Alternative Media



Table of Contents

1. Background

Democracy requires an informed electorate. Totalitarian societies control the communications channels tightly, either by force or by misdirection. The corporate kleptocracy which now owns the USA uses several approaches:

  • Secrecy, anti Freedom-of-information-act (FOIA) actions, FCC regulations, sealed court cases, and copyright law are used assure by force that facts-and-data are not available to the electorate.

  • Sports, sex, violence are used to distract the potentially informable electorate from available facts-and-data.

  • Multi-national media conglomerates (run by and for some of the wealthiest people on Earth) assure there are no remaining outlets for facts-and-data with a non-corporate spin. Instead, the channels are filled by press releases honed at right-wing think tanks.

Into this world arrives the Internet and a few radio outlets. Notice that pundits (working for multinational media giants) claim the Internet is now owned by large sites. But in truth, any site is visible worldwide. All you need is the will to find it, and a few clues. This web page is about clues.

Corporate-backed pundits will also tell you the Internet is a wasteland of conjecture and rumor. They claim you need the assurance of a great institution to tell you what is and is not true; what is and is not relevant.

Bunk. An informed electorate shouldn't trust any source willy nilly. In every case, you gather raw data, form hypotheses, and then track down further facts to disqualify the hypotheses. You go with what remains. The Internet -- even the wilder conspiracy sites -- is a great source of hypotheses. And if you are diligent, it is a fine source of raw data.

If you don't have the mental discipline (or the time) to do your own homework, then you do have to rely on others to have taken those steps. My rule of thumb is that I pay attention to sites where the articles consistently provide enough facts-and-data that I can independently confirm the stories. This almost always means long interviews, historical context, and citations. This is not a game of competing sound bites.

2. Sources

2.1. Books

If you want extended materials which can be judged, you need to look at books. Further you need to look for those books with sufficient details to be cross-checked with independent sources.

See History as a start point. Next see a whole raft of topical books which are telling the story the corporate media does not mention, or calls "conspiracy theory", "off the reservation", "tin-hat".

2.2. TV

On US broadcast TV, there is PBS

It is pretty pitiful...the right-wingers have scared it to death (or have they flatout taken it over?). The NewsHour for example is a parade of corporate-sponsored right-wingers exchanging sound bites with a few underfunded lefties.


2.2.1. PBS: Bill Moyer's NOW

Bill Moyers and then David Branccicio have done a good job of getting the talking heads and video clips that you will not see elsewhere in the USA.

2.2.2. PBS: Frontline

Solid extended reports. Worth taking a look.

2.3. Radio

Largely the home of rabid right-wing hate speech, all claiming of course that the media is LIBERAL (meaning "evil, sick, disgusting, dirty, degenerate").

In this wasteland, look for local repeaters for:

For example, in the Seattle area:

  • KEXP 90.3 Sat/Sun 6-9 AM LIsten to this if you can! Mke tapes if you are not an early bird.
  • KSER 90.7 FM Everett
    • BBC Newshour M-F 5AM-7AM, Sat & Sun 6AM-6AM
    • 400-430 PM daily BBC News
    • 430-530 PM Wed Alternative Radio
    • 430-530 PM Fri Radio Nation
    • 530-630 PM M-F As It Happens from the CDN
  • Air America 1090 AM I have mixed response here. This is classic talk radio, just with a leftie spin. In other words, lacking depth. So use it for spice but not for the main course.

You can often get streaming web radio. But they typically use proprietary data formats. Alternative media should be using Open Source data formats, e.g., ogg vorbis (

2.4. Newspaper-sites

Most of the dead-tree newspapers have websites as well, sometimes requiring free or non-free registration. They show up as links from other web sites, but I'm not recommending any of them as a daily must-read.

2.5. News-sites

Next we get to sites that are based on the web. Some are technological, some are unabashedly Liberal or Progressive.

Additional recommendations:


Note: It is hard to get excited about unabashedly (or even cryptically) Radical Right sites, because their points of view are already well covered in the corporate media. The std corporate PR gimmick of Astroturf makes all of them suspect. If you want to see what they are up to, visit:


2.6. Newsgroups

There are thousands of newsgroups, and many of these are someplace.politics. For example, seattle.politics and wash.politics.

These overtly political newsgroups have been polluted by prolific right-wing potty-mouthed trolls. My impression is that they may be paid GOP operatives whose purpose is to discourage citizens from forming an informed electorate. For example, by checking their posting histories I find they explode into view right after an important event (e.g, anti-war march), and then post at a rate of hundreds per month.

A good clue that they are paid operatives is that they refuse to meet in person. Most concerned citizens will accept an offer to meet at a neutral site (such as a Conversation Cafe). But these GOP operatives refuse to do so. Doing so perhaps risks blowing their cover.

Still, if you set up a "kill file", you can avoid most of the trolls. The remaining people waste a great deal of energy arguing with the trolls, but can be engaged in real dialog as well. My objective is to retake the newsgroups just as we are retaking the nation as a whole.

3. Become Involved

Informed electorates don't happen by accident. It takes hard work to find, collate, analyze, and convey insights about our body politic and the forces which profit from its injury.

One approach is to work on the existing media channels, e.g,:

Another approach is to do grassroots from the subsoil on up. That way you get the facts-and-data from people in the trenches. Here are two tools:


    This is the "branded" rendition of a Conversation Cafe, but the idea is sweeping the world. Or actually, it is returning to those parts of the world that had become so alienated that talking to neighbors had become an exotic behavior.

    I've participated in a local cafe for months, and some of the people at our cafe have been at it for years.


    This is the "branded" rendition of meeting others for common interests. There are others along these lines. This is not all about politics. Check your local community (by zip code) and see what is available. It is astounding. Your neighbors (within a 10 mile radius) are amazingly interesting people. To heck with TV and Radio and Newspapers, and all the rest of the official channels -- you are now clued in to a web of personal contact and trust which spans continents.


    The September Project plans to use libraries and other public meeting places for local information exchanges September 11.

Creator: Harry George
Updated/Created: 2007-09-29