So I’m over here in my house bitching about the manipulative, fear-driven, mercenary TV news, and my girlfriend, who likes to turn on a little TV now and then, says, “Well what the hell am I supposed to do, get the news from HGTV?”
So, dear, kind, shiny readers, I come to you with some alternatives.
But a warning: Changing your habits might suck a little.
It’s like when you have to give up drinking or smoking. Or gluten, forgodsake—it’s hard and it’s inconvenient.
But you’re trying to take care of yourself, so you do what you have to do.
Same thing with the news—you gotta care of yourself.
Turn off the news—it’s poisoning your outlook on life.
You can live without it.
Quite nicely, in fact.
All this habit changing is necessary because of what I’ve told you before—you have to follow the money.
You see, just six mega-corporations own and control damn near everything we see on the ol’ boob tube and read in our newspapers (even the local ones), and even what we hear on the radio.
They just say and do whatever the hell is most profitable—for them, of course.
Wait, isn’t there a law or something against monopolies?
So just for perspective on what “six mega-corporations” means, here’s a synopsis of what’s happened with our radio stations, which, as you know, are all kinds of fucking blah anymore:
Before deregulation in the 80s and 90s (that is: before some pretty good laws were shot to shit so more money could be made by the people who already have all the money in the world), the deal was that one company couldn’t own more than a dozen or so radio stations at once, but now one company (Clear Channel) owns a thousand times the old limit of radio stations.
Which means you and I get to hear “Hotel California” forevermore.
Here’s a one-minute funny-not-funny example of it’s-al-one-TV-channel-anymore, using so-called “local” news—this shit is nuts:
On the one side, there’s been the likes of Fox News for a while now.
You know, that polished, blame-and fear-based display of racism, sexism, outright bias, inflammatory accusations, and dangerous exaggeration peddled as news.
It doesn’t take a genius to see that Fox viewers are being manipulated.
But dayum, now the liberals want a piece of that action.
So now all the “liberal media” networks are hopped up on manipulating their viewers with the same inflammatory methods— namely a lot of blame-someone-else-ing and fear porn.
For example, we have the highly educated and supposedly progressive Rachel Maddow on MSNBC, who has developed—like a hideous rash—a full-on obsession with war-goading both the president and Russia. I mean, she appears to really want a war with Russia, like it’ll be fun or something!
Since when are liberals all-in for war?
“Russia” is the Democrats’ Benghazi.
That’s why it’s become increasingly important for you and me and everyone with a working brain to stop falling for the corporate media’s bullshit propaganda and fear-fueled agenda, no matter how slick and professional the package.
Remember when liberals thought Fox News viewers were brainwashed but liberals were the smart ones?
But yay, turns out the “liberal media” machine is playing the same brainwash-y game now.
The only difference between the conservative media and the liberal media is the flavor of spin they manipulate us with.
The media machine just bamboozles us with whatever fucked-up story they want to.
They have too much power and no accountability.
So I give you, shiny, inquisitive, peace-loving fellow citizens, a list of alternatives.
Okay, so first off, there’s a whole lot of very watchable and substantial news on YouTube, so it’s kind of nice if you have a smart TV for that sort of thing. (Just not one of those “Samsung F” TVs that spy on you, haha—see “Wikileaks” below.)
Or you can use something like a Google ChromeCast or Amazon FireStick to cast from your computer, phone, or tablet to the TV, which is almost as convenient.
Of course, you can always just watch YouTube and other video on your computer or your phone or whatever.
Yes, older, shiny, inquisitive, peace-loving fellow citizens, I’m asking you to change.
To learn something new.
I realize that.
But first, some disclaimers:
- This list isn’t definitive. There are beaucoups of info sources coming and going all the time. There are also beaucoups of quality info sources I haven’t even mentioned.
- This whole post is not about you and I agreeing on everything.
- I’m not “endorsing” any of these sources.
- Something you find here may inflame, provoke, or enrage you. Pay attention to your reaction.
- I’m just giving you some ideas so we can stop assuming the same ol’ same ol’ media outlets are giving us the info and commentary we truly need. They’re pretty much just dishing out “state news” anymore, so it’s time to let go of any expectations that they’re acting in our best interest.
Here’s a list just to get you started
I listen to, watch, check in, and occasionally stroll by the following news-y, current discussion-y websites, podcasts, blogs, and YouTube channels but not all of them all the time. I don’t “agree” with all of what I follow. That’s okay.
These are in no particular order.
Just nose around to see what piques your curiosity.
And hey—it’s like the zillions of things you walk by in the grocery store—take what you want, leave the rest.
You don’t have to haul it all home with you—or into your mind in this case.
(By the way, for podcasts I use an iPhone so if you don’t, then locate whatever podcast source you want to listen on—SoundCloud, Stitcher, etc. There’s beaucoups of them.)
- Caitlin Johnstone is an Australian journalist, married to an American, who cuts to the chase. She’s spot-on, prolific, and witty. She’s been accused of being everything under the sun by those she provokes, which she does a lot. She claims no allegiance to any one philosophy or side or cause. She also has a lively following on Facebook, so join the conversation. (The photo at the top of this post is from one of her earlier pieces.) Click here to read one of her latest posts about the Biden presidency.
- When I realized it was time to look further than The New York Times for straight-up info, I found people like Glenn Greenwald. Greenwald is who Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange, contacted with the information he had about the NSA’s extensive spying on Americans. Here’s a piece on the very frightening “domestic war on terror”.
