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I was reading diaries, some political news stories, and such and saw that Conservatives spread their "message" through entirely different mediums than we do. They seem to occupy the "old tech" avenues of communication. Whether we are talking about emails with 20x "Fw:" in the subject line, AM radio, or billboards, the right-wing propagandists seem to cling to older ways of spreading messages.

The problem seems to be: People are listening. Someone still tunes in to AM radio, still reads email chains instead of deleting them, and still cares about billboards on the highway... What can we learn from the Conservatives' old-fashioned way to communicate their extremism? Should we adopt some of these methods for ourselves, or work on new, innovative ways to reach voters more effectively?

Conservatives seem to live in an isolated world compared to us. They have methods of communication that we don't tend to use anymore.

1. AM Radio - Rush Limblargh and his cronies still command lots of ears, and the majority of those ears are tuning into an AM radio station to listen to his rants. I thought radio was dead save for a smattering of FM stations and the occasional satellite listener?!? This seems to mesh with the ultra-rural radio climate where local sports games and other events are still broadcast by the town's AM station, so its easy for someone who lives there to acclimate to using AM for a talk show as well.

2. Email chains - see MyRightWingDad for a compilation of these. I thought the practice of sending massive email chain letters died with America Online, but I was wrong. Conservatives seem to love this kind of communication, and these messages do seem to foster a "look how many people agree with me" reinforcement of their beliefs. This is where all of the "witty" anti-Obama jokes, racist taunts, etc. seem to come from. Someone comes up with a new way to call Obama the n-word in so-many-words, sends it off to sympathetic friends, and a day or two later we see the slogans on signs and Facebook.

3. Billboards - see this diary. I know that Democrats do fund some billboards, but not at the rate that the right does. They also seem to post more inflammatory messages, whereas our messages are more in the vein of endorsements on our candidates than insults against standing officials.

4. Documentaries - The "2016" film and the anti-teacher films like "Waiting for Superman" are prime examples of how Conservatives love to create 2-hour-long attack films against the President, unions, or whatever else ruffles their feathers. We haven't had a Michael Moore film in a while, but even if there was we would still be outnumbered by the number of these films that the right wingers like to put out. I remember getting a mailer with a copy of "Obsession: Radical Islam's War on the West." Someone is paying a LOT of money to produce this junk and push it on us.

5. Messaging by all-of-the-above to avoid the "liberal media" - The meme that "we have the truth, everyone else is 'liberal' and can't be trusted" is a strong one. The undercurrent in a lot of these messages, particularly the emails, is that THIS source is the truth that the "liberal media" is "hiding" from you. This came to a head in the Presidential campaign when one of Romney's advisers mentioned not letting fact-checkers run his campaign. There are people out there who believe that the rest of the media is somehow out to get them, or that everything that isn't Fox News is a Soros conspiracy to tell them lies, et al.

The common thread I see in all of this is fear. Fear of a world that does not conform to a narrow vision. Fear that the country is in crisis, and the only way to fix it is to vote out the black man. Fear of an African American doing a better job in four years than their last President did in eight. Fear of changing demographics. Fear that people are no longer just "getting in line" when bossed around by religious dogma. Fear that "patriarchy" isn't being followed by a majority of Americans anymore. Fear that people who aren't like them have a voice in this country, where before only white males had that "privilege." What I see is a population in fear of change, who cling to the old ways of doing things in order to cope with inevitability.

Still, this messaging seems to be very effective. As you know, there are millions upon millions of these right-wing nut jobs, and more are coming out of the woodwork since President Obama was elected. Racist groups have exploded in popularity, while these groups' membership has become more defiant. Racist messages are everywhere, right-wing memes pollute Facebook after circulating across email, and the facts have no influence on this crowd.

I know of a group that is similarly "conditioned" to ignore the facts: Scientologists. THEY have the TRUTH, and us mere "pre clears" have no idea. In fact, many religious cults and pyramid schemes have a canny knack for conditioning their members to ignore rational ideas that might get them to snap out of emptying their financial accounts, or worse.

The fear perpetuated by right-wing propaganda leads to things like this. There seems to be a new threat posted every couple of weeks. How many times did someone send former President Bush a thinly-veiled death threat like this?

So what can we learn from this? We know that the right has a propaganda machine that uses old-school communication channels to spread the most vile propaganda. We know that fear is what drives most of this communication. We know that thanks to the combination of fear-based propaganda and a constant message against "trusting" any other information source that we're not going to reach these people any time soon. We also know that the above is wildly successful. Can we change some of our messaging to counter some of this propaganda?

