This is the weekly newsletter of OptOut, a news aggregation app for exclusively independent media that's under development. Thanks for subscribing! We plan to launch a beta version of the app for iPhone in September and the full iPhone app in January. By subscribing to this newsletter, you'll have a chance to be a beta tester! Find out more about the app at

We could really use your help in spreading the word about OptOut as we prepare for launch. We'd be grateful if you can forward this to your friends and family and share it on social!

Because we are a nonprofit charity, all recurring donations through this newsletter and all other types of donations are tax-deductible!

Hey there, OptersOut!

What a week, huh? The U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change put out a devastating report on our grim climate future. After a 20-year war instigated by the U.S., American troops are leaving and the Taliban are in control of nearly the entire country. Andrew Cuomo finally resigned as governor of New York and, while he did so, gaslit the women who accused him of sexual misconduct. New York Times tech workers walked off the job to protest the paper's union busting tactics.

Plus, the independent OptOut media network got five more participants!

This edition of Weekend Picks will focus on these news items and introduce you to our newest publications.

More Independent Outlets!

Post image alt text
We welcome The CT Mirror, The New Haven Independent, Labor Notes, Spencer Snyder, and Chompsky: Power and Pop Culture to OptOut.

Labor Notes

Labor Notes is a media and organizing project that has been the voice of union activists who want to put the movement back in the labor movement since 1979. Through its magazine, website, books, conferences, and workshops, it promotes organizing, aggressive strategies to fight concessions, alliances with worker centers, and unions that are run by their members.

This recent article is about the 1,100 Alabama coal workers who have been on strike since April.

The strikers are fighting to reverse concessions that were foisted on them in 2016 when newly formed Warrior Met Coal bought two mines and one preparation plant from Jim Walter Resources during bankruptcy proceedings. BlackRock became one of the three majority shareholders in the new company.
Since then, the union calculates that workers have forked over $1.1 billion in pay, overtime, vacation, safety, health care, and other benefits to help the company regain solvency. Today 26 hedge funds have investments in Warrior Met stock, signaling their confidence in its profitability.
Striking Alabama Coal Miners Want Their $1.1 Billion Back
History repeated itself as hundreds of miners spilled out of buses in June and July to leaflet the Manhattan offices of asset manager BlackRock, the largest shareholder in the mining company Warrior Met Coal. Some had traveled from the pine woods of Brookwood, Alabama, where 1,100 coal miners have b…
Post image alt text

Also check out this episode of Working People, a podcast produced in partnership with In These Times and The Real News, about the grassroots reporters who've been covering the strike.

The Indy Journalists Who Covered a Massive Coal Miner Strike That Corporate Media Ignored
A conversation with the grassroots journalists who have consistently covered the strike.
Post image alt text

New Haven Independent

The New Haven Independent, a not-for-profit public-interest community daily news site, has been covering New Haven since 2005. It also operates a bilingual nonprofit community radio station (WNHH FM) in conjunction with a Spanish-language newspaper called La Voz Hispana.

"We are excited to opt in to OptOut," said Paul Bass, editor of The Independent. "Contrary to people who mourn the propped-up slow death of corporate, often chain-owned daily print newspapers that monopolized local news and ripped off local communities until there were no more assets to pilfer, we believe this is a golden age of citizen-powered grassroots professional journalism and experimentation, as evidenced by the explosion of sites represented in this emerging network."

Here's a recent article about how New Haven's Hispanic community, which includes many residents of Puerto Rican descent, is now the largest ethnic group in the city.

However, "Connecticut still has a long way to go on the path to being fully accepting of the Puerto Rican community," write the authors.

City Grew 3.3%, Hispanic Community 15% | New Haven Independent
The Puerto Rican flag climbed slowly into a cloudless sky above the Green Thursday — right before the Census Bureau revealed that Hispanics have become New Haven’s largest ethnic group.
Post image alt text

The CT Mirror

The CT Mirror is a reader-funded nonprofit with a mission to produce original, in-depth, non-partisan journalism that informs Connecticut residents about the impact of public policy, holds government accountable, and amplifies diverse voices and perspectives.

This recent piece explains how Connecticut's governor and legislature defunded a watchdog agency.

