Right around Thanksgiving 2008, still in the aftermath of John McCain’s joyful delivery of his concession speech, I read a comment on a blog (I’m 90% sure it was Jay Rosen’s PressThink) celebrating the dawn of the Permanent Democratic Majority as foretold by Democrat activists John Judis and Ruy Tuxeira.
What was special about this comment (in the form of a season reflecting listing of items the writer was thankful for) was how honest it was about how much the success of Obama’s quest for the Presidency relied on a media that not only all but openly worked to promote and protect his campaign, but also how it did everything possible to mortally wound the Bush Administration and the GOP from well before Obama threw his hat in the ring.
But the item that hit me like a punch in the gut went something like; “I’m thankful
Chimpy McBusHitlerburton George W. Bush never learned how to use YouTube.“
It was especially galling because one of the most common laments of the Bush years on the Right (myself included) was how utterly wasted all the new avenues of communicating with the American public (and the world) were with George W. Bush and his Administration.
Finally, a Republican Administration can make an unfiltered case to the American people – without having to go through a hostile media.
And the Bush White House, thanks to a deadly combination of incompetence (Dan Bartlett), sabotage (Nicolle Wallace), arrogance (Karl Rove), and a determined adherence to outmoded etiquette, deliberately blew it.
Just imagine, the refrain often went, if Ronald Reagan had had conservative talk radio, Fox News, and the Internet, during his time in the White House? Just imagine what Reagan could have done with YouTube …
Which leads me to ask … why is the Trump Administration – which, unlike the Bush Administration, actually has figured out that the Washington Press Corps is an intractable enemy – not making extensive use of video to establish its own competing narratives against those of the media? This is the sort of thing I’d expect Sarah Sanders to push.
The fact is that an overwhelming majority of people would rather watch a ten minute video than take two or three minutes to read a single page of text. That, in itself, is enough reason for the President to set up a video production team for distribution on social media.
A few thousand dollars worth of software, a few high end computers and cameras, and a small team of digital media experts can produce in hours what would have taken hundreds of thousands (or even millions) of dollars worth of equipment, scores of personnel and many days of work to produce just a few years ago.
And with YouTube, Vimeo, DTube, Bitchute, etc. on the scene, getting a video seen by millions is essentially cost-free, as compared to the tens of millions of dollars it would’ve cost when Reagan was President.
So nothing prevents the White House from creating and using videos to explain – i.e. “vidsplain” – Administration policies, initiatives and legislative proposals as they are rolled out, and to promote and defend them as necessary. Videos can be produced not only to highlight successes and accomplishments, but also to answer critics, define problems and set the terms of the debate.
This need not be limited to the White House. The Republican House and Senate Caucuses. The RNC. Cabinet members, Secretaries of the various Departments can produce these same “vidsplainers” for release on social media as they announce new initiatives and policies.
For example, Betsy DeVos’ decision to return due process protections for the accused in campus Title IX proceedings is portrayed by the media as DeVos laying out a welcome mat for rapists to prey on college women. A vidsplainer describing the ludicrously unjust system created by the Obama Administration and making the case for returning to a system of adjudication based on an impartial examination of facts and evidence would have done a lot to blunt the media’s maliciously false narrative.
The aim is not to produce masterpieces of the cinematic arts, but to make a case for, or in defense of, decisions and courses of action being undertaken by the Administration (and allies in Congress) in the most easily digestible format, not to mention American’s preferred mode for getting informed (and entertained).
Dennis Prager’s PragerU videos, with their animated stick figures, simple graphics and text, rapid fire citations of facts and statistics, and accompanying charts and graphs are an almost picture perfect example of what I’m talking about.
For one, PragerU’s videos are remarkably effective. Dangerously so as far as the Left is concerned. This is the sole reason why the channel is so regularly censored and demonetized by the Leftist powers that be at YouTube. Yet it has still garnered over two million subscribers and counting, and many more millions of views – that’s not PewDiePie, but it’s not shabby.
As a topical example/scenario, just imagine the White House releasing a vidsplainer to provide support for the President’s declaration of a National Emergency on the border. Or going forward, to accompany his veto of the bill to rescind it.
A PragerU style video can easily be produced to properly establish and frame the nature of the problem at the border, from drugs, to gangs, human trafficking and the “caravans” from South and Central America violating the territorial sovereignty of the United States.
This is where to insert a recap of the legal authorities, both Constitutional and statutory, that enable the President to declare a National Emergency, reallocate funds and direct the Departments of Homeland Security and Defense specifically to protect the border. Most viewers of CNN, MSNBC, NBC, CBS and ABC have no idea that there is such a thing as The National Emergencies Act, much less the provisions of Sections 284 and 2808.
