This is the newsletter of OptOut, a free news aggregation app for exclusively independent media that's available for iPhone and iPad. Find out more about the app at optout.news.
This weekend we return to our usual Sunday slot for your independent news roundup. Today's newsletter focuses on several important topics including extremism, primary election results, corporate media, and women's health care access.
Welcome, Hell Gate!
OptOut is pleased to announce the addition of HELL GATE, a website owned and run by journalists covering New York City, to our independent news network! HELL GATE features a mixture of blog posts, features, columns, and investigations.
We want the site to be trenchant, playful, outraged, irreverent, and useful to our readers; deeply skeptical of power but stubbornly idealistic. Never a chore to read. There used to be a few publications like this about New York, but now, not so much.
Read HELL GATE's interview with India Walton, the 2021 Democratic nominee in the Buffalo mayoral race, about her city after the May 14 white nationalist massacre.
Buffalo is the sixth most segregated city in the country; 85 percent of Black people in the city of Buffalo live across Main Street. The fact that [Tops, where the shooting happened] is the only grocery store that services that area of town is a conversation that's been being had. Having this national attention on it, I'm hoping and praying that we don't miss out on an opportunity to get the progress that we so desperately need in this area.
HELL GATE joins our New York media roster of FAQ NYC, NEW YORK FOCUS, and THE CITY—and it's our second publication named after the fiery, subterranean zone we all know and love. (The first was WELCOME TO HELL WORLD.)
Your Independent News Roundup
In the latest CHAMPAGNE SHARKS episode, "Mario, Ken and Trevor sit down to discuss the Buffalo shooting, social justice in general, and then take a break from the heavy stuff to talk about Kendrick [Lamar]'s new album."
States Newsroom released a story, published by its state-based outlets including the IOWA CAPITAL DISPATCH, explaining a new report showing that nearly 1,000 state lawmakers have joined far-right Facebook groups that are affiliated with white nationalists, the QAnon conspiracy theory movement, Covid-19 disinformation, and the Big Lie of election fraud.
In Buffalo, mutual aid networks were already around before the massacre. Walton told HELL GATE, "When things like this happen, we're, sadly, already prepared to respond. I know that folks have been out delivering groceries, giving folks rides to the grocery store."
THE LAURA FLANDERS SHOW features a Bay Area group that is fighting the U.S.'s traditional anti-Black prejudice in housing.
East Bay Permanent Real Estate Cooperative, in Oakland, CA which stepped in to do what developers would not, and make permanent housing available for low-income African Americans and other discriminated-against people of color. Can cooperation and shared stewardship be a route to realizing the “American Dream” that has been sold to so many, so effectively, for so long? Or do we need a different, shared dream to address the racial housing-wealth gap in the 21st century?
This Week's Elections
THE RATIONAL NATIONAL has a good summary of Tuesday's primary elections in Kentucky, Oregon, and Pennsylvania, as progressive candidates did quite well and the Democratic Party's centrists failed to inspire voters' enthusiasm.
THE LEVER further analyzes these races and finds a "restive Democratic base" that, after nearly a year and a half of Democrats controlling the executive and legislative branches of the federal government and doing next to nothing to help working people, want candidates who "who [propose] larger scale policies that cost more and might be harder to pass into law, but could bring major change” on health care, climate change, student debt, and economic opportunity.
FAIR takes the American corporate and legacy media to task for "disguising the facts" around an Israeli sniper's fatal shooting of Palestinian-American Al Jazeera correspondant Shireen Abu Akleh. After Israel released a propaganda video suggesting that Palestianians killed Abu Akleh, outlets such as ABC, CBS, and The New York Times aided Israeli PR by being light on context and heavy on "false balance."
Yet most big media would continue to include Israeli messaging in their reporting, while failing to disclose any of the factchecking done on the Israeli video. They “balanced” on-the-ground testimony with Israeli statements, keeping the propaganda story alive.
POPULA interviews Victor Pickard, professor of Media Policy and Political Economy at the University of Pennsylvania, about the history and current state of media today in capitalist society.
The primary function of our commercial media system is the accumulation of capital for owners, and that comes at the expense of other imperatives. For example, to the extent that media is meant to serve the needs of a democracy, that has only happened as a result of pushback from journalists, communities, policy-makers, or the public.
At OptOut, we are committed to bringing you independent news coverage of today's most important issues, including extremism and democracy. The uncompromising news outlets in our network give you honest reporting and analysis and diverse perspectives while critiquing the dominant narratives that the corporate and legacy media produce.
OptOut is a nonprofit charity, and we are raising funds that will allow us to make full-time hires, speed up our backend redesign, create essential app features like push notifications, and expand our local news reach to all U.S. states and around Canada and other countries. Please considering donating $5/month or $55/year, or making a one-time donation to the OptOut Media Foundation, to help us succeed. Join us in our mission to elevate independent media and accurately inform the public!
As the U.S. awaits the end of federal abortion rights, PRISM prepares us for what's coming after that. Not only will women in red states be unable to get abortions, they'll also have difficulty preventing unplanned pregnancies, as rightwing lawmakers are already attacking access to birth control.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi deflects blame for not defending Roe v. Wade adequately. How were pro-choice Democrats outmaneuvered? "I have no idea," said Pelosi. THE BITCHUATION ROOM discusses:
Thanks as always for keeping up with the OptOut news network. See you soon.
The OptOut Media Foundation (EIN: 85-2348079) is a nonprofit charity with a mission to educate the public about current events and help sustain a diverse media ecosystem by promoting and assisting independent news outlets and, in doing so, advance democracy and social justice.