Why Conservatives Must Join the Battle for America On Twitter
In 2004, The Swift Boat Veterans for Truth scared the hell out of the corrupt media. The MSM was sure incumbent President George W. Bush would finally get the humiliation he deserved after the close election in 2000 because, in a time of war, Democrats had nominated Senator John F. Kerry, a "war hero."
Those best laid plans completely fell apart when a number of veterans, some of whom had served with Kerry in Vietnam, came out with a series of television ads attacking the credibility of Kerry's wartime claims, and most especially, the hagiography the media had written to back those claims up.
At first, Kerry and his media minions willfully ignored the Swift Boat Veterans, assuming they could wait them out. What happened, though, is that the story took off in the alternative media: Drudge, blogs, and Fox News. Finally, the media was forced to report on it, and the result was the whole episode blowing up in the media's face. Kerry's primary strength was undermined by the truth, and Bush went on to a second term.
The media was rattled to the core by this and quickly figured out what had happened. A narrative had grown on New Media, damaged their candidate, and by the time the corrupt media got around to attempting to destroy the credibility of the story and, quite reprehensibly, the men who told it, it was too late.
The media cried "Never again!" and, as a result, birthed an unholy set of twins to back that cry up: Media Matters and a number of corrupt truth squads and fact checkers, like Politifact.
Both of these entities are what I call Inconvenient Narrative Zappers. Their job is to spot emerging and potential narratives damaging to the Left and, before they make their way into the mainstream media, to use lies, half-truths, rationalizations, shameless spin, and anything else they can think of to discredit those narratives and ensure they gain no traction. This allows the MSM to either completely ignore stories it doesn't want to amplify or to simply report on "an already discredited story" bubbling online.
Think about what the anti-Semitic, Soros-funded, tax-exempt Media Matters and its equally dishonest brethren in the form of these MSM fact-checkers would've done to the Swift Boat Veterans. Actually, you don’t have to imagine it, because we all saw what was done to stories inconvenient to Obama's ascendancy to the presidency in 2008.
Anything and everything having to do with Jeremiah Wright, Bill Ayers, and the rest of Obama's inexperienced and shadowy past was attacked, marginalized, and exploded in a controlled environment before it ever got to the MSM. By the time Anderson Cooper or Bryan Williams got around to the story, they had already been supplied the talking points necessary to downplay it. This tactic was absurdly effective and now 23 million unemployed Americans are living with the result of an unqualified Leftist sitting in the Oval Office.
We all laughed in 2009 when Politifact fact-checked an "SNL" sketch critical of Obama, but there was a method to their madness. Leftists like those at Politifact understand the power of satire to define someone. Thus, in order to protect Obama, Politifact was willing to make of fools of themselves to undermine any traction the "SNL" sketch about Obama's broken promises might have received.
On a more serious note, here's the harrowing story of how Media Matters stole justice from a black man beaten in public by Obama's SEIU thugs only hours after the White House issued an order to "punch back twice as hard." Most importantly, it's the tale of how Media Matters gave the media the cover it so desired to ignore the story.
But it's not 2009 anymore; it's 2012, and Twitter has not only changed everything, it's allowing everyday American conservatives the opportunity to beat Media Matters and these corrupt fact checkers at their own game.
The first time I took notice of the power of Twitter was when hundreds and perhaps thousands of everyday Americans completely dismantled the left-wing, superior snark-site, Wonkette, after the reprehensible publication viciously ridiculed Sarah Palin's youngest child, Trig, who has Down Syndrome. This showed me that Twitter was an unbelievably effective organizing tool that could effectively call attention to and do something about an issue the media would've normally ignored. This was a passionate citizenry meting out justice, and because it was done in a responsible way, it was a beautiful thing to watch.
The Twitter event that really caught my attention, though, was what happened in the wake of the killing of Osama bin Laden. All of America was celebrating our president's only successful decision to date, and it looked as though Obama would get a huge poll bounce as a result. Once again, though, everyday Americans who had taken to Twitter weren't having any of it. Within hours of the news breaking, people started to ask how Obama could take this credit when it was the policies he opposed regarding enhanced interrogations that resulted in the intelligence that located bin Laden.
This question blew up on Twitter in such a way that something happened that up till then only the media could do: it changed the narrative. And as a result of thousands of people having this discussion without their filter, the MSM couldn't do what they normally would've done: ignore something inconvenient to the Left. Suddenly the fact that Obama opposed the very policies that resulted in bin Laden's death became very much a part of the news narrative and, as a consequence, in my opinion, Obama's bounce was pretty much of the dead cat variety.
