Why the Internet is the Last Hope for “Progressives”

Will Big Brother succeed in stifling freedom on the internet? There’s a U.S. agency called the FCC that is making moves in that direction (click here for more). And, across the globe, less democratic governments than America’s are cracking down in far more obvious ways. Fortunately, the internet is a complex environment that’s very difficult to control. And, even more fortunately, there are some bright people who keep coming up with new ways of using the worldwide web as fast as the old ways are compromised.

There’s good and bad in this phenomenon, of course. There’s good and bad in everything. It’s a law of physics or something.

But there’s a lot more good than bad.

Thank God for the internet!. Newspapers are dead or dying, radio has become a haven for trash talkers and their troglodyte followers, and television has fallen into the hands of the corporate thought police.

I’m sure you’ve noticed that global corporations have acquired control of the mainstream media in the United States. They long ago bought up what was left of the print media, and converted radio into a bullhorn for right-wing propaganda. Now they have a death grip on television, too.

I’m not just talking about Fox News, which is so obviously and unashamedly the champion of the predatory elite. I’m also talking about CNN and the networks. And, yes, MSNBC.

With the acquisition of its parent company by cable giant Comcast, the brief fling that MSNBC had with “liberalism” is over. Comcast has a record of firing newscasters who “offend” – even if they only “offend” Fox News. And so it’s no surprise that, with Comcast taking over, MSNBC has jetisoned Keith Olbermann.

Writing for Consortiumnews.com, Robert Parry (who broke many of those Iran-Contra stories back in the 1980s for AP and Newsweeek) predicts that:

With Olbermann’s permanent departure on Friday, the remainder of MSNBC’s liberal evening line-up, which also includes Rachel Maddow, Ed Schultz and Lawrence O’Donnell (who will fill Olbermann’s 8 p.m. slot), must face the reality that any sustained friction with management could mean the bum’s rush for them, too.

I’m sure Parry is right. I’ve noticed for some time that Chris Matthews had started talking out of both sides of his mouth. I think he does more harm than good to the liberal cause. After all, it was he who inflicted Michele Bachmann on us. And I have to wonder what former Republican Party Chairman Michael Steele was doing on Rachel’s show the other night.

Parry concludes that:

The troubling message to progressives is that they remain essentially orphans when it comes to having their political interests addressed by any corporate news outlet. While the Right has built its own vast media infrastructure – reaching from newspapers, magazines and books to radio, TV and the Internet – the Left generally has treated media as a low priority.

Click here to read Parry’s piece.

So, if you are a” progressive,” or just someone who would like their news delivered without all that right-wing spin, you are going to have to rely on a few die-hard publications like The Nation. Or trust the internet.

But be careful. It’s a jungle out there.

The internet is unregulated (so far). There are no gatekeepers to help you separate the wheat from the chaff (and the poison ivy). You’re on your own.

And I hope it stays that way.