We need a progressive media alliance and trust.
Why do progressives tell working people that they must have a union, they must organize and act together as a group because when they're on their own, they have no power? Yet the progressive media is largely separated and acting as individuals, and seem confused why they have no power on their own. The answer is the same thing: we need to get organized.
For example, we need progressive radio, yet it has been relatively unsuccessful apparently following the traditional model of relying mostly on advertising. But we need people like Peter Werbe, Mike Malloy (who's trying to go it on his own for now), Randi Rhodes, and I'm sure many others. As for blogs and investigate research, there is common dreams, truthout, Danny Schechter's group, truthdig, the Nation, Z magazine. I would say the members should be people or groups who did not have traditional sources of funding, or don't have enough to keep going.
There should be a progressive media trust fund. A board which consists of progressives from the community level as well as maybe a couple of well-known names. Members of the progressive media alliance would be established at the beginning with a certain number of magazines, radio, blogs, movie makers, documentary filmmakers, maybe book writers. Each member would be required to devote time to public fundraising activities (like Habitat) and would be entitled to receive a share from the trust fund. For example, they could go speak at a local group, but the funds raised would go into the trust. New members would be considered as additional funding became available.
Who gets how much would be determined by some formula. For example, depending on the funds raised in a six-month period, each member could receive some percentage of their operating expenses. Each member would have to submit a CPA-audited expense and income statement for their media, verified, to support their receipt of funds.
Local chapters would be formed and hold monthly get-togethers which could be something as simple as a discussion group with a $5 fee per meeting (read some article from the Nation, discuss), could be cultural such as poetry, readings of new writing, could be music, could be food, drink, and half the profit would go to the local chapter, half to the national trust fund. People would have to find local places to use, but with the economic downturn places like churches might rent their halls out cheap. Or community centers can be used. Or meet in a pizza place, or at somebody's home, or in a park in the afternoon. The local groups would serve two purposes: (1) organize locally to develop local forums for progressive voices as well as just something to do with other progressives, and (2) commit to funding progressive media which is in danger of being destroyed.
I also think we could get Move-On to set up a move-on progressive media group. They could raise millions with one e-mail, if we did it right. I would suggest one written statement to be carried by everyone on their own web-page, then announcements sent out to all your e-mail lists asking people to set up a local chapter, and schedule a date for the first meeting, with people to report back on the ideas they generated, or decisions they made.
The activities for a local group could be something as simple as this: a few meetings a year will be a book group, read some progressive book and discuss, meet at someone's home; a few meetings a year will be a movie group, go see some progressive movie or watch a DVD in someone's home; a few meetings would be more current and topical, meeting in a pizza place or in a park to discuss bigger issues like "the Wars." Then hopefully some public outreach also, at least 2-3 times a year, such as find local music groups or artists who are progressives, and work with them to set up a public function, or bring in some local speaker such as a progressive from a local college or university.
We could even try to get some groups like DFA, for example, to participate. Or any of the many progressive groups that have sprung up in recent years. There could be a swap: the Progressive Media Alliance members would donate advertising space or time to the progressive groups to help them, and the progressive groups would encourage their members to join or set up a local chapter of the Progressive Media Alliance.
I see the trust fund as a non-profit, so there would be some administrative responsibility. The money would have to be held in a trust account with a big institutional bank, requiring multiple signatures for withdrawal etc.
If Rupert Murdoch and a few similar creeps end up owning all the media, there will be no progressive thought because it will be extinguished; no progressive books because no one will buy or publish them; no progressive radio, TV. Soon they'll take control of the internet and charge so much for websites that progressives will be eradicated from on-line too. Then politicians will be barred from even advertising on the media during campaigns unless they sing the Nazi hymn and extol the virtues of Murdoch, O'Really, and the fat guy on the radio.
Everyone is excited and hopeful about Obama being our president, but I see the right re-organizing, re-grouping, beginning their counter-assaults. And remember, they've already stolen most of the money from this country, which they've got parked in secret private equity funds off-shore, just waiting to swoop back in and buy up everything. They will buy up our homes for cents on the dollar and sell them back to us in 10 years. I think they're poised for the final attack. We need to get ready to fight back.