This is the weekly newsletter of OptOut, a news aggregation app for exclusively independent media that's currently in beta testing for iOS (download it now!). Find out more about the app at

This week's newsletter introduces a new OptOut network outlet and focuses on labor, climate, and misinformation, among other topics.

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Welcome, Bolts!

Bolts, a brand-new outlet focused on criminal justice and voting rights, has joined the OptOut network!

When it comes to practices that balloon prisons or weaken democracy, decisions are often made by an opaque ecosystem of institutions and officials. Our journalism shines a spotlight on the levers of power that influence democracy and mass incarceration—think of your local judges, county clerks, or prosecutors—and the political battles around them.
You can make a donation to support our work, sign up for our newsletter, follow us on Twitter and Facebook, and of course read our latest content.

In one Bolts article, Democratic candidates for county clerk in Texas talk about their plans to battle extreme voter suppression and gerrymandering in their state.

Voting Rights Advocates Search for Openings to “Go Local” in Texas - Bolts
Clerk candidates in the March primary wrestle with a new Republican law that targets local election officials who expand the franchise.
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Your Independent News Roundup From OptOut


The Markup used data provided by Amazon workers in California to find that over 1,000 workers at a single warehouse over a recent period of less than three months got Covid-19. During the same period, Amazon rolled back safety and sick leave standards in its warehouses. Throughout the pandemic, Amazon has largely hidden its infection numbers, preventing workers from important information about the risks of their jobs, but after California sued the company, it provides daily case counts to its workers there. Elsewhere in the country, workers are left in the dark.

Data Provided by Amazon Workers Offers Rare Glimpse into COVID Cases in California Warehouses – The Markup
Workers say getting sick leave and information on outbreaks can be a struggle
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Prism reports that workers continue to turn to unionizing in the pandemic era.

The shift in some industries from office-based employment to remote work and increasing corporate pressure for the economy to “return to normal” is inspiring a growing number of people to re-evaluate their willingness to tolerate exploitative and often unsafe work environments.
Unionization efforts aren’t stopping as the pandemic wears on - Prism
An increasing number of industries are seeing workers embrace unionization as a response to exploitation and unsafe working conditions
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Ryan Cooper joins The Majority Report to analyze why Americans work more hours than their OECD counterparts yet possess less relative wealth.

Labor Notes reports on a big victory for Mexican workers. After invalidating their contract last year, 78% of workers at a GM plant voted in favor of independent union SINTTIA over employer-friendly unions. Historically, most Mexican workers haven't had the chance to vote on their own contracts, as employers like GM and corrupt Mexican union officials make backroom deals. Now SINTTIA will begin negotiations with GM to raise wages.

In a Landslide Victory, Mexican GM Workers Vote In an Independent Union
Auto workers at a General Motors plant in central Mexico delivered a landslide victory to an independent union in a vote held February 1-2. It’s a major breakthrough for workers and labor activists seeking to break the vice grip of the employer-friendly unions that have long dominated Mexico’s labor…
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After Texas pioneered a "critical energy theory" bill, Republican lawmakers in four more states—Indiana, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and West Virginia—have introduced similar measures, reports Exposed by CMD. The bills, based on language from the rightwing corporate lobbying group the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), punish financial companies that stop investing in oil, gas, and coal by barring them from receiving state government contracts or managing state funds.

ALEC’s “Critical Energy Theory” Bills Moving in Four States - EXPOSEDbyCMD
New ALEC and industry-backed bills that would blacklist banks that divest from fossil fuels have been introduced in Indiana, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and West Virginia so far this year.
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"Right-wing funders don't just work on climate change, or voter suppression, or attacks on public schools, they tackle all of it together."

On the latest Drilled podcast, Lisa Graves, head of True North Research and board chair of the Center for Media and Democracy, "talks us through the tangled web of funding and ideology fighting against climate action."

Listen on Apple or Google.

The Media

While extremist media get lots of attention for pumping out dangerous misinformation, mainstream corporate news giants often avoid blame despite contributing significantly to "information sewage," writes David Sirota, founder of The Daily Poster (soon to be The Lever).

The difference between “media” and actual journalism is the root of the misinformation crisis. We’re drowning in content that is increasingly valued only for its potency in the political wars, rather than judged on its factual merits and its choice of targets. That kind of media content strays farther and farther from reality because it’s about entertaining and inflaming rather than educating and informing.
Corporate Media Is The Misinformation Problem
The largest media outlets are platforming con artists, skewing the news, and immersing the country in a flood of lies.
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Speaking of misinformation, FAIR's Ari Paul writes that those defending Joe Rogan's Covid-19 misinformation don't actually care about free speech.

Defenses of Rogan Aren’t About Free Speech; They’re Right-Wing Solidarity - FAIR
The real predations on free speech in this country don’t seem to elicit the same hand-wringing about censorship from right-wing media.
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In Other News

In Jacobin, Karen Nussbaum, co-founder of the women’s labor organization 9to5 and founding director of Working America, argues that we can transcend our political polarization by appealing to workers with policies to increase their wages and make housing and health care more affordable.

There are millions of working-class Americans who worry more about paying the rent or getting a medical bill than what’s on cable news. Many of them hold no strong allegiance to a political camp and are potentially persuadable voters.
We Can Move Beyond Political Polarization Through a Working-Class Economic Agenda
US politics have become hyperpolarized along partisan lines. But they don’t have to be. Millions of Americans worry more about paying the rent or medical bills than what’s on cable news. They can be won over by a working-class economic agenda.
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The Insurgents has an informative new episode about policing with reporter Akela Lacy.

On this episode The Intercept’s Akela Lacy joins us to discuss the Amir Locke killing, the lack of action after the George Floyd Justice In Policing Act stalled in Congress, how the prison industry has handled Covid and an exploration into how the Democrats rhetoric on tackling police brutality doesn’t square up with their commitment to increase police funding.
Ep. 94: No Justice In Policing ft. Akela Lacy
Listen now (85 min) | On this episode The Intercept’s Akela Lacy joins us to discuss the Amir Locke killing, the lack of action after the George Floyd Justice In Policing Act stalled in Congress, how the prison industry has handled Covid and an exploration into how the Democrats rhetoric on tackling…
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In a truly outstanding display of hypocrisy, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a self-proclaimed Free Speech Defender when it comes to angry parents or online racists, supports a bigoted bill passed in a state legislative committee that would bar school districts from encouraging classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity.

The Humanist Report breaks down the insanity of the "Don't Say Gay" bill.

That's it for this week. Thanks as always for checking out the latest independent news content from the OptOut network!

About OptOut

OptOut is an independent news aggregation app developed by the OptOut Media Foundation, a nonprofit charity devoted to assisting independent news outlets (EIN: 852348079). The app will launch in the Apple App Store in early 2022, and an Android version will follow. See the links below for more information.

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