- They go low-tech with radio, lets go any-tech. I would love to see a competent, yet passionate speaker on the AM airwaves to counter Rush and the other right-wing talk hosts. From what I know no such thing current exists nationally. While I don't think that AM radio is the most lucrative market, we need something to counter the deluge of conservative programming that seems to populate the radio. We don't want rural listeners thinking that because there are only right-wing shows on the radio, that the left-wing ideas are not "good enough" for a radio show.

At the same time lets make sure that we keep our shows accessible to people living in the 21st century through internet radio and pod casts. I can see a syndicated liberal talk show that is broadcast simultaneously on AM Radio and online. With the right charismatic host, people will find ways to tune in.

(Yes, I think Rush has a online radio stream now, but the point stands that he still gets a LOT of listeners from the AM crowd.)

- Where are our email chains? I know its stupid, but for a lot of people apparently they didn't get the memo about AOL or Facebook. There's nothing stopping us from taking the posts that we already use on Facebook and creating an effective email campaign to counter theirs. We have the truth on our side, so OUR emails will be positive and factual, providing a stark contrast to the fear-laden diatribes that our right wing dads and uncles like to send around.

- We can put up our own billboards too! Lets take the hard rebuttals that we use on Facebook (like the one showing that, yes, BUSH took more vacation days than the POTUS) and get those on billboards. We should be calling out their lies on our own billboards instead of letting their BS be the only messages on the road.

- Do we need our own documentaries? I don't think so. It seems like a huge waste of money, and these films don't gain a wide audience when they are released by the right. What we CAN do is keep a low-cost, high-tech series of videos like what the Obama campaign is doing with the Truth Team videos and all of the great ads that have been cut this election. In the current age of "here now, gone in 5 minutes" social media, these 2 minutes or less videos should be more effective than trying to get people to spend $10 to watch 2 hours of attack video.

- Here's something we can do that no one seems to be doing right now: an app. Yes, the kind you can download for iOS or Android. Both candidates have official campaign apps, but neither have a easy-to-use talking points app that can be pulled up quickly with rebuttals and counters for any of the right-wing BS that gets spewed in public. Think about how many times a right-wing nut has said something completely crazy, so that you don't have any good answer to it? I'd like to have a tool where we can look up the insanity and counter it right there and then. This would also be a big help for volunteers, people at family gatherings, etc. Everyone who is on our side should know exactly WHY the President is the best choice, and with something like this none of our supporters would be left without that info.

- The facts are on our side, so maybe we should try to steer people AWAY from TV and Radio all together, and change our messaging to teach people to find the facts for themselves. I'm serious. What would happen if, when the ACA passed, our messaging was "here's what page x of the bill ACTUALLY says. Don't believe the news channels, radio, or emails. Read the entire bill for yourself at _." Its a hard sell to get people weaned off of TV, but if we can do it then maybe we can start building a base of people that can think for themselves. People who are no longer feeding off of fear. People who can find the unbiased sources, get the facts, and make the right decisions based on those facts. People who are Democrats.

12:15 PM PT: Speaking of an "app," we could more easily create a simple jQuery Mobile page that would be legible on an iPhone and Android devices without having to write in Xcode and whatever Java systems Android needs (Eclipse?) I can provide assistance with the code if someone can get the content together.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Fortunately (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    xsonogall, kestrel9000, G2geek, XenuLives

    The new way to communicate is much more decentralized and the "kids" today laugh at the older generation's reliance on unreliable information.

    Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.

    by Horace Boothroyd III on Tue Oct 02, 2012 at 09:47:19 AM PDT

  •  Living with my rightwing sister and her (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    swampyankee, G2geek, XenuLives, kurt

    extreme rightwing boyfriend at the moment, just tune in to Mark Levin around 6 p.m. to get an earful of lies and hate that you have to hear to believe.  Oh, and I got yelled at the other night for saying the IRS hiring 10,000 more people for the fines if we don't buy health insurance was a rightwing lie.  I cannot even begin to tell you about the misinformation I've heard day in and day out over the last nearly 6 months.  And if either happens to catch a little bit of the Ed Show or Rachel Maddow they start to mumble about the lies on the left.  It's just unbelievable.  You really have to see it to understand the depth of ignorance and betrayal passed on by people who claim to love this country yet do everything in their power to divide and stir up hate between us.  And Fox News is a joke all unto itself.  They should not have a news license.  It's a travesty.

    "They love the founding fathers so much they will destroy everything they created and remake it in Rush Limbaughs image." MinistryofTruth, 9/29/11

    by AnnieR on Tue Oct 02, 2012 at 10:04:20 AM PDT

    •  Oh yeah, I know (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AnnieR

      I live in one of the most red counties in a (traditionally) red state. We might keep NC blue this this year, but the propaganda all over town reminds me that we're not winning THIS county. Its the state total that matters, so we're getting out the base that we do have in the area. A lot of lower-income people have a clue and know that Romney is a bad idea. Its the north side of town with all of the high-end houses that have Romney signs and bumper stickers.

