Will the real progressive please stand up?

The 2008 election might as well have been 100 years ago in media time. We are now living a second term of Obama and the game has changed immensely. Hardcore progressives wear their disappointment on their sleeves. Not only were left-leaning corporate media outlets blowing the horn for Obama, but Independent progressive outlets played a huge role in mobilizing for the Obama candidacy. In an article published on CommonDreams, Jeff Cohen explains the phenomenon.


With Wright a media obsession, indy journalists from Glenn Greenwald to David Corn exposed McCain’s bigoted preacher/endorsers…. This year, the flow of serious, accurate charges about McCain got a push from progressive media – like the story of “McCain’s Mansions,” which sailed from blogs to mainstream via the hugely successful Brave New Films viral video. Few will forget McCain’s stunning answer when asked how many homes he owned: “I think – I’ll have my staff get to you.”


So we can attribute, at least partially, Obama’s win to progressive Independent Media as well as outlets like MSNBC who both covered Obama’s candidacy favorably.  Today,  a divergence appears. Unlike MSNBC which has been unable to let go of its “Probama” stance, progressive independent media outlets have continued to keep Obama accountable for straying from his progressive values. Bloggers like Glenn Greenwood, shows like Democracy Now! and newspapers like the Indypendent have all thrust into the public knowledge the Obama administration’s blatant misuse of drones, his expansion of the surveillance state and most contemporarily, his neoliberal views of American exceptionalism.

Herein lies the difference between PROGRESSIVE media and “LIBERAL” media: progressive media holds all accountable based on a certain values system, that’s why Indy progressive outlets were able to endorse Obama but then go on to produce some of his most scathing critiques, where as “liberal” media is beholden to the agenda of the Democratic party. No matter what the so-called progressive take is on Syria, drone usage, the list goes on, pundits at MSNBC are mandated to defend Obama no matter what the cost.

It is through this framework that I argue that Independent progressive media deserves praise for its actions. While mainstream media outlets are too afraid to appear having egg on their face for getting it wrong endorsing Obama, the independent structure prioritizes holding those in power accountable. Though they may have endorsed Obama in the beginning, they are fearless of the repercussions to their reputation as they now criticize him as a president. They are not beholden to politicians, corporations, or any political party. They wear their views on their sleeves, so you know exactly what bias you get, but you also know that the coverage will be fearless in defending its independent values, no matter what party sits in office.