Days before the November election, a powerful music video spread across the Internet. By the time it aired on MTV, millions of viewers around the world had already seen it. Eminem—a rapper known more for his misogyny than his astute political analysis—had released one of the most powerful pro-voting messages of this presidential election year: Mosh.
Envisioned and produced by Guerrilla News Network's Ian Inaba, Mosh was classic GNN: marrying pop culture with powerful political messages. Mosh cuts between an American soldier returning home to redeployment notices, a single mother facing eviction, and a growing army of frustrated youth marching toward the voting booths.
Launched five years ago by Inaba, producer Josh Shore, filmmaker Stephen Marshall, and my brother, the journalist Anthony Lappé, GNN was founded to respond to what all four saw as a huge gap in mainstream journalism: It doesn't speak to young people.
Starting with their NewsVideos—MTV-style short videos with political content—GNN hoped to make the news hip again and encourage their readers and viewers to question authority. “We try to show young people how to live your life as someone who questions power and do that responsibly,” says Marshall.
This year has been GNN's biggest yet: Besides running their website, which now gets 25,000 unique daily visits, they published their first book, True Lies (Plume), made up of investigations of critical, unreported stories. They released their first documentary, an on-the-ground-look at Iraq called Battleground: 21 Days on the Edge of Empire, and completed their first feature film, This Revolution, starring Rosario Dawson and set against the backdrop of the Republican National Convention.
Not bad for four 30-somethings working on a shoestring budget, and enough to make a little sister proud.