Soberly providing the media and the public with reports and well-intentioned research designed to tell a story and prompt discussion over solutions is great, but none of that works as well as a bloody media fight.
February 11, 2022

he Washington Post's Greg Sargent is frustrated by Republicans' ability to transmit their messages -- including utter claptrap -- at will:

One big advantage Republicans have right now is their massive network of right-wing media spinners. They spend hours each day communicating a wholly alternate narrative of the moment — one comprehensively purged of contrary or nettlesome facts — straight to the GOP base in a way that has no equivalence on the Democratic side.

Mark Meadows’s new appearance on Newsmax captures how this dynamic works....

In the Newsmax interview, Meadows scoffed at mainstream news organizations for implying that documents that were ripped up and taped together [by then-president Donald Trump] “show some nefarious purpose.”

“Yet they will ignore Nancy Pelosi ripping up something on national TV behind the president,” Meadows seethed....

You will recall that what Pelosi ripped up in February 2020 was a copy of President Trump’s State of the Union address, after he had already delivered most of it to the nation. Pelosi’s act in no sense denied the public information, whereas withholding presidential documents very well might, and might also break the Presidential Records Act, a law.

Meadows went on and on in that Newsmax interview (above), with no skeptical follow-up questions, of course, from the interviewer. Hillary Clinton was invoked, naturally, as another criminal document-destroyer, in contrast to the completely innocent Trump. Again, no pushback.

Sargent laments:

Because mainstream media properly represent all sides of a story, Republicans can inject all manner of unsupported claims to muddy the waters around Trump’s transgressions, and around their own hypocritical treatment of them.

That contrasts sharply with the alternate narrative offered in right-wing media, which simply erases not just the other side’s arguments, but also wholesale sets of facts that objectively contradict that narrative.

As Democratic strategist Dan Pfeiffer told Vox, that contrast creates a deeply lopsided imbalance. Democrats rely on mainstream media to get their message out, and Republicans can muddy up the picture voters get by exploiting conventions of political reporting dictating that the GOP position will be fully represented, even if it’s obvious nonsense.

Meanwhile, notes Pfeiffer, Republicans benefit from a “massive apparatus” communicating “the exact optimized political message for Republicans” to “tens of millions of people.” As a result, Democrats are “competing with one hand tied behind our back.”

Is it good that Democrats understand this problem? Yes. Is it bad that many of them seem to have decided that the game is rigged and it's futile to try to get their own message out? The answer is also yes.

As Oliver Willis says, Republicans might have Fox, but Democrats have just as much access to social media as Republicans have -- and they don't use it, while Republicans do, usually sending a coordinated message repeated by multiple messengers.

(Willis was responding to a tweet noting that Republicans were talking with one voice about a now-debunked report that the Biden administration is distributing pipes to crack smokers.)

When Democrats do make noise, as Willis notes, they can get results.

[In January], Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said, "African American voters are voting in just as high a percentage as Americans." ...

The comment attracted criticism, from figures like Rep. Bobby Rush, DNC Chair Jaime Harrison, Kentucky Senate candidate Charles Booker, the NAACP, along with thousands on Twitter using the hashtag #MitchPlease.

The criticism generated coverage, to the point where a clearly exasperated McConnell was forced to publicly respond to the hue and cry over his racial demagoguery. "I have had African American speech writers, schedulers, office managers over the years," said McConnell, all but telling the country that some of his best friends are Black.

The episode was a microcosm of how the media truly works, attracted to coverage of an important issue – race and voting rights – through controversy and conflict. Traditionally liberals have tried to get coverage of those topics by soberly providing the media and the public with reports and well-intentioned research designed to tell a story and prompt discussion over solutions.

But none of that works as well as a bloody media fight.

And, more recently:

But Democrats don't go on offense often enough. If they're not silent, they're defensive And they don't coordinate their message, as Punchbowl News noted this morning.

So we spoke to more than a dozen Senate Democrats, including their most vulnerable 2022 incumbents, about how Congress should respond to the inflation crisis. What’s most surprising to us is their responses were kind of all over the place. They don’t have a unified message. Compare that to the GOP message (accurate or not) – the government is causing inflation by spending too much money – which is easily understood and digested.

Go on offense. Stop complaining that you don't have access to a liberal Fox News and use the media channels to which you do have access. Coordinate your messaging, and put in on blast.

Published with permission of No More Mr. Nice Blog

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