May 5, 2012
JENNIFER RUBIN THINKS THE NEW MEDIA ARE BLOWING IT AND FALLING FOR OBAMA’S DISTRACTIONS. Well, she has a point, up to a point, but only up to a point. She’s right that the election won’t be decided by dog-eating claims or Julia-campaign-mockery. But she’s wrong if she suggests that we in the blogosphere should be ignoring those things.
First, we’re winning on this stuff, enough so that the New York Times is running scared. That’s a big deal. The Obamites thought they were going to rule the social-media world because, you know, they’re young, tech-savvy hipsters and stuff. Instead, they’ve gotten their heads handed to them again and again.
Second, the new media still doesn’t have the power to set the agenda, really. Sometimes we can force things onto the agenda, but the “agenda” — defined as what most MSM outlets are talking about on a given day — is still set by the MSM. Even hard and steady pushes on things like Fast And Furious haven’t really pushed that (huge) scandal into widespread national discussion; when Jimmy Kimmel joked about it at the Correspondents’ Dinner last weekend, it was obvious that a lot of the audience didn’t know what he meant. And that was at the Correspondents’ Dinner! Send ‘em a copy of Katie Pavlich’s book! It’s a bestseller, now. . . .
This may be the last election cycle where that’s true — in 4 years, at its current burn rate, the New York Times may not even exist — but we have more power engaging in jiu-jitsu on things that they have already put on the table. That’s not to undercut Jennifer’s suggestion that other topics deserve more attention than Obama’s dog eating or his cruelly statist vision of Julia’s future, but if you read her list of things the press should be reporting about, few of them are really suitable for new-media coverage.
In truth, the way to push those topics into mainstream media coverage is for Romney to mention them directly; despite press bias, when a candidate talks about things, the press will cover it. If Jennifer knows anyone at the Romney campaign, she might suggest that.
UPDATE: Reader Matt Thullen says it’s battlespace preparation:
I agree with your analysis about how the new (conservative) media should be responding to various campaign distractions. However, you didn’t mention the biggest benefit of the pushback on the various distractions that the Obama team has been surfacing–namely, that the pushback erodes Obama’s sense of “coolness.” Obama benefitted enormously in 2008 from the prevailing notion that he was a cool person and candidate–really, the first presidential candidate since Kennedy that was protrayed as someone that people could socially admire and look up to (I’d argue that Clinton’s coolness was a function of him being a boomer and striking the right chords in the hearts of the boomers in the media).
By pushing back on these ridiculous assertions from the Obama campaign, we’re making him look flat-footed, technologically clueless and therefore more like an old-style politician than anything else. By having to defend themselves against their own mistakes, the Obama campaign will be more a source of ridicule than cool. If anything else, that will erode his support among college-aged kids, or at least diminish the intensity of that support.
ANOTHER UPDATE: A reader emails:
You’re right, the blogosphere should be hitting them on all fronts and let Romney stay above the fray. But instead of playing defense they should be bringing up things MSM conveniently overlooked the first go round…and his record…he has one now…going on the offense and let Obama’s minions have to respond instead of the other way around.
Plus, related thoughts from Stanley Kurtz.
MORE: Further reader thoughts:
You are right about Kimmel’s joke, and while I’m glad Kimmel at least knows about this and was willing to include it (leave aside whether or not it’s a topic that should be joked about, it seems those things are roasts mostly and in that situation everything is fair game) but it is very disturbing that so many there were, literally, clueless. Truly that must have pleased the big O.
And this story has even gotten some attention in the MSM, but I think we all know that if Obama & Holder were Republicans this would have been 24/7 news for months now, Holder would likely be gone along with many minions and Obama would be relentlessly hounded over it.
It is most disturbing that they are getting a pass on this. It really makes one fear what else the Obama administration might be given a pass on, almost anything it would seem.
You are right when you say the only way to keep the government accountable is to have Republicans in office.
I also think it is VERY important that our side is pushing back on the stupid dog stories and memes like “Attack watch” remember that fascistic nonsense?
First of all it prevents them from “shaping the narrative” and getting these ideas into the MSM (because you know they’d be pleased as punch if, for example, the one thing Americans knew about Romney was the Seamus story).
Secondly it makes them look like idiots, which they are, manifestly.
And thirdly, as Alinsky instructs, we enjoy it.
That last is the best reason of all. As I said when Obama was freshly elected, this is the blogosphere — if you’re not having fun, you’re doing it wrong!
And from reader Amy Otto:
Been debating this one and I agree that new Conservative media should push back hard even on what is termed distractions. Democrats are starting to look like the party yelling “Hey, Get off my lawn” with these missteps.
There’s really nothing subversive nor rebellious about permanent government dependency. Their Brand is failing and new media has been key to chipping away the MSM message to reveal the actual agenda. Horrifying to think where we would be in this election cycle without it.
Democrats have successfully branded conservatives for years as uncool and intolerant. Enjoying seeing this get flipped on its head. Go New Media!