We’ve been saying for quite some time that one thing that’s needed is to start an alternative media source on the right. Fox is not enough.
But there’s an inherent problem with that, and it’s not just the fact that it can be hard to find experienced newspeople who aren’t liberals. The much more basic problem with an alternative conservative media is that the media on the right has been so demonized—and any alternative media would be equally demonized—that Democrats and even many of those in the middle have been taught that it’s unreliable and will not watch it, and/or they automatically discount what it says.
Fox News, for example, is “Faux News,” and most people I know laugh when it’s suggested they watch it, as though it were a Pravda of the right. The funny thing is that they are unaware that the MSM they do watch is closer to the old Soviet Pravda at this point (although a voluntary one); they are unaware of their own susceptibility to propaganda and how greatly influenced they are by it. So any new media source on the right will be “Fauxized,” much as any new exciting conservative politician is Palinized (see what happened to Ryan, and what’s starting to happen to Rubio). It’s a full court propaganda press, in which the MSM determines for the most part what the valid sources are, and the right is by definition unreliable.
Periodicals on the right such as National Review, Weekly Standard, and Commentary are either not heard of by non-political-junkies in the middle or liberals (leftists, who tend to be quite involved, often know quite a bit about them, if only to counter them)—or, if heard of, rarely read. For example, I’m not aware of having any liberal friends who read them; I tend to get blank stares of non-recognition if I even mention them.
If you read my “A mind is a difficult thing to change” pieces, you may note that discovering these other sources of information and opinion was one of the sparks for my change experience. In 2000 I happened to stop delivery of all periodicals and began to get my media information primarily online. After 9/11 I became more interested in the news and read more than I had before in general, and I was so naive (and somewhat isolated at the time, having been recently separated from my husband and living in a new town) that I didn’t even know I was reading sources on the right when I read pieces from the big three, as well as newspapers I now know are somewhat to the right. But at the time, I just knew I was reading a lot of really interesting stuff that made a lot of sense, more sense than my old sources (NY Times, Boston Globe, New Yorker) were making at the same time (I had continued reading them, too, so I was able to compare). It was only much later that I learned, to my shock, that those new periodicals I was reading were on the right. I had previously known about the National Review, but not the others.
Believe me, when I found out, I was flabbergasted and really thrown. But the “damage,” as it were, had been done, and there was no turning back.
But my story is an unusual one. Unfortunately, it appears more and more that sources on the right, although popular, are a case of preaching to the choir, talking to the already-convinced. I’m not at all sure how that could be countered.