This past Friday, Andrew Breitbart, a leader in online conservative media, appeared on “Real Time with Bill Maher”. As anyone who has watched 5 minutes of the show knows, it’s not exactly a welcome place for conservatives. I watched the first 3 or 4 minutes on YouTube and had to turn it off in disgust from how Maher and his liberal guest were treating Mr. Breitbart (not that I was shocked or suprised by that).
Many people questioned Mr. Breitbart on why he would willingly appear on a show that has a unblemished track record of being hostile to conservatives and advised him to decline the invitation. Today in the Washington Times, Mr. Breitbart explains why he didn’t heed the advice he recieved.
Since the salad days of ABC’s “Politically Incorrect,” which minted countless right-wing pundits and best-selling authors, conservatives have rightly assessed the HBO version of the Maher show as R-rated and shockingly hostile to their worldview. So most opt out.
I totally see why. But I think that’s exactly the wrong strategy.
The problem with the withdrawal approach is that it cedes the popular culture debate to the other side. We figure talk radio, a certain cable news network and some independent Internet venues will allow for us to get our ideas out to the masses. Well, those few outlets are greatly outnumbered. They are also isolated and targeted for destruction by the activist left. The sitting president (using taxpayer money) is now leading the charge.
In my neighborhood at least, this strategy of avoiding engagement with the other side isn’t working out so well.
I happen to agree 100% with Mr. Breitbart’s analysis here. Currently in this country, the default political worldview is that of liberals. Conservatives and conservative-leaning media sources (FoxNews, talk radio, etc.) are labeled as racist, bigoted, homophobic, facist, and so on and so forth. If you’ve ever talked to someone about Rush Limbaugh who’s never tuned in to his show, you know what I’m talking about.
My fiance was one of these people. Not that she was a big left-wing liberal (she wasn’t very politically aware, period), but she had always had this image of Rush of being angry, racist, and hostile to any callers who disagreed with his opinions. Don’t ask me how I did it, because I don’t remember, but I was able to get her to start listening to some of Rush’s show, and she was literally shocked. She said to me “he is not at all what I thought”. She now enjoys Rush’s show, his humor, and his overall personality and demeanor. She says “he’s got this really pleasant tone and voice, and once you understand his sense of humor, his show is really entertaining”.
I think a lot of people who go out and vote are “default Democrats”. They are the people who will always claim “I don’t really like politics”, yet are compelled to vote (and rightfully so) out of a sense of duty…and because Matt Damon, MTV, E!, P. Diddy, or whoever is telling them they should. They don’t follow the issues, heck, as John Ziegler and countless polls have pointed out, most people don’t even know something as simple as which party is in the majority in the House or Senate. The pop culture in this country is decidedly liberal, and if conservativism is to make a comeback in government, part of the resurgance is going to have to start by combatting this. But how to go about it?
Mr. Breitbart has a suggestion, and I happen to agree with him 100%. He writes;
People who have never turned on Fox News or tuned into Rush Limbaugh have strong and defiant negative opinions about those outlets. When one tries to reason with them or call them out when acknowledging they watch and listen to neither, they become emboldened by their admitted ignorance. “Why would I listen to that racist, sexist, homophobic, fill-in-the-blank claim of cultural prejudice?”
This army of the emboldened and gleefully ill-informed is growing. Groupthink happens, and we must take it on head-on.
We can’t win the political war until we take on the Hollywood and mainstream media battles.
By not going on “The View” and the Jon Stewart, Steven Colbert and Maher shows – or even David Letterman, Craig Ferguson, Jimmy Fallon, etc. – we are allowing them to define us into a very distorted and ugly caricature. Our most articulate voices, likable faces and best idea-makers need to go into hostile territory and plant the seeds of doubt in the minds of our ideological enemy and the apolitical masses who simply go with the media flow. (Our baby sitter has an Obama bumper sticker on her car, yet admits she knows nothing about politics.)
Even though we know, as conservatives, that we’re going to take a beating when we appear on popular talk-shows, we cannot let that dismay us from an opportunity to express and defend our conservative values and ideals. No one is going to convince Bill Maher or his audience that conservatives are right about ANY issue. However, there are millions of people who tune into the show, and quite a number of them are operating under the impression that conservatives are everything that MoveOn.org and DailyKos portray them to be. If we don’t take the opportunity to show that conservatives aren’t racists, bigots, homophobes, whatever, how are we going to change that image?
Simply planting that seed of doubt will accomplish much much more than not appearing at all. While everyone might not have the political interest or follow the issues as closely as those of us who write or read political blogs, they still are able to recogize someone who is being treated rudely or disrespectfully. However, if we don’t appearn on liberal shows and give them the opporunity to expose themselves as the jackasses they are, how can we expect the default political stance to change?