Saturday, November 13, 2010

What Progressives Really Need - A Cable Channel Of Our Own

After the election defeat this year, I'm reading tons of articles giving progressives advice on what to do to make a comeback.  Organize, start a movement, sign lots of online petitions, send this or that group money, teach, educate, etc. etc.  All doomed to failure if we can't get the word out beyond our own and right now, we can't.

Let's face facts here - all the left-leaning magazine articles and books in print and online aren't doing the job.  Sure, we read them, nodding our heads in agreement but the fact remains that the people who need this information aren't getting it -- in fact, they are avoiding it.  We moan and groan about Fox Noise, how the cowed-by-cons mainstream media has become not much more than a piece of the rightwing echo machine and how news channels on cable have become a parade of right-leaning radio talk shows with pictures peppered with a few actual news headlines crawling along the bottom of the TV screen.  

It's a bummer but, as Walter Cronkite used to say, that's the way it is.

What we need to combat this is to join the fray.  As radio talk show host Randi Rhodes says, nothing happens unless it happens on TV.  So let's get our asses on TV then.  My suggestion is to start a cable news channel that doesn't play at leaning left by tossing a few hours out of the broadcast day to the liberal viewpoint, get one going that actually is. 

Think of the benefits - we'd finally have a place to present our actual ideas instead of reacting to the conservative media's distortions of it.  Democrats and progressives would have a safe place where they can present their agendas without fear of being ridiculed after they go off the air.  All those news stories that we pass among ourselves could actually be seen by someone who has never heard of them and never would given our current media situation.  Less bubble boy and more about economic bubbles that are destroying our poor and middle class.

Make it splashy and entertaining too - there's no reason for any of this to be presented like a sleep-inducing lecture.  Shout about it if need be, you'd probably catch the people scanning the channels and give them some real information for once. 

We like petitions - let's start some urging people like George Soros to finance this and get it going.  George, the right is going to demonize you no matter what - you may as well give them a reason to do it.  As a foundation, I suggest naming it something that already has a sound reputation as a progressive stalwart - The Nation magazine or NationTV.  It wouldn't have to exist on donations to keep it on either:  as progressive radio stations have shown to advertisers, we liberals buy stuff too and are a market worth pursuing.  Then market the hell out of it so people will watch - no more word of mouth only.

Pass the word and let's get this going.  Our alternative is what just happened on election day - people who are voting based on unanswered myths and lies about Obama and the Democrats' agenda from the RNC and their paid or otherwise spokespeople.  The truth doesn't set anybody free if they don't know about it.

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