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Saturday, April 27, 2013

Breitbart Rule 8: Don't pretend to know more than you do

After giving us a few tips on owning the narrative, Andrew Breitbart also gave us a few tips on how to keep the narrative. Here is Rule 8 in his Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Revolutionaries.

8.) Don't pretend to know more than you do: This one trips up conservatives all the time. We want to argue policy because when we know policy, there's no way they can beat us, because all they have is their lexicon of name-calling and societal expulsion. We have reason on our side.

But just because we have reason on our side doesn't mean that everyone is quipped to be Charles Krauthammer or Michael Barone, policy wonks who can pull facts from the Office of Management and Budget out of every orifice. Most of us aren't experts on the latest budget package or stem-cell line regulation, but that doesn't mean we're powerless - it means we get to play Socrates, asking pointed questions rather than citing facts we may not be sure of.

One of the low points of my media life was getting a call after the nomination of John Roberts for the United States Supreme Court. A producer from CNN's now-cancelled Aaron Brown Show asked me to go on TV and discuss the wisdom of President Bush's choice. I remember taking a Civil Liberties course at Tulane in summer school. As I recall there was a case called Mapp v. Ohio. That was the extent of my then-qualifications to pontificate on such legal matters. I am not sure what demoralized me more: that I was asked to do so by a leading cable news network, or that I readily accepted. Had Wikipedia not been invented, I would have had nothing to say. But I did, and I survived. My takeaway from the revealing moment about the low standards for TV punditry was that if I valued my career, I would only accept media invites where I could dictate the terms of engagement (i.e., bring my own stories, my own perspectives, etc.) or where I could change the subject to war footing.

By avoiding talking about that which I do not know, perhaps I limit my ability to appear on more shows. But I definitely limit my ability to screw up.

Put another way: don't be the guy with a knife at a gunfight. It rarely ends well.

Now this is VERY important in the arena of social media as we look at Facebook, Twitter, and the various message boards and sites that we visit. There are many people out there who claim that they know it all and that their way is the best, but is it really? Now I will get more into that in the next rule but one thing I will say about it is that we might not know everything, but we need to not pretend or give others the false impression that we do.

This is where research comes in. Many out there do not take the time to go into the research and actually back up what they talk about with facts or they do but get it all jumbled up. We need to do our research every time we find an idea or a narrative that people are putting out as false and then disprove it with what we had researched. Then and only then can we beat the progressives and the Alinskyites at their own game.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Terrorism, Patriotism, and Education: A Guest Blog


Terrorism, Patriotism, and Education

BostonStudentsCelebratingA terrorist caught. A nightmare subsided. A city relieved. But one week after the double bombs ripped through the crowds at the world renowned Boston Marathon, many questions remain. But it seems that some questions are more acceptable to ask out loud than others.

As residents of Boston came out of an area-wide lockdown, it was particularly noted that thousands of college students poured out into the streets to celebrate the end of an intense week. Boston is, after all, dotted with institutions of higher learning, some of which are among the most prestigious schools in the world. They cheered with the passing of each law enforcement or EMS vehicle. They sang patriotic songs. They waved the American flag. They chanted, “U.S.A.! U.S.A.!” Such a vast display of patriotism has not been seen since the days following 9-11.

But won’t those same students return to the Liberal bastions that are our American universities to continue to be further propagandized with political correctness and anti-Americanism? That is, without a doubt, what is happening in the vast majority of American colleges and universities. Will those students now notice that that is what has been happening in school? Will they speak up or do anything to change that? The troubling answer is: probably not.
They are a generation which has been subtly infused with the dangerously silencing practice of political correctness, and one of the biggest culprits in perpetrating this silencing has been our education system.

Additionally, there has been a subtle curriculum of anti-Americanism in our schools, from grade school all the way up to - and especially in – our colleges and universities. Incidents surface with increasing frequency where parents discover that their grade school or high school child has been subjected to a lesson with disturbing anti-American content. Parents have learned of lessons in which the 9-11 terrorists responsible for the deaths of three thousand Americans are portrayed as “freedom fighters” or where young students are taught that “Americans are seen as ‘the terrorists’ in some other parts of the world”. A recent report surfaced in Florida where a college student was subjected to disciplinary action for openly refusing to take part in a class exercise where students were instructed to write the name of Jesus on a piece of paper, place it on the floor, and stomp on it.

And anti-Americanism also includes the subtle inculcation of the principles of socialism in young, impressionable American minds because socialism is NOT the American way of doing things. In fact, our form of government was specifically designed to avoid such things, but the foundational principles upon which our country was solidly built are now being taught with less depth and detail and more criticism. Our students are being short-changed as the wool is pulled over their eyes regarding their own freedom. The Liberal educational agenda robs them of the very knowledge and understanding of their rights and freedoms, and political correctness robs them of their true freedom of speech.

