Network news is glossy and easy to digest. 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: February 23, 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. Perhaps it’s a little-known fact, but the FCC Fairness Doctrine was 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 evening 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
Independent progressive news counteracts the corporate bias. When added to your regular news consumption, independent progressive news enables YOU to be objective about what’s really going on in the world.
The Value of the Independent Progressive Perspective
The true value of the independent progressive perspective is that it’s 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 huge chunk of the general population. It’s a “people’s perspective.” Independent progressive news and commentary is both produced by, and created for, regular people. That is, NO wealthy special interest groups are involved.
First, independent progressive news outlets challenge an elitist viewpoint, which characterizes corporate mainstream news. Independent 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, an independent 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 catalyst 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, independent 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, independent 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%, independent 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 donating to your favorite progressive media platform.
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”
- In the Thick – Award-winning journalists Maria Hinojosa and Julio Ricardo Varela host the only podcast that covers news, that mainstream media misses, from the POC perspective.
- 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.
- The PETA Podcast – Activists, investigators, legal strategists, and other experts talk about animal advocacy.
- 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.”
- The Stephanie Miller Show – “Fast-paced, impromptu, comedic-style” weekday discussion of politics, current events, and pop culture — from the progressive perspective. Hosted by comedian Stephanie Miller.
- Thom Hartmann Program – Left-wing talk radio show. “News, Opinion, Debate.”
Talk Radio has a great capacity to persuade listeners. People listen to it while they’re doing other things, like driving or working with their hands. Such activities often put people into a light trance, which allows the critical thinking left-brain time to rest.
It’s too bad most talk radio shows are conservative or far-right. In the video below, Ralph Nader and Thom Hartmann explore why there is so little progressive radio.
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.”
- Ben Burgis – Tagline: “Logician for the Left.” Burgis also has a YouTube channel.
- 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.”
- Media Matters – A “progressive research and information center dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media.”
- Moyers on Democracy – Left-leaning, from policies to poetry.
- News Click – India and international news “with a focus on progressive movements… [Chronicles] diverse people’s movements and struggles… [Reports] in depth news and views ignored by corporate media, whose agenda is dictated by the rich and powerful in [India].”
- 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.
- Real Progressives – The website’s focus is on citizen activism, education, policy, and media — and visitors will learn a LOT about Modern Monetary Theory.
- 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 educated and clear-speaking Canadian reports mainly on U.S. political news, with a focus on “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 Liberal Redneck – Comedian Trae Crowder pontificates as the Liberal Redneck. He is co-author of Liberal Redneck Manifesto: Draggin Dixie Outta the Dark.
- Medias Touch – Left-leaning analysis. Tagline: “Because truth is golden.”
- 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”
- Second Thought – Education 101 on current events, from a Left perspective. Solid.
- 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 Vanguard – Young guys. “Lively conversations… on the ‘vanguard’ of modern leftist thought and politics.”
- The Zero Hour with RJ Eskow – “The time is now”
Tips for Independent Broadcasters
Almost anyone can start a podcast or create a YouTube channel. If you know progressive politics, and have the gift of gab, go for it! It’ll be a Great Day when independent progressive news outlets overcome, and outshine, the mainstream news media.
Here are a few free presentation tips, from the viewer or listener perspective:
- Be professional.
- Be well-rested, well-groomed, and sober.
- Sort out technical details BEFORE the broadcast begins.
- Be prepared, with an outline and notes. Stay on topic.
- Don’t talk over your co-host.
- Don’t interrupt your guest speaker.
- Don’t giggle about inside jokes that your audience doesn’t understand.
- Avoid sarcasm. It’s the least-funny form of humor, and some people will mistakenly take you serious.
- Stay present, with the actual audience — not a different audience, in your head.
- Critical thinkers habitually engage in ongoing mental arguments about topics that are particularly meaningful to them. This is revealed, for instance, when a speaker blurts out “NO” and then completely agrees with their co-host with a long-winded statement that makes the same agreed-upon point, over and over, with only subtle variations. While the speaker’s imaginary audience, inside their head, may be finally getting it, the real audience is remembering that they need to put the trash out.
- Professional comedians make great news commentators. But they sometimes interrupt themselves, with a spontaneous segway into stage performance mode, like they’re suddenly working out a stand-up comedy routine. The show is better when they’re smart and witty, succinctly making a point, in the here and now.
- Speak clearly. Not too fast, not too slow.
