Taking the Conservative Message Beyond the Blogosphere

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.” 
The solution:
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.  
There are scores of bite-sized, eye-opening facts – like the terrifying words of Obama Administration officials, the more-thanfair share of the tax burden the rich really pay, the utter uselessness of Uncle Sam’s spending spree in alleviating poverty or improving education, or the astonishing waste and duplication in the federal bureaucracy, just to name a few – that many voters are completely unaware of, and would significantly change their political assumptions if only they knew. And outfits like Prager University and Learn Liberty expertly demonstrate how conservative principles can be explained in just a few minutes of airtime.
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.

Bad Move, Breitbart

The big scandal of the day is that the most provocative Anthony Weiner photo in Andrew Breitbart’s possession got leaked by shock jocks Opie and Anthony. Here’s Breitbart’s statement on the matter, insisting they did so against his knowledge and will. My question is, why wasn’t Breitbart more careful around these two? They’re slimeballs whose entire routine is scandal, shock value, and attention. Anyone should have seen their attempting something like this coming from a mile away.

So, Glenn Beck’s Putting Together His Own Network

And while I like the guy, I’m not seeing the appeal. Maybe/hopefully Beck has some additional content in mind he hasn’t revealed yet, but right now this seems less like a real TV network and more like fancy dressing (and subscription fees) for the stuff he’s already doing. Plus, his TV routine is usually too unfocused as it is – doubling it to two hours is exactly the last thing it needs.

New on NewsReal – No, Bill Sammon Didn’t Lie About Thinking Obama Was a Socialist (Which He Totally Is)

My latest NewsRealBlog post:

There’s only so much mileage the Left can get out of vehemently denying that President Barack Obama is a socialist. For best propagandistic results, it’s ideal to highlight people on the Right who allegedly admit the same thing (and if their remarks can be used to embarrass a hated cable news channel in the process, so much the better).

Case in point: relying upon Media Matters research, Howard Kurtz’s latest on the Daily Beast highlights recent remarks made by Fox News Channel’s Washington Managing Editor Bill Sammon during a 2009 cruise hosted by Hillsdale College (my alma mater):

“Last year, candidate Barack Obama stood on a sidewalk in Toledo, Ohio, and first let it slip to Joe the Plumber that he wanted to ‘spread the wealth around.’ At that time, I have to admit that I went on TV on Fox News and publicly engaged in what I guess was some rather mischievous speculation about whether Barack Obama really advocated socialism, a premise that privately I found rather far-fetched.”

That he did—on several occasions.

On Oct. 14, 2008, Sammon said on the air that Obama’s “spread the wealth” remark “is red meat when you’re talking to conservatives and you start talking about spread the wealth around. That is tantamount to socialism.”

On Oct. 21, he told Greta Van Susteren: “I have read Barack Obama’s books pretty carefully, and he in his own words talks about being drawn to Marxists… Now all this stuff’s coming out about whether he’s a socialist. I don’t know why anyone is surprised by it, because if you read his own words and his sort of, you know, orientation coming up as a liberal through college and a young man, it’s not a huge shock.”

Sammon, a former Washington Times reporter, also made sure his troops got out the word. On Oct. 27, he sent an email to staffers highlighting what he described as “Obama’s references to socialism, liberalism, Marxism and Marxists” in his 1995 autobiography, Dreams From My Father.

Sammon’s response:

In an interview, Sammon says his reference to “mischevious speculation” was “my probably inartful way of saying, ‘Can you believe how far this thing has come?’” The socialism question indeed “struck me as a far-fetched idea” in 2008. “I considered it kind of a remarkable notion that we would even be having the conversation.” He doesn’t regret repeatedly raising it on the air because, Sammon says, “it was a main point of discussion on all the channels, in all the media”—and by 2009 he was “astonished by how the needle had moved.”


In defense of Sammon’s ethics, raising a subject on the air and speculating about it, even “mischievously,” aren’t the same as reaching or arguing for a firm conclusion about the subject. Indeed, if you watch the full clip the Oct. 14 quote comes from, Sammon’s not even arguing for the Obama-as-socialist charge—he’s just objectively analyzing 2008 rival John McCain’s strategic interest in pressing the issue.

Read the rest on NewsRealBlog.

New on NewsReal – Michele Bachmann Considers Presidential Run, Eric Alterman Demands Media Not Notice

My latest NewsReal post:

Have you ever wondered how lefty talking head Eric Alterman can possibly argue that the media is biased to the right? Well, his latest column in the Daily Beast provides a pretty good window into his methodology—moving the goalposts so far that even covering certain conservative candidates is an act of journalistic malpractice.

Alterman spends most of the piece mocking Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) for a series of historical gaffes, suggesting that any presidential campaign by “an individual so obviously mentally and emotionally challenged” would be a hopeless “exercise in vanity and self-delusion,” which the press is only wasting its time by covering:

Michele Bachmann is “reportedly” ready to form a presidential exploratory committee in early June. Shame on me (and this website) for paying the slightest bit of attention to this foolish and ridiculous spectacle, but here we are […]

What does it say about our national media that this woman is considered a serious person? What is she doing being taken seriously on Meet the Press? Why in the world does ABC’s George Stephanopoulos think it important to find out whether she’s a fan—I kid you not—of Lady Gaga?
And how can any reporter expect anyone, anytime to take him or her seriously if they treat the “Bachmann for President” boomlet as anything but a symbol of a political system that has run itself off the rails of sanity?

