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Taking a rif from Kos's recent diary about Current TV, I thought about what it would take to really counter the growing right wing machine, set in motion by, among other things, Reagan's erasure of the Fairness Doctrine.

This all would have been easier at the start of the recession. Newspapers were reeling. A billionaire lefty could have purchased the New York Times, the LA Times and the WaPo for a song, purged these papers of their nutcase righties and their mushy centrists, and remade them as truth-telling, leftist newspapers. As in, real leftist papers, telling truth to power, never beholden to any corporate interest or any political party.

At the same time, they could have propped up smaller mags like Mother Jones and The Nation, and helped out organizations to their left as well, like Dissent, Jacobin, Monthly Review and the folks at Climate and Capitalism.

The next step would be to start up a leftist cable network, and produce shows with a left-wing bent. Have a cable show for the editors of the new NYT, WaPo and LAT. Have another one for The Nation, Mother Jones and Dissent. Shock the country by having actual socialists and ecosocialists heading their own shows, by bringing in people like John Bellamy Foster, George Monbiot, David Harvey, David Graeber and Terry Eagleton,  to name a few. We could have a Sunday show for ecosocialism. Another for Marxism today.

Some might say, that's crazy. The country will never go for it. Well, think about the media landscape before Fox. How many people, left of center, ever imagined that such a mendacious, mean-spirited and obviously propagandist organization would have been so successful?

Unlike Fox, a truly leftist media empire would have truth, facts, empirical data on its side. It wouldn't need to lie to make its case.

(More after the fold)

To use a sports metaphor, the above is about stretching the field. Instead of seeking incremental, slow change, via three yards and a cloud of dust, we go long.

It's also about the Overton Window. Media create and recreate their own frames, and they alter the status quo. The absence of Media only makes the other side more powerful. And the left is simply drowned out in the media landscape now, between the centrist or center-right MSM, and unabashed rightist media.

My fantasy would require deep pockets, obviously. Most likely, many deep pockets. But it's time for those deep pockets to also think big. Really big. Not just on the lines of MSNBC or Current. But something that embraces the entire spectrum of the left and offers it up as an alternative to the right. Let America see, first hand, what the Left is all about, in its own words, instead of getting their idea of the Left through Fox, the CIA, the FBI and the MSM.

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Comment Preferences

  •  That would be (0+ / 0-)

    Murdoch.

    And the fairness doctrine applied only to broadcast TV, not cable.

    Yes, it would be nice to have someone that rich. First though I'd like him to buy the LATimes and Chicago Tribune, which Murdoch is likely to do, to devastating results.

    •  Holders of broadcast licenses . . . (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      KenBee

      I would have thought that would apply to Cable as well. Will have to do some research on that one.

      The Fairness Doctrine began in 1949. There wasn't a Cable industry at that time. But you may be correct. The wording might have given carve outs for future industries.

      Speaking of Murdoch, Obama's admin may have made it even more likely that he could buy several more papers. We're moving further and further away from even a hint of enforcing anti-trust laws. It shows us that both parties are in the pockets of the rich, even if it hurts the political future of one of them.

      •  LA Tribune out of bankruptcy (0+ / 0-)

        for now, will borrow 3B!!!, pay every one, and start selling off it's many assets.

        It has tv stations and newspapers....cheap, and guess who was mentioned as a purchaser in the LA Times article recently?

        yep..murdoch.

        This machine kills Fascists.

        by KenBee on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 12:08:00 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Broadcast (0+ / 0-)

        equals airwaves, which the federal government licences.

        Cable does not use airwaves. It is licenced by municipalities or sent through satellites, also under different law.

        The reason for the Fairness doctrine came from government ownership of airwaves, of which there is finite availability. Cable is entirely different.

        Theoretically, the fed gov't might apply rules (Canada does, which is why Fox Cable hasn't been able to get in). But that will never happen here.

  •  Newspapers, magazines, radio and TV (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    misslegalbeagle

    are all advertiser supported. In addition to the acquisition costs, which could have been modest as the diary author suggested, the cost of producing a first rate editorial product is very significant. That cost is more than a single wealthy individual could absorb without robust advertising sales. It is possible for someone, like the Rev Moon, to own a single property as a soap box if you are willing to pour in millions each year to cover the losses. The keys to Murdock's media empire is that it diversified across geographic markets and type of media, has economies of scale and synergy, and most importantly is very profitable. That makes Murdock a very formidable foe and very difficult for even a syndicate of wealthy progressives to counter.

