Old Media is Losing its Influence, What Can You Do To Help

Old Media – ABC, CBS, NBC, Reuters, UPI, NY Times – is  losing its influence, and that makes me happy. Let us turn that observation into a CALL TO ACTION – become a Broadcaster. [Hint: you already are one]

Ed Pluck shared a post in the Consevative Union referencing this article in the Federalist about how the Right is fiinding its way around the Leftists in Old Media. In that article at the Federalist, Mark Tapscott provides a couple of recent examples of terrific investigative reporting by right-leaning journalists, displacing the (non)work done by the lefties in old media.

Mark’s premise is an important one for we conservatives to understand. Liberal media is conquered NOT by changing them in any way. It is done by diluting their influence, providing better alternatives, rendering them irrelevant. We are largely successful in doing so, and have been greatly aided by the internet.

This contemporary transformation parallels momentous changes in what was once America’s dominant news source, the liberal mainstream media. That dominance is diluted now, thanks to newsroom insularity and market entry and business model changes sparked mainly by the Internet.

The break with Old Media started in the rise of Talk Radio, continued with the explosion of blogging. The repeal of the Fairness Doctrine in 1987 lowered the barrier to entry for conservative talk radio – and we got Rush. Then the internet lowered the barrier to entry for publishing. We can compete, and are doing so, and the success of conservative websites speaks to the success of the free market.

We got great conservative opinion sites first, and now, we’re getting the conservative news sites. We’ve solved a problem not by changing the other guy, but by figuring a way around it.

Hurrah, and SO WHAT?

The internet and smartphones have lowered to barriers to entry for news gathering, reporting, and publishing. But what about broadcasting? Getting the news to the eyeballs of those who need the information? Gosh darn it, the networks are still just too strong – one episode of network nightly news is seen by millions, we just can’t compete.

WRONG.

In the old days, the “broadcasting” of news to millions of people so as to inform and shape opinions was done by CBS, NBC and ABC. The formula was one person to millions of people. And there were about 20 people broadcasting.

Now the job of broadcasting is done by your friends, acquaintances, and the people you follow on social media. It’s done by YOU. You are a broadcaster. Did you realize that? It’s just different math.

Instead of ONE (or a few) outlets choosing the stories and sharing with millions each, we have millions of outlets choosing the stories and sharing with tens, hundreds, or…I suppose thousands each.

But truly it’s not that – I may have thousands of followers, but a story I share is really only going to reach maybe a hundred or so. Because regardless the numbers on the social media, humans are human and our ACTUAL sphere of real INFLUENCE is only ever a couple hundred in any meaningful way. And really only a couple dozen on a regular basis. But that’s ok, that’s enough.

Once I recognize that I am a broadcaster, my actions change a bit.

I take a bit more care with what I share, because I’m doing so with a different purpose. It’s not just to make friends or shoot the bull around the water cooler. I’m asking others to give up some of their time to read and think about what I shared with them. They deserve a bit more consideration from me than just “Wow! Thoughts?” I can excerpt a paragraph or two, I can add a sentence or two of my own impressions.

Most folks won’t click the link and read the article. If all I share IS the link, that they won’t click, I have just spammed them. If all I did was add some silly comment or snarky hashtag that doesn’t add meaning, I’ve spammed them with a colorful envelope. Maybe it makes me feel good about myself because I’m sharing and “doing something” but I could do better.

Most folks don’t devote much of their day to news of the world. If they are following you on social media – you have an opportunity to BE part of that time, but you have to respect them and use your power responsibly. That means be aware of what you are.

You’re a broadcaster – realize it, take advantage of it. BE PART OF THE SOLUTION to the Liberal Dominance of Old Media and the minimal amount of time that people have to devote to news of the world.

Now….get out there and CHANGE THE WORLD!

They Hate Us. Now What?

What is it with GQ lately? First there was the Marco Rubio interview, and the ensuing kerfuffle. Here’s the relevant quote:

GQ: How old do you think the Earth is? 

