Where Did the Name ‘The Real News Network’ Come From?

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TRNN senior editor Paul Jay shares the anecdote that gave raise to the name, and discusses why corporate news suppresses fact-based reporting

PAUL JAY, SENIOR EDITOR, TRNN: The name Real News came from, funnily enough, a conversation I was having with a taxi driver. We originally called the project Independent World Television. And we liked the concept, being global and independent. But first of all, everybody was screwing it up and calling it Global World Television, which I thought was kind of redundant, but people were doing it.

At any rate, I was in a taxi in Chicago, and I was telling a taxi driver about what I did. I worked at this news network, and we don’t take any corporate funding, we don’t take any government funding, we don’t sell advertising. And he said, oh, you mean the real news. And that was it. It’s like love at first sight. I knew that would be the name. I knew it would be controversial, too. Like you know, how arrogant of you to say you’ve got the real news and no one else was. That wasn’t what we meant, and we certainly know that there are a lot of very good journalists doing fact-based reporting in corporate news. It’s just increasingly difficult for them to do any of that. And a lot of times when they do fact-based reports they get edited out, or the preponderance of what the editorial position, whether it’s TV news or in print, the way it asserts itself by the ownership, is to make sure that fact-based reporting is marginalized, even within corporate news.

So Real News hit for us. And the fact that it resonated with that taxi driver. And it always has meant something else to me, that experience, the conversation with the taxi driver, is that someday the test of success of the Real News will be if that taxi driver, or others like him, when people say things like oh, poverty will always be with us and there’s nothing you can do about it, and so on and so on, no. That taxi driver’s going to say to that person in the back seat, uh-uh. No, I saw the South African students. They stopped the tuition hike. Uh-uh, I saw the Greek people voted no on the referendum about whether to accept the blackmail that the European financial community was trying to stick to them. I’ve seen people fighting, and I know there is another way to live. And how do I know that? Well, I saw it on the Real News. So that to us will be an important measure of success.