- Pause for effect. Never fill that space with a verbal habit, such as “like,” “uhhh,” “right?” (a very bad one we hear too often), or “you know?” (As my mother always used to say, “No, I don’t know.)
- Use four-letter words, if you must, but do not use the Lord’s name in vain. Particularly, if you boast about being an atheist. “Jesus!” is not your swear word. It’s like how black people can say the “N” word, but white people should not try it.
- Be professional.
Generally, we use tics [verbal habits] when we’re trying to give ourselves time to think. But if you speak slowly in the first place you’re less likely to need that extra time. Also, slower speech will give the monitoring part of your brain time to “watch yourself” and avoid the tics. And, guess what? You’ll be doing your audience a huge favour if you speak more slowly because you’ll be easier to understand. Slower speech will also make you look calmer and more in control.~ Daphne Gray-Grant
Most of these speaking tips are about being polite — that is, not rudely irritating or boring people, not rudely wasting their time. Occasional lapses are OK; that is only human. But be aware of any annoying speaking habits that spoil your speech. Be as casual and relaxed as you like. Just be good at holding people’s attention.
Sometimes, even professional public speakers are unaware of their own bad speech habits. I have devised the following email, to be sent privately, in order to alert them. Fellow-listeners, feel free to copy and use it.
I think you’re brilliant. Please take this as helpful feedback.
I just saw you with So-And-So at https://www.youtube.com/watch?TheEvidence — I wanted to hear what you have to say. But every time I heard you say “right?” my brain went into ignore-mode.
For whatever reason (I am not actually a neurologist), the over-repetition of certain verbal habits is really irritating. (Though I am not a neurologist) I think I may have a theory:
The brain’s 1st-level of defense is to ignore an irritant. Irritants very often rapidly disappear on their own. (Unless they’re repetitive, i.e., like a bad habit.) If the irritant does not quickly dissipate…
The brain’s 2nd defense is action. Thus, I am writing you this email to admonish and plead with you.
Poor verbal habits may creep into anyone’s speech. When too many accumulate, bad speech habits ruin our ability to effectively communicate.
BTW… the more irritated I become, due to people’s bad verbal habits, the more I realize my own speech is riddled with them, too. Bad speech habits are contagious, as well as detrimental to understanding.
But you and I are not the only ones who need speech rehabilitation. Many online presenters, who presume to be public commentators, are stricken by terrible speech habits. (Toastmasters, anyone? It’s free, and truly helps people pontificate more smoothly.)
Together, let’s all talk better — especially those progressive voices in independent media. The progressive perspective is too important, to deliver it in a way that turns the human brain off instead of on.
For my part, I will make a generic copy of this email. I’ll send it to other worthy progressive speakers, who have also been contaminated by bad verbal habits.
Perhaps speakers, in addition to listeners, will join the crusade to…
Original Sources & Expert Opinions
Objective political research requires that we consult original sources, whenever possible. Original sources provide facts. While facts may be interpreted in a variety of ways, the facts never change. Agreed upon facts allow honest, intelligent debate. Here are some original sources that are readily available to anyone following politics:
- C-SPAN, the unfiltered spoken words of government leaders
- USA.gov, particularly good for government data and legislative bills
- Watchdog agencies
It’s often challenging to find original sources. It also takes skill to discern which sources are reliable. As you study a topic, pay special attention to experts in the field. Experts are highly experienced at evaluating the veracity of a source, sifting through tons of information, debating their equally adept colleagues who hold different views, spotting weak arguments or suspect statements, and making intelligent sense of it all.
Experts devote entire careers to a particular study, and develop reputations. They are scholars, university professors, policy developers, frontline community leaders, and investigative reporters. They research, investigate, teach, organize, lecture, and write books. Their work is highly scrutinized by peers within their own field. If an expert is worthy, he or she is generally respected by their peers — even if they usually disagree. Experts possess authority; their opinions carry weight.
Pyramid of Knowledge
David Pakman explains the pyramid of knowledge — and why it’s important to expand your pool of information resources. Obviously, one must avoid an information bubble, or info echo chamber. But also, go deeper.
Follow Progressive Political Candidates
Establishment news networks almost always ignore progressive political candidates. You can learn about them by following independent progressive news outlets. You may also bookmark the “REAL Progressive Candidates of 2021 & 2022” list at Progressive Graffiti.
The revolution will not be televised.Gil Scott-Heron, 1971
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