Crowd-funded Media is essential. I’d like it if I could continue to do it, but that’s beside the point. We’ve got a lot of great institutions that do essential reporting and analysis. From newspapers, to universities, and even think tanks. But all of these institutions have obvious and hidden stake-holders that they are accountable to. We all know about the way that news organizations have to keep their advertisers happy. But Universities and think tanks have less obvious issues as well. Schools and think tanks are dependent on the US government for a lot of their funding. Schools have rich foreign students to attract. It’s not that this necessarily makes their coverage dishonest, it’s just that they won’t look into certain topics. This excellent New York Times article pointed out how completely large think tanks are owned by sovereign wealth funds and other large players.
None of this is a secret. It just isn’t talked about much. But it’s one of the most important factors impacting the way we see the world. Which is one of the reasons I started the More Freedom Foundation five years ago. I may not be able to continue to do this work, but we need someone to do it. It’s only individuals, and small groups of individuals that can truly look at the world honestly. Today I published a video on why I may be a joke, but I’m a joke worth supporting.
I launched a fund-raising drive last week, and the response has been incredible. We’re a third of the way to the goal just one week into the two month drive! I’m humbled and grateful to all of you, not just those who have chipped in on Patreon. Your views, likes, subscribes, comments and reads make this whole thing possible. So I’ve decided to give away a free essay. “Your War On Drugs, 6,000 Words on the Shame of the Nation” will be available for free for the kindle from May 22nd to May 26th. For those of you without a kindle I’ve attached a pdf version here…
Video Transcript after the jump…
Hey there! So is truly independent media possible? That’s what I’ve been trying to create with the More Freedom Foundation over the past five years. It’s not that I think I’m any smarter or better at analysis than anyone working for a big newspaper or think tank. Heck compared to some of these people I’m a joke. I’ll never be able to compete with them on resources, or qualifications or in depth knowledge of an individual region. But there is one arena where I’ve got them beat.
That’s freedom. By crowd-funding my coverage, I get to be truly independent. I don’t have an editor or a publisher. The few advertisers I have don’t even know I exist. And it wouldn’t make a difference if they bailed on me completely, which they pretty much did a few months ago thanks to a change in YouTube’s policies. There’s a great Upton Sinclair quote that one of my favorite podcasters brought to my attention last week.
“It’s difficult to get a man to Understand something, when his paycheck depends on his not understanding it.”
This pretty much covers how the world is described by our government, our think tanks, and our universities. The coverage of Islamophobia and the US-Saudi relationship that I’ve presented over the past month would simply not have been possible at Fox News, Harvard or the Brookings institution. It’s not that they are being dishonest, it’s just that their paychecks depend on not looking at certain things. My paycheck depends on you, the viewers, so I can look at anything I want.
This time last week I was convinced that this experiment was over. I set a deadline, and I set a goal for crowd-funding that I thought was impossible. Over two years of trying I had only picked up 94 dollars a video. Well now, just one week later, it’s looking a lot more possible.
I cannot tell you how grateful I am to all of the people who helped me get this far. Contributions grew by 50% in just 48 hours. This is amazing. But we’ve got a long way to go. I have big plans for this organization. One day I might even be able to fund real journalism. But for now, More pledges means better equipment, and more opportunities to grow the audience. It means more content. And it also means I can maybe afford an apartment of my own for the first time in a year. So if you haven’t chipped in yet, please consider signing up on Patreon. If just a hundred more of you agree to basically buy me a coffee a month we’ll meet this goal. Truly independent media might just be possible.
Whatever happens I remain super grateful. You all gave me the opportunity to do this. I was trying to think of a way to say thanks to everybody, and I came up with an idea. A free essay! This channel was born back in 2011 out of my rage at the US criminal justice system and the War on Drugs. The essay is a bit out-dated, but I think it still cuts to the heart of issue. I’ve fallen away from this issue recently and it bugs me. That will change before too long. I’m coming for you Jeff Sessions! It’s free on the Kindle from Monday May 22nd through Friday May 26th, and I’ll attach a PDF to this video’s blog post at www.morefreedomfoundation.com.
Thanks for watching, please subscribe, and please consider chipping into the Patreon account. Together we can make independent media possible.