I left a comment to this post at MyDD: Where’s Our Fox News? and it makes a good blog post. So here it is: (edited to make me look good)
In response to this comment:
What I’d like to know is why every time there’s any hint of an issue, the GOP has 17 people on every talk show all on point, making their points quickly, with good on-camera presence. Meanwhile, Dems have few on the talkshows, and the ones on are all over the place on message, and I and half the Blogosphere could make their arguments better. The GOP must be putting resources into media training and staffing a rapid response for cable news that we aren’t. My question is why?
Let me nitpick on language a bit here, because it affects how we think about solving this.
It is not (necessarily) “the GOP” that has all those people on the shows. It’s the “conservative movement” infrastructure — the Heritage Foundation, and about 400 other similar organizations. They are called “think tanks” but they are really ideological advocacy/communications/marketing organizations. (A side note – They are “501c3” charitable organizations – which means taxpayer subsidized – but operate illegaly as partisan supportive arms of the Republican Party.)
This is such an important distinction. The problem is not that “the Democrats” aren’t getting people onto the shows, etc, to match the right. As Jonathan wrote, the problem is that Progressives don’t have the kinds of organizations in place that put those people on the shows. The reason this is such an important distinction is because it tells us that to fight back we need to build organizations that reach out to the general public promoting the BENEFITS of Progressive values – democracy, community – and a Progressive approach to issues – the common good – over and over, day after day, until the public understands and starts to support Progressive candidates and legislation. THIS is how the Right did it. This is how the Right took over the Republican Party and persuaded so many people to support them. (Of course, we do it legally, and our organizations must be honest and ethical. But then, ours CAN be – unlike the Right’s organizations, they aren’t trying to convince blue collar workers to give up pensions and health care so some rich fuck can buy a bigger private jet.)
It’s just basic marketing. For 30 years we have been hearing that conservatives are good and liberals are bad and stupid and corrupt and “against God” and all the rest but we have not been hearing anything to counter that! After 30 years of this OF COURSE this is what a lot of people think! DUH!
This relates to the “issue group” argument. INSTEAD of organizations that tell the public that Progressive approaches are better, we have issue groups, and most Progressive money goes to these groups. But these groups do not reach out to the general public and do not tell them that Progressives are better and Progressive ideas are better. And the result is that the underpinnings – support for basic Progressive ideals – of these groups erodes. If environmental groups, for example, spent their money telling the public that Progressives are better, then the public would elect Progressives, and environment-friendly laws and regulations would be put in place to protect the environment…
Some previous posts on this subject:
What Does “The Democrats” Mean?
Funding A Counter-Attack Against The Right