A good Conservative friend on an email list, well known in NH, refuses to do press interviews. He’s had nothing but gotcha quotes / twisted quotes as a result, so he now leaves them twisting in the wind as they desperately try to get him to speak. There are some that do try for the ensnaring quote simply because of their ideological outlook – after all, what Glen Reynolds of Instapundit says of them is often true:
Democrat operatives with bylines
Sidenote: Example? Think David Gregory of Meet the Press and how he intensively grilled NRA’s Wayne LaPierre over gun control to the point of waving a 30 round AR magazine – deliberately breaking the law as even having such in DC is illegal. Yet, in that bastion of Democratness, has anyone seen him arrested for doing something on national TV that would have you and I arrested in 10 seconds flat? He was willing to be arrested to defend and promote a Progressive end point – disarming the populace.
Anyways, this friend says, in part:
You talk to a hostile reporter and you have sold out your own soul. He then can use your name in an article and gets credit for balanced reporting because both sides have been interviewed. But he does NOT have to print what you talked about or even use it in context. It is his silly putty to play with. You are then left crying foul and looking weak.
Alinsky dropped the ball on rules for dealing with the hostile press – but then again, they were never against him.
That would be Saul Alinsky, the Community Organizer God, whom Obama is an accolyte. I put up an abridged version of Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals when it became apparent that Obama was flooding the zone – and here was his game rules. My response to my friend – and to all my others as well:
You talk to a hostile reporter and you have sold out your own soul. He then can use your name in an article and get credit for balanced reporting because both sides have been interviewed. But he does NOT have to print what you talked about or even use it in context. It is his silly putty to play with.
You agree to the interview ONLY after you inform them that either you will be recording the audio or the video. You inform them that you will cross-check what they write against the recording.
You are then left crying foul and looking weak.
You inform them that if they screw with you and the interview, you will post them – and that the Conservative world will get to hear the unedited interview. They are outed and look conniving and lose credibility.
Alinsky dropped the ball on rules for dealing with the hostile press
And that last one was one to which I had the biggest exception. Just as the Constitution is not just a set of rules to limit Government (that is, if we’d start electing people that would keep that uppermost in their minds as they perform their roles as Servant-Leaders instead of Associate-Panderers-with-Other-Peoples’-Money-with-a-Side-Dish-of-Nannyistic-Totalitarian-Common Good-ness) but as a commentary on limiting the effects of human nature of “governers” on Society, Alinsky’s Rules for Radical is not just a set of rules but a way to manipulate the behavior of those that oppose you. Well, if they work for Progressives, they work for Conservatives as well.
Not really! For instance:
RULE 3: “Whenever possible, go outside the expertise of the enemy.” Look for ways to increase insecurity, anxiety and uncertainty. (This happens all the time. Watch how many organizations under attack are blind-sided by seemingly irrelevant arguments that they are then forced to address.)
If they believe that THEY are going to be quoted directly, it throws them off balance (I’ve done it). They start to ‘stutter-think‘ as they come up with their question, and then you see the “oh crap” look in their eyes when they play it back in their heads before they ask it. They lose it.
They also hate the fact that the tables are turned – that their “opposition” is now in control of the interview because, in a twisted way, WE can say or ask THEM questions too – they HATE to be challenged on the premise of the question and it is great fun to watch them squirm.
RULE 4: “Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules.” If the rule is that every letter gets a reply, send 30,000 letters. You can kill them with this because no one can possibly obey all of their own rules. (This is a serious rule. The besieged entity’s very credibility and reputation is at stake, because if activists catch it lying or not living up to its commitments, they can continue to chip away at the damage.)
They want to “appear” to be objective in most cases – knowing that they can twist words later. This tactic of recording them makes them live up to what most people believe what they do – merely report the news. What’s cool is that there is a tendency for the overreach to still happen…SNAP!
RULE 6: “A good tactic is one your people enjoy.” They’ll keep doing it without urging and come back to do more. They’re doing their thing, and will even suggest better ones. (Radical activists, in this sense, are no different that any other human being. We all avoid “un-fun” activities, and but we revel at and enjoy the ones that work and bring results.)
And yes, I do enjoy doing this. Who Watches The Watchers? Bloggers are watching the Journalists.
RULE 8: “Keep the pressure on. Never let up.” Keep trying new things to keep the opposition off balance. As the opposition masters one approach, hit them from the flank with something new. (Attack, attack, attack from all sides, never giving the reeling organization a chance to rest, regroup, recover and re-strategize.)
And do it Every. Single. Time. Never relent. Remember when Steve had that dust up with the Patch reporter? She gave up because she realized that he wasn’t going to stop – and he gets read a lot. She couldn’t answer his questions or account for what she was trying to do.
Kiddie tricycle riding journalist met up against a tank with a laughing blogger at the wheel.
So, I politely disagree that Alinsky never thought about the media. He actually did – a lot.
He really did. All that Conservatives have to do is use them to counter them.