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Building Our Own Media
Sultan Knish ^ | 27 Jan 2013 | Daniel Greenfield

Posted on 01/28/2013 4:43:46 AM PST by expat1000

There have been suggestions floating around that some of the bigger donors should buy a newspaper, a television network or a women's magazine to counter the media's grip. There was a time when a powerful media outlet could be bought or created by conservative owners and function and wield influence over national policy. Time Magazine in the Luce era is one example. But that was when the media was a patchwork of publications and radio stations where powerful owners often set the tone.

Today the media is more of an integrated beast that is mostly localized on the internet. It's a giant echo chamber for talking points developed by left-wing think tanks and memes popularized by social media mobs.

NBC News these days is less relevant than Buzzfeed. You could buy NBC News, but then what would you have? A white elephant operation whose dwindling viewers are older and either share its biases or don't care. If it shifted to the right, it would have exactly the same image as FOX does, no matter what its standard of programming was. If it tried to be genuinely non-partisan, there would be the difficult task of finding staff who are honestly non-partisan. And its image would constantly be under attack by the left every time it dissented on a major story.

Imagine if Donald Trump bought the New York Times. The New York Times doesn't derive its influence from the quality of its content, but from the quantity and scope of it. That quantity and scope seem dizzying to those who don't know any better, much like Thomas Friedman's familiar mentions of three countries and their airports in one paragraph makes him seem like a man of the world who must know what he's talking about because he has been to so many countries.

The New York Times influences other papers and outlets to adopt its tone on a variety of topics from musicals to foreign affairs. That makes them, in current ad jargon, Thought Leaders, which is just as Orwellian as it sounds. That cements the Times' place in the culture. But it's a position that would vanish in a second if Donald Trump took over and began influencing content. All that would be left is an expensive and unprofitable white elephant without any of the influence.

What we think of as the mainstream media is an integrated whole. It's not really a series of outlets, but a culture of left-wing activists and more mainstream liberal reporters and pundits who provide content to those outlets. Buying one of the outlets would punch a hole in their content network, but only a partial hole because the outlet would still likely be reliant on wire services and would mostly cover the same stories that are driven by that same network, but occasionally from a conservative angle. It would essentially be another FOX News.

The content distribution network would reform around it, shut it out, as it has shut out FOX News, though many of its members would still work for it, and continue driving the tone and content of the media's coverage of any issue. And it's the content network and its culture that is the real enemy.

This isn't just true of official news outlets, but any tastemaker outlets, such as women's magazines, which would once again be shut out, ridiculed and marginalized as the media culture works to wipe out the credibility of rival opinion-makers and the cool of rival tastemakers. And since both news and fashion depend on consensus, trying to challenge it with a single outlet will only make a limited difference. It will have an impact. FOX News certainly has. But that impact will be limited, unless, like talk radio, it becomes a culture of content creators creating a consensus across different outlets.

What we are battling is a consensus creation machine. That machine spews out news stories and memes always making sure to integrate the consensus into as much of its coverage as it can. That way the latest consensus on gun violence can be rolled out everywhere from snarky blogs to drive time news to network news to magazines and sites catering to women, car owners and science fans.

Each group will have the consensus targeted to their demographic. NBC News will talk about the dangers of school shootings. Blogs will describe gun owners as psychopaths. A site aimed at women will talk about how often abusive husbands shoot their wives. The science site will discuss the latest technology for gun locks thought up by a 9th grader from San Francisco. Most of you have already seen this consensus manufacturing and distribution machine in action.

The good news is that the internet has allowed the right to develop its own form of consensus distribution. The problem is that it's mainly ideological. Conservative news sites and blogs create and pass along a consensus, sometimes right and sometimes wrong, but it doesn't tend to go any higher up the ladder than FOX News or Talk Radio. Buying a major outlet would give it another place to go, but it wouldn't fundamentally change the uneven balance in the media culture war.

The Breitbart approach of directly attacking the consensus by creating stories that the media is forced to acknowledge, thereby shaking its consensus, is invigorating. But the left's success has largely come from the creation of a media consensus culture. Challenging it is not impossible, but it will take a lot of work over a long period of time, rather than a quick fix solution.

Buying an old media outlet, like a magazine, a newspaper or a news network is a poor value. These outlets have an aging readership and a white elephant infrastructure. Their only truly valuable part is their brand. And the brand will begin taking a vicious beating the moment it drops out of the left's consensus network. The brand does have value. Newsweek in conservative hands would have been a useful weapon, but not a consensus-killer.

