Tuesday, May 25, 2010

An Appeal

Spiked to the top until 5/25

I consider myself fortunate, in that I can pay my own way through life. I don't need to borrow much money, and when I do, I can pay it back easily. So I don't need friends for that, and my friendships are based on mutual attraction and emotional support.

I consider myself doubly blessed to have access to information on a scale that my forefathers and foremothers could never have imagined. It's easy in any organized society to lose track of what's going on around you and when your interest encompass the world, it is infinitely harder to sort out truth from rumour and fiction.

This is why I consider alternative media to be among the most critical resources an American citizen can have. We get spoonfed our CNN, and have FOX News' point of view injected under our skins from our encounters with the great unwashed and disintellectuals that surround us.

The past twelve months saw the demise of Air America Radio, one of the biggest progressive media outlets available. AAR served its purpose: it let liberals in red states know they are not alone, that the radios glued to Rush and Hannity did not mean that America was against them. As Barack Obama said, there are no red state or blue states, just United States. But you'd never know that from commercial, for-profit media.

Indeed, when Erick Erickson becomes a pundit on CNN, well, you can only count the weeks before the braodcast news from mainstream media sources yet again turns incrementally fascist.

This is why I feel lucky to have DISH Network for my television viewing needs. There's a reason the competition between cable and satellite providers is heating up: people are growing tired of having corporate America rammed down their throats anytime they want to watch TV. The only lifeline on cable for an interested populace is public access, which sometimes broadcasts true progressive programming like Free Speech TV and LinkTV.

On DISH, these are twenty four hour networks. DISH provides progressive programming that no cable outlet, and not even DirecTV, provides.

But I'm not here to sell you a dish. I'm here to sell you on information.

Free Speech TV is a true progressive network that survives solely on viewer donations: no commercials, no grants from the government. You make it work, which means you have a voice, and it means you get to make decisions about what you see.

Here's the good news: while FSTV is available (for now) on DISH only 24/7, you can view it streaming on the Internet. So there's really no excuse for missing programming like Democracy, Now!, GRITtv, or Greg Palast's important reports from troubled areas like Haiti or New Orleans or the Amazon basin. He's currently following an interesting story of American and western "vulture" capitalists preying on Liberia in the wake of world debt forgiveness, and he's doing this for BBC News.

So it's not like he's got no street cred. Why he's not on American television is reprehensible.

LinkTV is just what the name implies and what its slogan says: "Television without borders." Not only do you get full documentaries on a variety of subjects from the comparison of the human and gorilla genomes to the battle for the soul of the Anglican Church worldwide, you get hours of world music videos, scads of news programs from Al Jazeera and Middle Eastern sources from like Israel, Egypt, and the Palestinian Authority, Deutsche Welle from Germany, and movies from around the world like 35 Shots Of Rum, an engaging look at five relationships, set against the backdrop and involving the Paris Metro.

LinkTV is available on DISH, of course, but also on DirecTV, so if you feel uncomfortable throwing off your quilt of corporate media dominance, you can upgrade to Murdoch's finest.

Either way, both of these networks provide important and informative programming, most of which is available on-line for free. What is that kind of programming worth to you each year? You pay $10.99 each month for the HBO multiplex, and still won't learn as much as you learn here. Yet, that same $10.99, just once, will make you feel like you've got a voice in the world around you.

I urge you to give now. I know I have.