Diary

Taking The First Step

In the first few days of my fundraising I’ve already received over a third of my goal for launch. Considering the positive response, and that people now have money in the game, I thought it was important that I follow up with a more defined message, both for those who have already contributed, and for those who are just wondering what is going on.

What is the purpose of funding conservative activist bloggers on a small scale?

Let me first ask you a question. How many times have you had that conversation where you talk about how much more active the left is online and the conclusion of which is “well righties have day jobs” … you know what I mean? I’ve seen it and participated in it dozens of times here at Redstate. The fact is, it’s true. The left is well-funded online. It is axiomatic that Democrats take better advantage of the internet, but whenever the axiom is examined it seems our party has a tendency to conclude that we need more ning sites, or to tweet more frequently, or to have as many facebook friends for the RNC as possible. I have a little tech algorithm for the party about that: Usage != Success. You don’t win a football game by virtue of having correctly selected a football rather than a basketball.

There is, no doubt, in each of our minds a comprehensive list of the things the right gets wrong online, but I want to address only one deficiency at this time. We don’t fund independent conservative activists online. Sure, there are some blogs that are funded or which are making decent money from advertising (I say that as an exercise in caution, I know of no particular example that isn’t called Hot Air), but it can’t really just be about blogging. Or rather, not just about advocacy blogging.

I suggest that we need a new kind of warrior online. The kind which is versed in the net at large, of course, in utilising Twitter or Digg, but also versed in the skills that produce web content: writing, graphic design, programming, video editing and, of course, snark. These online activists would produce content for our side. They would travel to where stories were happening, produce intel, video, and original reporting. They would investigate in the real world, and then deliver it online at the websites where such things are best delivered, the big megaphone sites like Redstate as well as the close-knit community sites like The Minority Report. The activist wouldn’t be blogging as an audition to get a job at the Washington Post or the New York Times … THIS would be his job.

But there’s more. There’s doing the labor each day of slogging through the online left to catch new memes as they are born. There’s building contacts across the spectrum. There’s emailing complaints where appopriate, or fighting back when needed. There’s checking the wikipedia entries of prominent people and themes for left-wing activist dishonesty, and making it right.

The activists can help us to penetrate back into popular culture, which we must do to win going forward. Take some of it back. Take back some humor. Take back some celebrities. Where better than online to launch a counter-counter-culture offensive within the context of pop culture?

It is my firm belief that if we, as a community of activists and bloggers, can pool resources to fund just a few full time right wing activists online, that it would make a huge difference. I note humbly that as a conservative blogger inside the Democratic Convention, I was able to produce a series of stories we’d otherwise never have seen. Some of that content made it all the way up to the MSM. With funding, more of this can happen.

Our movement has suffered some serious blows. It is easy to point fingers and lay blame. It is also easy to throw up our hands, or throw in the towel. Despite our massive electoral losses, the assault on our side by theirs is more fierce than ever. It is relentless. With the election of Obama left-wing websites are even more easily treated as straight news sources by the MSM. They have cover. It would be easy to give in.

But I say, NEVER. I will never let them win. I give nothing. There is no battle too small to fight, there is no challenge to great to take on. We know this country loves our ideals of freedom, liberty, justice, choice (not that false motto from the left regarding abortion but real choice), equal opportunity, and growth of prosperity for our land. Americans believe in defense of our nation, in doing unto others as we would have them do unto us. They believe in freedom of religion not freedom from religion. So how can we lay down and let the left pervert those things, against the will of the people? As patriotic men and women we can not. And I will not.

I realize I am but one voice in a massive wilderness, and a small one at that. I realize that funding just one such voice may seem futile, a drop in the bucket. But I don’t see it that way. I see it as one small step. It’s a beginning. We have work to do and I think we have to find a first step and take it if we want it done. So I’m taking mine. For those of you who are taking it with me: Thank you!

Next week, I’m tentatively launching an off-Redstate blog for managing my goal. If I can meet my fundraising requirement and maintain that site, then I think we are off to a running start on something big. Not just me, not just one voice. Many. This is step one.

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Anyone who has any question should feel free to email me: Caleb at Redstate.com