Three years ago, on May 12, 2008, the first episode of GRITtv hit the air. Given life by Free Speech TV, the project we imagined was a daily forum for changemakers that would welcome new voices and celebrate diversity.
In those three years, we’ve brought to public attention hundreds of fresh thinkers not seen anywhere else, and drilled down hard, and day after day, on critical themes like the foreclosure crisis and the Wall Street meltdown. We spoke regularly with real experts as well as real working people.
We traveled to DC for the inauguration of President Obama. “What are we going to inaugurate?” was our question. And we stood in the cold with labor protesters, week after week, in Wisconsin.
Special guests I remember—the extraordinary Eduardo Galeano reading aloud from his book Mirrors, labor rank and file like Angel Warner describing what it is to organize. The much missed Juliano Mer Khamis with his students from Jenin talking about theater and freedom. When the National Portrait gallery caved to the censors we played David Wojnarovicz’s video on homophobia and AIDS for all to see. And we platformed the work of our brilliant GRITtv Commentators, GRIT Group partners and friends at The Nation, Brave New Films, Women Make Movies, and many more.
Three years later, you can find all that work permanently archived at our website. Just check it out. Effective today, though, we’re suspending daily production to retool.
Come this fall, with your help, you’ll see a new project: a one-hour weekly program, right here, and also on PBS stations from coast to coast. You can contribute to that effort online, right now.
I think of the words of a few recent guests. Vandana Shiva reminded us of the principles of Gandhi: self governance, self-sufficiency, struggle for truth.
The reality is that effective self governance requires a free media, but independent media makers have yet to make ourselves self-sufficient. We hope a weekly show will have a better chance. But today it breaks my heart to close down a daily platform for movements, and to say goodbye to an extraordinary team—Gina Kim, Diane Shamis, Sam Alcoff, Rich Kim, Diane Pottinger, Sarah Jaffe, Jason Abbruzzese, Danya Abt and Rebecca McDonald—most of whom have been with me since day one.
We asked Bob Herbert recently if it’s hard to stay on the beat of the "left out" people when our money culture so prioritizes insiders and fame? His answer—it’s what I’m interested in. The same is true for us too.
Fight for Truth. While we’re taking a break today, that work will carry on. You can support GRITtv at GRITtv.org and support Free Speech TV. We’ll see you in the next place soon.
The F Word is a regular commentary by Laura Flanders, the host of GRITtv and editor of At The Tea Party, out now from OR Books. GRITtv broadcasts weekdays on DISH Network and DIRECTv, on cable, and online at GRITtv.org and TheNation.com. Follow GRITtv or GRITlaura on Twitter and be our friend on Facebook.