The US Media Landscape

There has been a pretty interesting Media Bias Chart floating around over the past 6 months that, while useful, has some pretty serious issues with it – so we decided to do our own.

LeftTimesBiasChartOverlappingV6

What we felt needed correction is the assumptions that:
– it is possible to be unbiased when reporting the news
– that ‘lack of bias’ equals ‘quality’
– that being centrist means you aren’t biased
– and the implicit horseshoe theory that both the left and right are essentially the same and completely unreasonable

Here is the original:

You will notice in ours that we believe that all political groups are ideologically biased, that ideology has a loose correlation to quality – but a very different kind, and that the left and the right are very different in the quality of their media landscape.

There are of course over-simplifications made here, and we regret not being able to fit more publications in – but at some point broad ideas and aesthetics are more important than detailed accuracy. So please forgive us.

The bubble on the top left, ‘nuanced left analysis’, is where LeftTimes aggregates from. We want to make it easier for people to discover and follow good left-wing sources. In particular, we want to offer a good mobile news reading experience which is currently completely absent on the far-left.

Check us out at http://www.lefttimes.org
Download our app at:
iOS: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/the-left-times/id1339947991?ls=1&mt=8
Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.doneleft.doneleft

Announcing the launch of The Left Times! – a news feed of what the left is saying

I’m so excited to announce the launch of a website and app I’ve been working on for the past year: The Left Times! It’s a news feed of nuanced, rigorous and revolutionary thought, spanning a variety of perspectives across the left from feminists, to socialists, to anti-racists, to environmentalists and more…

Check out the website or download the iOS or Android app!

It took me years of hunting around the internet, reading authors and publications from all over the place, to build a high quality news feed on Facebook – and then Facebook decided to change its algorithms, de-ranking articles, and they turned my news feed into a meme feed.

I want to make it easier for people to discover all of these great people, without having to spend years looking around – nevermind finding a way to compile all these writings into a synthesized feed. Even when my Facebook feed was halfway decent, I still found that the algorithms would get hyper-reactive to whatever posts I happened to be liking or commenting on… immediately funneling me into some bubble.

This news feed is the beginnings of the the reflection of how I would like to consume information: a balance across issue areas (politics, race, gender, economy, environment and global news), with content from a wide-variety of publications.

Today we are mostly pulling in from far-left publications, but this will probably change over time. The hope is that someday we will have the perfect mix where one can scan the headlines of the right/center, while getting a good set of the top news from the main media sources, and then getting (what we have now) a great feed of high-quality reporting/analysis.

I hope you will check it out and join me on my journey!

Breaking Into The Two-Party System

The United States, thanks to its winner takes all election system, is forever doomed to be in a two-party system. It’s basic game theory. For a 3rd party to become relevant at the national stage, it would have to oust and replace either the Democratic party or the Republican party.

This is no easy feat. The last time a major party was displaced in the American 2-party system was 160 years ago.

The US was first born with the Federalist party and the Republican-Democratic Party. Both parties only lasted about 35 years when they were replaced by the Democratic Party and the National Republican Party (which then merged into the Whig Party after 8 years). The Whig Party only lasted about 20 years until the 1850’s when it fell apart and was replaced by the Republican Party.

The Democrat and Republican parties have dominated the US two-party system ever since.

elephant_donkey_donkeyhoteyIMAGE CREDIT DONKEYHOTEY / FLICKR / CREATIVE COMMONS

But we may have the conditions today where it is possible for a 3rd party to enter the political system and displace one of the big two.

Anti-establishment sentiment is at a peak. Both the Republican and Democratic parties have been losing members in droves for 10 straight years. 43%45% of Americans identify as independents – and those numbers came before the primaries started. Today, we likely have more independents than Democrats and Republicans combined.

The approval rating of Congress has been under 30% for 10 years and is currently at 11%.

We’ve now seen 3 anti-establishment movements in the United States in the past 8 years: the Tea Party, then Occupy, and then Black Lives Matter.

In this presidential election season, averaged across the two parties, anti-establishment/outsider candidates (Trump, Cruz and Sanders) received roughly 65% of all pledged delegates.

The Republican Party was just hijacked by Trump and roughly 40% of the party is refusing to rally around him. On the other side of the aisle, the Democratic Party only barely just defeated the Sanders insurgency, with roughly 33% of Sanders voters currently refusing to ultimately vote for Hillary Clinton.

This is not too different from 1848 when abolitionists abandoned both the Whig and Democratic Parties parties and formed the Republican Party.

The conditions are here today for a 3rd party to emerge.

If it is to be successful, it must be a coalition of disaffected voters from across the political spectrum and run competitive candidates in every district nationwide.

It must bring together the Libertarians and Progressives, as well as, the Tea Party, Black Lives Matter and Occupy movements.

At first glance this may sound like a match made in hell, but actually, all these groups can agree on who their real enemies are: the Republican Party, the Democratic Party, and the mega-rich that control both parties.

So what might this new party’s platform look like?

It would have to have the following 3 core pillars: ending corruption, ending big brother government, and ending the 2-party system. These are all causes that poll extremely well amongst Tea Partiers, Berners, Greens, BLMers, Occupiers, and Libertarians.

More specifically, what this means is ending corporate welfare, the off-shoring of wealth, and tax loopholes for the rich. It means overturning Citizens United and never using Super PACs. It means de-militarizing police forces, ending the drug war, and shutting down government programs used to spy on Americans.

There’s also one more little known cause that should be added to this hypothetical party’s list: proportional party representation.

Each of the sub-groups I’ve named as part of this coalition has an interest in pushing proportional party representation so that it can actually become its own viable political party – electing its own representatives rather than the lesser of two evils.

This wouldn’t have to be a long term alliance. Once they implemented proportional party representation, the party could dissolve, and the various factions could go their separate ways, form their own political parties and actually all gain representatives in a multi-party system. Imagine what Congress might look life if we implemented proportional party representation.

The key is just that people across the political spectrum recognize their shared desires/interests in defeating the Democratic and Republican Parties, destroying corruption, and dismantling big brother government.

So how about it? Are you down take the best of red, white and blue, mix it all up, and #gopurple?