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My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.
|On the Dangers of Underestimation|
There is, I think a real tendency of those of us in the center-right blogosphere to look for examples of media bias, for no other reason than to mock it. Look at any of the major center-right blogs. . .Hugh Hewitt, Powerline, Captain's Quarters . . . and you will find many examples of pointing out media lies and misrepresentations, followed by a dismissive wave at the hand at the "dinosaur".
That's probably an unfair mass characterization--to be sure, all of the above DO attempt to take on the media directly at every opportunity. But I think there is certainly less direct advocacy to the general public than there could be. And while it is significant to continually point out to the center-right audience examples of media bias, leaving it at preaching to the choir is a strategic error.
How big a strategic error? Let me analogize.
FIRST: Let me be clear--I AM NOT CALLING THE MEDIA THE ENEMY, OR IN ANY WAY LIKENING THEM TO OSAMA BIN LADEN, AL QAEDA, HITLER, OR ANY OTHER BAD GUY. You have to read the whole analogy and go with it to understand me.
IF the battlefield of ideas is an impotant, strategic battlefield--and it most certainly is--than you can use a variety of battlefield analogies to understand it. And bear with me while I build mine.
Why weren't Conservatives able to argue that the War in Iraq is actually going very well right now, by any historical standard? Because the media story had become SO ingrained in the American consciousness that it brooked no room for argument.
Why weren't Republicans able to capitalize on a strong economy in the 2006 election cycle? Because the media story had become SO ingrained that most of the public did not even know there was a strong economy, much less be in a position to weigh competing arguments about the point.
Why weren't Republicans able to counter the "corruption" meme the Democrats ran out in September to kill GOP momentum? Because--well, one of ours was exceedingly stupid--but also because coverage of Ted Haggard and Mark Foley got front-page, above-the-fold for several days straight, while coverage of William Jefferson and other Democrats were relegated to page 6B. In other words, the common language necessary for a real debate on the issue was never a possibility.
In other words, every weapon in our electoral arsenal was rendered moot because the terrain of the battlefield was extraordinarily unfavorable.
To underestimate the effect of the mainsteam media throwing in, full-throated, with the Democrats, is akin to disregarding the significance of U.S. Air Power. The media, especially once it decides to pick a side as it did in 2006, is the force that prepares the battlefield of ideas. And, as the enemies of the U.S. Air Force have discovered, to disregard that force is to invite disaster--in this case, electoral disaster.
So I think the center-right needs to make a much more concerted effort to tell The Whole Story--going straight to the public to level the battlefield for Republicans.
Stay tuned for the "how" of accomplishing this.