The Battle for the Publics Attention

Our national political discussions can be generally divided into two types. The first is the day to day current events trench warfare that plays out in the media between the two major parties and their various captains. The second are the ideas, arguments, and policy prescription, that are underneath the news, and are unfamiliar or poorly understood by a large segment of the public. If I were to make a single observation, it would be that the dominant part of our political dialog that is covered by our mainstream media (MSM),  is the former, the day to day current events trench warfare, and very little of the latter. In a way I can’t blame them, public policy discussions can be boring, especially if the wrong champions are engaged in it. MSM’s interest is to provide sensational content that drive their ratings positive, which for them means higher viewer-ship and a healthier bottom line. This is all well and good for the media company’s financials, but where does it leave the country.  What makes matters worst for conservatives, and the country as a whole I would argue, is that the MSM and their allied new media are mostly positioned within the trenches of the political left, thereby the message conveyed is analogous to the propaganda of only one of the warring factions. One of the goals if not a major goal of Redstate and other new media conservative outlets, is to help break through and counteract some of that propaganda noise, with content that tells the other side. Another observation, for the most part the new media on the right and left, are mostly communicating with our own partisans, while the MSM, even if they’re widely seen as biased, are more effective at reaching and influencing the less partisans, due to their advantage in access-ability. One example of the affect of this,  is the rise of Donald Trump. It has been reported that the MSM had granted Trump nearly $ 2 Billion in free air time during the 2015-2016 primary season. It should be noted that not all of it was good, but it kept him front and center in the news, and thereby relegating his competition to near obscurity. As the primary season went on, his dominance in airtime serve to render the impression that Trump was the inevitable Republican nominee.

Beyond all the current events news and chatter, what has been in short supply for a long time now, is a stream of coherent explanations of our conservative ideas and solution, along with the intellectual arguments that supports them. Even as a conservative, I have found recent explanations and defenses of conservative ideas on MSM, not all that compelling. I don’t believe the message per say is at fault but rather unconvincing messengers. I come away not with a vision of a country steadily improving because of the implementation of good conservative policy, but rather some mechanical process legalese discussion that leads me nowhere. If our messengers cannot effectively sell the ideas to me, a person who’s already part of the choir, how would they ever convince a skeptic. There have been a couple of exceptions to this, but not enough to move the needle. We need to have competent conservative voices consistently and passionately promoting conservative ideas and policy solutions in the MSM.  In the conservative new media I tend to find more convincing arguments for the implementation of conservative policies, by more committed and talented advocates. But as I mentioned earlier, much of this is only received by our choir.

A challenge I have set up for myself, is reaching the somewhat engaged not so partisan, the moderate Republican, independents, and reasonable Democrats, with non-watered down conservative vs. alternative policy prescription discussions, complete with the data and arguments of both positions. I hope to illustrate, when both sides are fairly presented, the conservative solution is superior. My challenge is to use this new media medium, my Redstate Diary, to engage conservatives and non-conservatives alike, with what may be the most boring Redstate diary’s to come, ever.  All to reach the hearts and minds of people who are not of our choir.