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.
On Monday, the OptOut Media Foundation released the app that you've been waiting for since August 2020, when we launched this newsletter! Our news aggregation app for independent media you can trust is now available on the Apple App Store for iPhone and iPad.
In less than a week, we've gotten over 1,000 downloads from people in 19 countries!
Thank you for helping to elevate vital news content from the independent outlets in the OptOut network.
Our launch got a mentions in the Columbia Journalism Review and App Advice. Eliz Mizon wrote a detailed account of what we're doing with our foundation and the app in her blog, Chompsky: Power and Pop Culture, OptOut's first U.K.-based member. For the piece, I told her,
Democracy is in peril, and the planet is dying. We can't afford a news environment that's dominated by a handful of huge corporations whose quarterly earnings goals are at odds with the wellbeing of our communities.
We are pleased to announce that several new independent outlets have joined our news network.
Your Call, a listener-funded daily call-in show hosted by Rose Aguilar that covers politics, social issues, the climate crisis, and Native issues, is broadcast on KALW, a public radio station in San Francisco.
Here's a recent episode featuring John Nichols, national affairs correspondent for The Nation.
Nichols explains how Donald Trump and his inner circle downplayed the crisis and mishandled the response. While nearly one million Americans have died from COVID to date, the rich became richer, and politicians used the crisis to consolidate their own power. He's calling for Trump and his co-conspirators to be held accountable for their COVID crimes.
Here's what Nichols had to say about his Your Call interview.
NC Policy Watch is a news and commentary outlet dedicated to informing the public — including elected officials as they debate important issues — and ultimately to improving the quality of life for all North Carolinians. It's a project of the North Carolina Justice Center.
A special report details a new program for Black doulas and mothers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The effort couldn't come sooner:
In a nation with the highest maternal mortality rate among 10 of the world’s richest countries, Black mothers are more likely to die than white mothers from pregnancy-related complications. And the racial mortality gap widened between 2019 and 2020.
In 2020, "the maternal mortality rate for Black women was 2.9 times higher than the rate for white women: 55.3 deaths per 100,000 live births for Black women compared to 19.1 per 100,000 births for white women."
By the way, NC Policy Watch is looking for an investigative reporter to join its staff.
Power Report, a video and podcast show produced by Dan from the Internet, offers "the most important stories, diverse and entertaining analysis, and historical context from the perspective of the internationalist left."
Here's an episode from last November where Dan speaks with Eoin Higgins, author of OptOut network outlet The Flashpoint, about Higgins' analysis of Glenn Greenwald's hard right turn. Note that the final segment debunks some myths about inflation (more on this topic below).
"Law & Order meets the climate crisis as we dig into the stories behind more than 200 climate cases around the globe." That's the description of Damages, a new podcast from the Critical Frequency network.
About the latest episode:
Last episode we told the story of Ecuador's rights-of-nature journey. Today Melissa Troutman and Joshua Pribanic, directors of Invisible Hand and co-founders of the journalism organization Public Herald, join to talk about what the landmark Los Cedros ruling means, not just for Ecuador but the world.
OptOut needs your help!
We truly rely on your support to run our free app and nonprofit charity. Your donations help us pay and retain our staff, which worked for months as volunteers to get this vital content in front of as many people as possible. Now it's time to make OptOut a sustainable nonprofit organization. Your donations will help us add new features to the app, create an outlet review team, and cover administration, advertising, a merch store, and a lot more.
Can you make a tax-deductible donation of $25 or more to the OptOut Media Foundation? We really appreciate your generosity.
More Independent News of the Week
Multiple OptOut network outlets make it clear that the general narrative about inflation, promoted by much of the corporate and legacy media, is wrong. Prices are very inflated, but the main reason isn't relief money flooding the economy or the slow supply chain, writes Jacobin.
The most significant source of Americans’ current difficulties is that corporations, emboldened by the long decline of consumer protections and the functional indifference of most Democratic (never mind hyper-reactionary Republican) leaders to economic inequality, have opportunistically raised prices.
In January, Fed Chair Jerome Powell "all but concede[d] that recent price hikes are nothing more than a cash grab."
For Democracy at Work, economist Richard Wolff further describes this phenomenon in an excerpt from his global capitalism lecture.
The working class of America, the vast majority of people who are employees, they don't set prices. They have the prices set over them. Prices are dictated by a tiny minority, the dictatorship of that class of people as administered to the American working class after two years of COVID and two years of stunning economic lack of activity. A very harsh slap in the face. That's what the inflation is.
Mustafa Ali-Smith writes that changing the racial demographics of police departments is not a solution to police violence in The Appeal.
Despite reformers’ belief that Black representation on the police force can curb police violence, this only adds representation to an existing historically violent institution. The root problems of violence still go unaddressed. And as historian Khalil Gibran Muhammad explains, we cannot use “the very instrument that reproduces anti-Black racism” and violence as the “same tool that saves Black people.”
The Police Accountability Report, distributed by The Real News Network, put out a fascinating episode about police brutality in a small Texas town where everyone knows each other.
In Other News
FAIR has an important analysis of corporate media's longstanding trend of treating "worthy victims" and other victims very differently. FAIR research found that corporate coverage of the war in Ukraine has "a familiar reliance on U.S. officials to frame events, as well as a newfound ability to cover the impact on civilians—when those civilians are white and under attack by an official U.S. enemy, rather than by the U.S. itself."
For Africa Is a Country, Michelle Chikaonda, an essayist and Malawi native, writes,
In a society where girls are trained to gradually become invisible, the violent endpoint of that spectrum is inevitable. We can’t talk about the scourge of [gender-based violence], then, without first naming the uncomfortable reality of the extent to which we render our girls and women invisible, treating their lives as though they are worthless without a man to give them value.
Jewish Currents printed a comic by Eli Valley about the history of Art Spiegelman's Maus, a graphic novel recently banned by a school board in Tennessee.
It's March Madness, so we must turn to OptOut's first sports news participant, Defector.
Thanks as always for reading! 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.