Last Tuesday, October 1, I attended a panel at the City University of New York Graduate Center, titled “Into Left Field: Progressive Media in the Age of Austerity“.

The Graduate Center’s Peter Beinart (@PeterBeinart), senior political writer for the Daily Beast, discussed the health of progressive media with Katha Pollitt (@KathaPollitt), longtime columnist for The Nation; Joy-Ann Reid (@TheReidReport), managing editor of NBC’s TheGrio.com; and Nermeen Shaikh (@nermeendn), co-host of Democracy Now!

While you can view the whole thing in the embedded video, here are some quotes mentioned that caught my attention:

“Newspapers are unable, seemingly, to discriminate between a bicycle accident and the collapse of civilisation.”

George Bernard Shaw

“Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one.”

A. J. Liebling, also author of the quote “People everywhere confuse what they read in newspapers with news.”

But the most notable part of the whole debate, from my point of view, came after I asked a seemingly innocent question (1:10:38 in the video):

What IS “progressive media”?

 Joy-Ann Reid’s reply, “one without a giant sponsor”, is shockingly FAR from what “progressive” media is (it might mean “independent” but definitely not necessarily “progressive”), and Katha Pollitt’s “it’s about where you stand politically” gets it somehow wrong too. I liked Nermeen Shaikh’s answer the best, “left, independent, critical”, but still, too shy. 

The shocking truth? Even the most progressive media in the USA is incredibly conservative, since they do NOT question representative democracy as a political system, “news” is practically reduced to debating White House press releases, and their view of anything outside market capitalism is extremely tangential and limited.