Cable news is shiny and nice. But when you’re ready to advance to the Big Picture, you add independent progressive news to your daily news consumption. Exposure to diverse viewpoints is the foundation of an informed opinion. To be very clear, it’s “independent” vs. “corporate.”
LAST UPDATED: January 11, 2021
“Let’s be very clear. Corporate media is not “objective”; they are not the “referees” trying to provide “all sides of the story.” Corporate media are profit-making entities owned and controlled by the ruling class and some of the wealthiest people in the country. And, like all private corporations, they have an agenda.”~ Bernie Sanders, Where We Go from Here: Two Years in the Resistance
The Value of Independent News
Why are independent news outlets valuable? They’re funded by audience members and nonprofit organizations. Thus, they are protected from commercial control, which allows independent outlets greater journalistic freedom and the ability to offer viewpoints that contrast with the status quo narrative that’s found in corporate media.
Voilà! You get news from the ground up, instead of the top down. You hear news and commentary from community and global activists, university professors, scientists, book authors, and grassroots policy makers — experts whose life’s work have been devoted to an area of political or social importance. They’re the thinkers and doers who offer well-considered insights and solutions to our problems. You can’t be fully informed, until you give them a listen.
Independent news organizations may represent any political bias. This article features independent progressive news organizations. There are many, many excellent independent progressive news and commentary outlets. You’ll find the best listed below, according to main venue.
Mainstream network news is no longer regulated, and is more commercialized than ever. The FCC Fairness Doctrine was actually overruled in 1987.
[The] Fairness Doctrine… (1949–87)… required licensed radio and television broadcasters to present fair and balanced coverage of controversial issues of interest to their communities, including by devoting equal airtime to opposing points of view… Also, candidates for public office were entitled to equal airtime.~ Matt Stefon, Britannica.com
The 6 o’clock network news gradually changed over the last 30 years or so — while you were watching. It has a decided corporate perspective, or bias, which aligns itself with the interests of Wall Street, the military industrial complex, pharmaceuticals, fossil fuels, and other wealthy special interests. This corporatized media is thrilled to rake in excessive profits, and is blind to its own complicity. Therefore, it fails to report objectively on the damage that unregulated capitalism wrecks upon human beings and the planet. The corporate news media fails the purpose of a free press.
Our press was protected by the First Amendment — the only business in America specifically protected by the Constitution — not primarily to amuse and entertain, not to emphasize the trivial and the sentimental, not to simply “give the public what it wants”–but to inform, to arouse, to reflect, to state our dangers and our opportunities, to indicate our crises and our choices, to lead, mold, educate and sometimes even anger public opinion.~ John F. Kennedy, Presidential Library & Museum
The mission of independent progressive news media is to correct the corporate bias.
The Value of a Progressive Perspective
The real value of the progressive perspective is that it is not an establishment, corporate, liberal, conservative, or alt-right perspective. A progressive viewpoint comes from outside the elite status quo circle, and it represents a very large chunk of the general population. It’s a “people’s perspective.” (That’s my bias, anyway.) Progressive news and commentary is both produced by, and created for, “regular” people.
First, progressive news outlets challenge an elitist viewpoint, which often characterizes corporate mainstream news. Progressive news and commentary report from the bottom, or grassroots, where movements of change are conceived and nurtured. The progressive perspective challenges powerful leaders at the top, or The Establishment, whenever power is misguided or misused to the disadvantage of regular Americans.
Second, a progressive perspective goes beyond the liberal view. Progressives support economic justice, in addition to human rights and dignity-for-all. While liberals do support human rights, they are fiscally conservative. Since economic opportunity is the component that gives real teeth to protected rights, it’s a major dividing issue between progressives and liberals. The other financial divide is Big Money in politics. Progressives see it as nothing less than legalized corruption. Liberals are often comfortable with Big Money and oblivious to any deleterious impact it has on democracy. Liberal news programs (much like many conservative news outlets) are aligned with the wealthy status quo, that is, The Establishment.
Finally, progressive news outlets consider peer-reviewed science to be a highly reliable and objective source of information. Referring to the much-flaunted “climate debate,” for example, we may argue that good science (or the lack of it) is a distinguishing characteristic between the progressive viewpoint and the conservative viewpoint.
In summary, progressive news programs fill the information gap because they’re non-elite, anti-corruption, pro economic justice, and respectful of science. Unless you belong securely among the top 10%, progressive news is for YOU.
