U.S. Sen. Al "Landslide" Franken kicked off a national meeting of progressive leaders in Duluth earlier this month with an opening declaration that "moral indignation is great!’’
Then he added, a little sheepishly and with his trademark perfect timing: “It’s just not very attractive. It's a lesson I've learned.”
His confession, about how his own indignation made his election closer than it should have been, drew knowing laughter from the crowd of about 200 think-tank directors, advocacy groups organizers, and Duluth citizens at a meeting sponsored by the A.H. Zeppa Foundation and directed by the Commonweal Institute, based in California.
And the Progressive Roundtable conference that followed was suffused with the theme that if there is to be a progressive renaissance, it needs to be animated by a spirit of constructive and practical problem-solving, piece-by-piece, and state-by-state.
It’s probably no exaggeration to say that the mainstream American media, as an institution, are in crisis. Between falling revenues (from both subscriptions and advertising) and falling public confidence (a recent Harris Poll found that only 12 percent of the public have a high degree of trust in the media) the newspapers and television news programs that once largely shaped the knowledge that Americans brought to their daily lives and political positions now have to scrape for every reader and every dollar, and many of them are not succeeding.