Discussion of the UK Media Landscape & Future Prospects for Left Media (Worth watching even if you don’t live in the UK)

If I get the time I may add my comments here, but in short: Getting serious union support (money) for left media is a great idea. The more unions are democratized and the more radical they become, the greater chance there is of that happening.

The thing that’s missing is an organized left. Could Momentum be turned into an activist movement that doesn’t just advocate for the Labour Party but actually pushes politicians from the left? If so, could they be useful enough to everyday people (I mean actually useful, like providing actual help) that they would join up and grow the left? As an outside (far outside) observer, I would guess not. How could they change that? Or maybe the most left in that organization could branch off and try to start something that tries to go in the direction just described. Right now if Momentum members threw a pound in the pot every month they could fund a lot of left media. See how that works?

Yes, there is an irony, or maybe more specifically a catch-22: In order to have a large effective left media, people have to be educated about politics and more specifically they need to have a solid basis for an analysis. And in order for people to be educated in that manner it greatly helps to have a thriving left media.

A thriving left media can be built out of a thriving radical movement, but we don’t have that. At the moment, all over the world, the left continues to be atomized and essentially refuses to organize itself and unite under one flag. There is a little movement in the right (correct) direction in some countries, but viewed optimistically, the most you could say is that it is nascent. If you listen to left media and left orgs, you can hear brief mentions of the necessity of the left to be an organized international force, but that is putting the cart before the horse because the majority of the left in most countries think they can stay in their own lanes and just get together for protests and specific events – and even worse, there is a conventional wisdom that permeates the left that assumes building a unified left under one flag (say a party or something like a better IWW) is not only not necessary, but is a bad idea. I have no problem with a diversified left, but one that isn’t as organized and unified as capitalists are worldwide can never hope to win, let alone put up a credible fight. When we are faced with actual extinction, not being organized and unified is not an option.

To tie up this non-comment comment, an organized unified left could easily fund left media. Not only that, but a media that is organized and unified worldwide could more easily share information, knowledge, resources, and would definitely help build the left and the movement we need.

John Nichols and Robert McChesney: Progressives Ask for Too Little, Not Too Much in Age of Plutocratic Rule

“One of biggest messages is that most of what people who discuss media policy focus on – cable news, right-wing talk radio, blogging and social media – misses the elephant in the room. Local television news programs remain dramatically influential. And, for the most part, they are dramatically damaging to the discourse. They actual warp the popular understanding of what matters so that people think the weather and crime, for instance, are more important than economic policy and public health. We don’t deny the need to know whether it’s going to rain tomorrow, and we respect that there are stories of crime patterns that really do need to be covered. But local news programs are so skewed toward simplicity and sensationalism that perspectives are warped.”

“If there is an essential point to our book – beyond exposing the extent of the current crisis – it is to suggest that the failure of progressives in recent decades has not been that they have asked for too much. It is that they have asked for too little. Polling tells us that Americans are deeply frustrated with politics as usual, with media as usual. We respect that frustration and propose an alternative that embraces the most powerful tools afforded us by Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and Tom Paine.”

Click on the text to read the interview



CounterSpin is FAIR’s weekly radio show, hosted by Janine Jackson, Steve Rendall and Peter Hart. CounterSpin is heard on more than 130 noncommercial stations across the United States and Canada and provides a critical examination of the major stories every week, exposing what the mainstream media might have missed in their own coverage.