By Al Giordano
Tomorrow, Wednesday, September 30 at 6 p.m. ET I'm going on the radio in the media capital of the world at the peak of afternoon drive time.
I've been asked to speak for Narco News and the nonprofit Fund for Authentic Journalism, and I'll announce that we're taking our 27,000+ Facebook users to Tsu as our response to Facebook and Instagram owner Mark Zuckerberg banning links to his upstart competitor last weekend.
And I'll invite all of New York City to join us in the exodus to our new social media home.
Just sign up and join via this link. It’s free. In fact it’s even better than free. Tsu is the first social network on the Internet that returns 90 percent of the ad revenues to the people and organizations that generated the content and the traffic. The Fund for Authentic Journalism has already received more than $1,200 in less than five months there. You have to be invited to join and this link serves as your invitation:
It's all going to happen on The Katie Halper Show, which is a popular Big Apple radio program y'all should be listening to anyway. Katie is a 2010 graduate of the School of Authentic Journalism, and has returned each year since as one of its professors. She's a social humorist, stand-up comic and authentic journalist. The Katie Halper show on 99.5 FM WBAI in New York, in her first few months on the air, has quickly become a “must listen” event each Wednesday afternoon.
(That’s Katie and I in the image, from a photo taken at the 2013 School of Authentic Journalism by Laura Garcia.)
Here’s the link through which you can listen live from anywhere in the world Wednesday at 6 p.m. ET:
Also on the show I'll also talk about the newly selected Class of 2015 for the School of Authentic Journalism, and offer some guidance on how to read what is really happening with the 2016 presidential campaign in the United States.
But the latest aggression by the censorious Facebook - banning links to works of authentic journalism on Tsu, even banning the sharing of such links in private conversation via its Messenger chat feature - is typical of a corporation whose consumer market has ceased to grow and begun to implode.
It was only eight years ago that Facebook told users of MySpace and other social media to come over to Facebook where, we were told, we could recruit our friends, where nonprofits like ours could build our networks, and always have direct, immediate access to our readers and supporters. In December 2012 that proved to be a lie, when Facebook imposed an algorithm limiting those views to just five percent of the people we organized and brought together. Facebook then held our own community hostage demanding we purchase advertisements to reach our own people.
The damage has not just been done to nonprofits, but also to artists, writers, musicians, independent journalists and creators of every stripe. The value of their relationship to their audience has been vacuumed up by one mega-monopoly of Facebook-Instagram-Messenger and a few other big social media sites out there. As a result, creative and inventive people are starving and Internet middlemen have made off with the value of their work.
Now when a new, improved social media has appeared in the form of Tsu - one that acts more like an agent or manager used to do, collecting a reasonable 10 percent off the value we all create on its platform - more than five million people have joined Tsu in what is not even yet its first year of existence (it took Facebook 18 months at first to grow to just one million users). As of last week, more than a million people had downloaded the mobile app for Tsu. This scared Facebook and so it not only banned all future links to your and our work on Tsu, it also erased all previous links! Facebook's censorious tantrum is the wail of a dying beast. We hope you will join us at what are now greener - and fairer - pastures, in the glorious valley of Tsu.
For readers, friends and supporters in or near New York City, I’m in town this week also to celebrate Narco News' 15th anniversary with readers, supporters and friends. If you’d like to join the party Saturday evening, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org for an invitation. We'll start at 8 p.m. And if you've attended any of our previous anniversary fetes, you know already it's an amazing, interesting crowd that includes graduates and professors from the School of Authentic Journalism, the best readers in the word, and artists and journalists of accomplishment in their own fields.
We’re holding the party to raise the modest resources we need to get our newsroom up to date, replace its dying laptop, and obtain additional hard drive storage space for our fifteen years of videos, images and stories (hard drives have to be replaced every five years or so or the data begins to disappear).
If you can't make the benefit celebration on Saturday we invite you to contribute from wherever you are to the Fund for Authentic Journalism via this link:
It’s great to be back in the Big Apple, the city where we won expanded press freedom rights for all Internet journalists once before, and are heading into battle this week to do it again.