    "let's talk about that"

    by VClib on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 11:01:49 AM PST

    •  It would be difficult . . . (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      VClib

      And, righties have another major advantage. They have no burden when it comes to ideals of egalitarianism, fair trade and fair wage practices, etc.

      As in, they can reduce labor costs through rotten pay and outsourcing without batting an eye. A real leftist could not.

      To make my fantasy even more difficult . . . . it is my belief that no one who has a workforce can possibly accrue billions, if he or she pays fair wages to begin with. From where I sit, it's mathematically impossible.

      A major conundrum.

      So, I've factored that in. The ownership group itself would not be "pure", but it would be close enough to allow true leftists to voice our positions without interference. It would support that voice, backing it without reservations. I think ownership would even make money in the bargain. We could get advertising from a host of non-profits and Green products and services. Plus book publishers like Verso.

      It would be a very different model, but I think it might work.

      •  Well big city newspapers are looking (0+ / 0-)

        for a new business model so hopefully you are on the right track. I think the way to start is with one property like the LA Times, which is available. The LAT used to be a huge cash cow, the most profitable newspaper in the US, but is now a money loser. It would be a place to start.

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 12:09:10 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Would probably go web-based. (0+ / 0-)

          That's the future. No print editions.

          Could then put more money into actual reporting, which I would want to expand. And, again, tie that in with TV and radio.

          I think it would also help to target a younger demo. Have younger hosts, forge alliances with colleges and high schools. Reach out to minorities. Broad demo, focusing on younger viewers, etc.

  •  Broadcast, Cable, Newspapers, Magazines & the Web (0+ / 0-)

    As others have noted, media are a group of different groups operating under different laws and, sometimes, dependent to different degrees on ad income.

    The ring wing took over broadcast media by insisting that the news divisions be profit centers, which they had not been previously. Once profit was the goal, rather than being informative, broadcast news went down the tubes (nationally and locally).

    It's tough to say whether the Right encouraged/created a bad economy in order to take over the media, politicians, competitors, etc., or if they simply took advantage of it. In either case they deregulated and consolidated, and now we have a dollar-controlled set of quasi-monopolies in all media, and each of them are simply profit centers. None of the big boys believe they have "an obligation to inform the public", do public service, have ethics, or, indeed, keep our country in mind.

    Air America often beat out the hate radio stations in a given market, but, for the most part, local small business people wouldn't spend ad dollars on AA stations. Bye-bye AA.

    Since Reagan and the Me Generation the emphasis in America changed to all-money, all-the-time. Values, morality and patriotism disappeared from the thinking of the media big boys. And from much of the thinking of others, as well.

    I'm often critical of the rich in my diary posts and comments, but I'm not against getting rich. Being rich can be very good, both for the rich person and those around them. When you have a lot of money you can do good things (such as shoot a few bucks to Bartcop.com and Digby/Hullabaloo during their fund-raising.)

    But getting rich in America so often entails coming up with schemes and cons, rather than producing goods and services. It so often means fighting for deregulation so you can squeeze the middle class, draining them of money and then hope.

    With media the story is no different. Money is the only thing that counts in most of that business, like so many others. The difference is the power the media has.

    The only way I know to counter that "money conquers all" media philosophy is to hit 'em in the pocketbook. Subscribe to all the Liberal magazines. I don't know of any Liberal newspapers, so I take a negative action here by not subscribing to the local Republican newspaper.

    Expand on that. And let them know you're doing it. Nicely, but clearly. The only thing that works with money obsessed people is to diminish their income.

    And stop others from making money the main or sole item by which they judge an individual's worth.

    A Southerner in Yankeeland

  •  All This is Pointless (0+ / 0-)

    Propaganda works on ignorant people, thats why right wing talk radio and FOX News have been so successful.  Why do educated liberals need to be indoctrinated?  We can think for ourselves.  I never understood the need for left talking heads, people with their own minds don't need opinionists to tell them what to think.

    Take care of all humanity as if they were your brothers and sisters.

    by skidrow on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 06:03:35 PM PST

    •  It wouldn't be propaganda. (0+ / 0-)

      That's the point.

      Do liberals need truthful information? Of course. They're not getting it from the MSM. They're definitely not getting it from the right wing echo chamber.

      The Media is corporate owned. It already comes with a bias in favor of business and capitalism, and suppresses dissent and serious investigation. It already starts out "indoctrinating" you.

      I think that needs to be countered, big time, with the truth.

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