It has long been a tradition in learning, especially at the university level, to challenge students to think in new ways or from different perspectives. Learning about other cultures is a good thing. It can be fascinating. But being subtly taught to sacrifice one’s own identity and values for fear of offending another’s takes it entirely too far. And discontinuing the tradition of “American exceptionalism” – the feeling that there is something special about our own country - and replacing it with a subtle shaming is in itself shameful.

So, will those students in Boston retain that swelling of patriotism that we have seen displayed in these days after the Marathon bombings, or will they return to the status quo of the insidious indoctrination that has been occurring for decades in our schools and universities?

Friday, April 19, 2013

Breitbart Rule 7: Engage in the social arena

One of the best things I like about Andrew Breitbart in the short time I had followed him on Twitter prior to his untimely death is how engaged he was on Twitter. And with that in mind, he made Twitter (and indeed Social Media as a whole) one of the key points and rules in his Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Revolutionaries.

7.) Engage in the social arena: My first instinct about Facebook was my first instinct about Twitter was my first instinct about MySpace. I was right about MySpace - it sucks. I was definitely wrong about Facebook and Twitter.

Using my "ubiquity" rule, the citizen journalist isn't always reporting in the ledes, headlines, and paragraphs form. Sometimes a tweet or a re-tweet can grant an idea more legs. Sometimes a status update can lead to the mother lode. Yes, there are slick advisers falsely promising a social networking Gold Rush, but well-socially-networked person can soon carry more weight than a household-name columnist at your local news daily.

Building a movement used to take time, but now it can be done in a few hours with with the right connections and the right posts on a few websites. Take, for example, flash mobs. These are gatherings spawned over the Internet on hours' notice, and they gather thousands of people, whether it's for snowball fights or for rioting in the streets of Philadelphia.

The Tea Parties have used the power of social media to get their message out there in a new and incredible way. There are no leaders to the Tea Party, which is a great thing, and there's no formal program to the Tea Party - it's truly a party of the people, and originally, it was based on conservative people partying. If any liberal attended a Tea Party event, they'd be shocked to see that it isn't a KKK rally; it's a social gathering of thousands of like-minded people of all races and ages, people looking for others who believe in the same values.

It's also particularly true in Hollywood, where socializing is the basis of business. That's why I've tried to put people in Hollywood together, and it's already spawning actual creative projects. Seek out other people and build an army.

If you think on it, this rule is a culmination of the three prior rules. After all, Andrew’s fourth rule was about not letting the Complex use their PC lexicon to characterize you and shape the narrative, which is what the Left has been known to do on Social Media. His fifth rule was about us controlling our own story and not letting the Complex do it, which is all about owning the narrative. And to wrap up the trifecta, his sixth rule was all about ubiquity being the key to keeping the narrative. Now, what is one way to do all of this? The best way I can think of is by using the power of Social Media to defeat the Left and own and keep the narrative.

On Red, Right, and Blue tomorrow at 1:30 PM Eastern on Own The Narrative I will be having a panel on this very topic. On it will be the following:

I hope all can tune in and even engage the conversation. If you want to engage the conversation, there are three ways you can do so:

  • Call 832-699-0449
  • Contact OTNNetwork on Skype
  • If you are on Twitter, use the hashtags #RedRightBlue and  #OTNN 

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Breitbart Rule 6: Ubiquity is key

It is one thing to own the narrative. It is another to KEEP the narrative going. And for that you might need a little help. Hence, Rule 6 in Andrew Breitbart’s Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Revolutionaries.

6.) Ubiquity is key: As a capitalist and as a web publisher, pageviews are a desired commodity. But when playing for political or cultural keeps, impact matters most. And, when ABCNBCCBSCNNMSNBC and the dailies are working against you and ignoring you, ubiquity is a key weapon That means developing relationships with like-minded allies or even enemies and news junkies and allowing them to share in the good fortune of a good scoop.

While the crux of a story can be weaponized and launched on one of my websites, there are often peripheral angles that can be developed elsewhere with a separate but related media life of their own. For instance, the acorn story was unbelievably complex. A key component of exposing the scandal was a detailed analysis of ACORN's structure and its past scandals. I knew legal minds were needed to weigh in on these aspects. Patrick Frey, who runs the indispensable Patterico website, created a parallel line of attack, not just against ACORN, but against its myriad defenders, who lied and misdirected to try to kill the story. The ACORN story couldn't have been the success it was without others - talk radio and alternative news outlets that were invested in the story and could deliver scoops of their own. So I planted scoops with what business school types would call my "competitors," and I watched the story explode, my pageviews would go through the roof, and my brand flourish. Sometimes the best ideas are counterintuitive.

I love living in Los Angeles and not DC, because in DC there are too many fighting over too little ground for their own fifteen minutes. The scarcity mentality is strangling the growth of the conservative movement. From outside DC, I can see that ubiquity is about growing the pie for everyone, spreading the stories, the channels of distribution, the resources around so that the entire movement can benefit, because our chunk of the public square gets bigger and bigger each time we break something huge.