Evaluating a News Source
When looking at news stories, regardless of perspective or bias, ask yourself the following questions:
- Is it factually correct?
- What is the context? (A quote taken out of context, for instance, may be misleading.)
- Is the information up-to-date?
- Does it include all pertinent information? What is left out, if anything? (I.e., is the reporting one-sided or objective?)
- Why are they telling me this? (Be alert for public relation efforts or industry bias.)
- How do I feel about it? (Propaganda is designed to stir emotions, either positive or negative. Be resistant to emotional manipulation.)
It may take a lengthy period of time to study and compare the overall quality of news outlets. A perspective, or bias, is not a bad thing. Every news outlet is biased, and quality news outlets don’t pretend to be unbiased. They are, after all, targeting an audience with that same bias. The important journalistic factor to look for is objectivity.
Objective, factual reporting cannot be one-sided. No commentary, interpretation, or argument — regardless of bias — holds up, unless it accounts for all the pertinent facts that are available. You may want to consult Media Bias/Fact Check. It’s a useful resource that gauges a news outlet’s reputation for factual reporting (as well as political bias).
Be alert for information gaps. Sometimes, the entire mainstream media (MSM) ignores HUGE stories. For instance, MSM underreported global warming for decades. And in 2015 and 2016, MSM neglected to report on the Bernie Sanders phenomena, with his game-changing fundraising strategy (no corporate money) and huge rallies. So, always ask yourself, “What aren’t they telling me?”
According to Project Censored, “news that didn’t make the news” is censored news. Every year they select the top 25 important news stories that were underreported. Check it out: The Top 25 Censored Stories of 2019-2020.
120 (+/-) Top Independent Progressive News & Commentary Platforms
You’ve thought about bias and objectivity, as it pertains to media news outlets. You’re eager to get at more independent progressive news reporting. Thank goodness, the Independent Progressive News and Commentary list is just below!
The progressive news outlets are organized according to their main venue. That is, whether they’re accessible through print, radio, website, etc. In the digital age, most outlets are available through multiple venues. Everyone, regardless of location or media device, should be able to access some form of quality independent progressive news and commentary.
The number of independent progressive news and commentary outlets listed may be more than, or less than, 120. There are many, and the number is growing. I have indicated what I think are the top 12 essential sources for independent progressive news and commentary.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Independent progressive news platforms depend on viewers for financial support. If you have the means, please consider giving your favorite independent media platform a donation.
App (Mobile Application)
- OptOut – (Coming Soon.) “A nonprofit news app that’s 100% free of corporate media narratives. Coming April 2021.”
- The American Prospect – “Liberal intelligence that aims to advance liberal and progressive goals”
- Current Affairs – #10 – It may not be an absolute essential independent progressive news outlet, but Current Affairs is well-rounded. It aims to be both informative and entertaining while covering politics and culture. You’ll find substantive analysis, striking illustrations, and satire. The publication explains, “We have two missions: to produce the world’s first readable political publication and to make life joyful again.”
- Dissent – “America’s oldest democratic socialist magazine”
- Jacobin – #4 – A Democratic Socialist publication, Jacobin is close to reading a professional journal about Left Wing policy and politics. Because it is so intelligent and well-written, Jacobin is an essential independent progressive news magazine.
- The Nation – #2 – Founded in 1865 by abolitionists, The Nation remains an essential independent progressive news organization. It provides news, original investigative reports, and progressive commentary. The magazine covers Politics, World, Economy, Culture, Society, Environment, and Take Action. It’s well-written and thought-provoking.
- The Progressive – “A voice for peace, social justice, and the common good!”
- In These Times – “Dedicated to advancing democracy and economic justice”
- The New Republic – Founded by progressive leaders in 1914 to balance moral passion with scientific analysis. They’re still at it.
- New Statesman – The leading progressive political and cultural magazine in the United Kingdom.
- Veg News – “Packed with today’s best vegan lifestyle content from food and fashion to travel, celebrity interviews, and beauty. (VegNews is published by Fresh Healthy Media, which is privately owned by one of the magazine’s original founders.)
- Free Speech TV – A network that hosts a variety of independent progressive news and commentary. “Powered by the people. Watch on AppleTV, Dish Network ch. 9415, DirecTV ch. 348, Roku & freespeech.org.”
