I guess you didn't get the email I sent you about 6 months ago. Or maybe you are too busy to respond. That's ok. I don't take it personally.
But, there are issues here that are much bigger than the personal, issues of politics for those on the left, those in the US, those in the world.
We should begin by stating the obvious: your ratings are declining. The loss of your show will be a victory for the Right.
What is to be done?
In the spirit of criticism-self-criticism-unity, I'll start: I am one of those who has stopped watching. I've lost interest. In part, this is because the newness has worn off.
But that's not the only reason. It's bigger than that.
The real reason is that if I wanted to watch Fox, I would. But I don't and I don't like having either my mindspace or my politics determined by Fox's news cycle. Stop following--that strengthens them.
You don't seem to get that. But you should. Don't let Fox determine the debate. Instead, you determine the issues that matter, the points of concern (and lame discussions of lame right-wing tactics are not enough; if these tactics are so stupid, then don't waste our time on them--tell us what matters).
A second point: don't act like the rest of the media. You aren't mainstream. You're lucky to break 1.5 million viewers a show. So, don't mimic Obama and try to appeal to some middle by copying Jon Stewart or even Keith Oberman. Be the geek that you are and give us in depth discussion of real issues.
Follow the issues for more than a week. Make them key components of the show rather than extras like culture-related comedy or Fox bashing. You should provide a series on the Wall Street excesses and the resulting unemployment. Cover poverty in the US.
And don't plead budgets--you know as well as I do that bloggers are doing all this research already and for free (it would be nice if you'd pay them, though). The reporting is out there. Find it and bring it into the television sphere. But don't do it by relying on polished talking heads or cynical election strategists--that's not what we, left viewers, want or need. We don't need to hear professional campaigners discuss campaigns all the time. Politics is more than that. But you already know that, so stop acting like you don't.
Make poverty and inequality and unemployment and the decay of US cities and utter neglect of rural areas the news that it is for most of the country. Let people know about the tent cities, the rise in homelessness, even as houses stand empty. Don't fall prey to the beltway mentality--that's not your role. Your role is to make sure that no one can look the other way, can't pretend that they didn't, that they don't know.
Cover racist and homophobic violence. Cover violence against women and children. Cover the effects of despair and hopelessness on who've we become. Report on the loss of dreams and aspirations.
And what about the situation in colleges and universities, especially in the California system. Someone should be thinking beyond tomorrow's show. What's the big picture here? Mass education goes hand in hand with a strong middle class and a strong democracy. Right now, the top one percent is taking over ninety percent of the economic surplus. They don't need public education, so they are cutting it.
Democracy requires that people can read, write, think, that we have the skills and knowledge necessary for self-governance. Once that's gone, it will be gone for a very long time--and that's a victory for the very worst of the neoliberal and neoconservative right. It's worse than feudalism, it's a seizure from the people of their very capacities to think.
Cover the neglect of the environment, the problems with energy, the neglect of infrastructure, the failure to develop alternative energies and transportation models.
Cover the successes that other countries have had. A German friend of mine finds visiting me in upstate New York quaint--we are so nineteenth century! Even Estonia, he tells me, has passed us by. Report on how well other countries are doing--show people the groundlessness of the 'we're number one' chants. And then find those in the US who are doing similar work and make their voices heard.
You've done good work in the past keeping torture in the news. Do more with this--it's still wrong and the torturers have still been able to get away with murder.
For years, left media critics, like myself, have cried out for an alternative to the mainstream press. This kind of alternative isn't just a matter of the political perspective of the commentator or show; it's also a matter of how the show overall is done, how it sustains and repeats and counters all the tendencies of conservative and corporate media with their supposition that all of us have ADD. We don't--so don't exacerbate those awful tendencies. Provide an alternative.
You rose to prominence because of the 2008. That's an opportunity. Don't waste it.