There was an encouraging article in the New York Times this weekend about the growth of conservative media in the United States. With government shutdown on the horizon, Times columnist Jeremy Peters took a look back at the 1996 shutdown, in which Republicans shouldered a large majority of the blame. This time around, however, the “digital revolution” has the power to prevent a similar fate.
Ask conservatives what went wrong for them the last time the government shut down, and many of them will bring up the cover of The Daily News of New York from Nov. 16, 1995.
Under the block-lettered headline “Cry Baby,” it showed a cartoon of Newt Gingrich, then speaker of the Republican-led House, in tears, clutching a bottle and wearing nothing but a cloth diaper.
Back then, Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News Channel was a year from its debut, Andrew Breitbart was a lowly assistant at E! Online, and The Drudge Report was an obscure gossip and news digest sent by e-mail — to the lucky few who had e-mail.
But today, a fervent group of conservatives — bloggers, pundits, activists and even members of Congress — is harnessing the power of the Internet, determined to tell the story of the current budget showdown on its terms.
“The New York Times wrote an article this weekend and said, ‘Here's the good thing. If you're a conservative, you suddenly know how to use the Internet. You suddenly know how to use Facebook and Twitter.’” Glenn said on radio this morning. “I told you when we started TheBlaze that it was really essential that we are tweeting stories and that we are using Facebook and posting stories. The left understands this. The right has not understood this traditionally.”
Thanks to its every-growing and extremely loyal readership base, TheBlaze recently found itself ranked 11th on the NewsWhip ranking of the top Facebook publishers in August:
“A year ago we were thrilled when the news analytics group NewsWhip found TheBlaze to be one of the most shared news sites anywhere,” Glenn said. “News this year, this week from News Whip is even better. They ranked the top news publishers on Facebook for the month of August, and TheBlaze was number 11.”
“This is just, this is fantastic news. And the New York Times, on Saturday, picked this up and was talking about, not this particular report, but they picked this up and they were reporting that the right is no longer the right of even 2010,” he continued. “You're now understanding how to use Facebook and this is why we have begged you, and we do again today: If you see a story on TheBlaze that you think is important, tweet it. Facebook it. It's really important because it multiplies and spreads everywhere.”
While conservatives are in no way close to “controlling the media” as Juan Williams bizarrely suggested last week, we have made significant inroads towards at least being a part of the conversation.
“And they are so afraid. They are absolutely terrified of Drudge, they're terrified of Rush, they're terrified of TheBlaze, they're terrified of anybody. That's why they work so hard to put all of us out of business. And this is why it's so important that you share. If you read something or if you hear Rush say something, spread it. Go to his website, click on it and spread it. You hear Sean Hannity, you're listening to Mark Levin, and you see his book, go out and buy it. If it's of interest to you, go out and buy it,” Glenn said. “It's amazing to have somebody like Bill O'Reilly on 60 Minutes. Go out and buy his book. Support the people who are standing on the front line because we're in the trenches right with you.”
One of the things the left does particularly well is its ability to present a unified front, and this morning Glenn advocated for the right to work towards a similar sense of harmony.
“We just all have our own gifts, and we have to all start working together… We all have our own expertise. Let's use them. And if we all start to put them together, we win in a big way. And I'm telling you the Republicans have no idea what's about to hit them,” Glenn said. “Let's really have that battle, not this bogus battle that we've been having… It was progressive versus progressive. That's the battle we've had for the last hundred years – with an exception of Ronald Reagan. What do you say we open it up? You go ahead. Have your progressive thing. Be out in the open. Have your progressive thing. You go ahead and do that. We're going in another direction. Let's have that battle because that battle, my friend, we win.”