What’s really at stake is the oversight of a major wind-to-energy project in Long Island Sound and whether a long-underfunded watchdog agency—founded not long after a Republican governor went to jail—should have the resources to probe this venture.
Lamont, legislature headed for showdown over watchdog agency funding
A stake is the oversight of a wind-to-energy project and whether a watchdog agency should have the resources to probe this venture.
Post image alt text

Chompsky: Power and Pop Culture

Chompsky: Power and Pop Culture is an accessible, progressive Substack newsletter about the western media industry.

"I'm really excited by OptOut!" said UK-based writer and media reform campaigner Eliz Mizon, who edits Chompsky. "Not only because creating alternatives to hegemonic media is my exact area of interest, but also because of the expertise of the people behind it...I'm very pleased to have this silly pun I made up after attempting to understand Manufacturing Consent for the 18th time next to some of the most important media outlets in the movement. I'm excited to see OptOut grow and help people to access better news, analysis, and commentary."

Here's a Chompsky piece about "the U.K.'s Fox News."

Inaccuracy, Spin, Nationalism: GB News’ First 24 Hours
Those worried about the nationalist undertones of ‘the UK’s Fox News’ have been proven wrong. These are overtones.
Post image alt text

Spencer Snyder

Thanks to this video from The Humanist Report, I found out about a fascinating YouTube channel from Spencer Snyder, whom I'd met several years ago when he invited me to speak on a panel about David Koch's philanthropy in New York City.

It's hard to imagine a subject more relevant to OptOut and our mission: how the legacy and corporate media publish government-friendly propaganda. Speaking of Manufacturing Consent, Spencer has a seven-part explainer on Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky's 1988 book, which I highly recommend. Here's the first video in the series.

And it just so happens that today is Spencer's birthday! Please show him some love by following him on Twitter and subscribing on YouTube.

The climate catastrophe

We're hurtling towards a hell world, and U.S. policymakers from both major parties are denying reality and making things worse.

Kristy Drutman of Brown Girl Green breaks down the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's report.

Here's more on the report from The Real News.

"Right now, President Biden and Congress are not building back better," said Greenpeace USA Climate Campaign Manager Anusha Narayanan. "They’re building towards more climate-fueled disasters and deaths. It is time for our elected leaders to eliminate support for fossil fuels in all infrastructure and reconciliation talks."

We are running out of time to stop runaway climate change
The UN published its most dire report yet about the catastrophic impacts of climate change, but governments, including the Biden administration, continue to prioritize the profits of fossil fuel companies over the survival of the planet, environmentalists warn.
Post image alt text

The Daily Poster details how, after this week's IPCC report came out, seven Democratic senators joined GOP climate deniers in an attempt to block fracking restrictions. Oh, and they happen to be major recipients of campaign contributions from the oil and gas industry.

Senate Budget Vote Suggests We’re Fracked
Seven Dems who raked in $1.7 million from oil and gas donors helped the GOP try to block fracking restrictions after IPCC scientists’ warnings.
Post image alt text

OptOut is getting ready to launch the app very soon, but we need your donations to help us cover the costs of beta testing so we can improve and maintain this free app. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to the OptOut Media Foundation today! Thank you so much.

Post image alt text

Leaving Afghanistan

Troops are withdrawing, but the U.S. continues to bomb numerous Afghan cities.

Biden Must Call Off the B-52s Bombing Afghan Cities -
Nine provincial capitals in Afghanistan have fallen to the Taliban in six days – Zaranj, Sheberghan, Sar-e-Pul, Kunduz, Taloqan, Aybak, Farah, Pul-e-Khumri and Faizabad – while fighting continues in four more – Lashkargah, Kandahar, Herat & Mazar-i-Sharif. U.S. military officials now believe Kabul, …
Post image alt text

The Bitchuation Room discusses the war in Afghanistan.

Yes, the U.S. military a place to organize for social justice. The Bitchuation Room welcomes Esti Lamonaca, a non-binary combat veteran with the grassroots veterans organization Common Defense, which advocates an end to forever wars.

Here's Empire Files on the CIA's death squads over the last 20 years in Afghanistan.

