A news and current affairs show with no celebrity stories? Can it be true?
If you are looking for an news and current shows that doesn't insult you're intelligence, then do yourself a favour and take a look at The Alyona Show on RT (Sky 96) An added bonus is that the show takes a progressive view, in stark contrast to the ho-hum blandness and conservatism that passes for news and current affairs in the corporate media.
In a New Zealand context, this show would be regarded as downright 'unbalanced' but, personally, it restores my faith that a vibrant and interesting news and current affairs show can be made without resorting to salacious crime stories, celebrity profiles and the like which have become a standard feature of shows like Close Up and 60 Minutes.
This show, I think, deliberately avoids the same old talking heads (giving the same old opinions) that we see all the time and instead focuses on actvists, bloggers, writers for news websites, academics. - people who are largely ignored by the mainstream media. Gosh, this show has even featured - shock, horror - socialists!
Hosted by the engaging Alyona Minkovski, the show broadcasts out of Washington and is aimed squarely at an American audience but, even so, since so much of what happens in the United States impacts on the rest of the world, there's much to interest the non-American viewer.
The show has, for example, done some brilliant pieces on the increasing level of poverty in the United States and the show has consistently exposed the machinations of the fat cats on Wall Street.
One piece I recently saw exposed the methods being used by debt collection agencies against ordinary Americans - including threats of violence.
This kind of material just doesn't make it on to New Zealand television screens.
The Alyona Show also follows the adventures of the United States military in faraway lands.
A recent show included an interesting interview with Scott Heron, a contributing to Harpers magazine, on efforts to effectively put the United States on a permanent 'war footing'. In the so-called 'war on terror', the United States would be giving itself the right to use military force anywhere it wanted. Horton describes this as 'terrorism creep'.
On the same show Democrat congressman Dennis Kucinich tells Alyona that, purely on financial grounds, the 'war on terror' is simply 'unsustainable'. He points out while ordinary Americans are suffering job losses and cutbacks, the Obama administration is pouring $10 billion a month into Afghanistan.
For me, this interview underlined again the pointlessness of New Zealand troops being involved in a war that is simply unwinnable.
The Alyona Show is intelligent, bright and literate and, I'm afraid to say, a million miles better than anything being produced by TVNZ and TV3. The only drawback is that it screens at 3pm (Tuesday to Saturday) but, hey, you can always record it. Or you can watch the show on its YouTube channel.