- Means TV – “TV and Movies for the 99%. Worker-owned, people-funded, post-capitalist entertainment. New content every week.”
- The Ink – Anand Giridharadas on “investigating politics and culture, money and power, and telling the un-gussied truth.”
- Amped Up With Ryan Knight – Interviews with progressive candidates and activists fighting for fundamental democratic change.
- Bad Faith – Briahna Joy Gray (Bernie Sanders Campaign National Press Secretary) and Virgil Texas (Chapo Trap House co-host) team up to be “two people from two very different parts of the left [and] make the case for one less terrible world.”
- The Breakdown With Shaun King – “The most important stories of injustice, racism and corruption… who’s fighting back and how you can support and join them.”
- Clearing the Fog – Speaking truth to expose the forces of greed (FOG) with Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers from Popular Resistance.
- Gilded Age – “How and why we’re f*cked, with hosts Walker Bragman, Alex Kotch, and Mark Colangelo.”
- Hello Somebody with Nina Turner – Turner “brings together some of her most influential and inspirational friends, as well as everyday people doing good work on behalf of social justice and human rights.”
- The Humanist Report – “Video + audio podcast of progressive commentary”
- The Katie Halper Show – A podcast that “takes a humorous look at the news, politics, pop culture, and the arts through news segments and conversations with writers, journalists, activists, artists and political comedians.”
- The Marianne Williamson Podcast: Conversations That Matter – “One question weaves throughout my conversations with guests: how did we get to where we are, and how can we change things now? Listen in as I talk to some of the wisest people I know.”
- Millennial Review – “A look at politics from the perspective of the most indebted and disenfranchised generation in American history.”
- The New Intellectuals – Discussion podcast from The People’s Forum NYC.
- Pitchfork Economics with Nick Hanauer – Good business practices can save the American economy. Hanauer explains his “pitchfork” thesis in a 2014 Politico article “The Pitchforks Are Coming… For Us Plutocrats“
- Rumble with Michael Moore – Rumble is one of the editor’s favorite independent progressive news podcasts. Whether he’s interviewing a guest, or broadcasting solo, Michael Moore always exudes that signature confidential tone.
- The Vegan Vanguard – A podcast that explores “capitalism and… issues relating to social/environmental/economic justice and veganism.”
- The Majority Report With Sam Seder – Discussion of current news events and political affairs from a progressive view.
- Ralph Nader Radio Hour – “Interviews with some of the nation’s most influential movers and shakers, and thought provoking discussions of the week’s news.”
- Thom Hartmann Program – Left-wing talk radio show. “News, Opinion, Debate.”
When a progressive journalist makes it to regular TV (antenna, cable, or satellite)… Wow! Check your local stations.
- The David Pakman Show – “Progressive news and political talk program, featuring biting social commentary, controversial interviews with liberal and conservative politicians, activists, and religious extremists.”
- The Laura Flanders Show – “Reporting on the people and movements driving systemic change.”
- Basic Income Today – “The UBI news hub.”
- Common Dreams – #7 – An essential independent progressive news website, Common Dreams strikes a down-to-earth tone and misses nothing on the political scene. Its missions is: “To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good.”
- Democracy at Work – #6 – Democracy at Work is an essential independent progressive news outlet, if you want to learn more about economic systems in the modern world. It’s “nonprofit media that analyzes capitalism critically as a systemic problem and advocates for democratizing workplaces as part of a systemic solution.”
- Democracy Now! – #1 – Democracy Now! is the MOST essential independent progressive news program. In under 15 minutes, morning “Headlines” provide a national and international news roundup, including respectful coverage of political, social, and environmental activism.
- Double Down News – “In an ever increasingly divided world, our job isn’t to drive people further apart with fear and fiction but bring them together with empathy and evidence.” Based in the UK.
- The Canary – “Get the news that really matters” (UK-based)
- Capital & Main – “Investigating money, power and society”
- Evonomics – “The next evolution of economics”
- Fair and CounterSpin (radio show) – A national media watch group for “fairness & accuracy in reporting”
- The Gravel Institute – Short info videos aimed at young people (of all ages). In honor of Michael Brooks, a group of progressive teens counteract the conservative PragerU.
- The Grayzone – “Independent news website dedicated to original investigative journalism and analysis on politics and empire”
- Green Queen – “An award-winning sustainability & impact media platform advocating for social & environmental change in Asia.”
