How Conservatives Can Defeat the Media
One unavoidable truth that must be faced regarding the media and 2014 is this: the American media has the conservatives’ number. They know exactly where the blind spots are, which are the most sensitive points, and how to do the most damage. And they have absolutely no compunction about taking advantage of it.
The relationship between conservatives and the media recalls the old skit by Monty Python concerning “the advantages of not being seen.” A plummy voice calls out, “Will Christine please stand up?” Christine rises from behind a bush, there’s an explosion, and down again she goes. “Will Todd stand up?” Here’s Todd, here’s the explosion, no more Todd. “Cliven, please…”
A simple formula, and one that always seems to work, no matter how often it’s attempted. Christine, after all, was blown up repeatedly by Bill Maher throughout the late 1990s before she even ran for office. Todd was vaporized in 2012, and Cliven, well, that was only last month. A movement made up of people who simply will not learn from experience would appear to be uneducable. But we’re going to try anyway.
Sensing easy prey in people who so avidly cooperate in their own destruction, the media has relentlessly expanded its strategy for portraying conservatives as gibbering idiots for whom no sane voter would press the lever. For decades the media has collaborated with Democrats and the liberal elites in creating a superstructure that exists for the sole purpose of humiliating conservative candidates and spokesmen. It is proactive, universal, and often quite successful. It has also been virtually ignored by the conservative establishment, which consistently behaves as if American politics is a gentleman’s pastime operating by the same rules that it did in the late 19th century.
It can be said without exaggeration that the major public uproars of the 2012 campaign were either media-generated or immediately exploited by the media/liberal superstructure.
Take the “slut” scandal in the first month of the year. Sandra Fluke was always too good to be true. The ladies-room sign hairdo, the plain, makeup-free face, the klutzy suit. If you’d seen a picture beforehand, you’d have thought, late 50s, early 60s -- well before the sexual revolution, anyway. Fluke was exactly what anxious mothers hope their college-age daughters develop into while away from home. As such, she was perfect for the testimony she provided and the role she played (consider how differently it would have gone if she’d had full sleeve tats, a tongue stud, and a purple streak in her hair), which was to act as conservative bait.
And of course, she caught the biggest prey of all, El Rushbo, who, in a slack moment, said the obvious thing. While a natural enough response, Limbaugh’s comment shifted the focus of debate from a silly little twit who wanted the world to pay for her fun to the burning question as to whether Rush was best described as an ogre or a troglodyte. Voila – the War on Women, which we’re all still… “fighting” I guess is the technical term.
Before the Fluke “scandal” had a chance to die down, we had the passion of Trayvon, in which a mild young man -- no more than a child, really -- was stalked and martyred by a crazed white vigilante for no other reason than the color of his skin.
This was a perfect narrative for the reelection campaign of an incompetent, corrupt Democrat who also happened to be black. We’re on very firm ground here as far as manipulation goes -- the Justice Department’s Community Relations Service (CRS) arrived only days after the incident for the express purpose of blowing it up to national levels. How could it miss? A bright-eyed, attractive kid dead, a perp with a name (Zimmerman! His brother Robert had the exact same name as one of the most notable American Jewish performers of the pasty fifty years) guaranteed to inflame latent black anti-Semitism along with self-abasement from Jewish liberals from Spielberg on down….
But… it didn’t quite come off. It turned out, to start with, that Zimmerman wasn’t Jewish after all. He was not only Hispanic, not only Indio, but in fact had black ancestry. This added more than a touch of uncertainty to the narrative, breaking up the momentum and allowing elements such as Trayvon’s criminal record, the actions of “school police chief” Michael Hurley, and eyewitness testimony to rise to the surface. Obama swung at it anyway. (“If I had a son…[ he’d look like this drugged-out vicious punk.”]) But it just didn’t take.
It climaxed, as we all know, with George acquitted despite his repeated attempts at self-immolation, the “school police chief” forced to resign for covering up Trayvon’s crimes, the Florida primary educational system humiliated, and all involved with egg on their faces. We can also add that Trayvon played little or no role in the election, despite Democratic hopes.
A more successful effort was carried out against Mitt Romney himself. It’s often forgotten these days that the first debate was a homer for Mitt, who savaged Obama like pit bull with a rag doll, shaking him silly and chasing him from one end of the stage to the other. If the ensuing debates had gone the same way, we’d now be bitching about what a RINO the president is.
But something happened between the debates. Several somethings, in point of fact. Somebody -- either the GOP establishment, his staff, or likely both -- got to Mitt. He’s a colored gent, you know. You can’t speak to his kind that way. Nobless oblige, there, good fellow.… So the Romney that appeared in the second debate was a much tamer, much more low-key contender. Much like the media caricature of Mitt Romney, in fact.
Something -- on the order of full panic -- also occurred on the other side, leading to one of the most blatant pieces of media rigging on record, the infamous “terrorist” riposte, in which Candy Crowley just happened to have the exact document that Obama needed (“Ooh, I just carry it!”), and O just happened to know not only that she had it, but that she had it right in front of her that very moment.