The consensus is a swarm, it's a mob. Fighting it with one outlet is like trying to fight off bees with a baseball bat. Some bees will be swatted and you'll be stung and the outcome will depend on whether you can absorb more venom than you can kill bees. It makes for a nice last stand, but not much else.

Countering one consensus with another is a problem that requires crowd solutions. And they already exist. The conservative consensus of social media, blogs and news sites is the talk radio of the net. Conservative news sites already distribute that content, and while they could use better designs, the basis structure of the consensus is in place. The next step is to begin expanding the consensus into the non-political sphere to target not just low-information voters, but people that are not strongly political.

Buying a woman's magazine is of limited use now. Communities of interlinked conservative fashion bloggers whose content is indexed and collected by professional front end sites can have the same result at a fraction of the price and while turning a profit. Apply the same approach to everything from science, Latino, local and car sites, and you suddenly have something that is becoming a match for the mainstream media and its culture of consensus. And all this can be done at a fraction of the cost of buying Cosmo or NBC News or the New York Times.

We aren't fighting media outlets, we're fighting people. You can't fight people with money. You can only fight them with people. And the people are here. We just have to use them.

The Romney Campaign's big mistake was relying on big dumb sledgehammer media tactics, spending more money to do less, while neglecting the people on the ground. If the Republican Party is to compete, then it has to learn from that at every level. Think small. Look at the individual. Bring together committed individuals into organizations where they cooperate and make things happen, instead of viewing them as piggy banks for end of the year donations. That is what made the Tea Party work. It is the only thing that has any hope of revitalizing the Republican Party and the right.

A culture war is a shouting match. It's not so much a war of ideas as a war of slogans that are embedded in everything. The left has too much top-down control to be directly beaten at that level. It can be challenged and occasionally humiliated, as Breitbart had done, but it still remains in place. If the left is going to be beaten, it will be from the bottom up by empowering the people who want to fight, rather than just building more expensive operations while ignoring the ground game.

Conservatism will only win out by empowering committed people and giving them the tools to organize in various ways and on various levels to challenge the consensus. It is the organization part that is most important and it is the place where the establishment can do the most good by providing the framework and the tools to package individual contributions into a professional group package.

Creating an alternative media is as simple as channeling the conservative consensus into segmented professional outlets through brand-creation, web design and a certain degree of start-up funding, much of which can be supplemented by advertising for successful sites. These sites need not be and should not be competitors for existing political sites, rather they would be general topic sites that would target specific demographics, with relevant content for their group, whether it's video gamers or people looking for reality show coverage, while also embedding a certain political worldview.

Rather than trying to compete with a single major outlet or with a hundred conservative political outlets all targeted at the same base, the goal would be to expand that base and influence opinions across a wider range. It would be easiest to start with those groups that are already leaning our way, for example young white men and women, and expand an existing lean into a consensus. Similar efforts should be made with Chinese-Americans and Indian-Americans, two groups that came out big for Democrats and whose population share is growing, but whose interests lie with us.

All this is feasible. It's just a matter of shifting from frustrated attacks against mainstream media to becoming the mainstream media. The licenses and print distribution networks that make the media so powerful and that account for much of its sunk cost are becoming less relevant in the age of the mobile internet readership. All that's left are brands supported by an integrated content distribution consensus. And brands are based on content and can be challenged with content. The content exists, so does the talent, all that is needed is to package and channel it into our own media.

TOPICS: Politics; Society
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1 posted on 01/28/2013 4:43:51 AM PST by expat1000
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To: expat1000

Been doing just that for the past 3 1/2 years. Every FReeper ought to be doing something similar - reporting on city councils, school boards, county commissions, etc.

All politics is local.

2 posted on 01/28/2013 4:46:34 AM PST by abb
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To: arasina; daisy mae for the usa; AdvisorB; wizardoz; free-in-nyc; Vendome; Louis Foxwell; ...

Sultan Knish/Daniel Greenfield Ping List (notification of new articles). FReepmail or drop me a comment to get on or off.
3 posted on 01/28/2013 4:46:54 AM PST by expat1000
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To: expat1000

From another thread...

“relentlessly expose, ridicule, deride, mock and publicly shame arrogant progressives in a manner that, for the first time in our adult lifetimes, communicates this one undeniable founding truth: America was never supposed to be this way.”

This past Christmas I spent time with my brother who introduced me to Jon Stewart. He has several choice Jon Stewart episodes recorded that he showed me.

This guy, Jon Stewart, is extremely talented at doing to conservatives precisely what the quoted paragraph above correctly opines we should be doing to “progressives”. He deftly and mercilessly roasts the conservative’s tactics in a way that is hilarious and totally believable to the less informed viewer. He is an extremely talented entertainer and comedian behaving as a news reporter and political commentator and is enormously engaging.

