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HCAN’s Plan: Ground War for Control of the Media

John on August 5, 2009 at 10:52 am

TPM published an HCAN strategy document for dealing with “right-wing extremists”. The message of the memo is that this is war. Here’s a sample from page 2:

Bring more people than the other side has…You must bring enough people to drown them out and to cover all our bases so as to marginalize their disruptive tactics.

Arrive earlier than the other side does. We need to stack our folks in the front…and we need to stake out the best spots for visibility and signs. Reconnaissance on the venue and understanding of the staging will be important here.

Be more visible than the other side…Make sure you have people holding signs in every place where a TV camera is likely to be…

Have a real plan for the media...Assign 3-5 people to speak with the reporters who attend and make sure the reporters understand the scope and message of the event. If you let the reporters focus on what they see, they will invariable focus on the mayhem…Don’t wait for the reporter to approach you. You must approach the reporters and be assertive in shaping the narrative that they write.

So it’s good to know that the calm, rational folks on the left will be doing recon on venues, trying to out-flank the opponent and charging media hill to shape the narrative of what reporters write. I’m glad they’re not militant like those folks on the right.

Here a bit more from the next page:

Do not debate on their “policy” points. Remember they are seeking a platform to distort the truth about reform by making health care about abortion, rationing, euthanasia, etc.

Interrupt them when they get disruptive and refocus the meeting. Line up a number of people who feel comfortable interrupting and prepare them with statements like:

[...]

Don’t get into a shouting match with them. Instead, prep people on our side to keep raising the questions that we want answered. Repetition is the key. We need to arm our side with questions that play to the strengths of our message and make sure we keep bringing them up over and over so that the press recognizes those central themes.

Again, it’s good to know that the left wants a rational debate of the issues. Of course they won’t actually debate you. They’ll interrupt if you get off message and they’ll plant questions for the media’s benefit. But other than that, it’s completely about having an open and honest debate.

Okay, there’s one more page of goodies under the heading Organizing Your Own Events with a Member of Congress:

One advantage of organizing your own townhall or public event with Members of Congress is that you will have much more control over the event and limit the other side’s opportunities for disruption…

Choose a venue that is difficult for the opposition to access without being noticed…make sure you set up the venue in a way that ensures that the attendees you want are at the front and that any protesters who come are sequestered as far as possible from the stage.

Lay out goals for the meeting and establish ground rules for conduct in the meeting at the beginning of the event…One way to do this is to ask people to submit questions ahead of time on cards, to permit only one question at a time, and to limit the topic of questions.

Collect signs or leaflets that are not provided by you or your organization…You can distribute your own signs in the event and offer them one as they enter if you choose to allow them to enter.

But they saved the best for last:

Assign people to greet the media and to stay close to reporters both as they enter and leave the event. It is important that you take away right-wingers opportunities to talk to reporters by making sure that your staff or leaders are in constant contact with the media who attend.

Again, does anyone else see the irony here? The left likes to throw the words “fascist” and “extremist” at the right, but they’ve actually got a plan in writing to insure that North Korean-style minders are with the press at all times during their public events.

Unbelievable.

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