Righty blogs: Activism versus media management

Jon Henke, currently with the Fred Thompson campaign and previously with Senator Mitch McConnell and former Senator George Allen, weighed in on the discussion about the role of righty-blogs. He said:

I think these compositional sociological explanations for the differences between Left and Right in the blogosphere and activist communities are over-complicated and unnecessary. The dominance of the Left online is not a permanent phenomenon. It is a reflection of the cyclical fact that the Left is angry, unified, surging and being effectively supported by people and organizations with long term strategic goals. They have a common cause, a unifying vision and a raison d’etre.

The Right does not.

I am pretty sure that Jon and I agree on all of this, but I want to clarify something. The sociological explanation is about activism. The structure is about managing the media. One is, in the end, a project of giving activists the tools to express their ideas, passions, etc. The other is, to some extent, a mechanical framing and outreach. Let’s look at some examples.

The Center for American Progress has a daily email. The audience for this email is Hill staffers, the press, and bloggers. It has a main article. And it has a little blog summary. The links are to a Media Matters blog (Glenn Greenwald), Think Progress, TPM Muckraker, (the 3 wings of the lefty online messaging apparatus) and a defeatist blog on Iraq.

I don’t know what the distribution is on this, but we do know that CAP is targeting the media. So they are driving media eyeballs to these blogs, raising their profile among the people who have the power to reproduce the message. And, even if they don’t actually reproduce this message, the persistent framing will have some impact.

Imagine if the right had a similar thing. A daily email with the top-line message from the right. It would contain links to milblogs that actually explain what is going on on the ground in Iraq. Explanations of the good things that the Bush administration is doing. Links to good information on the Democrats’ current legislative proposals, like a $3.5b tax increase. Links to corrupt things that Democrats are doing around the country. All in one place. And easy for the media — and bloggers — to consume. Over a year or so, this would totally reshape the blogosphere. And, frankly, this might facilitate the growth of new blogs that are more media savvy.

And we would have a separate set of emails for activists of different varieties. Probably a little more shrill. A little more closely targeted to interest groups, etc. Redstate is working on that second one. Some of the groups like AFP, FRC, RTL, etc., could also do this.

But no one is working on the first one. Heritage could, perhaps, but its focus is, legitimately, on the Hill. Rob Bluey is one person, not the 5 or 10 that it would take to implement this on a daily basis. And — this is where I say something controversial — perhaps Heritage represents the old coalition, headed by Ed Meese and a bunch of Reagan era people and grounded in the conservative movement of the 70s.

This wouldn’t take a lot of money. It wouldn’t take that many staff, but it would take smart people. And willing donors.