👋 Good riddance, Andrew Cuomo 👋

The monster occupying the New York governor's mansion has finally resigned after the attorney general's report showed that Cuomo had sexually harassed at least 11 women. The end of the abusive and corrupt Cuomo's reign, at least for now, is great news for New Yorkers.

David Sirota, who has reported on Cuomo's corruption for many years, summarizes his shameful career in The Daily Poster.

Cuomo’s Legacy: Normalizing Corruption And Lawlessness
The New York governor is leaving — but his likely escape from prosecution and impeachment illustrates what America tolerates and celebrates.
Post image alt text

"Andrew Cuomo’s downfall has discredited a host of liberal feminist activists who quietly advised the governor on his response to sexual harassment accusations," writes Liza Featherstone for Jacobin.

Elite Feminists Ran Cover for Andrew Cuomo
Andrew Cuomo’s downfall has discredited a host of liberal feminist activists who quietly advised the governor on his response to sexual harassment accusations.
Post image alt text

On the FAQ NYC podcast: "It’s a yuge week for New York with new guest host Katie Honan joining the pod and, oh yeah, Andrew Cuomo announcing his resignation. Plus, Afua Atta-Mensah considers the Black pols who agreed to let the governor use them as shields."

NY to Cuomo: It’s Not Us, It’s You
Post image alt text

Cuomo's departure leaves behind a corrupt political system that he encouraged and benefited from.

Cuomo Leaves, but a Corrupt Political Culture Remains in New York
The structure of state government, with its centralized power and few ethical checks, invites scandal after scandal.
Post image alt text

The media

The huge, well-funded New York Times is refusing to recognize its tech workers' union. Working with their corporate lawyers, management realizes that the union vote won't go its way, so they've been slowing down the process and attempting to shrink the size of the bargaining unit as much as possible before contract negotiations.

According to the News Guild, Times management has committed three specific “unfair labor practices,” including barring employees who manage interns from showing pro-union support; polling workers on union support, and, in one case, saying in a meeting that workers would get more from management if they stopped their organizing campaign. (The News Guild reported all of this to the NLRB.)
Hundreds of NYT Tech Workers Just Walked Off the Job - Discourse Blog
The work stoppage comes after months of frustration, as the Times’ management has resisted with the full union-busting playbook.
Post image alt text

(It's worth noting that the NYT is one of the major news outlets that Herman and Chomsky lambaste over and over for its torrents of government propaganda in Manufacturing Consent.)

Read this follow-up based on a leaked recording that Discourse Blog got its hands on.

Meanwhile, the union at the Vox Media-owned New York Magazine, which formed in 2018, is trying to get Vox Media to work with it to finalize its contract.

According to the workers' study from April, New York "struggles to retain employees, particularly women and people of color" and has significant pay gaps for these groups. During the pandemic, management cut 401k contributions and had two rounds of layoffs.

Popula hosted a discussion with guests from The New Republic, Free Press, and academia about the state of journalism.

It’s increasingly clear that the journalism industry as it is currently constituted cannot survive, let alone thrive, under the conditions of 21st-century capitalism. Some journalists, scholars, and activists argue that it is therefore time to consider a more comprehensive, systemic approach to public funding for journalism.
Is the “journalism crisis” just a capitalism crisis?
A roundtable on addressing the structural breakdown of media
Post image alt text

And here's a legacy media fail:

In other news

This newsletter is getting long, so here are some more links from the OptOut network that you should check out.

Companies That Publicly Opposed Voter Suppression Continue to Fund Voter Suppression Group - EXPOSEDbyCMD
Major companies and law firms, including General Motors, Google, Facebook, and Holland & Knight, signed statements supporting voting rights while funding the Republican State Leadership Committee, which aggressively backs voter restrictions.
Post image alt text
Cat Brooks on Police Terror, Trauma, and the Rationality of the Defund Movement — RIFT Magazine
Interview by Marquis Terrell
Post image alt text
Triple Canopy – Live in Concert by Harmony Holiday & Fred Moten
A listening session that asks what we hear in live music in the pandemic era, after months without sweaty audiences and deafening speakers.
Post image alt text
Florida’s chilling protest-to-prison pipeline
Ron DeSantis met calls to defund the police with an expansion of police power to crack down on protests.
Post image alt text

Thanks as always for following the OptOut network. See you next weekend!