Marco Rubio: I’m not a scientist, man. I can tell you what recorded history says, I can tell you what the Bible says, but I think that’s a dispute amongst theologians and I think it has nothing to do with the gross domestic product or economic growth of the United States. I think the age of the universe has zero to do with how our economy is going to grow. I’m not a scientist. I don’t think I’m qualified to answer a question like that. At the end of the day, I think there are multiple theories out there on how the universe was created and I think this is a country where people should have the opportunity to teach them all. I think parents should be able to teach their kids what their faith says, what science says. Whether the Earth was created in 7 days, or 7 actual eras, I’m not sure we’ll ever be able to answer that. It’s one of the great mysteries.

Then came the inevitable media response:

How old is the Earth? Scientists say 4.5 billion years. But Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) isn’t a scientist, so he’s not sure….

…he’s a politician, and a member of a party that long has pandered to biblical fundamentalists, including “young Earth creationists” who insist that the Earth is between 5,700 and 10,000 years old. Dissing Charles Darwin is second nature to Republican politicians who should (and maybe do) know better.

Yup, Rubio is either stupid or he’s a science hating Bible thumping fundamentalist. Or both. Whatever.

And if that wasn’t bad enough, GQ (there they go again) has recently placed Mitt Romney at the very top of their list of the Least Influential People of 2012. Talk about kicking a man while he’s down.

Tony Lee has an excellent post over at Breitbart detailing the Rubio kerfuffle and other recent media tactics aimed at discrediting Republicans (War on Women, etc).  Lee does a good job of detailing the problem, but stops just short of the most important question: So what?

It’s one thing to recognize media bias. Despite claims to the contrary, media bias is a fact. You can’t have a majority of TV executives and employees donating to Obama and the Democrats in 2008 and expect their bias not to creep into their reporting. But what do you do about it?

The first thing the GOP needs to realize about the mainstream media: THESE PEOPLE ARE NOT YOUR FRIENDS. I don’t care how nice they are to you at any given time. I don’t care how positively they seem to receive you and your message. I don’t care what they offer you. When it suits them, the media will turn on you. They will try to bury you. The sooner Republicans understand and accept this fact, the better.

Second, STAY ON MESSAGE. This is an area where Democrats excel. Don’t let the person interviewing you pull you down a rabbit hole. How old is the Earth? Do you want to ban contraceptives? How’s your family? Seen any good movies lately? Stay on target. If a particular question doesn’t pertain to the topic at hand, skip it. If it is otherwise irrelevant, call them out for asking something so blatantly ignorant.

Third, DO NOT FEAR THEM. A big part of the GOP’s media problem is the fear of any kind of backlash from a “wrong” answer. Republicans want the media to like them. I got news for you: It ain’t gonna happen. No matter what you do, no matter what you say, they will hate you. Be strong, be solid, be conservative. In short, be everything they don’t want you to be. That message will carry beyond anything the media can throw at you.

(Don’t believe me? Take a look at some recent moderate presidential candidates: George H.W. Bush, Bob Dole, John McCain. Know what they have in common? They were all moderates, and they all lost. The media hated Ronald Reagan. He won in two landslides.)

David Wu
Remember me?

Finally, LEARN TO CIRCLE THE WAGONS, NOT THE FIRING SQUADS. For better or worse, Democrats are known for their willingness to defend their own as long as possible. David Wu and Anthony Weiner both eventually resigned in the wake of scandals. Key word: Eventually. They denied everything as long as they could, until their respective scandals grew too big to ignore. More importantly, the Democrat leadership covered for them as long as they could, too. While I am NOT advocating turning a blind eye to any and all wrongdoing, I do believe Republicans are a little too quick to eat their own.

The same concept can be applied to conservatives in the media; Limbaugh, Levin, Hannity, Breitbart, Malkin, etc. These people are very vocal. As a result, they are heavily attacked. All too often, the knee jerk response from Republicans is to distance themselves from these “extremists.” Knock it off. The Old Media hates your guts; you need friends wherever you can find them. The New Media is on your side, if you’ll allow them to be.

The time for being submissive and defensive is over. The GOP must learn how to deal with a media that wants to defeat them. The list above is just a start.