The New York Times reports on the role of conservative media representing the grassroots–and how these “far-right” sites and talk radio hosts have prevented a simple coronation for Paul Ryan, the establishment choice for Speaker of the House.
From the New York Times:
Far-right media figures, relatively small in number but potent in their influence, have embarked on a furious Internet expedition to cover Representative Paul D. Ryan in political silt.
The influence of conservative websites has enraged members who were once considered right of center themselves, and who are desperately trying to keep Mr. Ryan from getting spooked.
“Anyone who attacks Paul Ryan as being insufficiently conservative is either woefully misinformed or maliciously destructive,” said Representative Tom Cole, Republican of Oklahoma. “Paul Ryan has played a major role in advancing the conservative cause and creating the Republican House majority. His critics are not true conservatives. They are radical populists who neither understand nor accept the institutions, procedures and traditions that are the basis of constitutional governance.”
[T]he current flak following Mr. Ryan stems from a growing and powerful collection of far-right pundits and news media — from Mark Levin to Laura Ingraham to the sites RedState and Breitbart and the new Conservative Review — that have successfully wielded influence over Republican voters and lawmakers in strongly conservative districts.
But House Republicans and their staff say millions of Republican primary voters have their opinions shaped by sites like Breitbart.com, which define a version of the conservative position of the moment, then whip their readers into a frenzy, imploring them to oppose anyone who takes a different position.
“Our goal is not influence; it is reporting and highlighting stories important to grass roots conservatives,” said Alex Marlow, the editor in chief of Breitbart. “To those in Congress and on the national political stage who want to better understand this constituency’s interests and worldview, we feel Breitbart News is a good place to start. Our focus on issues like spending, trade and particularly immigration are a reflection of the fact that there are massive populations of center-right Americans who do not favor the policies most often associated with the Republican Party establishment.”
Read the rest of the story here.