I love the smell of shameless pretexts for self-promotion in the morning.
The institutional Right has realized there’s a new battlefield and they have finally moved into it. But I’m reminded a bit of the British troops versus the Colonists in the American Revolution (the analogy is tactical, not political). The Left built new institutions and adapted their tactics to the new battlefield – guerilla warfare, as it were – while the Right is trying to port over the institutional cultures and tactics that they have built up over generations, regardless of the new battlefield.
Andrew Breitbart’s Big Government and Michelle Malkin’s Hot Air are excellent examples of good, innovative projects on the Right. We need more guerilla media, like Breitbart is doing. And Malkin had the right idea with Hot Air – take successful, iconoclastic bloggers (Ed Morrissey and AllahPundit), give them free rein (rather than pandering and red meat) and build around them.
The continuing cultural divide between the Left and Right approach to online media is best illustrated by this: While organizations on the Right tend to hire a single blogger (generally from internal or junior political staff, rather than the blogosphere), organizations on the Left very often (a) hire successful bloggers and give them freedom, and/or (b) have very large staffs focused on muckraking, research and blogging. Huffington Post has something close to 50. Talking Points Memo has a staff of close to 20…and they’re expanding. Think Progress has something like 14-17 people working on their 3 blogs and daily email. Media Matters has a staff of many dozens, most aimed directly at the web.
The Right cannot invest in simply pushing an institutional message; the Right has to invest in adding value.
Well, Newsbusters certainly fits the second model. I think of it as the right’s answer to Media Matters, frankly, even though it’s vastly less willing to, say, concoct revisionist histories or bowdlerize video clips or just plain lie to its readers to advance its agenda. As for our own little bird’s nest here, I suspect we do well mainly because of the sheer volume of content we provide between the Blog posts and Headlines, not because we’re particularly iconoclastic (which, 95 percent of the time, we’re not). I’ve personally always thought of the site less as a blog and more as a news aggregator, where news junkies can go to get their fix during the day; that’s how most big-traffic political sites tend to work, from Instapundit all the way on up to Drudge. But I am grateful to Henke for noticing that my beloved boss gives Ed and I a lot of leeway in what we post, even if it involves challenging people whom she’s friends with and a fan of. It’s an exceedingly rare person who has that much integrity and is that generous towards her employees. She doesn’t get enough credit for it, so it’s gratifying to see her get a little here. Exit question: Who’s ready to step up and start the next guerrilla media site in the Breitbart mold? Or has ACORN’s lawsuit now made that prohibitively expensive?