Kate at small dead animals has received a most interesting e-mail:
I work for a fairly prominent Conservative politician and am quite interested in hearing how you think blogs could be used to change the dynamic in Canada.
Having seen first hand how the media could twisted and spun the Conservatives in the last election I am highly eager to see the blogosphere develop into a actual force that can counteract the Globe/CBC/Toronto Star near stranglehold on the Canadian media. So far I don't think it's happened and if you have suggestions as to what politicians can to do encourage it I would interested in hearing about it.
As tz says in her opening comment to that post: such a kettle of fish you've opened.
There are two separate questions in that e-mail that form part of a bigger question. First, how can we increase the general influence of conservative bloggers? Second, how can the conservative political establishment help in this process? The answers to these questions lead inexorably to this: the intent of creating a conservative voice to counter the media chorus from the left isn’t for it to become a comfortable but impotent echo chamber. It is for the conservative voice to win currently liberal minds and hearts over to our side, and thus eventually see our great country governed in a way that befits a great country.
A kettle of fish, indeed.
The comments section of Kate’s post is filling up with insights, and is well worth reading: Dr. tz and Jay Currie offer up some fantastic ideas. But I’d like to focus on The Flea for a moment:
But this should be our primary main objective: bring Fox News to Canadian basic cable. Without the support of CBS rivals on television and radio it is doubtful even Matt Drudge could have called enough attention to the yeoman work of LGF, Powerline and INDC Journal [regarding the Rathergate fiasco].
Beyond the question of whether Fox would be the best choice for Canadian conservatism (Kevin has good things to say, and it can't be worse than this, for gawdsake), I think Nick makes a critical underlying point here: that the blogosphere at its most effective has a symbiotic relationship with the MSM, not simply an adversarial one. Small blogs need larger ones to get their stories out (hence the importance of an Instalanche). And like it or not, even the largest blogs still need the mainstream media to push the largest stories into – stay with me here – the mainstream where they can have a real effect on life outside the pixelated online world.
The Voldemort affair is a prime example. My hundred readers (and Patrick’s) would have been the only ones privy to the tactics used had not some of the bigger blogs picked up the story. And even now, nobody outside the blog community knows what happened, because he MSM didn’t care enough about it (rightly so in this case). It was a small echo-chamber victory.
How do we move beyond the echo-chamber? Political blogging is not a standalone activity. We rely on a support network of information sources. And here in Canada, that network isn't strong enough.
Adam Daifallah has run with this idea, and opined in a column a few months back about the creation of a conservative infrastructure in this country:
Wealthy, conservative-minded benefactors must come forward with the dedication and resources necessary to fund alternative media. New foundations and think-tanks must be endowed. Political campaign schools must be started to find and train Canada's Reagan. Without a stable of intelligent, articulate and ideological writers, thinkers and political activists, conservative ideas are bound to continue to fall on deaf ears.
The seeds of this movement exist -- in organizations such as the National Citizens' Coalition and the Fraser Institute, and in media like these comment pages and the feisty new Western Standard magazine. But these efforts have their hands full competing with a billion-dollar-a-year behemoth like the CBC or the litany of government-funded groups and organizations promoting leftist causes with our own tax dollars.
He’s right. I haven’t yet bought the Western Standard article he’s written that expands upon the column quoted above, but you can bet I will. And I'll be supporting important initiatives like Billy as they come online. You can’t change an overwhelmingly liberal political culture overnight, no matter what we in pajamastan might want to believe.
Which, in an extremely roundabout way, brings me back to the two questions posed by Kate’s correspondent.
Bloggers can counteract the leftist MSM bias in Canada by continuing to do what we’re already doing: blog like pitbulls with a sore tooth. Fisk like Tarantino. Inspire like Flea. Dissect and ridicule like Kate. Analyze like The Tiger, or Chris Taylor. Rant like Dr. Monger or Occam's Carbuncle. And continue to grow like by supporting some of the best of the newer blogs: Shenanigans, Jerry Aldini, and others I haven’t even discovered yet.
The conservative political establishment, such as it is, can support this tectonic shift by acknowledging bloggers. Grant an exclusive interview to someone like Damian Penny or Kevin Jaeger or Sean McCormick. Let the political guerrillas of the blogosphere have the information we need to be effective. We have jobs and families and we do this mostly for free. We rely on the MSM for information because we haven't the time or the resources to dig this stuff up by ourselves. Keep us in the loop – but as Dr. tz says, “don't try to control blogdom” because it will blow up in your face. With the notable exception of Liberal lawyers, we play by our own rules down here, and we resent any attempt to manipulate, so don’t even bother.
The glacier is moving in the right direction. It will take some time, but it won’t be stopped.