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Swimming Upstream

John on October 24, 2007 at 10:16 am

I’m stealing this from HotAir. Patrick Ruffini has a really thoughtful analysis of the differences between the left and right when it comes to news gathering and dissemination:

“Conservative media” is downstream media — talk radio, talking heads, columnists, opinion sites, blogs. Liberal media is upstream media — print, some TV, and high-level “feeder” blogs like TPM and ThinkProgress that do their own reporting and frame narratives. This equation means that conservative voices are represented, but only after liberals get the first crack. This anecdote from Soren speaks volumes:

I was at a recent panel, not at FRC, where a Republican asked a reporter why the reporter didn’t write about the conservative perspective on the S-CHIP bill. The reporter responded that he never heard that perspective. His friends were almost all liberal and they talked about the lefty argument. He had a couple of libertarian friends who told him the libertarian argument. No one ever told him the conservative-populist argument.

Conservatives can get their message across through dedicated channels, but it’s always going to be the “alternative” viewpoint. About 50% of Memeorandum is mainstream “news.” About 30% is partisan — split pretty evenly between left and right. The rest is the long tail. Holding our own in that 30% doesn’t matter much if the other 50% leans left and dominates the narrative.

Ruffini’s solution is to do what the left has done and fund more conservative reporting (the upstream kind):

Every movement or media phenomenon starts with amateurs improvising. But at some point it has to be professionalized if it’s going to be sustained and grow. The new progressive movement started with guys like Atrios, who then got picked up by Media Matters. Dozens of lefty bloggers are employed by the new lefty infrastructure. As far as I know, Erick Erickson at Red State, and possibly my Townhall co-bloggers MKH and Matt Lewis, are the only ones employed full time by the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy, Blog Division, who aren’t primarily journalists and as such have real freedom of action.


If someone has $2 million to throw around on Rush Limbaugh’s letter, then someone has a few million to spend on a blogger-journalists to investigate Democratic corruption or on a sustained project to get out different storylines about Iraq or to set up an open-source research operation to more closely bracket the coverage.

Yes, and if anyone is looking for righty bloggers with decent research and writing skills, our contact form is an excellent way to get in touch with them.

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