You Don't Owe the Media Anything, You Don't Have to Play Their Game

AP Photo/Marta Lavandier

Even if you don't like Vivek Ramaswamy or just don't plan to vote for him, one thing that can't be denied is that the man is a master at handling the media. As I've detailed before, Ramaswamy makes it a point to appear everywhere all the time. It's a solid strategy that works for him because he was more or less an unknown before the 2024 elections began and it was important for him to gain facial and ideological recognition. 

As such, he went on every show that would have him whether friendly or not, and 99 percent of the time, Ramaswamy walked away with a good bit of media under his belt that he could then post to all of his socials, cementing himself into the mind of the public. Love him or hate him, his strategy is working. 

(READ: The Ace Up Vivek Ramaswamy's Sleeve)

Ramaswamy's strategy when it comes to unfriendly media is also something to be admired, and more importantly, replicated. 

In particular, there was a recent moment between Ramaswamy and CNN's Abby Phillip, where Ramaswamy came to talk about policy but was confronted by Phillip, not about something he said, but about something former President Donald Trump had said.

The line in question from Trump was "I pledge to you that we will root out the communist, Marxist, fascist, and the radical left thugs that live like vermin within the confines of our country," and Phillip wanted Ramaswamy to either confirm or deny his agreement with what Phillip called "neo-Nazi rhetoric." 

Clearly annoyed, Ramaswamy fired back. 

"This is a classic mainstream media move," Ramaswamy reacted, "Pick some individual phrase of Donald Trump, focus on literally that word without actually interrogating the substance of what's at issue-" 

After some more back and forth of Phillip attempting to get Ramaswamy to take the bait, Ramaswamy embarrassed Phillip by calling her and the rest of the media out on its obvious tactics to falsely define the conversation and make people play by their rules: 

"You can look at my track record on the campaign trail, I talk about the issues, we all talk about them differently. But what I'm not gonna do is play some game of focusing on some word that somebody else said without ignoring entirely the substance of what we're actually talking about- a border crisis of historic proportions, economic stagnation we haven't seen in 50 years, a national identity crisis and the loss of national pride in the next generation that's potentially existential for this country. 

"Let's talk about our dependence on China on a day we're actually talking about Xi Jinping- picking on Donald Trump's word ‘vermin’ to talk about that status quo. You know what's vermin? What's running around San Francisco on a given day before Gavin Newsom cleaned it up on a dime to roll out the red carpet for Xi Jinping. If he could do that for Xi Jinping, he could have done it on an ordinary day. And yet we're here sitting talking not about the substance of that but on one word that Donald Trump said in some speech in Miami.

"This is what's wrong with the mainstream media- focus on the substance and let's have an actual policy debate rather than talking to a presidential candidate instead of the policy substance of what's actually going on in the country picking on some word that Donald Trump said on a certain day and asking me for comment on it? Give me a break."

Ramaswamy didn't play Phillip's game, or to be more accurate, the corporate media's game. He didn't give her the answer she wanted, but what he did give her was an admonishment about her clearly political aims and ridiculous line of questioning that would do nothing to inform viewers about policy positions on important topics. Ramaswamy dragged the media's obsession with painting everyone they don't like as neo-Nazis into the light and called it out for being a childish waste of time. 

It was a powerful moment for Ramaswamy and an embarrassing moment for Phillip, CNN, and the entirety of the corporate media. 

We need more of these moments. 

Not just Republicans or Conservatives need to start taking up this kind of response to the media. Everyone does. The media is notorious for trying to make one thing about another thing because the latter thing helps their agenda along. Theirs is the business of creating false narratives to warp reality. They are narrative creators, not storytellers.

Ignore their line of questioning that helps paint their picture. Drag reality back to the forefront and shame them for trying to distract and divert. Embarrass them. Make them look and feel childish. Let the public witness it. Be unapologetic about it when they retaliate. 

The media are like lowercase-"g" gods, their power and existence relies on the belief of the people. 

Give people cause to not believe in them. Ramaswamy's strategy is just right for this. 


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