BUZZFLASH EDITOR'S BLOG
By Mark Karlin
Why does BuzzFlash sell progressive premiums to support its websites and expenses?
That's a good question and it gets to the heart of the BuzzFlash vision.
BuzzFlash fundraises by offering progressive premiums because we want to help create a new economy that encompasses economic justice, eco-consumerism, the environment and progressive culture and ideas.
Take for instance Fair Trade organizations and small companies running on a shoe string budget trying to offer ecological alternatives to current resource and earth destructive products. They desperately need markets and outlets to sell their goods, because they -- like BuzzFlash -- run on extremely vulnerable budgets.
BuzzFlash provides such an outlet and through reader purchases we are able to help these struggling new progressive wave ventures get beyond the "incubator" stage into economic survival. In fact, for the premiums we sell, BuzzFlash only garners about 30% of your cost for its own small precarious budget.
So BuzzFlash's model of progressive journalism is truly unique. We don't just write about progressive change; we provide -- through the BuzzFlash Progressive Market Place -- a vehicle to create change. (I'll discuss our support of direct activism in a future blog, that is the kind of public demonstrations the Green Movement in Iran is engaging in.)
There is simply no other journalistic model we know of that helps create a new economy to advance progressive ideals and uses a small portion of those sales to finance progressive journalism.
It's a kind of synergy which can serve as the much-discussed "future model of journalism" because it bypasses the corporate world (through no advertising) -- that pretty much runs D.C. -- and in its place creates an economic and journalistic populism.
Those progressives and populists in America who think that corporate advertising allows them to watch news "for free" or read it on the Internet for free are deluding themselves. Progressives only partially have an outlet on one major TV station, MSNBC, but there are three things to remember about that. One, GE, which owns MSNBC, can pull the plug on Rachel, Keith and Ed anytime they want to. Two, progressives pay for cable television, so it is not free and just driven by advertising (but you pay for it and also get the advertisng). And three, one television station out of the vast number out there is a testament to the ability of the corporate mainstream media to keep the "frame" of the debate to benefit corporations and the wealthy.
When you buy a premium from BuzzFlash -- and yes, direct donations are welcome -- you are investing in an alternative economy to the corporate oligarchy currently pretty much running the nation. That's not just journalism; that is being a change agent.
Of course, BuzzFlash also sells progressive premiums that foster our ideas, our music, our films. These, too, are often not heavily marketed by corporations because of their messages. Look at the bestseller list on Amazon from time to time. The right wingers, including the shrewd lunatic Glenn Beck and the inveterate hate book peddler Ann Coulter, often top the charts for weeks, while liberal books are far behind (with some exceptions). Is this because progressives don't read as much as nutty right wingers?
No, it's because liberal books aren't marketed as heavily. When was the last time you saw a liberal book lining three shelves at a Borders next to the service desk? That is because the publisher of the right-wing books, for instance, is paying for that display space, which in turn boosts sales.
I could go on and on, but suffice it to say, BuzzFlash offers a model of progressive economic, cultural, journalistic and activist change found nowhere else on the net. Yes, there are plenty of tremendous progressive websites, but we finance -- and in the recession, precariously -- our journalism through goods that change the corporate stranglehold over our economy and we celebrate progressive culture.
It takes a lot of work to accomplish this, and to pay -- depending on the time -- from 10-15 people in some way for their work on the BuzzFlash series of sites from just 30% of what a supporter pays for an item, but we are committed to making change through economic redirection, not just writing about it.
Several years back, I remember interviewing Naomi Klein about her groundbreaking book "No Logo." It still sticks with me that she pointedly noted that sponsors of the Rush Limbaugh show are not necessarily advertising for increased market share; they are supporting a spokesman for a system rigged in their favor.
Think about that when you purchase a progressive premium from BuzzFlash. You are making the world a better place -- while ensuring the survival of the hard-hitting journalism of BuzzFlash (and our staff-written articles and commentaries have grown steadily over the years). You are striking a blow against the likes of Limbaugh and the companies who sponsor him, O'Reilly, Hannity, Savage and the whole whoring lot. They are continuing to try to destroy our system of democracy and our Constitution to favor the wealthy and the corporations.
When you purchase a premium from BuzzFlash, you are taking action for progressive change against the companies the "K" Street lobbyists so successfully represent -- and helping to keep the passionate voice of BuzzFlash alive.
We need to change our economy by how we consume; General Electric is not going to do it for us.
BUZZFLASH EDITOR'S BLOG
This is the first in a series on what is BuzzFlash; past, present and future.