The biggest obstacle in getting the conservative message to the general electorate is the mainstream media. The media, including newspapers, network, and cable television programs has abandoned its historic purpose of reporting facts and holding our government accountable to the people, in favor of redefining itself as the propaganda arm of leftist ideology. As a result, anyone espousing a conservative viewpoint interviewed by the media is immediately confronted with the leftist narrative, which is framed as “truth”, against which the conservative pundit must then play defense.
I have written before about one remedy to this problem: having wealthy donors/benefactors of conservative/GOP candidates and causes buying or creating media outlets. However, until (or if) that happens, conservative pundits must learn to play offense and challenge the leftist narrative from the jump. Probably the best example of this happened on January 10, 2013 when Breitbart’s Ben Shapiro went on the Piers Morgan CNN show to “debate” gun control:
What is notable in this interview is that Ben started right out of the gates challenging the narrative that Morgan (representative of the leftist position on guns) had been espousing and putting Morgan on the defensive. Eric Weddle elaborates:
Piers Morgan dismissed gun-rights advocate John Lott by scoffing at him. Piers Morgan dismissed gun-rights advocate Larry Pratt by insulting him. Piers Morgan dismissed gun-rights advocate Alex Jones by saying nothing.
And Piers Morgan struggled to find the appropriate strategy for dismissing Ben Shapiro, editor-at-large of Breitbart.com and a foe of extraordinary polemical agility. He started in on Morgan by contending that the CNN star had exploited the dead children of Newtown:
“What you tend to do is you tend to demonize people who differ from you politically by standing on the graves of the children of Sandy Hook, saying they don’t seem to care enough about the dead kids. If they cared more about the dead kids they would agree with you on policy.”
Patented outrage spilled from Morgan: “How dare you.” And then the conversation took a turn for the better, as Shapiro cornered the CNN host on a central disconnect of the ongoing gun-violence debate: Proposals are floating around to redo the ban on assault rifles, something Morgan supports.
This is the exact correct method of dealing with the media: get them on their heels, challenge their assumptions, and make them play defense. Of course, as Duane Patterson reports over at Hot Air, Morgan waited until the next segment to respond to Shapiro uncontested. However, once the public begins to see that there is no “there” there, they’ll begin to take a second look at the saner, proven conservative position on the issues. As John Nolte astutely observes:
For years now the media’s used rhetorical tricks to bait our side into divisive arguments based on the kind of false premise Democrats never face. Whether it’s abortion, contraception, same-sex marriage, or guns — the media hits us again and again and again until someone like a Todd Akin says something stupid enough it can be used to tar the party as a whole and our presidential nominee.
This isn’t fair, but it is reality. Complaining about it will get you nowhere and exposing it has proven absolutely worthless because you can’t shame the shameless.
Instead, we have to start beating the media at its own game.
After Fox News rose to prominence, Democrats trained themselves to face the likes of Bill O’Reilly and Megyn Kelly. Because Democrats weren’t used to being challenged, they were frequently caught off guard, the videos would go viral online, and the damage would be done. You don’t see this happen anywhere near as often as you did ten years ago. That’s because Democrats fixed the problem.
Republicans need to first come to terms with the fact that they have a problem, a big one. Then they need to man up, go to school, and do something about it.
And they can start by studying Shapiro’s CNN appearance last night like the Super Bowl game-tape it is.
Absolutely, this is the way proceed.