Got $500,000,000.00?

First of all, we need to spend about 500 million dollars on a complete new media system. We need national TV and cable networks, a high quality national newspaper, and a national radio network. Everybody in the country, as near as possible, should have access to all of them. Air America is a start, but only reaches 50% or so of the population.

I don’t listen to the radio, but when Air America came to Portland (already a liberal city) I noticed a change in ambience. You started hearing liberal ideas unexpectedly and accidentally in public places. You heard apolitical people talking about things that normally only political people talk about.

A lot of people have no real political ideas of their own, but just pick them out of the air. These are the undecided voters that I call fluff voters. The fluff voters’ votes are decided by the free and cheap media that they passively receive, and by and large these cheap media are hard-right or center-right.

What should this new media be like? In some ideal world I suppose we should just ask for a fact-oriented, fair-minded, professional media, but whether or not that’s even a valid, attainable ideal at all, it won’t work now. Because that’s exactly what the major media claim to be, and the major media (network TV, the WaPo, the NYT) are the biggest part of the problem.

What has happened is that the Republicans have adopted the big-lie tactic, and if they are called on their lies they immediately make loud accusations of media bias. The answer to that one is “If the truth is partisan, print the truth”, but none of the major media have the guts to follow that policy in the face of well-organized opposition.

As a result, what we have in the press is a lot of solid conservatives, a lot of neutral centrists, and a lot of wimpy, intimidated liberals of the Kristoff-Applebaum-Cohen type who fall all over themselves trying to avoid right-wing criticisms by criticizing both sides equally. (Novak, Safire, and Will were all Republican operatives before they became columnists. Who do the Democrats have to match them? – and don’t say Stephanopolous or Estrich).

Anyway, I think that the major media are hopeless. And the new media should be more accurate than Fox, but equally fair and equally partisan. They’re going to be accused of partisanship anyway, so they might as well earn their reputation. The thing most missing in the passive media is simply the partisan expression of the liberal Democratic point of view, and above all, the partisan reporting of the facts which support the liberal position.

Yeah, 500 million bucks is a lot of money. But I really think that that’s what it’s going to take. Does George Soros happen to be listening?

P. S. Later I’ll talk more about the fluff voters, but this piece in the New Republic is required reading [login “gorevidal/ gorevidal”, or go to this summary]. The gist of what I’ll be saying is that we have to do whatever is necessary to communicate with that segment of the electorate, because even if we don’t like them, they’re part of the ballgame. Prissiness really hurts us.

P.P.S. A commentator mentioned the Minnesota DFL Party, and I thought I’d post this link to the “Floyd B. Olson Page”. As the Farmer-Labor Governor of Minnesota, Olson was as radical as anyone who ever held power in the US.