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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 other side?

The Barbra Streisand Proposal

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 widely mocked for her suggestion, and seems to have dropped the idea.

Progressive Cable News Channel Shows

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.

This was a selection from The Daily Diatribe

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