My two most recent posts focused on the lack of reporting on events that counter the media’s pet narratives, and the implications such behavior has on American culture (yes, we’re losing the culture war). This is evident in the indoctrination most of us receive from our schools to how we entertain ourselves. Via Ed Morrissey at Hot Air, Instapundit Glenn Reynolds suggests that maybe big-bucks GOP donors would more wisely spend their money in buying or founding media outlets, rather than contributing to super-PACs:
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 mater in 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.”
Similar p.r. abounded across the board: Sandra Fluke is a hero; Sarah Palin is a zero. Republicans are all old white men (women or minority Republicans get mocked or ignored).
This kind of thing adds up, especially among low-information voters. They may not know or care much about the specifics, but this theme, repeated over and over again, sends a message: Democrats are cool, and Republicans are uncool — and if you vote for them, you’re uncool, too.
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.
Paging Mr. Adelson. I’m all for this, in fact, trying to influence the media in even a small way was one of the reasons I decided to commit to this blog. However, I would take it one step further: where Reynolds seems to focus on winning elections, I think this strategy should be used as a way to influence the culture as a whole. As Ed notes in the Hot Air Article:
In general, Glenn’s argument goes along with a point Andrew Breitbart used to emphasize, which is that culture informs politics, and not the other way around. Conservatives have to engage in the cultural as well as political sphere, even though the entertainment culture — which is the dominant culture in America these days — is tilted against conservative values and principles. Perhaps conservatives have to engage especially because of that tilt. And it would help to have some footholds in that arena when attempting to engage there.
I think Ed’s point is extremely insightful here. We didn’t get to this point politically or culturally overnight; the leftists began to control the narrative when they began to flock to the schools and media. Gradually their narrative became normative, while making the conservative/traditional viewpoint appear extreme. If we’re even going to “take back America” from this path towards European-style socialism, we’ll have to begin by influencing the culture. Buying different media sources would seem to be a good start.
I’m not alone. John Hinderaker over at Power Line also sees the merits of this approach:
Glenn has it exactly right. Republicans already do well with high-information voters, but we are getting killed among low-information voters–which is to say, the majority. When I was growing up, even the least well-informed voters knew that free enterprise is vastly superior to socialism. In those days, you had to go to graduate school to see the virtues of socialism. Today, there are many millions of Americans who can tell one Kardashian sister from another, but have no idea that Barack Obama has compiled the worst presidential record since Jimmy Carter. Seriously: they really don’t know. These are the voters we need to reach, and to reach them we need to go where they live. At TMZ, for example. Or The Frisky.
William Jacobson at Legal Insurrection offers an added suggestions as well:
Let me add a corollary suggestion: Reduce the size of the mob. Buy up name brands like Newsweek which are used as cover for anti-Republican messaging but not worth running, and shut them down.
It may go against your instincts to knowingly throw money away, but didn’t you just unknowingly do that in 2012 anyway?
Don’t wait for 2014 or 2016. Think strategically not reactively.
And save some of the crumbs that fall from the table for advertising on conservative blogs.