Nov 24, 2008

The Real News Network: Check it out

If you are thinking of making an end-of-the-year contribution to NPR or PBS, consider shifting some of that money to The Real News. The hyperlink will bring you to the home page. Sample the stories. The editing is sharp, the video quality is excellent.

Started by Canadian (!) broadcaster Paul Jay--an excellent interviewer, by the way--it's an attempt to provide context for news stories. It's based totally on listener support--no corporate sponsors, no commercials, no government support. Many of us have have watched Public Television and Radio over the years becoming less hard hitting as more and more "soft" and "humane" commercials have begun to seep into the breaks between programs. My favorite example is "Washington Week" on PBS with Gwen Ifil. You will be hard pressed to hear any reporting in this Friday evening round table about the influence of lobbyists, or environmental damage and lax EPA oversight since major support for the program comes from the National Mining Association.

Like Pacifica, it will be seen as "left wing" but I'd like to think of it as "independent"--see for yourself how Jay came up with the name for this listener-supported network in this interview.

Contribute if you can. This looks like a worthy enterprise. In addition to my continuing support for Pacifica, I have decided to shift my contributions to them and have attached a letter with my contribution forms to the local PBS and NPR stations telling them why I have decided to switch:

Dear (General Manager):

For a number of years now--well over a decade--I have become very dissatisfied with coverage of national and foreign news on your station. It is obvious to me that as you rely more and more on corporate sponsorship, your capacity to report fully and accurately has diminished, and that you no longer seek viewpoints and information from sources that provide information that might contradict or modify the corporatist and official viewpoints.

A recent example has been the coverage of the invasion of South Ossetia by Georgia in early August, 2008, or the current failure to cover the international outcry against Israel's continuing violence against and collective punishment of the Palestinian people. The viewpoint of labor or minorities is rarely, if ever, presented to balance the corporate viewpoint, and your reliance upon conservative think tanks has increased.

Now I can take some action against your failure to uphold journalistic standards. Effective immediately I will no longer be contributing to your station. I will instead contribute to a new listener- and viewer-supported internet enterprise, The Real News. This excellent group was founded by--ironically--a Canadian broadcaster, Paul Jay. I urge you to begin viewing The Real News to bolster your own coverage of national and international stories.

Immediately remove my name from your mailing and subscriber lists. You can be sure I will continue to listen or to watch (station call letters) for signs of improvement, and if improvement ever comes, perhaps I may even subscribe once again. You have my best wishes for a full recovery.

Sincerely yours,

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