Countering the right

February 22, 2011

Some friends and I had a conversation about what to do regarding the massively influential Fox News and right-wing media infrastructure. Here are some of the thoughts that I contributed:

Continue organizing efforts to go after the brand of Fox News – Highlight their inaccuraries and distortions (Media Matters does a phenomenal job of doing this) and then organize around them. There is a lot of energy in the base that hasn’t been fully tapped around this. But don’t directly target national Fox News, they don’t care and they never will…target local Fox affiliates where their reputation is more important, the rest of the media to kill their credibility to push stories, and young people and senior citizens.

Color of Change’s tool for reaching out to local businesses about turning off Fox News in public spaces was great (although I have no idea what happened to the campaign), as well as the push to go after their sponsors. Also, make Glenn Beck their spokesperson…he’s killing whatever remnants of a legitimate brand they still have but we’re spending a lot of time going after him instead of making it about Fox News as a whole.

Buy up local newspapers – Local newspapers are broke and selling at incredibly cheap prices. There’s a reason for that obviously, their long-term profit models are anything but clear right now…but they continue to end up on the dining room tables of moderates all over the country. It’s the broadest and cheapest way to push stories on a daily basis into the homes of millions of Americans. If you’re worried about not being able to take a loss on them, turn them into non-profits and move to a member-based model.

It will lose some credibility for having a slightly left slant but make them the only place to get local news.

Fund more progressive news websites – The liberal blogosphere is the closest thing we have to directly countering the narrative that the right-wing media puts out there. We should continue to fund it…start up a 3-4 new sites, create some hoopla around their launches and give them lots of bells & whistles (including entirely superficial ones). But also give them the ability to hire investigative writers, as well as push short-term narratives and agendas.

Find a way to dramatically increase the reach of Politifact – If you believe that conservatives and the right-wing media is generally much less committed to the truth (which I do), Politifact has the best brand in the country when it comes to moderating the facts of debates. But they operate on a tiny scale. Blow them up. Give them the staff, resources & ability to police radio, television, presidential debates, local races, columnists, evening talk shows, etc.