While we all have different viewpoints or perspectives as to what conservatism is, one thing to remember is that we are all in the same fight. That is what the Left does, and they succeed by coming together for a common purpose. The problem is that conservatives are so divided that it gives the Left a chance to gain the edge on the narrative. Note what Andrew had said: “developing relationships with like-minded allies or even enemies and news junkies and allowing them to share in the good fortune of a good scoop.” That means spread it around. If you find something newsworthy, it does not help to keep it to yourself. Rather, post it on your social media tools and get the word out there. Next week I will go more into how to engage in social media as Andrew has it as his Rule 7, but developing relationships with like-minded people who are also news junkies can allow them to share in the fortune of a good scoop is key.

One of my good friends who likes to share in the fortune of a good story is Patricia Baber, who used to be my co-host on Red, Right, and Blue. She is one who hunts down stories on relatively unknown sites and put them out on Twitter, then it gets picked up by her followers and spreads to others. I even do the same thing when I do my news aggregates on my rant blog. But on that I do not take all the credit for it but rather give credit to Robert Stacy McCain of The Other McCain who has a blog entry entitled "How to Get a Million Hits on Your Blog.” In fact, Stacy has Rule 2 which he calls the “Full Metal Jacket Reach-Around" where he says:

Reciprocal linkage is the essential lubricant that makes the blogosphere purr with contentment. If somebody's throwing you traffic, you should either (a) give them a link-back update, or at a minimum (b) keep them in mind for future linkage. Because you don't want to end up on the wrong end of a kharmic unbalance in the 'sphere, where you're always taking and never giving.

The Other McCain has a whole plethora of articles and the like to link to on your own blogs and also on Social Media outlets. I know I usually do it, but the past couple weeks I had slacked off because of certain things away from the computer. However, I am making a concerted effort to go back to doing it. The key is, will you be ubiquitous or will you be a loner in this war?

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Rule 5: Control your own story – don’t let the Complex do it

Just as Andrew Breitbart did not let the Complex use its PC Lexicon to control him and shape the narrative, he then went one step further and did not let the Complex control whatever story he had. I present to you, Rule 5 in his Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Revolutionaries.

5.) Control your own story - don't let the Complex do it: A one-and-done story isn't worth anything. One fact can be posted on the Internet and flushed down the memory hole faster than anyone can imagine. How many incredible pieces of journalistic revelation have been lost because they weren't properly presented to the public?

Serialization is good. Van Jones was taken down by Glenn Beck because Beck had the goods - and because he revealed them piece by piece. He got Jones and his defenders to come out of the closet and attack him. Then he calmly laid his cards on the table, one by one.

It's the same strategy I saw Arianna pursue during the Larry Lawrence scandal. People came out of the woodwork to attack her as a scurrilous human being slandering a dead war hero. And she smiled and let them come at her. Then she put her evidence into the public eye bit by bit, keeping the story alive. Feeding the media is like training a dog - you can't throw an entire steak to a dog to train it to sit. You have to give it little bits of steak over and over and over again until it learns its lesson. That's what Arianna did.

It's the same thing Drudge did with Lewinsky. He broke the story in pieces rather than in a long essay laying out all the facts, and he didn't let the media's cries for him to reveal all his information control his decision-making process. Instead, he controlled the media.

The important thing to remember here is that the media are like a leech hanging on the back of the news makers, and the news makers have every right and ability to feed that leech little by little instead of letting it suck them dry all at once. Keep your story alive by planning its release down to the minutest level.

The main thing to remember is this: we need to OWN THE NARRATIVE at every single opportunity. I am of the belief that owning the narrative is not just a fancy saying or something that can be focused on for an hour or so a day or even a week. Rather, owning the narrative is a way of life, one that lives with us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year. Owning the narrative has been a part of my life ever since Andrew died, and it will remain in me until I take that eternal celestial dirt nap.

During the 2012 election I had dealt with the third party supporters, as I had mentioned last week, and every time they said something which mentioned Romney and Obama being the same I just calmly said they are not and showed them links a little at a time. In fact, one person even called me Rick “The Narrative” Bulow because when he would ask me what I am doing, I told him that I am calmly owning the narrative.

When Marco Rubio was mentioned on Romney’s VP short list and the birthers came out of the woodwork saying he is not eligible, I had calmly said that he is, and debunked their articles a little at a time with certain links of my own. And in fact just recently I had seen a thread on a site which mentioned a paper from the Congressional Research Service on natural born citizenship and presidential eligibility. Now what is funny about it is that I had brought up that paper in another thread on the same site and got bashed for it. So I had waded in and mentioned a couple of things about eligibility, and wound up getting banned from the entire site. Am I upset about it? Yes I am; however, one thing I did not do when I commented was let them own and control the narrative. The only way the Complex can own and control the narrative after being confronted with facts is to shut you up. And online, apparently that means banning someone from sites.

If we want to win in 2014 and then in 2016, we have to own the narrative, whatever it may be, at all costs. Remember that owning the narrative is not just a fancy saying but a way of life.