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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.

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