Start spreadin' the news: In the immortal words of Victor Hugo, "There is nothing so powerful as an idea whose time has come."
(Five Excerpts from Issue #2 of the newsletter, Al Giordano’s América, which goes out to subscribers tonight.)
By Al Giordano
In the coming weeks more than a dozen candidates will officially launch their campaigns for president of the United States.
And just like eight years ago, the big media purveyors of “conventional wisdom” have their heads way up where the sun don’t shine.
If you haven’t already gotten yourself a gift subscription to my newsletter that goes exclusively to supporters of The Fund for Authentic Journalism, today is a good day to do that (scroll down to the end of this post for the link), because you’ll then instantly receive all 5,700+ words of my analysis outlining what is about to come in the 2016 presidential campaign.
I share with subscribers a little bit on what is about to happen in the Republican primaries but think the bigger surprise is brewing among Democrats: that the “frontrunner” Hillary Clinton should not be considered as such, because there is a Democrat with a clear shot to surpass her in the presidential nomination caucuses and primaries. He is the former governor of Maryland, and his name is Martin O’Malley.
Here is excerpt #1 from the newsletter:
What Walker is doing to Bush – boxing him in as the establishment candidate of the past for an electorate looking to the future – O’Malley is very well positioned to do to Clinton. Of course, Martin O’Malley would be up against the formidable Clinton treasury and political machine. But it is precisely the candidates who come out of nowhere who, time and again, surprise in the American presidential nomination contests.
O’Malley’s weakness – that he is virtually unknown nationwide – is more likely to become a strength in the same way it was for Barack Obama eight years ago.
“Who the hell is Martin O’Malley and why is he in my headline?” is a question I answer by telling his story: from a young field organizer to Baltimore city councilor, to mayor, to governor, and his unique emphasis on field organization including in parts of Maryland often ignored by Democrats. It’s also revealing that O’Malley is so far the only Democrat to have extensively visited the first caucus and primary states of Iowa and New Hampshire.
Here is excerpt #2:
Last year, O’Malley quietly installed a team of his own field organizers in Iowa – where the first presidential caucuses will be held in January 2016 – to help local Democrats win their races. He’s built relationships and loyalties in the process. He has not launched his candidacy, but the Des Moines Register notes that he has already held 30 events over nine days in the Hawkeye State. By comparison, Clinton has held just five events over two days in the state, and until last year she had not returned to Iowa since the 2008 caucuses.
In the other first primary state, New Hampshire, the Manchester Union-Leader reports that O’Malley is “the only potential Democratic candidate to make what had the feel of a campaign stop so far this season, visiting Concord earlier this month.”
Just showing up is of immense importance to Iowa and New Hampshire voters, who so often have winnowed the field and established the dynamics of presidential nomination battles…
The essay looks closely at how former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has already begun the kinds of missteps that characterized her 2008 presidential campaign.
A big part of the gap that divides new generation Democrats from their elders is that they are data-driven. We’re more likely to read Nate Silver’s projections than to take the cable TV and newspaper columnist pundits seriously. That generation gap is reflected in how O’Malley and Clinton approach campaigning, too.
Here’s is excerpt #3 from the newsletter:
The 2008 Obama campaign’s precise development of demographic data on potential voters took Clinton – and later John McCain – by storm. They did not know what was happening to them or why voters they had written off were suddenly flooding the polls. Still, data without people power is nothing: a successful campaign needs an army of volunteers trained to deploy that data – and the tailored pitches to the diverse demographic groups that the data reveals, known as micro-targeting – to be able to benefit from it. There have been a lot of signals sent from the Clinton organization that people should think they learned their lesson from the 2008 defeat, and Clinton has hired any former Obama operative willing to bite (obviously not those who signed an open letter to Elizabeth Warren urging her to challenge Clinton last November). But Clinton’s volunteer base remains largely over 50 years old, with most of them over 60, and while its not impossible for old folks to learn new tricks, we’ve yet to see any investment at all in training volunteers in the new campaign methods the way that Camp Obama was already starting to do at this time eight years ago.
