Liberal TV Network (not owned by Al Gore)?

Wired News reports on a group of “progressive media activists” who are joining forces to create a new TV network, supposedly bolstered by the success of Michael Moore’s Farenheit 911.

I don’t know too much about the participants, except for author and journalist Greg Palast. One thing that looks good is that the group seems generally more “progressive” than “liberal.” That may just be me splitting rhetorical hairs, but I tend to associate liberal with centrist Democratic party politics, and “progressive” with a less party-centric approach, that has humanistic values and embraces true expressions of speech and protest.

Aside from Palast the other participants are mostly web-based videographers and journalists. As an independent media maker myself, I struggle with the tension between maintaining independence and the drive to grow and find a bigger audience. I agree with Palast, who told Wired:

Progressive media outlets on the Internet should be united in some way, he said. “Do we want to create all of these ghettos?”

I also agree with the observation that getting a new channel onto actual cable systems is the real challenge. However, I would point to Free Speech TV which is carried by Dish Network as a public service channel, and has much of its programming rebroadcast by local public access channels.

Now, Dish Network is more limited in distribution than cable systems, and as a non-profit channel it doesn’t represent a profit center for Dish or any other cable provider. But, then, it doesn’t have to play in the commercial arena, where the profit motive–or just the simple need to pay bills–interferes with doing good independent journalism.

It is a real question and struggle to find that balance between reaching a broad audience and staying true to principle. It’s an indication of the corruption of our media system that this is even a question in the first place.