To Win, Progressives Must Speak Out
The primary goals of the Winning Progressive blog are to inform our readers on the issues of the day from a progressive perspective and to encourage our readers to make their progressive voices heard. We progressives are faced with a well-organized, well-funded conservative messaging machine, and a national media that consists primarily of conservative talking points, meaningless he-said she-said reporting, and mindless drivel about famous people and fake scandals. In order to counteract the vapid nature of our media and the conservative megaphone that we face, it is up to all of us progressives to take the progressive message to the American people, the media, the White House, members of the House and Senate, and the letters to the editor pages of our local newspapers, so that voters and elected officials constantly hear a positive message about what progressive policies can do to improve our country.
The need for we progressives to make our own messaging machine is perfectly illustrated by a study of media coverage of the 2012 President Election released last fall by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism. Titled “The Media Primary,” the study quantified the percentage of positive, neutral, and negative media coverage President Obama and each of the GOP candidates for President received from May 2 to October 9. The results were shocking only if you somehow still believed the myth of the “liberal media”:
One man running for president has suffered the most unrelentingly negative treatment of all, the study found: Barack Obama. Though covered largely as president rather than a candidate, negative assessments of Obama have outweighed positive by a ratio of almost 4-1. Those assessments of the president have also been substantially more negative than positive every one of the 23 weeks studied. And in no week during these five months was more than 10% of the coverage about the president positive in tone.
As for Barack Obama, 9% of the news coverage about him over the last five months has registered as positive while 34% has been negative and 57% has been neutral or largely straight news accounting of events. In each of the 23 weeks studied, his negative coverage exceeded his positive coverage by more than 20 percentage points. And in none of those weeks did his negative coverage fall below 30%. The tone of Obama’s coverage on blogs, while still overwhelmingly negative, was slightly better—14% positive and 36% negative.
Even the week of May 2-8, immediately after the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, Obama’s coverage was overwhelmingly negative.
The results of the Pew study were even more stark when you compare the coverage of President Obama to that of every GOP Presidential candidate. Even though most of those GOP candidates were hardly qualified to be dog catchers, much less President, coverage of all of them was far more favorable than was coverage of our President:
Faced with this type of blatant media bias it is up to us to take the progressive message to the American people. A second reason we must all get involved in doing so is that you can count on the fact that our opponents are going to make their voices heard, so we better do the same if we want to win political battles.
A perfect example of this can be seen when the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (“DCCC”) sent out an e-mail petition supporting the Occupy Wall Street movement. Apparently the banksters on Wall Street had their feelings hurt by the DCCC petition and they let the Democratic leaders know it:
After the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee sent a recent email urging supporters to sign a petition backing the wave of Occupy Wall Street protests, phones at the party committee started ringing.
Banking executives personally called the offices of DCCC Chairman Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) and DCCC Finance Chairman Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.) last week demanding answers, three financial services lobbyists told POLITICO.
“They were livid,” said one Democratic lobbyist with banking clients.
The execs asked the lawmakers: “What are you doing? Do you even understand some of the things that they’ve called for?” said another lobbyist with financial services clients who is a former Democratic Senate aide.
It is, of course, no surprise that our opponents make their voices heard when they are upset about something politically. It is critical, however, that we do the same both when we are upset about something our elected officials are doing and also when we are supportive of something they are doing. Because if every time our elected officials do something we like, they only hear anger from our opponents, that official is less likely to take a progressive stand the next time. And if every time our elected officials do something we do not like they only hear from conservatives and do not hear our objections, our elected officials will come to believe that they can get away with selling out the progressive position at little to no political cost.
We urge our readers to not cede this ground to conservatives and, instead, to be proactive in contacting your elected officials whenever he or she does the right or wrong thing, and in spreading the progressive message to the media and our family, friends, and colleagues. In order to help you do so, we have collected links for sending letters to your local newspaper editor, and contact information for your elected officials and Democratic Party organizations. We’ve also started a list of political races and campaigns we encourage our readers to get involved in. Because, in the end, it is up to us to do what we can to ensure that our political system responds to all of us rather than to just the conservative noise machine.