The Rise of Independent Journalism
I’ve been talking about the collapse of corporate media for… well, for a really long time now. A large portion of the corporate media (in my mind) has become so far gone that I won’t even click a Washington Post, New York Times, or CNN article anymore. I know that reading an article from one of these outlets will be filled with outright lies or the extreme manipulation / exemption of facts in support of a narrative. I simply won’t support outlets like this with ad revenue they’ll generate from me landing on one of their pages. Look at this article below from the Washington Post. You think I’m going to click that?
I read a lot of right wing outlets that used to be considered jokes that are slowly gaining credibility (if grudgingly) from others in the media world. The Daily Caller did a lot of good reporting on Russiagate that many corporate outlets missed (or ignored) that turned out to be true. The Federalist has really upped its game over the past few years. The Washington Examiner is another outlet that I respect. Red State does a great job with analysis of what’s happening in the news. Real Clear Politics is a great aggregator of left and right articles. Twitchy is pretty funny. These sites are all threats to the established news outlets as they simply can’t be ignored as right-wing propaganda anymore. When you have corporate outlets fact-checking The Babylon Bee you know the Bee must be doing something right.
However, it’s not a good idea to only read right leaning sites. I’ve seen some articles where I knew it was outright gaslighting and if you get stuck in the right wing echo chamber you’re no better off than someone that still consumes corporate media. You’ll have your own version of reality without all the facts so I also read a lot of left leaning sites, too. That used to mean sites like Vox, Huffington Post, or Think Progress before it closed up shop. Unfortunately, those sites have started to become as bad as any of the corporate media outlets. I cut them some slack since at least they don’t claim to be objective while Brian “Tater” Stelter claims CNN is non-biased almost everyday.
So where do you go to get views from the left that actually have some merit and honesty to them? These are five liberal but honest journalists that I enjoy reading because they make me think outside of my right wing thought pattern. Sometimes I flat out disagree with them and occasionally I think they’ll get hyperbolic about certain claims but there’s enough good content that I keep reading. They also dislike the modern left (progressives) and the culture they’re creating as much as I do. They hate parts of the right and parts of the left and it feels like arguments they put forth are in good faith rather than to simply protect the Democrat party and slander conservatives.
Michael Tracey (@mtracey)
I didn’t really know who Tracey was until he joined The Young Turks a few years ago. Full disclosure – I hate the Young Turks. Cenk Uygur is the modern left distilled into human form. So I didn’t think too much of Tracey at first but I started paying attention when he went freelance and started writing occasionally for The Federalist. I was intrigued so I started following his work. He was extremely critical of Russiagate. I really became a fan after the riots this summer when he jumped in his vehicle and crowd-sourced his trip around the country to investigate the riots had on the lives of everyday people. I have no problem with the fact that he leans left when he’s genuinely open to the truth. He’s also pretty funny in a deadpan sort of way.
Matt Taibbi (@mtaibbi)
For those of you that don’t know Taibbi he was a long time Rolling Stone contributor that I would read regularly back when Rolling Stone was actually worth reading. (Yes, that’s how old I am) Even back then his liberalism would irk me sometimes but he’s a good reporter and he’s honest about what he believes and will give evidence to support it. He wrote some pretty damning pieces about Goldman Sachs following the 2008 financial crisis and he’s not afraid to point out that the press and the American left has lost its mind. He’s hyperbolic when it comes to Trump but I can filter that out. Fun fact about Taibbi is that he played professional baseball in Uzbekistan and professional basketball in Mongolia.
Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald)
In my mind, Greenwald will always be one of the most important journalists of my lifetime as he was the one that broke the stories of the NSA spying programs in the early 2010’s. I was genuinely shocked to see what the American government was doing in the name of security. Civil rights and free speech is extremely important to him. So much so that in his early career as a lawyer and even as a gay man he defended neo-nazi groups in First Amendment cases. After gigs at Salon and the Guardian he would go on to found his own media outlet “The Intercept” in 2014. He was forced out in October of this year because the editors wanted to censure his piece on Hunter Biden because the left has lost its mind. Greenwald is one of the journalists that recognizes the threat the progressives are to free speech and civil rights.
Matt Yglesias (@mattyglesias)
Yglesias started with Think Progress, went to Slate, and then co-founded Vox with Ezra Klein. However, in November he left Vox for substack searching for editorial independence. It’s humorous to me because I used to dunk on this guy’s tweets when he was with Vox but now that he’s gone independent and started pointing out the illiberal left is strangling the culture and common spaces of the country I’m ok with him now. Also, he rightly has pointed out that defunding the police or using terms like “latinx” is simply stupid and pushes people away from the left – which, of course, he’s completely right because things like that are stupid. When co-founder Ezra Klein left Vox he went to the cesspool of corporate media that is the New York Times. Yglesias went to go be independent at Substack. You can tell the caliber of journalist each one is and which one you can take seriously from their post Vox decisions.
Jon Turley (@JonathanTurley)
Turley isn’t exactly a journalist but he writes a lot and his viewpoints are very interesting even if you might raise your eyebrows a bit. In 2004 he wrote an op-ed in USA Today arguing the polygamy should be legal. He went on many shows arguing the Bush administration should be prosecuted for torture. Over the past few years he has been absolutely based as he attacks the illiberal left. Seriously, give a scroll through his personal blog at jonathanturley.org. He’ll go after the right as quickly as he’ll go after the left and that’s refreshing after what we’ve been seeing in the corporate media.
Except for Turley, these journalists all started out at big publications and then were forced out or decided to go independent on their own. This is a new phenomenon for the left as they hold what is the mainstream corporate media in this country. Conservative news outlets started out independent and are only recently starting to gain ground with economic clout through clicks and views. Watching the left go through the opposite process actually bodes well in the long term for journalism. When corporate media that prints only what will get them clicks and views finally collapses and we have honest journalists both on the right and left then we can actually have real conversations. That’s not just good for journalism. That’s good for America.