  •  challenge radio licenses. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gorette

    In markets where there are multiple stations serving up the same stuff, and no diversity of opinion on the dial, the tactic to use is to challenge the stations when they come up for FCC license renewal.  

    This could particularly be used against the proliferation of right-wing religious radio: a dial full of that stuff, absent any representation of other beliefs or points of view, is just begging for lawsuits and alternatives.  

    "Minus two votes for the Republican" equals "plus one vote for the Democrat." Arithmetic doesn't care about their feelings either!

    by G2geek on Tue Oct 02, 2012 at 10:27:51 AM PDT

    •  Good idea (0+ / 0-)

      Although I don't want to take anyone off the air. Free speech and all. I just want to make sure that liberals have an option on the AM spectrum to compete with Rush & co.

      Thanks to a brief visit to wiki, it looks like the "free market" dictates who gets what bands on the spectrum:

      Originally, broadcast licenses were issued for only a nominal payment, but work by economist Ronald Coase challenged FCC's micromanagement approach. Coase proposed that just as other valuable resources (land, metal, etc.) free market could regulate the use of radio spectrum. This proposition is based on the assumption of Coase theorem, that is, with well-defined property rights, the free market will generally allocate resources to their most efficient use as long as transaction costs are low. He developed an economic theory to indicate that broadcast licenses in a spectrum that was limited had high economic value, which could and should be paid for on the open market. Increasingly, spectrum licenses are offered via spectrum auctions, however this fails to consider non-commercial educational users, who are shut out of the process unless steps to ensure their fair consideration are taken.
      Source: wiki

      Now if these stations are breaking a rule, that is a whole different story...

      •  THEY are taking US off the air by.... (0+ / 0-)

        .... occupying every last bit of spectrum.

        This is a zero-sum game: the only way to get US back on the air is to take THEM off the air.

        Dammit, let's stop worrying about THEIR free speech rights and start worrying about OURS, otherwise we LOSE, OK?

        As for free market blah blah, never give in.  NO pre-emptive defeat.  

        Enough was enough long ago.  

        "Minus two votes for the Republican" equals "plus one vote for the Democrat." Arithmetic doesn't care about their feelings either!

        by G2geek on Tue Oct 02, 2012 at 12:59:58 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  the time to show sympathy for the enemy.... (0+ / 0-)

        .... doesn't begin during strategic planning, nor during tactical planning, nor during combat, nor even when you see white flags waving from their bayonets above their trenches.

        The time to show sympathy for the enemy is after you've rounded them up and processed them as prisoners of war.  Then you treat them according to Geneva regulations, get them water and food and a shower, and be nice to them as you ask them carefully-crafted questions that will expose their strategy and order of battle.  

        So the time to be nice to Rush Limburger and his apparatchicks is after they have been tossed unceremoniously out of the radio business, out of television, and out of any other mass medium.  But not one moment before.  

        Being nice to an enemy that has not been thoroughly defeated and confined, is a shortcut to taking casualties.  

        "Minus two votes for the Republican" equals "plus one vote for the Democrat." Arithmetic doesn't care about their feelings either!

        by G2geek on Tue Oct 02, 2012 at 01:15:02 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  emotional narratives win. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gorette, XenuLives

    Advertising agencies figured this out decades ago and are brilliant at it.  For example:

    New car ad shows the entire family climbing into the car, including the dog, as Mom or Dad loads one last suitcase into the trunk or the back area.   On the surface the story is "look at how much room this car has inside."  But the emotional narrative is: "happy family going on vacation."  The emotional narrative, the memories and feelings about family vacation, is what actually makes the sale, even as the buyer talks about the interior space in the car.  

    The extreme right's core emotional narrative is:  "The world is scary.  You're afraid.  We'll protect you from fear."  

    And the 2008 campaign was a key example:  Fear vs. Hope.  

    Hope won.

    And the cynics around here can be as cynical as they like about that, or about the hopes of progressives not being med (e.g. the public option), but the fact is that it won the election at a time when the public was justifiably scared shitless about the economy.

    There's a message in that.  And we need to learn it and apply it.  

    "Minus two votes for the Republican" equals "plus one vote for the Democrat." Arithmetic doesn't care about their feelings either!

    by G2geek on Tue Oct 02, 2012 at 10:33:19 AM PDT

  •  Excellent diary! Good analysis that I've never (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    XenuLives, kurt

    seen before. I hope you republish and get more attention for it.