If a history of stupid remarks disqualifies a politician from serious coverage, then how does Alterman explain the media’s slobbering love affair with Barack Obama, who’s got his own record of gaffes? Or maybe his running mate, Joe Biden?

To be sure, a candidate’s grasp of history is fair game for judging a would-be president, but the task of journalists is to judge who is running, not who should run. And like Bachmann or not, her potential bid for the presidency is a legitimate story, and she can’t be ignored.

Read the rest on NewsRealBlog.

New on NewsReal – Astro-Turfed Talk Radio? Hannity, Limbaugh & Beck Accused of Faking Callers

My latest NewsRealBlog post:

Not content to belittle conservative talk show hosts as merely greedy or hateful, leftists have seized upon a recent report in Tablet Magazine to cast them as liars who are scamming their own audiences, as well. The piece reveals a service offered by radio syndicate Premiere Radio, which offers to supply hosts with fake callers, the insinuation being that the next time you hear an enthusiastic fan sing Glenn Beck’s praises, or an idiotic liberal effortlessly dispatched by Sean Hannity, the whole thing might be artificial:

“Premiere On Call is our new custom caller service,” read the service’s website, which disappeared as this story was being reported (for a cached version of the site click here). “We supply voice talent to take/make your on-air calls, improvise your scenes or deliver your scripts. Using our simple online booking tool, specify the kind of voice you need, and we’ll get your the right person fast. Unless you request it, you won’t hear that same voice again for at least two months, ensuring the authenticity of your programming for avid listeners.”

Gustav Wynn at the left-wing OpEdNews.com reports that the Big Three—Rush Limbaugh, Hannity, and Beck—have all unequivocally denied that they’ve ever had actors call their shows, but he’s pretty sure that something fishy is afoot anyway:

Limbaugh sharply rebuked the suggestion, decrying media coverage of the article and denying he had ever used actors on his show as he tried to dissociate himself from the service and any possibility that he staged calls. One could even witness his brain switch gears as he begins to ask his own call screener if he was in on it. This demonstrates how quickly Rush would attempt to insulate himself should it be uncovered someone else was assigning actors to call his show, perhaps in “common purpose”.


So merely by defending himself, Limbaugh implies he’s got something to hide. Why? He just does. After all, he’s Rush Limbaugh.

Next, about 2:06 into the clip he says “over the years” people have “come to him with ideas” to “get in the act” but he “shot it down”. Okay, is this shades of Governor Walker? Who in Rush’s circle of prospective collaborators came to him with these ideas? We don’t know. He didn’t say, protecting their identities from the very listeners he was trying to assuage.

Cheap shot at the Scott Walker-Koch brothers non-story aside, let me remind Mr. Wynn that we don’t subpoena people every time we get a whiff that somebody may have approached them with a bad idea in private.  If we did, we’d never have time to go after real impropriety.

Read the rest on NewsRealBlog.

New on NewsReal – "WikiLeaks: The Movie(s)," Coming Soon to a Theater Near You

My latest NewsRealBlog post:

The enemies of liberty may be gaining steam in Egypt right now, but Hollywood doesn’t seem to notice. No, to them we’re still our own worst enemy. Mike Fleming at Deadline reports that no less than seven potential film projects based on cyber-anarchist Julian Assange and his whistle-blowing organization WikiLeaks are under consideration:

The Hurt Locker screenwriter Mark Boal and Management 360 have partnered with financier/producer Megan Ellison to option The Boy Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, an article about WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange in The New York Times Magazine written by the newspaper’s executive editor Bill Keller. Ellison, an exec producer of True Grit, will finance development through her Annapurna Pictures and she, Boal and Management 360 will produce. Boal might write the film, but that will depend on if he has time […]


His is just the latest in a growing number of Julian Assange/WikiLeaks movies that should continue to swell as more books about the controversial figure get published. I’ve heard DreamWorks is circling Inside WikiLeaks, a book that will be released February 15. It is written by Daniel Domscheit-Berg, Assange’s number 2 at WikiLeaks who defected because he wanted WikiLeaks to apply journalistic discretion in the dispersal of secret government documents while Assange wanted to release as many as he could get his hands on.

There is also the $1.5 million memoir by Assange. Movie/TV rights will be handled by CAA for lit agency Peters Fraser & Dunlop, and rumors are that The Bourne Ultimatum director Paul Greengrass might come attached (insiders said that’s not definitive). Among the other Assange movies that have already mobilized, Universal  Pictures will finance and distribute an Alex Gibney-directed documentary on Assange and WikiLeaks that will be produced by Gibney and former Universal Pictures chairman Marc Shmuger, and HBO is in talks with BBC to collaborate on a pic that would be based partly on  Raffi Khatchadourian’s New Yorker article No Secrets: Julian Assange’s Mission for Total Transparency. Another documentary, WikiLeaks: War, Lies and Videotape has been picked up to be distributed by Zodiak. There are two more books available for movies: WME is handling Megaleaks by Andy Greenberg, and there is also WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange’s War On Secrecy is coming from David Leigh and Luke Harding, two reporters from UK’s The Guardian who were the first to receive leaks from Assange and then shared them with Der Spiegel and The New York Times.

All of this is to be expected, of course—Hollywood has a track record of presenting the United States government as the bad guy in our conflicts abroad, from Vietnam onward. They pretty consistently bomb at the box office, but Hollywood keeps churning them out anyway, their left-wing ideology drowning out whatever good business sense or understanding of what the audience wants they may have.

Read the rest at NewsRealBlog.