Top 33 Progressive News Shows on YouTube [2020 Edition]

Democracy At Work

Professor Richard Wolff is the guy for socialist economics right now. He is one of the hosts of Democracy at Work. And even though everything about this show’s Boomer aesthetic suggests it would provide pro-establishment talking points, it’s actually one of the most subversive programs on this list. That’s because Wolff and many others on the show are avowed socialists, which is a more aggressive approach to language than many on the Left are willing to use. 

Watching Wolff is like watching your favorite college professor lecture. Great content that doesn’t get nearly the attention it deserves. Wherever you find Wolff content, it’s guaranteed to be good.

The Damage Report with John Iadarola

John Iadarola of TYT fame also hosts The Damage Report, providing his own daily take on current events and providing a “damage report” of what damage the Trump administration is causing. If you like John on the main show, you’ll love him here. The show also features a heavy dose of Jarar Jackson, also of TYT. It’s a good show with TYT’s trademark production-value. 

The Breakdown with Shaun King

I love Shaun King and pretty much everything he does. He is constantly the target of online attacks from the right, center, and sometimes the left, too and his strength through all that is noteworthy. The Breakdown offers a few shows a week focused on single topics. King speaks from the heart and keeps conversations grounded in the struggle, instead of getting lost in theory or talking down to people. The Breakdown is an excellent show if you are looking for a show that motivates, inspires, and educates.

Jacobin Magazine

Jacobin Magazine has come out strong with content since social distancing measures were put in place in the US. The leftist magazine puts out several longform videos per day and has been an especially useful source for information on the Labour Leaks in the UK. Their interviews dig deep into all sorts of subjects and their guests so far have been impressive.

Most noteworthy right now is that Michael Brooks from TMBS and Ana Kasparian from TYT recently joined forces to launch a new weekend show on Jacobin’s YouTube focused on how the left can be more strategic. Awesome!

Rising, The Hill

Rising has all the good parts of mainstream media—the production value, the guests, the professional hosts, etc—but without the corporate-sponsored opinions. Rising has come out of nowhere to be one of my absolute favorite news shows. It is not an intentionally Leftist show by any means, but host Krystal Ball is a progressive and defends progressivism well. The other host, conservative commentator Saagar Enjeti, is an anti-corruption conservative poppulist (at least that’s my read). 

The Real News Network

Baltimore-based TRNN is a people-funded operation, meaning they don’t accept donations from corporations or advertisers. The daily show offers. Because they don’t have editorial pressures, they happen to be pretty progressive! WHo would have thought! Definitely check out TRNN for fact-based real journalism.

The Zero Hour with RJ Eskow

The Zero Hour is hosted by RJ Eskow, who was a writer for the 2016 Bernie Sanders campaign. I had never come across the show until I was finishing up this article. But, in watching the show, it’s great! Eskow is smart, his show has solid production value, and he does a great job critiquing the media. Which is good, because that’s one of the points of his show. As he says, “We can’t have a political revolution without a media revolution”, and he is sooo right.

Last Week Tonight

Look, I get it. John Oliver is not a comrade who is going to help us bring on the revolution. But, he is a smart dude who understands basic progressive values like healthcare as a right. His show is enlightening and educational and serves as an important reference point for non-political-nerds.

Act.tv

Act.tv started back during the Occupy Wall Street movement. The show, hosted by Julianna Forlano, offers excellent progressive content, with an emphasis on animated explainer videos, interviews, and live streams. Act.tv is a project of Democrats.com, an online community of Democrats and progressive activists.

The show is worth checking out, especially the animated explainer videos, like the one posted above.

acTVism Munich

acTVism, hosted by Zain Raza, is a German based independent news show that offers content in both German and English. I don’t know much about the show, but from what I’ve seen, Raza offers educational long form editorial and interview content. It is a good show though sometimes it is a struggle to wade through the German content that I simply don’t understand. I’m sure that’s good too though!