The big game-changer - here, in the fourth excerpt - that has already happened to the 2016 presidential campaign has come from someone who insists she won’t be a candidate:
Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren – who so many hope to draft into the presidential campaign – has already won, in a big way, without becoming a candidate. Her anti-corporate populism both rides and drives the emerging political zeitgeist in America, where everyday people see the stock market doubling in value over the past six years but, still struggling, haven’t shared in its success…
Warren has been exemplary in giving voice to a populism that rejects dividing white against black against Latino and so on. In that sense she embodies new generation Democrats more so than Webb or Sanders. Clinton, to her credit, supported Kennedy’s immigration reform bill and enjoys strong support among Latino voters in particular. But Clinton will continue to stumble badly on anti-corporate power, where her own record is woefully out of step.
Enter Martin O’Malley: Like Clinton and Warren, he’s a mainstream Democrat and liberal when it comes to social issues from abortion rights to same-sex marriage. Like Warren, Sanders and Webb, he plants his flag on the economic platform that all Americans should share in the largesse bestowed upon Wall Street: Increase the minimum wage and target income inequality, break up the “too big to fail” banks, and restore real competition to financial institutions. As Warren and other progressive populists like Robert Reich have argued, bringing back the 1933 Glass-Steagall Act could accomplish much of this in one fell swoop.
The enthusiasm of an organized “Draft Warren” movement has moved the earth under the 2016 campaign seismically, to the point that progressive economist Robert Reich, who 22 months ago voiced his support for Clinton saying “we need her” has recently stated publicly that if no one else challenges her candidacy with a populist economic platform, he just might.
Here is the fifth and final excerpt for non-subscribers:
O’Malley’s call to restore Glass-Steagall and define the 2016 campaign along such populist economic concerns places Secretary Clinton on the sharpest possible horns of a dilemma. After all, it was President Bill Clinton who repealed Franklin Roosevelt’s Glass-Steagall Act in 1995, opening the door to what became the 2007 financial crisis. For Clinton to say “me too” to Warren, Reich, Sanders, Webb, and O’Malley on that point, she’d have to do something she didn’t in 2008: put considerable distance between her and the first Clinton administration on that and on other defining economic issues.
O’Malley has deployed what we community organizers call a “Dilemma Action.” He has placed his major rival in a position in which she has no good options. If Secretary Clinton fails to break with Bill Clinton’s economic policies of the 1990s, she loses. If she does attempt to position herself as apart from that legacy, she also loses, in large part because her own entire political career has been as a corporate Democrat. Politicians can certainly evolve, but for people to believe it there has to be a compelling narrative – a personal story – that makes the shift credible.
The clock is ticking on Clinton’s ability to find that needle in the haystack, that “sweet spot” that would allow her emerge from the baggage of the last century into the zeitgeist of 2016…
Of course, I’ve saved the best parts for our supporters: You who generously support The Fund for Authentic Journalism, who keep the journalists at Narco News reporting, and who have so far made it possible for us to train more than 500 up-and-coming independent journalists, video makers and communicators so far at the School of Authentic Journalism. (Stay tuned very soon for news about the 2015 school.)
If you haven’t yet joined their ranks, today is an exciting day to do so, with a (tax-deductible) contribution of $70 or more, or by making a monthly pledge of $5 a month or more. That’s all you need to do receive the new issue of the newsletter immediately, and every issue for the next year. You can do so via this link:
It’s going to be fun election to cover, more fun than we’ve been told yet by the mass media, which too often acts as if the story is already decided. And that’s a big part of the fun: proving them wrong again and again.
Unlike them, we don’t sell ads to the same companies on the stock exchange that want to decide elections for us. That’s why we need your support. And that’s what makes us always free and independent from what they want us to say. This kind of journalism is only possible because you decide it to be so. A free press is the most essential building block of any society that wants to govern itself as a democracy. Vote with your wallet today: It will cost you a lot more money later on if you leave journalism in the hands of the advertisers. That’s their plan, after all. But we’ve wrecked their plans before. Ready, dear friends, to do it again?
