Glenn Reynolds has a great New York Post editorial brainstorming how Republicans could make their money go further in reaching voters:
One of the groups with whom Romney did worst was female “low-information voters.” Those are women who don’t really follow politics, and vote based on a vague sense of who’s mean and who’s nice, who’s cool and who’s uncool.
Since, by definition, they don’t pay much attention to political news, they get this sense from what they do read. And for many, that’s traditional women’s magazines — Redbook, Cosmopolitan, Glamour, the Ladies Home Journal, etc. — and the newer women’s sites like YourTango, The Frisky, Yahoo! Shine, and the like.
The thing is, those magazines and Web sites see themselves, pretty consciously, as a propaganda arm of the Democratic Party. So while nine out of 10 articles may be the usual stuff on sex, diet and shopping, the 10th will always be either soft p.r. for the Democrats or soft — or sometimes not-so-soft — hits on Republicans.
When a flier about getting away with rape was found in a college men’s bathroom, the women’s site YourTango (“Your Best Love Life”) led with the fact that the college was Paul Ryan’s alma materin a transparent effort to advance the Democrats’ War on Women claim that Republicans are somehow pro-rape. A companion article was “12 Hot Older Men Who Endorse President Obama.”
For $150 million, you could buy or start a lot of women’s Web sites. And I’d hardly change a thing in the formula. The nine articles on sex, shopping and exercise could stay the same. The 10th would just be the reverse of what’s there now.
For the pro-Republican stuff, well, just visit the “Real Mitt Romney” page at snopes.com, or look up the time Mitt Romney rescued a 14-year-old kidnap victim, to see the kind of feel-good stories that could have been running. For the others, well, it would run articles on whether Bill Clinton should get a pass on his affairs, whether it’s right that the Obama White House pays women less than men, and reports on how the tax system punishes women.
This stuff writes itself, probably more easily than the Spin Sisters’ pabulum. And opening up a major beachhead in this section of the media is probably a lot cheaper than challenging major newspapers and TV networks head on.
This is a great start, but it should be taken much further.
God bless Fox News, the blogosphere, talk radio, and conservative magazines. I shudder to think of how bad things would be if we didn’t have so many people working round the clock to counter the mainstream media.
But while the Right’s alternative media has dented the Left’s narrative, it still can’t outweigh it, and never will in its current form, for the simple fact that these outlets only reach people who proactively look for them, or are led there by someone else. That segment of the population is pretty much baked in to the country’s political makeup at this point – the people who really hunger for truth will find it one way or another, and there will always be a big segment of the population whose political information consumption, for various reasons, never extends far beyond their morning paper and the six-o’clock news. Such voters will never actively seek out Breitbart.com or National Review because they aren‘t interested in digging any deeper, and have no idea they shouldn’t be content with what they’ve got.
So if we can’t pin our hopes on getting more people to come to us, we have to figure out how to go to them – to get the key facts and our unfiltered ideas in the places they’re already going and seeing and watching. And though it might be heresy in this Internet-infatuated day and age, I think that means taking a hard, fresh look at traditional advertising.
How different might things be if we made a real effort to expose the general public to this? Imagine debt warnings or liberty arguments during the commercial breaks of American Idol, 60 Minutes, or Monday Night Football. Quotes from Obama czars bluntly saying they want to run our lives posted on billboards an entire city sees on their way to work. Real reports on Benghazi or debunkings of media smears in full-page newspaper ads.
I understand there are a lot of costs and hurdles associated with making such a project happen, but new thinking and new strategies are desperately needed to reach new audiences. If you build it, they won’t necessarily come, but if you go there, they will see.