In the ensuing year, again and again, I've seen Twitter overwhelm the MSM and their protectors at Media Matters and those phony left-wing fact-checkers. Try as they might, whether it's about Obama eating a dog, the hypocrisy of the War on Women, or the real facts behind the economic "recovery"; the media cannot ignore a conversation being had by millions upon millions of citizens. Most importantly, they can't filter or control that conversation. If the media won’t tell the truth or point out the hypocrisies, we will -- and the media not only can’t stand that, they’re also forced to grudgingly cover it or look completely out of step with what the "real news" is.
There are five crucial reasons for this:
1. Twitter is an equalizer in an eco-system where MSM types are no longer insulated in their bubble. We can now use Twitter to reach out to the media in order to challenge their biases, facts, lies, spin, and hypocrisy. The media is now accountable to their customers and you can bet this has an effect. Even the corrupt media types (which is most of them) are aware that these challenges posed on Twitter are potentially being tweeted and re-tweeted to thousands of readers. That's hard to ignore.
2. More and more news narratives start on Twitter. Nothing is more dangerous to the left than everyday Americans talking amongst themselves, and today, more and more news narratives start in these conversations, not in MSM editorial meetings. What's especially revolutionary is that this new reality means the news media can't start narratives at will like they once could. They can seed the clouds and hope to make rain, but if everyday Americans dismiss or, better yet, shoot down these offerings, chances are it's not going anywhere.
Furthermore, the only way the MSM can even attempt to filter or control Twitter memes not started by them is to cover whatever it is we're talking about. And this, my friends, is how stories are now able to jump over the fire break of Media Matters and those corrupt fact-checkers.
3. The media no longer gets the last word. As we saw with The Washington Post hit-piece on Romney last week, if the media attempts to spin or lie, we simply create a furious counter-narrative about their spin and lies that consumes as much of the narrative oxygen as the original story. Because we're tireless and relentless and no longer stuck behind a blog or inside a confining comment section, these battles take on a life of their own and, in a situation like that, the liars (the MSM) always lose. I have no doubt the media expected to get a full week or more of narrative traction from Romney's supposed bullying in high school. But the pushback in New Media, especially on the frontlines of Twitter, not only killed this narrative but made the corrupt Post pay a heavy price for their cynical attempt to launch it.
On a level-playing field, truth always wins out, because the liars have no place to run and hide.
4. The Left is losing the social media war. Though there are few "journalists" I have more contempt for than BuzzFeed Politics' Ben Smith, he is at least smart enough to understand that the fight for the 2012 narrative will take place in social media. The good news is that, up till now, his cynical attempt to control the social media narrative has pretty much failed. After a series of bad moves, the most memorable of which was the attempt to ignore the Obama-ate-a-dog meme, Smith and his crew are now on defense a whole lot more than offense. You don’t win social media by being on social media. You win with the facts, truth, and common sense. In this environment, Leftists like Smith and company who disguise themselves as objective risk becoming laughingstocks.
5. It's fun! Thousands upon hundreds of thousands upon millions of everyday Americans are discovering that taking the fight directly to the media, mocking Obama hashtags, conversing, trading information, and talking and debating amongst ourselves liberated from the MSM filter -- is an absolute blast. More than that, it's intoxicating, liberating, and addictive. For decades we've had to just SIT THERE AND TAKE IT from these corrupt media liars. Well, no more, and the result is not only more fun than some of us have ever had before, it's a patriotic reckoning in service to our country.
Twitter is the online equivalent to "Easy Rider," the 1969 film that changed Hollywood forever. When that film hit and became a national sensation, a whole generation of filmmakers were ready to capitalize and take over the industry because they had spent years in television and film learning their craft. In this same way, Twitter came of age after conservatives had already spent a decade-or-so learning their craft online through blogs. We learned how to write, how the media works, and how to fight. Twitter arrived and when it did, our foundation to utilize it effectively was already in place.
Yes, now we are winning, but the left will never stop adapting and neither should we. Even if we oust President FailureTeleprompter in 2012, that's just the beginning of the beginning. This is an eternal war of inches and it requires tireless patriots unwilling to give up even one of those inches.
If you’re not on Twitter, sign up immediately. Watch, learn, pick your spots and then … fight.
I'm convinced that by ending the left's corrupt bottleneck of the flow of information, Twitter has become the most important political invention since the American Constitution; and like that document, we must cherish, protect, and use it.