I give thanks for news and information sources that are not-for-profit, reader-supported, and free, given that the mainstream media are large, for-profit corporations. Unconstrained by a corporate, for-profit mindset and dependence on advertisers for revenue that both skew “news” toward infotainment to attract attention and capitalistic viewpoints to please corporate bosses and advertisers, reader-supported media provide valuable information and perspectives that go unreported by the mainstream media.

(Note: If you find my posts too much to read on occasion, feel free to read just read the bolded portions. They present the key points I’m making.)

The mainstream media are NOT liberal on economic issues, despite the decades of assertions by the right-wing that they are. They may be liberal on social issues such as abortion rights, LGBTQ+ issues, and gun violence reduction, but they are NOT liberal on economic issues such as business and Wall St. regulation, taxes, workers’ rights, economic inequality, and enforcement of antitrust laws.

My favorite progressive (or liberal if you like), print (hardcopy and online), non-profit, free, reader-supported publications with a focus on news and public policy are presented below. I’m sure there are others but these are more than sufficient to keep me busy and informed with in-depth, accurate information, thoughtful perspectives, and expert policy analysis. You can sign-up for daily or weekly emails from them that highlight their current content.

Take even a quick look at any of these sources of news, information, and analysis and I believe you’ll quickly agree with me that the mainstream media are NOT liberal or progressive!

Common Dreams: Founded in 1997, it lists its mission as: “To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good.” Its website further states: “We are optimists. We believe real change is possible. But only if enough well-informed, well-intentioned – and just plain fed up and fired-up – people demand it. We believe that together we can attain our common dreams.” It only publishes online and delivers daily or weekly emails with summaries of and links to its relatively short articles covering current news.

The Hightower Lowdown: This entertaining, irreverent, progressive populist newsletter is written by Jim Hightower. Hightower worked in Congress, was twice elected Texas Agriculture Commissioner (1983 – 1991), and “has long chronicled the ongoing democratic struggles by America’s ordinary people against rule by its plutocratic elites.” The Lowdown is available in print, online, and on the airwaves.

The American Prospect: In my opinion, this magazine and website deliver the best and most comprehensive progressive policy content. Its stated mission is “to tell stories about the ideas, politics, and power that shape our world.” It is “devoted to promoting informed discussion on public policy from a progressive perspective.” It identifies “policy alternatives and the politics necessary to create [and enact] good legislation.”

The Nation: It publishes progressive, independent journalism that “encourages debate, foments change, and lifts up the voices of those fighting for justice.” Founded by abolitionists in 1865, it believes that provocative, independent journalism can bring about a more democratic and equitable world. It provides thoughtful and investigative reporting that “speaks truth to power to build a more just society.” It’s available both online and in print.

Mother Jones: Founded in 1976, it’s “America’s longest-established investigative news organization.” Its mission is to deliver “reporting that inspires change and combats ‘alternative facts.’” It provides in-depth stories on a wide range of subjects including politics, criminal and racial justice, education, climate change, and food and agriculture. Its fellowship program is one of the premier training grounds for investigative journalists. It is available in print, online, and via videos and podcasts.

ProPublica: It was founded in 2007 with the beliefs that investigative journalism and informing the public about complex issues are crucial for our democracy. Its mission is “to expose abuses of power and betrayals of the public trust by government, business, and other institutions, using the moral force of investigative journalism to spur reform through the sustained spotlighting of wrongdoing.” With more than 100 journalists, it covers topics including government, politics, business, criminal justice, the environment, education, health care, immigration, and technology with in-depth, detailed articles.

If you prefer video content to print, I recommend Inequality Media. Its vision is “a United States where active participation by informed citizens restores the balance of power in our democracy and creates an economy where gains are widely shared.” Its mission is “to inform and engage the public about inequality and the imbalance of power” in U.S. society. Founded in 2015, its short videos are “entertaining and easy to understand [with] graphics, photos, and animations.”  It focuses on current news and explains it in a way that ties it to the larger story of needed social change to create a more equitable economy and a more stable democracy.

I urge you to read and, if you can, support financially one or more of these organizations. In the current hyper-capitalistic, plutocratic economic and political environment in the U.S., we need these sources of non-profit, reader-supported journalism to support a well-informed citizenry, democratic governance, and the relatively level economic playing field democracy requires. Today’s mainstream media are simply not performing these responsibilities of the media in a democracy. As Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis stated, “we can have democracy in this country or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of the few, but we can’t have both.”



  1. Just discovering the new format, looking good. Recent attention to the state of local media in my town drew me your article “Giving Thanks for Free Reader Supported Media”. Much appreciated John.

    1. Thanks, Carolyn. Glad you found it valuable. I hope you like the new format. I haven’t figured out yet how to ultimately make the transition. So, for the time being I’ll maintain both websites – which is a bit of a pain. The old site sends out an automatic email to all subscribers when I post. I haven’t yet figured out how to get the new site to do that.

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