* * *
Al Giordano is a veteran political reporter who only covers politics when he sees an opportunity to make it count. In 2008, Vanity Fair called him “the prophet of the Obama paradigm shift.” He is the founder of Narco News, which turns 15 next month, and of the School of Authentic Journalism.
By Al Giordano
Kind reader: You may have already heard - through social networks or elsewhere - that the authentic journalism renaissance has a new publication, exclusively for supporters of The Fund for Authentic Journalism.
Issue #1 of "Al Giordano's América" went out today to donors who gave, in 2015, either $70 dollars or a monthly pledge of $5 or more to the nonprofit Fund, which supports the work of the journalists at Narco News and the School of Authentic Journalism.
In this first issue I wrote thirteen pages about the life of - and my 28-year friendship with - the great Moises Morales, who passed away last week at the age of 89, along with other features (seen in the table of contents above) that amount to 25 pages and more than 8,300 words that have not been published on Narco News or any other public space.
The quickest way to subscribe is through the website of The Fund:
Donations there are made through PayPal. If you want the newsletter sent to a different address than that which appears on your PayPal account, simply email me the corrected address at email@example.com.
Now, if you don't currently have the money to make the donation that gets you a gift subscription, I want to let you that there are other ways to have this newsletter sent to your email box. Here they are:
If you are a journalist or blogger: I'll send you a free sample copy of Issue #1 if you agree to review the newsletter in your media. Simply email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with the name of your publication, roughly how many readers it enjoys (we won't discriminate against small publications; we're just curious about how many people you might reach), whether you are the owner of it (or if whomever is in charge has assigned or agreed to your reviewing the newsletter), and the email address to which we can send it.
If you know someone who has already subscribed: Today through February 14 - Valentine's Day - we have told our subscribers that each can send us the email address of someone to whom they'd like to send a one-year gift subscription. Tell that subscriber that you'd like to receive that gift! If you don't know a subscriber: Simply by convincing someone to donate $70 dollars or make a $5 monthly pledge you can convince them to make you the recipient of his or her second gift subscription. It's that easy.
Win a gift subscription on Facebook via the "Ask Al Anything" contest: The newsletter has a Facebook page and two people there won gift subscriptions already by asking me a question that I chose to answer. Prior to each issue, we'll hold the same contest again. Join that page and you'll receive alerts of other special gift subscription offers, too: http://www.facebook.com/AlGiordanosAmerica
Do a transcription for the No Nukes Oral History Project: Each of the volunteers who has completed at least one transcription from the audio file to text has won a one-year gift subscription. These transcriptions are the basis for an upcoming book about the anti-nuclear power movement in the United States (1973-1982) that succeeded in stopping a new generation of nukes. Email me at email@example.com or project director Laura Garcia at firstname.lastname@example.org to join in that effort. Once you complete a transcription, you get a one-year gift subscription.
I'll continue publishing stories here on the Field and at Narco News, but not everything I write is a good fit for these spaces. The newsletter is a place to write for the more intimate audience of people who have invested time or resources into this project.
A key inspiration for this newest publication was the newsletter of muckraking journalist I.F. Stone, who from 1953 to 1971 published a subscribers-only bulletin that grew to have important impact on the journalism and social movements of his time.
Stone wrote: “I am, I suppose, an anachronism. In this age of corporate men, I am an independent capitalist, the owner of my own enterprise, subject to neither mortgage or broker, factor or patron. In an age when young men, setting out on a career of journalism, must find their niche in some huge newspaper or magazine combine, I am a wholly independent newspaperman, standing alone, without organizational or party backing, beholden to no one but my good readers. I am even one up on Benjamin Franklin – I do not accept advertising.”
It's a paragraph that decades later describes very well the work of authentic journalism today.
Narco News turns 15 this year. We don't want to burn out or fade away like has happened to so many other worthy publications in this era. To keep the project going strong, we've created yet another way - with the new newsletter - to reward those of you who have kept it alive and will continue to do so into the future.
I hope you enjoy my "América," a place where everybody has an opinion, where there is room for yours, too, and I would not wish it to be any other way.