Conservative Media Needs More Cowbell


cowbellWriting over at NewsBusters, Matthew Sheffield says:

… the case could be made that in dollar amounts, conservatives have actually done rather little to change the media landscape. Sure there are a lot of commentary radio shows out there now and there are a handful of right-leaning outlets that actually do report the news. But compared to the billions that conservatives have spent on television ads and junk mail, the amount the right has spent on news is, sadly, rather pitiful.

But beyond just the expenditures, the fact is that too much of the conservative writing and videos that are being produced are pieces which are less about reporting and more about opinioneering. This is a very real problem for the right since solid, well-researched reporting and a media network to push this reporting out to the politically uninformed are of much greater value than television ads and labeled opinion pieces.

Is he right?  I know there are regular readers here that will scoff at the thought that Bearing Drift is anything other than a GOP front group, which of course means they haven’t been reading lately as Bearing Drift writers have both challenged and defended the transportation tax plan (oops, did I tip my hand?).  And let’s not get started on Bill Bolling.

But perhaps Sheffield is right.  What we, as conservatives need to do is not beat up on the leftist media.  What we need to do is be better than them.

Last week RedState’s Erick Erickson wrote: I think conservative media is failing to advance ideas and stories. Certainly part of that is because the general media has an ideological bias against conservatives, which makes it harder for the media to take our views seriously. But many conservatives are, instead of working doubly hard to overcome that bias, just yelling louder about the same things. The echo in the chamber has gotten so loud it is not well understood outside the echo chamber in the mainstream press and in the public. It translates only as anger and noise, neither of which are conducive to the art of persuasion.

This week Bearing Drift made the Fix’s (Washington Post) list of best state political blogs.  This was the second time we’ve made the list, and we were the only conservative blog to do so.

Still, can we do better than being the best in the Commonwealth?  Of course we can.

The Internet is flooded with conservative news outlets and blogs.  The ratings for conservative television and talk radio regularly leave competitors in the dust.

But, is it news?  Or is it advocacy?

Erickson says news stories should include the basic 5Ws + H: Who, What, Where, When, Why and How.

The truth is we have the right message.  We have the right facts.  But we’ve been outmaneuvered by the left in the telling of our story.  The fact that the right was devastated by the left in social media in 2012 is another story altogether.

There’s still room for good, solid, conservative opinion.  There’s even room for an occasional snark.  And cowbell.  Don’t forget the cowbell.

But there’s more room for good, solid, conservative reporting of the news.

Ann Romney recently placed some blame on the media for her husband’s loss.  Maybe.

But as Sheffield writes:

Since the Romney defeat, there has been some speculation about whether Ronald Reagan could have defeated Barack Obama in 2012. I think he could have, but only because he understood the paramount importance of communications. He was such an exceptional candidate that he was able to overcome a media that was just as much against him as the reporters who today slobber over Obama.

But there was only one Ronald Reagan. And it is unwise for conservatives to continually expect someone of his unique gifts and knowledge to become their standard bearer year in and year out. That is unrealistic. Instead of hoping for the perfect candidate, conservatives need to do better at creating a positive climate for their ideas to flourish in.

We have work to do.

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  • What conservatives need to do is to create and patronize media organizations that take objective, factual reporting seriously – which starts with turning off your TV infotainment channels (yes, including Fox News). As far as mainstream media goes, this kind of journalism simply doesn’t exist at all anymore – everything that passes as news reporting today is sensationalism, advocacy, or trivialities.

    And there’s a reason for that. 95% of US media organizations are owned by 6 corporate conglomerates which have a huge vested interest in the American people NOT being informed as to the important issues of the day, so that these decisions can be made in secret and in private by the flood of lobbyists sent by those same organizations to usurp your representation in government.

    For example, MSNBC is well known to be a hard left media outlet. Yet where is the critical examination of war policy, even there? It’s absent, because MSNBC is owned by GE, which is a major defense contractor. Any MSNBC contributor who seriously reported on the consequences of, say, our reckless drone policy, or the secret prisons we have around the world which have become notorious for sexual torture, or why we make no progress on any war objective year after year after year – that reporter would be fired. And they know it, so the ones who want to keep the jobs keep their mouths shut. The ones who don’t… well, check out the speech that got Judge Nap’s show canceled and it should become immediately apparent. Any failure to follow the official narrative is followed by punishment and termination.

    What we need is truly independent media, not media that is fatally compromised by cross-ownership interests that are at odds with the public interest.

  • Cowabunga1000

    >> The truth is we have the right message.
    Um, no, you don’t, which is why it plays so badly. A lot of the GOP navel-gazing since the 2012 whomping centers on the problem being with the message, not the policies and core beliefs. Not particularly true – most people voted for the Democratic Party (just as they have 5 out of 6 times since 1988) because THEY DON’T LIKE WHAT THE GOP IS SELLING! The message is getting out just fine, from Todd Akin’s Divine Contraception blather to Gov. Transvaginal’s policies to help women to No Taxes Ever For Anything, Just Cuts, to Let’s Have Another War Since The Last Two Worked Out So Well. If the Republicans want to win elections, the answer is to have policies the majority support and will vote for, not to keep flogging the same dead horse and blaming the voters for not performing CPR on it.

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