- I also like Matt Taibbi’s and Katie Halper’s podcast (here’s an episode about the beginning of the Biden presidency) and complimentary YouTube broadcasts. They’re clever and irreverent. Here’s one of their videos:
- Matt Taibbi can also be found on Substack. Sometimes I really disagree with him (and others, for that matter), but that’s okay. I like to keep a broad viewpoint alive and kicking for myself.
- Jimmy Dore is a comedian who’s taken on political and social commentary. Yes, I’m aware that Dore’s video covers look tacky here lately. Whatevs, the man is passionately exposing greed, corruption, and hypocrites. Here’s a juicy little sample:
- JP Sears is a yoga and fitness guy/comedian who’s taken up some pretty strong opinions here lately. I like him.
- Tim Black is a very vocal coffee-loving Green Party black guy with insight and common sense. With segments such as “I’m Over Obama” Tim Black could change your expectations of what black people are supposed to be like.
- Niko House was the first person to expose the truth about the rigged Democratic primary in 2016. Another non-stereotypical black voice.
- The Real News Network is on YouTube and online. Lots and lots of news on this site, with a special section on Baltimore news (since that’s where they’re located). Danny Glover is on the board.
This is another place you can turn for news programing that’s easy to get on board watching.
This is a good piece they did on whistleblowers:
- Pirate Television aims to “challenge the media blockade” by featuring independent and investigative voices and discussions. You can contact Pirate TV here or via their website to request that your public access channel broadcasts the show. (It’s free.) Here’s an episode I like featuring author Thomas Frank:
- What’s Left podcast. (This podcast is not for the faint of heart. Listen with an open mind. It’s just like the grocery store—take what you want, leave the rest.)
- Then there’s the real deal, the OG of it all: Wikileaks. Yes, you’re allowed to read this site yourself—it’s not a secret, which is the whole point. And lest you be tempted to believe the Wikileaks naysayers, just keep in mind that it’s okay to have information, especially information that pertains to your government tracking your every move. (Like you don’t want to just be alone ever at all?!)
Here ya’ go: the WikiLeaks info on those Samsung F Series televisions that spy on you right there in your living room—code name: “Weeping Angel.”
For the record, I also listen to podcasts about poetry, old houses, writing, blogging, finances, and woo-woo stuff, but none of that is pertinent at the moment. Maybe I’ll cover those in a different post, who knows.
The list of independent media goes on and on.
You have far more choices without mainstream media than with it
If you’re still hungry, here’s more independent news and opinion. Click around to find what suits you.
Forgive me, though, because there’s far more great stuff out there than this little ol’ list—I already know I’ve left off some great websites, YouTube channels, and podcasts, so just keep digging around for more.
- Just the News They state their mission as the following: Honest Journalism, Trusted Reporters, Information Without Indoctrination, Rising Above Rhetoric”
- Common Dreams A great site dedicated to social justice, human rights, equality and peace—all the good stuff.
- In These Times A 50-year-old magazine with an impressive pedigree of founders and writers (Noam Chomsky, Alice Walker, Kurt Vonnegut, Dorothy Allison,…) and a stellar website, of course.
- New Republic A 100-year-old magazine, now with a website and podcast. Used to be considered conservative.
- Truth-Out Great site and non-profit organization dedicated to “revealing systemic injustice.”
- Black Agenda Report “News, information and analysis from the black left.” Really good and cutting edge news source. Some very interesting posts on topics and from points of view most white people obviously might not consider. Also has a radio show on Soundcloud.
- Alternet Huge readership, with articles from various sources and the goal of raising consciousness and inspiring action.
- Counterpunch Another magazine with a fantastic website, as well as a podcast/radio station.
- Fair.org radio station, podcast “Fair” stands for “Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting.” A great site, “challenging media bias since 1986.”
- People’s World “A voice for progressive change and socialism in the US.” My friend and fellow blogger, Dr. Bruce Arnold, sometimes writes for this site.
- Shadowproof “Driven to expose systemic abuses of power in business and government.” They have some especially great articles exploring the prison system.
Here are some sources where I no longer assume the best because they’re beholden to their sugar daddies in one way or another: The New York Times, NPR, The New Yorker, Daily Kos, The Nation, Mother Jones, The Washington Post, Democratic Underground, Politico, CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, NBC, and FOX (but you knew this one), etcetera, etcetera.
The irony here is that these are some of the sources warning us feeble-brained consumers of “fake news.”
Darn it, I used to love and trust some of these so much that it breaks my heart a little that they’ve sold out and let us down.
I’m not gonna lie; you can find still good, even great stuff from these guys—just read, watch, and listen with skepticism and a clear head. In other words, remember to follow the money.
One more thing!
I encourage you to support the YouTube channels, websites, podcasts, and Substack accounts you like. Many have a “Patreon” or PayPal link where you can click to contribute your financial support, so share your love all over the place.
Changing your info-intake habits might seem like a lot when all you’re trying to do is get through the work week.
Mainstream media is not your friend.
Mainstream media is actually a manipulative asshole.
Mainstream media only loves you for your money—and you deserve a better friend than that, so here’s to branching out and broadening your circle.
Thanks for reading, and see you next time, shiny peace-lovers—talk to me and let me know what you think in the comments below.