As I was watching him, I was thinking that “This guy is REALLY getting his leftist message across” and that we (conservatism) have nothing even close to this guy.

I don’t have a clue how conservatives could possibly counter the effectiveness of Jon Stewart’s spew, the truth is obviously not working, at least all by itself it isn’t.

If an extremely talented conservative counterpart were to emerge, he (or she) certainly wouldn’t be granted the venue that Stewart enjoys.

There are bound to be extremely witty conservative performers out there who could balance this guy and this genre to some degree, and surely there are producers that would see the profit in a conservative counterpoint? Maybe in India?

4 posted on 01/28/2013 4:53:01 AM PST by misanthrope ("...Everybody look what's goin' down.")
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To: misanthrope

“As I was watching him, I was thinking that “This guy is REALLY getting his leftist message across” and that we (conservatism) have nothing even close to this guy.”

South Park does and is funnier.

5 posted on 01/28/2013 5:13:30 AM PST by EQAndyBuzz (I own a weapon to protect my family from those wanting to take that weapon away.)
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To: expat1000

This guy is so brilliant!

The next several years will see some very interesting changes in communications. These changes will have an enormous effect on the way people get information.

I foresee the near total destruction of broadcast TV within 10 years.

Traditional cell and data providers are going to collapse when faced with free providers of the same services (supported by ad revenue) .. GOOGLE et al.... GOOGLE bought up all that dark fiber for a reason.

What we are approaching is a level playing field with the left when MSM collapses. They will attempt to limit the danger by passing laws allowing them to control the internet. Soon ALL content will be delivered as data on the net. No DVD or traditional book sales, no broadcast media, no newspapers, no radio as we know it today.

Unless the progressives (communists) gain total control of the net then anyone with talent and brains will wield the same power a major media outlet does today.

In the early 2020’s and perhaps even sooner the big thing will be augmented reality tech. It will take the form of a device worn like sunglasses and will be connected to the network for free (ad revenue) No tablets, no desktop PCs, no cellphones. Augmented reality devices are where the battle for the future will be waged....within 10 years my friend...we should prepare.

It will be incredibly important to maintain access to an uncensored network, encryption, anonymity and unencumbered use of 3D printing tech! These four things are what the progressives will be targeting. They are at least as important as the 2nd amendment right to arms. Our battle is to keep access to these four rights. The technology is accelerating at a exponential rate now and things will be very different in just a few short years.

6 posted on 01/28/2013 5:23:38 AM PST by Bobalu (It is not obama we are fighting, it is the media.)
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To: misanthrope

I think you make a good point. This will need to be organized outside of the U.S, not necessarily physically, but the perspective will need to come from outside. The other thing I notice the libs are REALLY good at it is, the Echo Chamber. They take two points from their leader and it’s as if they are passed out along the airwaves and those two points are echoed over and over ad nauseum. First off, conservatives need to counter the echo chamber as quickly as possible. It would help if there was a mole inside the Dem talking point circle (maybe James O’Keefe can help?). Not only counter the talking points, but push back with an even louder counterpoint and then have that echo across the conservo-sphere. Right now, it’s all about messaging and mainstream media controls the message with direction/permission from the WH. Citizen media can get around it, we just need to get clever.

7 posted on 01/28/2013 5:25:17 AM PST by austinaero
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To: abb
There is some truth to this article and a whole lot of BS.

"A white elephant operation whose dwindling viewers are older and either share its biases or don't care".

So conservative principles are only interesting to older viewers whose market share is dwindling. Liberal meme's not true but it's interesting that it was included.

...and would mostly cover the same stories that are driven by that same network, but occasionally from a conservative angle. It would essentially be another FOX News.

I find it interesting that the most "conservative" (but not very conservative) news outlet crushes all others in the ratings when the author claims that it's only viewed by an older dwindling share of viewers. Huh...that's interesting. Interesting in that it makes no sense whatsoever.
Most media organizations would kill to have the viewers of FOX yet the author claims that any new media outlet would only "be like FOX". Ya...that sure would suck.

8 posted on 01/28/2013 5:25:57 AM PST by Durus (You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality. Ayn Rand)
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To: misanthrope

9 posted on 01/28/2013 5:29:53 AM PST by Bobalu (It is not obama we are fighting, it is the media.)
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To: Durus
Best put on your glasses and try again:

You could buy NBC News, but then what would you have? A white elephant operation whose dwindling viewers are older and either share its biases or don't care

10 posted on 01/28/2013 5:38:31 AM PST by expat1000
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To: expat1000
Maybe you are missing the point here. The comment isn't about NBC news it's about what would happen if NBC were purchased by a conservative organization, which is the very premise of the article.

