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

OptOut is thrilled to announce that our soft launch on the Apple App Store is just around the corner! We're putting the finishing touches on the first news aggregation app for exclusively independent media and can't wait to share it with the world. And not long after that, we will release the Android beta.

We really appreciate those of you who downloaded the iOS beta and sent us valuable feedback, and those of you who have provided us with the funds that made all of this possible!

The week's news roundup features content from our 115+ financially independent media outlets about Covid-19, sketchy stock trading in Congress, local media's struggle to stay afloat, and climate change, among other topics.

Your News Update From the Voices You Won't Find in Corporate Media


Emma Vigeland and Matt Binder of The Majority Report discuss how leftist-turned-rightwing comedian Jimmy Dore has embraced anti-vaccine conspiracy theories—and is losing fans as a result.

PRISM offers up some powerful coverage of the teacher and student protests that happened this week as schools were forced to remain open amid the Omicron surge.

Teachers and students fight for remote learning and better safety precautions at school - Prism
Educators fighting for remote learning and better safety precautions say they hope to inspire other teachers and students to stand up for their health
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Jordan Chariton at Status Coup conducted a series of important interviews with nurses and hospital workers about what their experiences have been throughout the pandemic and with Omicron specifically.

The American Prospect put out a must-read op-ed from Revolving Door Project urging President Biden to fire his COVID response coordinator, Jeff Zients, a former Wall Street executive.

Fire Jeff Zients
Biden’s COVID czar has gone from ‘Mr. Fix-It’ to grim reaper, steering the administration’s pandemic response to catastrophic lows.
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Discourse Blog has a new analysis of CDC Director Rochelle Walensky’s infamous and ableist remarks on ‘Good Morning America.’ Walensky said, “The overwhelming number of deaths—over 75 percent—occurred in people who had at least four comorbidities. So really, these are people who were unwell to begin with. And yes: really encouraging news in the context of Omicron.” This post is for paid subscribers.

Don’t Let the CDC Director Off the Hook
Even in context, Good Morning America’s interview with Dr. Rochelle Walensky is still explicitly ableist.
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Insider Trading

"While Congress was considering the bipartisan infrastructure framework (BIF) and the BBB, several U.S. House members were making frequent trades in the stocks of oil and gas pipeline companies that stand to benefit from BIF’s provisions," reports Sludge.

Reps Bought Pipeline Stocks Before Passing the Infrastructure Bill
While Congress considered infrastructure and climate legislation last year, reps kept up a stream of trades in oil and gas pipeline company stocks.
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At the same time, Congress is considering a much-needed bill that would ban members and their families from trading stocks while they're in office. The Rational National explains:

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We have a goal of raising $20,000 in the first quarter of this year to launch and market the OptOut app!

Please make a tax-deductible donation of $25 or more to the OptOut Media Foundation to fund our official launch! We really appreciate your generosity.

The Media

FAIR's Counterspin podcast interviews Free Press Co-CEO Craig Aaron, who details the downfall of local media at the hands of corporate giants.

‘The Commercial System Isn’t Providing the Local News We Need’ - FAIR
“You need to be asking...not just what’s going to be most profitable, but what do we actually need for communities to thrive?”
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On The Real News Network's The Marc Steiner Show, Steiner addresses the same important issue.

Marc speaks with Robert W. McChesney and John Nichols about how the slow death of America’s journalism ecosystem in the digital age has corresponded with the disintegration of the social fabric of the American republic.
The US journalism crisis is a democracy crisis
The digital age has blown up the journalism industry in the US, and our democracy depends on us finding a way to rebuild a robust and sustainable ecosystem for local journalism.
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Emily Atkin of HEATED did an analysis of the new Netflix film "Don’t Look Up." Atkin argues that commentary on climate change does not need to exactly match the complexity of the crisis.

What if climate change were like a comet?
How “Don’t Look Up” would have to go down for its core comparison to be accurate.
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New from The Flashpoint: Eoin Higgins interviews people whose lives have been affected by catastrophe and disaster about their ideological move to the left. The post is for paid subscribers.

“The Events That Changed Me”: Catastrophe and Crisis Push People to the Left
“I could see the land changing, I could see the climate changing, I saw the mega fires”
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In Other News

Buy this new book from The Brick House Cooperative that challenges the publishing industry's rent-seeking effort to make libraries perpetual customers.

Megapublishers have been engaging in increasingly predatory pricing for digital books, and in recent years they’ve begun to attack libraries. They’ve sued the Internet Archive, in an attempt to destroy its Open Library; they’ve sued to block legislation that would guarantee libraries fair pricing for digital books.
Corporate publishers want books to become like movies on Netflix: products that you pay to rent, but can never really own. Evidently they want books to be a service you have to keep paying for, forever.
Buy This Book!!! from the Brick House Cooperative
Support press independence. Protect the digital future.
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The Markup has an interesting investigation about a private equity firm that's collecting reams of data on American children.

This Private Equity Firm Is Amassing Companies That Collect Data on America’s Children – The Markup
Vista Equity Partners has been buying up software used in schools. Parents want to know what the companies do with kids’ data
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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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