Republicans, especially conservatives who hold positions antithetical to those favored by the mainstream media, may finally be learning that there is little to gain from participating in forums and events run by liberal and mainstream media organizations that often aim to hurt conservatives and make them look like ridiculous caricatures.
After Breitbart News’ Lee Stranahan reported that an educational arm of the Charles Koch Foundation was sponsoring a May 14th BuzzFeed immigration summit, a BuzzFeed source told Robert Costa of National Review that more than 20 Republicans who opposed amnesty were invited–and they all declined.
“We tried for weeks to get a member of Congress opposed to the proposed immigration overhaul to join us and, for a variety of reasons, they all declined,” said Ashley McCollum, BuzzFeed’s spokesperson. “We’re pleased Heritage agreed to participate in our panel, and we have an open invitation to members who are more skeptical of changing immigration law.”
Besides the representative from Heritage, there will be no one at the summit who opposes amnesty. There will also only be one Republican politician–Puerto Rican Governor Luis Fortuno–who supports immigration reform, which means even Republican politicians supportive of the bill may be realizing there may be more to lose than gain from such forums.
Jose Antonio Vargas, an illegal immigrant who has crusaded for amnesty, will reportedly be live-tweeting the event. It would be safe to assume Vargas would viciously pick apart the words of any politician opposed to amnesty in attendance. And that conservative opposed to amnesty, while being engaged at the event, would not even be able to respond in real time.
After the 2012 election, Republicans and conservatives may finally be learning the uselessness of such forums on the opponent’s turf.
In a January 2012 Republican presidential debate in New Hampshire, ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, a former Clinton spokesman who regularly talks to Paul Begala, James Carville, and Rahm Emanuel on a daily basis to coordinate strategy, asked Republicans, Mitt Romney in particular, about birth control without warning or context. What he was doing, unbeknownst to Republicans at the time, was planting the seeds for what would germinate into the so-called “War on women” meme that would in part help re-elect President Barack Obama.
Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin had warned Republicans about being wary of the mainstream media repeatedly in 2011. She said Republicans did not owe the media anything and should not cooperate with organizations whose sole intent is to make Republicans look bad. With new media, traditional gatekeeper outlets are not needed to disseminate a politician’s or an organization’s message.
But after the 2012 election, Republicans still seemed to have not learned these lessons, as Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) gave an interview to Rolling Stone in which the reporter asked him questions about the age of the earth.
As Breitbart News’ John Nolte immediately pointed out after the interview was published, Republicans “can’t change the media’s behavior. We can only change our own behavior.”
By rejecting invitations to the BuzzFeed immigration summit, Republicans and conservatives seem like they are finally starting to change their behavior and learn from their past mistakes.