Run It Back Politics

This is shameless self promotion. My show is not on top of anything but I’m trying to make content and help usher in the next progressive era. I recently launched a podcast and YouTube show. Check it out.

Did I leave any must-know Progressive shows out? Let me know in the comments below and I might just add them to the list.

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Ryan Black is a content creator, marketing professional, and political consultant who writes about Progressive Politics.

3 Comments

  • These are all great choices but there are a couple commentators that I think are also worth pointing out:

    #1. Gleen Greenwald, host of Systems Update on The Intercept. A newer show, but definitely a must watch. Not only is he an amazing journalist, but he also has great commentary on US and International politics, especially Brazil. He has also frequent great guests including Kyle Kulinski from Secular Talk.

    #2. Kim Iversen, host of the Kim Iversen Show. Although she has the occasional odd view on politics that may break with most progressives, I enjoy watching her a lot. Her show has only been around for over a year, but it’s been SUPER FAST growing (at around 250k on YT last I checked). Although her first choice was Tulsi Gabbard throughout most of the 2020 election cycle until after New Hampshire when she switched to Bernie, her videos exemplify class A journalism. An ardent BernieOrBuster/NeverBiden voter, she is especially notable when she comments on controversial and often sensitive foreign policy issues (especially in the Middle East): her videos on Syria, Saudi Arabia, the Uyghur crisis in Xinjiang, and the Petrodollar and its relation to American Imperialism are a must-watch.

    #3. Useful Idiots podcast on The Rolling Stones, hosted by Katie Halper and Matt Taibbi. Both are very well-known among progressives. Especially Katie Halper, who’s now one of the people on the frontlines fighting for Tara Reade’s sexual assault story to be heard.

    #4. The Nomiki Show hosted by Nomiki Konst. Nomiki is a cohost of the Majority Report, but she also recently started her own show. She’s a very razor-sharp focused commentator who always has a strategy for the Not Me Us movement to continue. There is quite frankly no one else I trust more in talking about DNC politics and power structure and electoral strategy.

    #5. I’m not sure how much you are interested in this, but the Grayzone has also been a growing outlet on the left especially on issues of American Imperialism. It’s hosts Benjamin Norton, Max Blumenthal, Anya Parampil and Aaron Maté all bring great knowledge and insight to the conversation despite being accused by some as being overly reactionary in their foreign policy.
    I know there are other shows out there but I can’t really think of them right now off the top of my head 😅

    • Hey thank you so much for these. I considered including Glenn but ultimately didn’t, but now I feel like I should add him. I know of Kim Iverson but I’ve never watched. Just had heard so much negativity. I’ll check her out though. As well as the others you listed. And I totally didn’t know Nomiki had her own show. I’m a fan. A bunch of these will be added to the blog in the coming days.

      • Yeah I understand why Kim may not be everyone’s cup of tea. She does have some odd opinions on things, but I overall view her contributions to left independent media as far more useful than not.

        A great video to start with (this was from quite a while ago but it’s still relevant) is her video on Venezuela, where she breaks down very complex geopolitics behind US foreign policy in that country and its relation to the larger issue of the petrodollar (This one was probably one the most eye-opening videos I’ve ever watched on YouTube):
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2a2ednyUDOM&t=16s

        Her Saudi Arabia video series are also a Must-watch; here’s part one of that series:
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Od2DEVt7q0&t=36s

        She also a couple months ago travelled to the West Bank as part of a delegation. She came back and did a livestream talking about what she saw, (a very candid and detailed account):
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vDJPf_JY-AE&t=2176s

        Those are the 3 videos that came to mind immediately when I thought about her show. I know people often give her crap a lot, especially with regards to some tweets she’s made in the past. But I really hate cancel culture and although there are things that I vehemently disagree with her on, I think it’s still important to give her a chance cuz she’s done a lot of great work and reporting and I try not to have one or two things that bother me about her get in the way of me watching her good stuff.

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