- The Intercept – #9 – The Intercept is essential independent progressive news that features investigative reporting. In fact, they like to call it “adversarial journalism.”
- The Juice Media Podcast – “Honest Government Ads.” Informative Australian satire.
- Last Real Indians – “Independent media with direction… creating the new indigenous millenium.”
- Moyers on Democracy – Left-leaning, from policies to poetry.
- Next City – “A nonprofit news organization that believes journalists have the power to amplify solutions and help spread them from one city to the next city.”
- Passage – “Left-wing perspectives on politics, economics, and culture from Canadian writers and thinkers.”
- Patriotic Millionaires – “United in concern about the destabilizing concentration of wealth and power in America”
- Popular Resistance – “Providing a daily stream of resistance news from the United States and around the world”
- Project Censored – Republishes “Validated Independent News”
- ProPublica – Investigative journalism. “An independent, nonprofit newsroom… with moral force.”
- The Real News Network – #12 – “The future depends on knowing.” The Real News Network augments news coverage with in-depth discussion. It covers news from the international level to the local level (Baltimore, Maryland). Rather than spreading the news thin, this range illuminates the commonality and connectedness of the human struggle all the world over.
- The Ring of Fire – “The latest legal and progressive news.”
- Robert Reich – Follow Robert Reich at his website. He’s a brilliant teacher of ecopolitics and co-founder of Inequality Media.
- ShadowProof – “Independent journalism on grassroots movements for justice”
- Truthout – Reporting and commentary on a diverse range of social justice issues.
- The Young Turks – #3 – An essential independent progressive news outlet, TYT provides extensive news and commentary that is focused on progressive politics.
- Act.tv – “Animated explainers, livestreams from protests around the country, and original political commentary.”
- The Benjamin Dixon Show – “News and commentary from a progressive perspective. Cautiously idealistic yet reasonably pragmatic.”
- Brian Tyler Cohen – “Oy” (Thoughtful progressive commentary)
- The Canada Files – “A socialist news organization that seeks to cover Canadian imperialism, Canadian left-wing activism and key world issues. We focus primarily on the impact of Canada’s foreign policy… all the while covering Indigenous Nations.”
- Christo Aivalis – An intelligent young-professor-type Canadian reports mainly on U.S. “Left politics, history, and culture.”
- Farron Balanced – Progressive media professional Farron Cousins gives his take on American politics.
- Get Your News On With Ron – Lefty discussions and news commentary.
- Grist – #5 – Many people suppress the realities of climate crisis, or go into denial. Grist provides the most comprehensive source of accurate, up-to-date climate news that is humanly tolerable on a daily basis. Grist allows a little hope.
- Hard Lens Media – Mostly four guys, with a wide breadth of knowledge, talk about progressive politics. You’ll learn something. They’re in Chicago.
- JENerational Change – “Transforming politics into service.” Spotlighting “candidates who challenge entrenched incumbents, regardless of their party affiliation.”
- Jolah – “Populist progressive politics”
- The Michael Brooks Show – “Vanguard of the new Left” (Michael Brooks died July 29, 2020. Others have stepped up to the plate.)
- The Nomiki Show – Progressive political analysis and an insider’s look at the DNC
- On Contact – “Dissident voices currently missing from the mainstream media”
- The Progressive Soapbox with Jamarl Thomas – “An honest analysis of the news with a progressive view point without allegiance to anything other than the truth.”
- The Political Vigilante – “Political discussion for Americans who are fed up with corporate news and misinformation.”
- The Rational National – “An outsider-view (Canadian) of American politics”
- Rebel HQ – Attorney and television host Adrienne Lawrence breaks down the legal challenges that impact the progressive movement.
- Redacted Tonight – #8 – Lee Camp’s show is essential independent progressive news media because he stresses underreported stories. Don’t be fooled by the humor, Camp is always accurate. And he gives us “the most radical political comedy show in America”
- Status Coup – “Progressive… investigative reporting that gives the microphone back to the people!” With Jordan Chariton.
- Savage Joy Marie Mann – Progressive political commentary with interviews, debates, and events.
- Secular Talk – “The populist to your left”
- Tim Black – “Speaks the harsh truth. Sometimes he’s funny. Sometimes he’s raw, but he’s always honest.”
- The Zero Hour with RJ Eskow – “The time is now”
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