Progressive Commentators Fail to Make a Dent in Mainstream Media
Updated April 17, 2020
There are a number of online progressive pundits who joined the ever-popular Bernie Sanders Blame Game, but with a twist. Instead of blaming Bernie for the 2016 Trump win and his possible re-election, these commentators blame Bernie for losing the 2020 Democratic nomination and failing the Progressive Movement. They boldly criticize Bernie for his failure to attack Joe Biden. They deplore Bernie’s endorsement of Biden, claiming he didn’t get any progressive concessions. Rising co-host Krystal Ball went so far, as to accuse Bernie Sanders of “political malpractice.”
Well, if there’s blame to spread, online progressive media deserve their share. They failed to make a dent in the anti-progressive narrative that spews from network TV.
Cenk Uygur, founder of The Young Turks (TYT), also known as “the home of progressives,” recently said as much. “We failed,” he said. But at least it wasn’t for lack of effort on Uygur’s part. He and his co-hosts made semi-regular appearances on CNN throughout the Democratic Primary. Uygur also took a hiatus from the show, in order to personally run for Congress in California. (FYI: Uygur is an active anti-corruption crusader; his credentials go back to Wolf-PAC, a group he founded that fights to remove Big Money from politics via Constitutional amendment.) The objective, self-aware, and accomplished Cenk Uygur admitted that even he had underestimated the power of corporate media to sway political elections.
How Independent Progressive Media Can Make an Impact
Bernie Sanders’ 2020 campaign crashed, and the fun is over. But we still have a progressive, anti-corruption, justice movement to push forward. It would help if average Americans, most of whom over-consume cable news, knew what was really going on in the country. How can online progressive media professionals effectively counter The Establishment bias of cable TV?
But before we get to potential answers, let’s first acknowledge the enormous exertion that is required from independent political pundits. The job will be harder than campaigning as a Democratic Socialist to become U.S. President. That is, it’s next to impossible. Are progressive pundit-guru YouTubers up to the task?
Probably not, on their own. We need to do our part, by offering advice. In the spirit of helpful feedback I’ll go first, and briefly outline a few ideas that independent progressive media outlets may take to heart — in order to improve. My dear readers are encouraged to share their constructive feedback and advice in the Comments Section below. I promise to update this post, as a body of useful insight evolves.
To begin with, here’s exactly what progressive media should do…
- Regularly spotlight democratic reforms (e.g., Ranked Choice Voting, Congressional term limits, municipal cable and Internet, etc.)
- Support feet-in-the-street action (organized nonviolent civil disobedience)
- Build a progressive cable network (including science shows, stand-up comedy, and drama series)
- Increase interviews with progressive political candidates
- Provide comprehensive news coverage (in addition to political commentary)
- Allow a few thoughtful conservative shows in the line-up, for objectivity and breadth of information
- Pick the brains of Amy Goodman at Democracy Now! Maybe collaborate with her…
- Viewer funded and grants accepted from nonprofit organizations that promote democracy
- And so on… (more details later)
Expand the Reach of Progressive Politics
The ego-soothing, self-defense Blame Game, that some online progressive gurus are playing on Bernie Sanders, is both unproductive and immature. The Left Media should focus the bulk of their critical energies on self-evaluation. They need to explore how they may expand the reach of progressive political news and commentary into the mainstream arena. A meaningful counter-perspective to corporate media propaganda is desperately needed in today’s political world.
Expanding the reach of progressive politics won’t happen overnight, but Lefty pundits can shape-up their act right now. Watch and learn. I’m ending this post with an example of mature, objective punditry. Tim Black has a mind of his own, provides even-handed criticism, AND refuses to play the Bernie Blame Game. Enjoy his video!
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