His claim is that (after a purchase) NBC would then be a media outlet that's value is far less then it's upkeep because it would only be viewed by a aging and dwindling demographic.

Do you think that the author is saying that NBC has an aging and dwindling viewership, and it's demographics would remain exactly the same after being purchased by a conservative group? That doesn't make any sense.

Is he suggesting that Conservatives are an aging and dwindling group? Perhaps not but it's a very popular liberal meme isn't it?

11 posted on 01/28/2013 6:19:23 AM PST by Durus (You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality. Ayn Rand)
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To: expat1000

The real problem is that Congress funds hundreds of leftist groups with tax dollars. Planned Parenthood; ACORN; ACLU; etc.....

Stop feeding these Liberals with tax dollars. Make them live off the funding of the left.

12 posted on 01/28/2013 6:47:07 AM PST by CoastWatcher
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To: misanthrope

You have hit on an important but non-obvious element of communicating to the masses. Humor aimed at average Joe and Jane, infused with ridicule of leftists, can have a tremendous positive effect—changing how the average person views society and his or her fit in society. I believe there are very bright, conservative humorists out there who, if they were simply given a chance to be seen, would result in demand-pull from the people. Many Southpark episodes provide evidence of this possibility. Some of the radio parody songs are also evidence.

Remember, in the end, conservatism wins. You cannot escape physics and reality. There is a limit on how much oppression and taxation you can burden people with before their natural desire to be free overwhelms their ability to tolerate the oppression. There is a mathematical limit on how much tax you can extract from people’s labors. There are economic consequences to using social/political criteria for employing and educating people. These rules are not altered just because a liberal doesn’t like them. The numbers and laws of life will win and life has an unwaveringly conservative bias.

13 posted on 01/28/2013 6:52:26 AM PST by iacovatx (Conservatism is the political center--it is not "right" of center)
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To: Durus

Another way to look at it is as what happens to a popular teen fad or slang expression when that fad filters down to fourth graders. It becomes instantly stigmatized and dropped from use. This is what would happen to now popular outlets if Conservatives bought them....they become ,”so yesterday” so to speak. This phenomenon is what must be overcome.

14 posted on 01/28/2013 6:59:35 AM PST by Anima Mundi (Envy is just passive, lazy greed.)
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To: Durus
Unless someone in Congress has the balls to bring up Kenyan’s ineligibility and start investigation who installed him, we are sooo screwed already. Arapaio, Taitz, WND will be soon “Breibarted” and red hell will spread from America.
Other alternative is to buy Soros, but ...
15 posted on 01/28/2013 6:59:47 AM PST by Leo Carpathian (FReeeeepisssssed)
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To: expat1000

I can’t find fault with the line of thought, but I think you are missing a piece of the propaganda machine. Network programming is an integral part of it.

The average FReeper, I suspect, does not spend much time watching junk like “Glee”, “Modern Family”, and “The Today Show”, but there are millions of citizens who do. Through such programs, the left relentlessly promotes its ideology.

16 posted on 01/28/2013 7:03:53 AM PST by Bigg Red (Restore us, O God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved! -Ps80)
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To: expat1000

First stop paying the media henchmen for Obama and stop promoting the progressives message with your money.

It’s time to cut your cable and satellite TV.

17 posted on 01/28/2013 7:13:07 AM PST by listenhillary (Courts, law enforcement, roads and national defense should be the extent of government)
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To: Anima Mundi
Society isn't like a high school popularity contest no matter what people want to think. FOX isn't cool. They are roundly mocked by all the "cool kids". They are also the most watched news channel by a huge margin. This points out a pretty big flaw to this theory don't you think?

18 posted on 01/28/2013 8:20:37 AM PST by Durus (You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality. Ayn Rand)
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To: Bigg Red

You are correct about the viewing. They may be older and dwindling, but they voted in November.

19 posted on 01/28/2013 8:31:32 AM PST by huldah1776
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To: expat1000

I find the article to be confusing because of the terminology, which is not very clear and not very accessible.

I don’t think there is any way of challenging the mainstream media as long as academia and schooling in general is so extremely leftist.

a recent reply to some post here on FR pointed out that Republicans/conservatives had a chance to elect conservative members of university boards in MN but ignored them, so these positions were all easily obtained by extreme leftists.

Perhaps there is where we should be lookng.

20 posted on 01/28/2013 8:37:34 AM PST by squarebarb ( Fairy tales are basically true.)
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