    As to email chains. One thought, Democrats may not be as pushy. I do not talk politics with my GOP family members because I want to keep in touch with them! That's the only way I can.

    My sister gets some from Republicans and this am asked me to provide her with a response to today's which started with a picture of Obama as a shepherd with sheep all labeled "liberal"....was actually funny.

    This is some of what I sent to her minus pictures. They like pictures:

    Where to start? How about some truth and some facts?
    Christ was full of love and compassion. He did not lie. Did he?
    Jesus wanted us to feed ALL his sheep. We are all his sheep, conservatives and liberals alike. ALL human beings are his sheep. That includes people of other races, whites, blacks, and all ethnic groups.

    As the plaque in my Sunday School said and I believe:

       GOD IS LOVE

    Using the Bible to support racism offends me

    This piece you have sent lies in so many ways.

    Let me tell you how:

    1. "still factories"
          Perhaps you have heard that Ohio is 11% in the president's favor. That is because the economy is doing well there. Factories are re-opening. The auto industry is alive and thriving and many of those unemployed are back at work. That is ALL due to the Obama you hate. All. Romney and Republicans wanted to let the auto industry die. Romney said: "Let Detroit die." Employment under Obama: up 4.5 million.

    "U.S. manufacturers have increased production by 15% since recession officially ended in late 2009.
    "Obama wants to provide tax incentives to companies that shift foreign jobs back to the U.S., and rescind existing credits for those that move work overseas. He also wants to cut the corporate tax rate, while imposing a new tax on companies’ overseas profits." -- abc news

    (Graph: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

    2.   "He (Obama) guideth me in the path of unemployment"?!
          No.
          Republicans were in charge during the 2007-2009 crash!
          Not Democrats, not Obama. That is just false.

    The Republican Recession killed off  7.9 million jobs -- lost due to that Republican crash.

    In November 2008 alone--- over 500,000 jobs were lost--largest loss in 34 years.
    When Obama came into office 800,000/month, that's jobs, were still being lost.
    During Bush this all started.

    ABC News: "When Obama took office in January 2009, unemployment in the manufacturing sector stood at 10.9 percent and spiked to 13 percent a year later, according to the Labor Department. But in the two years since, unemployment has fallen precipitously, now holding at 8.4 percent in January 2012."

    NOW I AM GOING TO HIT YOU WITH SOME MORE FACTS:

     During Bush's presidency:
     "Discretionary defense spending was increased by 107%, discretionary domestic spending by 62%, Medicare spending by 131%, social security by 51%, and income security spending by 130%.
    (etc. etc. etc. more facts!!)
     "The poverty rate increased from 11.3% in 2000 to 12.3% in 2006."

     " 10/2008 (BUSH):  due to spending increases national debt rose to $11.3 trillion
        -- increase of over 100% from 2000 (Clinton/DEM) when debt only $5.6 trillion.

     "12/2007 (BUSH): US entered longest post–World War II recession: includeda housing market correction,  sub-prime mortgage crisis, soaring oil prices, and declining dollar value."

     "9/2008 (still BUSH):  (Facts on FMae/FMac etc. and AIG bailout)
    (Quote from Greenspan on regulations being needed... would have helped avoid collapse.)
    BAILOUT signed by BUSH: (part of article: Bush signing Bailout Bill.)  

    OKAY? You must at some point take ownership of the FACT that these things still impacting you today came during and as a result of the BUSH/Republican 8 years!

    And I went ON AND ON!!>...........

    "extreme concentration of income is incompatible with real democracy.... the truth is that the whole nature of our society is at stake." Paul Krugman

    by Gorette on Tue Oct 02, 2012 at 10:41:41 AM PDT

    •  That was a good email responce (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Gorette

      Thank you for your efforts.

      No, we're not as pushy. I don't see us using mailers full of lies to scare people into voting for our candidate. I think Democrats in general are against negative campaigning. We have been forced to go on the offensive, however, ever since the wing-nuts ramped up their attacks. We should maintain some aggression, but still be rational, decent human beings instead of letting hate or fear fuel our message.

      Like a comment up-thread said, the message of hope beat a message of hate in 2008. We can do that again with a message that we are moving forward, and we will continue to move forward with Obama remaining in office.

      •  Good response there! Yes, hope! I suppose that (0+ / 0-)

        if I didn't go overboard it would be better.

        Like take one of their emails and respond with just one pity, well-sourced fact. Might do more good than hitting them over the head as I am wont to do! ;~}

        "extreme concentration of income is incompatible with real democracy.... the truth is that the whole nature of our society is at stake." Paul Krugman

        by Gorette on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 07:57:08 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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