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. Take care of yourself.
Turn off the six o’clock news—it’s poisoning your outlook on life.
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 hear on the radio, so they just say and do whatever the hell is most profitable.
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 (meaning, 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.
Which means we get to hear “Hotel California” forevermore.
Here’s a one-minute funny-not-funny example using our “local” news—this is what I mean when I say that our news and information is all coming from the same few sources:
On the one side, there’s been the likes of Fox News for a while now—that polished and official-seeming 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 all the “liberal media” networks are hopped up on manipulating their viewers with the same inflammatory sort of methods, namely a lot of blame-someone-else-ing and fear tactics.
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.
Because remember when liberals thought Fox News viewers were brainwashed, while liberals were the smart ones? Fun times!
But yay, turns out the “liberal media” machine is playing the same brainwash-y game.
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 (just not one of those “Samsung F” TVs that spy on you, haha—see “Wikileaks” below).
Or you can use something like a ChromeCast or Roku to cast from your computer, phone, or tablet to the TV, which is just as nice, only a couple more steps.
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 learn something new. I realize that.)
But first, a disclaimer:
This list isn’t about you and me agreeing on everything. I’m just giving you 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.
1. Jimmy Dore on YouTube
Jimmy Dore is one of my favorites—he’s a comedian who’s taken on political and social commentary. The show is highly entertaining and informative, with lots of acute wit and sharp edges. Jimmy loves revealing the corporate media’s greedy motives and often concludes his pieces with, “And you wonder why people get their news from YouTube…”
Jimmy also has a website where you can get tickets (just $20) to his stand-up shows, and he has a podcast on iTunes, too.
Here’s something from the Jimmy Dore show:
2. Caitlin Johnstone
Caitlin Johnstone is an Australian journalist, married to an American, who writes with incredible clarity about American politics at Steemit.com (great new-ish platform to check out, by the way) and Medium.com and formerly at Newslogue.com. I love this woman so much—I swear she reads my mind but she’s way more on top of reporting shit.
Everything she writes cuts to the chase. She’s spot-on, prolific, and witty.
You can find her podcast on iTunes.
She has a lively following on FaceBook, so join the conversation.
Here’s Caitlin on Soundcloud, interviewing millennial feminist, Katie Halper.
And here’s one of her especially wicked posts:
3. The Intercept
The Intercept is not a fun or funny website, but it’s quite satisfying. When I realized it was time to look further than The New York Times for straight-up info, I found The Intercept. There are some dozens of journalists on board, investigating and reporting with full-on, fearless integrity.
One of The Intercept’s founders, Glenn Greenwald, is who Julian Assange (of Wikileaks) contacted with the information he had about the NSA’s extensive spying on Americans.The Intercept also has a podcast on iTunes.
Check out this post to find out exactly who that $400K Wall Street check of Obama’s is coming from:
4. Tim Black on YouTube
Tim Black is a coffee-loving Green Party black guy with insight, common sense, good connections, and a great show. This guy is active, vocal, and unstoppable.
Tim does a nightly live-stream on YouTube at 9 pm (ET), so you can just turn that smart TV on like the regular news (if a little later than usual on the east coast).
Here’s some classic Tim Black for you:.
5. The Political Vigilante on YouTube
The Political Vigilante is Graham Ellwood’s channel—he’s a friend of Jimmy Dore’s, and another comedian turned news analyst. In-depth and thoughtful presentations from a kind and compassionate guy. Graham shows up on Jimmy Dore’s show sometimes where he cracks a lot of jokes-not-jokes, but he’s pretty damn serious on his own show. This is a really good YouTube channel.
Check out some Political Vigilante:
6. The Humanist Report
I first found The Humanist Report on YouTube. Don’t let this young hipster and his cool beard fool you into thinking he’s just talking about artisanal cheeses or something—he’s immersed in current events.
Here’s a piece about “Big Pharma”:
7. The Real News Network
This is another place you can turn for news programing that’s easy to get on board watching.
This is a good piece on whistleblowers:
8. Ed Mays and Pirate TV
You can watch episodes of Pirate Television online. Pirate TV 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.)
Ed Mays founded Pirate Television and has a channel on YouTube, where he uploads full-length versions of Pirate TV’s weekly 58-minute cable show. Here’s one I really like featuring author Thomas Frank.
9. Sane Progressive on YouTube
Sane Progressive is a YouTube channel from a woman named Debbie, who is nobody’s fool and covers many a difficult topic. And she goes easy on no one. Few of her videos are short, and she’s not particularly an optimist, so just skip this one if you’re not up for some rough waters.
Here’s her take on the Woman’s March (back in January ’17):
10. The actual Wikileaks
Yes, you can read the real Wikileaks yourself — they’re not a secret, which is the whole point. And lest you be tempted to believe the Wikileaks naysayers, take a look at this exploration of oft-repeated ridiculousness.
Here ya’ go: the info on those Samsung F Series televisions that spy on you right there in your living room—code name: “Weeping Angel”:
11. The Sun Magazine
The Sun isn’t exactly a news outlet, and it’s not flashy, but it’s a fiercely independent magazine where you can read thoughtful, often provocative, sometimes longer pieces. It feels very personal and universal at the same time. Go ahead and subscribe.
Here’s an interview from the February 2017 issue:
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.
12. Common Dreams A great site dedicated to social justice, human rights, equality and peace—all the good stuff.
13. 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.
14. New Republic A 100-year-old magazine, now with a website and podcast.
15. Truth-Out Great site and non-profit organization dedicated to “revealing systemic injustice.”
16. JackPine Radicals A constantly updated discussion-based site with an engaged community.
17. Black Agenda Report “News, information and analysis from the black left.” Some very interesting posts on topics and from points of view most white people might not consider. Also has a radio show on Soundcloud.
18. Alternet Huge readership, with articles from various sources and the goal of raising consciousness and inspiring action.
20. Truthdig Award-winning news and opinion pieces. Also videos and cartoons.
23. Shadowproof “Driven to expose systemic abuses of power in business and government.” There are 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, often 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, and podcasts 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.
Jimmy Dore even has an Amazon link, meaning you can shop on Amazon using this link, and Jimmy will receive a little bit of what you spend.
Just remember —
Changing your info-intake habits might seem like a lot when all you’re trying to do is get through the work week.
It’s just that it’s time to abandon all hope that mainstream media is your friend, because 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.