A person who gets his news exclusively from these outlets can be forgiven for believing that no previous President has ever declared a National Emergency before – despite the 58 issued since 1976, 27 of which are still active today – and that the President is acting outside of any Constitutional or statutory authority. This is not by accident.
Moving on; while PragerU tends to avoid them (except for narrators), I’d include clips of live people and recorded events. I’d have CBP, DEA, FBI, local law enforcement officers and agents, and local residents speak on camera. I’d show maps of drug and human trafficking routes and pictures of the tons of trash illegal immigrants leave in their wake. I would have videos of people leaping the border fence, driving through or crossing over on foot.
I would make heavy note of the economic impact of illegal immigration on state and local government finances, the burden put on public services, and the downward pressure on wages and employment for low-skill workers, particularly young black (and Hispanic) Americans trying to enter the job market for the first time.
And then, of course, I’d spend some time on the wall itself and the features that make it far more than just a medieval structure of steel and concrete as claimed by the Democrats and their media allies. Many people who oppose the wall do so on a utilitarian basis – they’ve heard it repeated over and over again in the media that a wall simply “won’t work.”
So they need to be shown that it certainly would work, e.g. by highlighting features like underground sensors to detect drilling/tunneling, sensors to detect climbers on the structure itself, motion detectors and multispectral CCTV cameras, as well as support from additional surveillance and detection assets like aerostats and drones. I would also specially highlight the fact that a Special Forces team could not breach or climb over it without using very high powered equipment and explosives.
Finally, I’d make sure to include interviews of victims of illegal immigration, not just Angel Moms but Hispanic community members who happen to be the primary victims of gangs like MS-13 and the drug cartels. Just as important is to include interviews (and statistics) of illegal immigrants victimized by coyotes and human traffickers, especially abducted and trafficked children – all people the media are determined to pretend do not exist.
Once completed, the next task would simply be to get the video uploaded to every major video hosting/sharing site there is – YouTube, DTube, Vimeo, Bitchute, etc. and the President would then Tweet the video and the various URLs on different platforms to his 40+ million Twitter followers.
Then sit back, and watch heads explode.
I can easily predict the reactions.
The media will treat it as no less than an invasion of their exclusive sovereign territory and howl like it’s the end of the world. The nation’s airwaves will be saturated with shrieks of panic inducing words like “unprecedented”, “controversial”, “dangerous” and “charged.”
Many would even claim the White House uploading an informational video is “unconstitutional.” Not surprisingly, a large number of journalists actually believe the Press Clause of the First Amendment grants them the sole right to decide what the American people get to see, hear or read about politics and current events.
The problem is that there probably is a 9th Circuit Judge unethical and terminally stupid enough to issue an injunction with that as a justification.
We will be treated to supposedly sane people screaming words like “fascism!” and “propaganda!” and dropping names like “Goebbels” and “Hitler” on national television and in opinion pieces and supposedly straight news articles in the nation’s major newspapers. The slippery slope from the President authorizing a video to be uploaded to YouTube to Jews in concentration camps will be left to the imagination.
nrkers will be trotted out like the dutiful pets they are to echo their masters, and maybe even “pounce.” Indeed, our more exquisitely mannered and delicately constituted brethren, particularly those who delight in chiding their fellow Republicans (and only their fellow Republicans) for “hypocrisy” will disingenuously ask How would you like it if a Democrat President engaged in similar “propaganda”?
They will ask this despite knowing full well that a Democrat President would never ever have a problem getting his message through a hostile media establishment to the American people, and, in fact, that the media would gladly transmit whatever information he wants – true or false – without a qualm.
This is already proven by recent history; every one of the major networks and the nation’s major newspapers knew very well that President Obama’s promises about people keeping their insurance plans and doctors under Obamacare could not possibly be true, yet they deliberately chose to promote the lie and attack people who told the truth to help a favored President score a needed political win.
And that’s just one example.
Another set of objections that would be advanced by our dainty betters would be based on the overweening “dignity of the office” concerns that held sway with the Bush White House, and directly resulted in Bush leaving office despised by over 70% of the country. i.e. the President should be “above the fray”, correcting the record is “relitigating the past”, protesting unfair media coverage is “petty”, responding to attacks is “punching down”, struggling for the last word – to win the argument – is “beneath the Presidency.”
Finally, there would be calls for YouTube, Twitter, etc. to take down or censor the videos. In fact, the social media giants’ Leftist leadership will desperately want to take them down themselves. But this is the President, and any attempt to censor or sabotage will mean destroying their facade of being apolitical – which puts them between the hard place of their convictions and the rock of the marketplace. And frankly, it’s a confrontation that needs to happen.
Either way, reactions like these are a clear signal to double down, rinse and repeat.
So, Ms. Sanders, Mr. Mulvaney, Ms. McDaniel, Mr. Pascarle, Mr. Trump … what are y’all waiting for?