What a Joy a Truly Progressive Cable
News Channel Would Be!
August 25, 2001
Do you ever get frustrated
and depressed when you watch a cable news channel?
The far right has Fox News,
the mushy-middle to right-of-center has CNN, and everyone else even mildly
progressive has nothing. (The conservatives rant on about
"liberal" CNN, but that's only compared to Genghis Khan.) If
you're really progressive, the outlook is even more bleak.
How can progressives hope to
win the hearts and minds of the country, when all the country hears is the
The Barbra Streisand
Last spring there were reports that
Barbra Streisand was floating the idea of Hollywood liberals buying a
cable-TV network for a Democratic-oriented news channel. If that meant
"Democratic" as in Democratic-Leadership-Council
Rockefeller-Republican "Democratic," then excuse me for not
getting too excited.
Even if the idea was for a
much more progressive cable station, it could probably never happen in that
manner. Movie stars are notoriously averse to financing films with
their own money, and would likely not want to pony up for something like a
cable channel. I could be wrong.
In any event, Streisand was
for her suggestion, and seems to have dropped the idea.
Progressive Cable News
But imagine that, instead of
four rich white guys pontificating about how the average American is doing,
a news channel would actually have a regular forum where various union
officials and rank-and-file workers discuss what is happening in their
industry. How about a roundtable with different civil and human rights
activists discussing the issues that affect their constituencies?
Debates wouldn't have a far
right ideologue squaring off against a slightly left-of-center moderate, but
would pair the right-winger against someone equally far to the left.
There would be fewer reports
on tornados, more coverage of the latest corporate outrages committed
against workers and consumers.
There would be less obsession
with the daily Wall Street averages -- instead, there would be a daily
report about the growing income and wealth inequality in America.
If all a person ever watches
is the corporate media news outlets, he or she might, perhaps, have a hard
time envisioning what I am talking about. But if you receive mailings
from activist groups, or call up hotlines, or visit alternative news
websites (for example, those in links), then
you are aware of the vast wealth of critically important stories that
presently aren't reported regularly, if at all, but would be on a
progressive cable news channel.
A Progressive Cable News
Channel Would Succeed
Such a progressive cable news
channel would have an excellent chance of success, because the expanded
types of hosts, guests and subjects would feed into the audience's
attraction to seeing themselves and their lives reflected on the
screen. And debates between two genuinely different points of view
would illuminate issues in an exciting, visceral way rarely seen in the
current news channel gabfests.
A progressive cable news
channel sounds nice, doesn't it?
But how to achieve this,
there's the rub.