By Stephen Boni
Source: Ghion Journal
As we crossed into the second decade of the 21st century, independent online news media stepped over a threshold as well. As to when, it had been building for a number of years so it’s not entirely easy to pinpoint, though the Sanders campaign of 2015-16 is a relatively decent marker. As to why, it may well be a combination of several things:
- The increase in the capabilities and user-friendliness of the Internet and its adjacent devices
- The ubiquity, flexibility and cost-effectiveness of social media
- A shift in viewer/reader aesthetic tastes away from big budgets and towards media that looks and feels more homemade
- The slipping of corporate media’s mask of impartiality
- New ways for indy media creators to get paid and, sitting over all of it…
- The undeniable citizen dissatisfaction with the wealth inequality that’s grown like kudzu under neoliberal capitalism
The truth of our reality is always made up of numerous percolating and overlapping forces, but as difficult as it is to separate these forces from one another, you can still feel the cumulative change. It’s palpable. Independent political websites and YouTube channels have exploded. Their creators have become genuine influencers on political thought for a not insignificant portion of the adult population.
Examples: Wikileaks, driven by its founder Julian Assange, has been using digital technology to create a primary resource-rich way of doing journalism that’s had a seismic affect on everyone, including corporate media. Jimmy Dore has been fusing comedy, journalism and political commentary. His show recently hit over 500,000 subscribers. Kyle Kulinski’s Secular Talk has over 600,000. Mike Figuerero’s Humanist Report has over 200,000. Abby Martin’s documentary-driven Empire Files program is closing in on 150,000 YouTube subscribers plus thousands more website visitors. And those are just a handful of the video channels. Indy news websites abound and their readerships continue to grow as well.
The influence wielded by these new media outlets has not gone unnoticed by our politicians and political candidates. In fact, it’s gotten to the point where many of them have begun accepting interview requests. And here’s where things are getting even more interesting, because, in these informal, off-the-cuff style media environments many of the unspoken rules of how a political candidate should be interviewed simply don’t apply. If you go back and watch some of recent interviews—