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.

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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?

Armchair Advice

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)

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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!

AP Easily Turns Some Bernie Supporters Against Bernie Sanders | Tim Black

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20 thoughts on “Progressive Commentators Fail to Make a Dent in Mainstream Media

  1. To give the devil his due, Trump has made a devastating ad about Nancy Pelosi (who is worth $100 million) showing off her $24,000 dual refrigerators stocked with gourmet chocolate ice cream while poor people have no income and nothing to eat. This is the kind of ad progressives should make. The establishment Dems and the Republicans both share the blame for not providing UBI during the pandemic.

    See “Let Them Eat Ice Cream” by Christo Aivalis

      1. The sad thing is that even unelected progressive candidates don’t run against Pelosi and the Dem elite with ads like this because, if elected, Pelosi and her minions will retaliate with bad committee assignments and who knows what else. Pelosi can bring even AOC and the rest of the squad to heal when she wants to.

  2. “Increase interviews with progressive political candidates”

    Absolutely.

    I have seen interviews with progressive candidates from all over the country on TYT, Jimmy Dore, Graham Elwood and other progressive shows. On the other hand, I have never seen an interview with Howie Hawkins, Green Party candidate for president. Jill Stein is a popular guest, but nary a peep about Howie. Green Party candidates in general don’t seem to get much coverage in progressive media. Why? Because the progressive Democrat is the stronger candidate?

      1. I have been looking into the Greens. Some Green candidate called Jill Stein a “moderate” Green (in comparison to Howie Hawkins). Good to know: I’m a moderate Green.

      2. Check out Jimmy Dore’s video entitled “Howie Hawkins is the Death of the Green Party” and see what your local Greens think of Hawkins. I would like to know. Not to be paranoid but this country has a long history of co-opting and destroying left leaning grassroots political movements from the inside. There’s also a video about how the Hawkins campaign rigged the Green Party nomination process by one of Hawkins’ former rivals. I have to pass on the national Green Party. I’m placing my hope in Nick Brana’s effort to form a new third party.

      3. Oh boy.

        I like Brana too. But notice many on Twitter, who want to start a new party, have never heard of The People’s Party movement. I always share a PPM link, to increase awareness.

  3. To my surprise, many people are totally unaware that Joe Biden has been accused of sexual assault. Why? Because Tara Reade’s allegation has not been covered, or has not been covered adequately, by the mainstream media.

    The fact that mainstream media didn’t replay clips of Amy Goodman’s riveting interview with Tara Reade tells you all you need to know about the MSM. They don’t cover people or topics which detract from the candidates and the narratives they are pushing, just like the media in totalitarian regimes like China, North Korea and Saudi Arabia.

      1. What amazes me is that many (probably most) people don’t even realize that the mainstream media is propaganda. That’s how complete the brainwashing is.

      2. 99% probably don’t know there ever was a Fairness Doctrine.

        Even more disturbing is the fact that the social media companies have been trying to quash progressive voices for several years now starting with YouTube starving progressive shows of ad revenue two or three years ago. A few days ago Twitter cancelled Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins’ campaign account, and his appeal was denied! It’s getting ridiculous.

        Someday we may be forced to return to what was known in the Soviet Union as samizdat: uncensored, self-published reports.of banned news which were passed hand to hand by Soviet dissidents.

        The social media companies desperately need to be regulated to protect the right to free speech, especially political speech.

  4. “Build a progressive cable network”

    A billionaire owns the cable monopoly in my area, and he decides what’s on his cable system.

    Over the years at different times, I sent requests that the company add al Jazeera and RT America, and they are tame in comparison to most progressive media. I never even got the courtesy of a reply.

    The billionaires are all right-wingers. They want to feed us information that serves their interests, and what serves their interests are the mainstream narratives about defense spending, war, tax policy, trickle down economics, employer provided health insurance, etc.

    The function of the mainstream narratives is to manufacture consent for the policies that make the billionaires richer. The progressive media outlets challenge those mainstream narratives. The billionaires don’t want that.

    There are a few places in America that have municipally owned cable. They would probably add TYT, Democracy Now, and other progressive outlets if their customers wanted them. Democracy is great in the rare instances when you can find it.

    1. All too true. The laws have been designed to block competing municipal Internet and/or cable provision. Do you think it’s another fight that needs to build from the grassroots level? Or can the people push Congress to break up these monopolies?

      1. The public would be best served if the cable itself (the highway so to speak) was owned by the people who use it.

        Consumers could then decide what content they wanted on it.

        Eminent domain might be applicable. Getting local officials to see the issues and the benefits will be difficult.

        The cable companies would fight it tooth and nail.

        This could be an issue the Greens could run on in municipal races.

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