering, evicting families from their homes and burning down business premises.
…Goodman also indulged in the overblown casualty figures from dubious Syrian opposition sources as if they were verifiable accurate data. She even sounded like Hillary Clinton in talking up the “defection” of the hapless former Syrian Brigadier General Manaf Tlass as “significant” when informed sources discount that news as a minor irrelevance.
In the interview between Goodman and her guest (whom sources describe as belonging to a family formerly aligned with the Syrian government), Bashar Al Assad was portrayed as an unhinged leader who is in denial over massacres – massacres, as we have noted, that have most likely been carried out by Western-backed death squads as confirmed by numerous reports.
Preposterously, Assad was described as guilty of much worse crimes than former Egyptian and Libyan rulers Hosni Mubarak and Muammar Gaddafi. Then the “alternative” Democracy Now broadcast this statement from the supposed opposition spokesperson as if it were normal discourse:
“I would like to think that we will proceed with full prosecution in the International Criminal Court. I think the longer this issue goes on and the more violence he [Assad] commits, the more likely he will wish to have a fate such as Gaddafi’s.”
Recall that the Libyan leader was lynched on a roadside by a NATO-directed mob, and sodomised with a knife before being shot dead. It may also be recalled that “Democracy Now” gave prominent broadcasts supporting NATO’s intervention in Libya and justifying the criminal subversion of that country. Going by the latest coverage on Syria, Democracy Now is acting once again under a “progressive” cloak as a propaganda tool for US-led imperialist intervention. Given the misplaced respect among many of the public seeking independent, alternative, accurate news and analysis, this insidious role of Democracy Now is reprehensible. May it be suggested, in the name of media transparency, that the programme be aptly renamed “Imperialism Now”.”