So all’s well that ends well. Mitt, playing mister genial, was caught off balance. O got his next four years, the vivacious and winsome Candy got her own TV show as a reward, and the American media slid from the gutter into the sewer.
This is the system we’re facing in 2014. Has anybody learned from these events -- from the self-immolation of O’Donnell and Akin, from the Sandra and Trayvon conspiracies, the blatant sabotage of Mitt Romney? The record certainly doesn’t show it. There has been no discussion of the media enemy, no evaluation, no strategizing. The GOP seems to think they can brush off their spats, slip on the pince-nez, pick up their kid gloves and glide out to the carriage, to face a third-millennial world of the Net, social media, hackers and viruses and a media structure staffed almost totally by individuals who see themselves as comic-book revolutionaries.
It’s well into 2014 election year and we haven’t seen anything quite as blatant as 2012. It’s not a presidential election, which means fewer resources for both media and the Democrats. But it’s a critical election (they all seem to be critical these days), and it’s still early days. We can expect some effort -- every public incident this spring and summer will be played against conservatives; every candidate will be scrutinized, stalked, and egged on to say something atrocious, obnoxious, and dumb.
So what’s to be done?
The striking thing about all this is how predictable it is, and how everyone involved fails to predict it. When Candidate X stands up and gets blown to atoms, do the rest of the Republican candidates out there flee the field? Do they attack the plummy voice and the guys who are winging the explosives their way? They do not. They crouch behind their bushes, waiting to be called on, waiting to be blown up. As far as the GOP goes, the Pythons were not doing comedy, they were making a documentary.
I’m exaggerating, you say? I am not. Crowley’s nasty little trick, unethical, corrupt, and cheap as it was, should have resulted in her and all the executives involved being canned and blacklisted. Instead it went down the memory hole. Nobody mentioned it -- certainly not in the legacy media, or the establishment conservative press, and scarcely in the new media. There has been no punishment and no reckoning. McCain, Cantor, and Boehner, to mention a few, have appeared on her worthless program. She no doubt believes she got clean away with it.
So the first thing we need is to find GOP candidates to act with the same level of intelligence as a sea urchin. One of the most primitive of all chordates, a sea urchin will flee from a threat. Republicans won’t.
Second: make a list of the issues that the media will utilize to trip conservative candidates with. These include abortion, immigration, the war on women, race, and gay rights above all, followed by gun control, being kind to Muslims, and everything else a distant third.
Abortion is the worst of these, since media types have learned that conservatives will do or say any crazy thing once the topic is mentioned. The answer, of course, is to come up with a short and straightforward statement, tailored for the area and audience, getting across the candidate’s beliefs while not hitting any tripwires. It seems a simple matter to put together such a statement while avoiding the words “legitimate rape.” In this age of Kermit Gosnell, it would take little more in the way of skill to turn the question around completely for use as an anti-media weapon. Just shake Gosnell in their faces, insist that you’re interested above all in the safety and health of women, and there you go -- you’ve killed two birds with one stone, both abortion and the war on women. Persuade your candidate to do this without breaking into full-throated sobs, and you’re home free.
Much the same can be done with all these issues. Any competent PR veteran or political speechwriter could knock them off in an afternoon. (I could do it more quickly that that -- in fact, I just did.) The only reason this doesn’t happen is conservative political culture and its dream reality that everyone is our friend and wants to help, that there’s nothing wrong, that if we just act nice, bad things won’t happen.
All that remains is to keep candidates on message and to stop them from extemporizing. Democrats are quite adept at this. Recall ObamaCare -- not a single Democrat defected, not a single one alluded to the truth at any point during the debate. The same is happening now with gay marriage. We can be sure that many Democratic politicians are confused or repulsed, but you will never hear about it. Democrats are far from geniuses, to say the least, but message discipline is total. The same needs to be imposed on the GOP. Any candidate who can’t live up to that standard shouldn’t be running for anything.
The same process will work with “events” -- incidents of the Trayvon or Fluke type that the media will manipulate (or create) in order to hurt conservative candidates. Get a statement written immediately -- make sure the candidate and spokesmen memorize it. The mind boggles as to what Todd Akin or Joe Miller would have come up with concerning Trayvon.
The point is to win elections, not to be sneered at by Huffpo or made a punchline by Maher or Colbert. Too many conservatives lose sight of this in favor of cheap, momentary points. Too many rank and file conservatives act as if ideological purity has to be displayed every last second under every conceivable circumstance. Too few show any sign of having heard of tactics, subterfuge, or gamesmanship. They insist of hearing what they call “the truth” no matter what -- they actually approve of the Akins and Bundys among us. Recall Fontanelle’s words: “If I had a fistful of truths, I’d be careful about opening it.” Truth always annoys, frightens, and infuriates. The standard reaction to truth is not understanding or enlightened behavior. It is outrage. (Anyone doubting this can just take a look at the comments to this piece). If you want to win elections, truth must be modulated and utilized sparingly.
In the end, only one truth matters: the media is a machine designed to destroy conservatives. Eventually, it will be destroyed in its turn. Until then, it must be counteracted with vigilance, energy, and care.