One of the most significant outcomes so far in this election cycle has been the exposure of Main Stream Media (MSM) as a sham and the noisy emergence of its antidote - Alternative Media (Alt.M).
Alt Media has long been recognized as being an important opposition to MSM which almost without fail toadies to corporate and government interests. Along the way, MSM made certain to frame and pigeonhole Alt.M as non-commercial and leftist and noticeable only for its reporting on the interests of minorities and fringe "outliers."
Well, it can be argued that as disaffected Americans we are all outliers now, and Alt.M is taking its rightful place as an army of "authentic" journalists to render, broadcast and render its opinion and verdicts on our struggles.
In celebration of this industry, this unlike confederation of bloggers, tweeters, FB'ers, SnapChatters, artists, photo/videographers and Social Media content producers, I am dedicating a series of blogs to highlight and honor a number of these individuals and their efforts.
Interview #1: Jeff Pliskin
The first is Jeff Pliskin, founder and CEO of Raised Fist Propaganda, whose Bernie photo is featured above. I chose Jeff to initiate this chronicle because he personifies the typical Alt.M person - people who arrive at this calling almost by accident.
In Jeff's case, he always wanted to be a teacher and a filmmaker on the side and achieved both. During the week, he teaches ("gifted students" he declares) English, drama, film and video at Brooklyn's respected Midwood High School. Evenings and weekends he spends his spare hours with a camera. An early devotee of Reggae, Hip-Hop and Punk, he amassed a following among top musicians because of his unusual style of shooting - almost in a swooping fashion - his subjects.
But, not yet an "alt journalist" - and he argues against the title.
"I do not consider myself an 'alt' journalist. If anything, an 'alt' human. My rules, within reason." He adds, "As long as it benefits society in a positive way, by either spreading images of unity and solidarity or uniting common people with a similar positive mental attitude."
So, when did the journalist/activist part kick in?
"The occupy movement really sparked something in me" he remembers. "I've always been a fan of rebellious speakers and artists who spoke out for what they believed in. This was my time to document it. This was history unfolding in front of my eyes."
It was here that he connected with Music for Occupy and its founder, Jason Samel and connected music with politics by documenting the carnage of Hurricane Sandy.
"Music For Occupy was a solid venture. It was great to help guide Perry Farrell through the hurricane-ravaged streets of Rockaway, New York after Hurricane Sandy. He helped rebuild houses with his wife and children. Immortal Technique was another artist that literally pulled out thousands of dollars out of his pocket from a charity event we held and donated it for reconstruction needs," Jeff remembers.
"It's a great feeling to see those in big positions use their power to benefit those in need."
Fast forward to 2016, Jeff was invited to meet with a Bernie Sanders staffer who had been a follower of his work and its applicability to the campaign. Offered press credentials, he gladly signed on to record the New York primary. His reasoning:
"I do not think there is enough coverage of a man who actually speaks to the grievances we have as a people in this country. Raised Fist Propaganda is helping change that. We are doing our part to get his name out there. His moral code is legit."
His lips tighten. "You can't hate on a man who preaches peace, love, and unity. You just can't. I only hope I can portray Bernie with the best possible and truthful portrait. Black and white is poetic. Classic. Permanent.