Wading Through the Fourth Estate Agenda

Posted: November 9, 2012 in Uncategorized

One of the reasons that I write a blog and encourage others to do so as well is that there is always a fight for the control of a narrative, and it is pretty much guaranteed that the conservative/liberty perspective will be underrepresented.  During the presidential primary, I had my first brush with the media .  I noticed that, like Ron Paul himself, we were maligned by the reporting at every opportunity.  For example, the fact that we took the time beforehand to learn the proper method to fairly elect delegates was transformed into:

“some Paul supporters employed a complicated method of voting “rounds,” in which one delegate was selected at a time, all but guaranteeing them the four delegate spots — even when this meant presenting a skewed representation of the precinct’s choices. Romney supporters, in particular, felt outgunned.”

I wonder if Pete Silliman and Liz Pike felt ‘outgunned’ by the Brandon Vick supporters when WSRP Chairman Kirby Wilbur used the exact same method to elect the three candidates to replace Ann Rivers as LD 18 State Representative? The real reason that we won more delegates was because we had more votes (Ron Paul won the Heritage HS straw poll) and they were spread out over more precincts, and because we knew who to vote for to not dilute our vote among too many delegate candidates. But of course, this doesn’t make for very good copy. The national narrative was that Romney was ‘the candidate’, and any data that suggested otherwise must be the result of ‘skewed representation’.

After the convention, we again were mystified when Stephanie Rice of the Columbian blamed the Ron Paul supporters for the terrible convention and the inability to fill out the Clark County delegation to the state convention. The truth, of course, was that Romney supporters led every single facet of that convention, and the blame for not filling the delegation, which, curiously, served their own interests, rested entirely on their shoulders. Once again, this fact did not conform to the established media narrative that Ron Paul people were always causing problems.

One thing we noticed about these negative experiences with the media was that despite the Pravda-like coverage that seemed to follow us around, we were still accomplishing our goals. We prevailed at Heritage, and then again at the county convention. The people who were there, including the Santorum supporters that we teamed up with, knew that the problems had nothing to do with us, and that we had played fairly all along. We discovered an important truth, that while the media can prey upon the uninformed, they do not control public opinion.

A few months later, the efforts of the PCO Liberty Alliance received news coverage when we caught John Ellis in the act of stealing one of our signs. While the operation was executed better than we could possibly have hoped when we bought the camera, some media had their own narrative to sell that had little to do with the actual story. KATU news led off their story by chuckling about the fact that our sting ‘didn’t exactly work’, and then they proceeded to do violence to the truth by adding elements like ‘the signs were illegally placed’ and ‘the signs were taken and replaced by other Republican signs’. These statements were either painted, or in the latter case, completely false, and I was left wondering why they ran the story at all if they didn’t think it worked. KATU had a narrative though, which was to highlight the ‘intra-party Republican squabble’ rather than the real story, that a sign thief was caught red-handed. The fact that Ellis was later brought before a judge on charges, and the signs in that area stopped disappearing demonstrates how ridiculous their editorializing about how ‘it didn’t exactly work’ actually was.

More recently, the Madore toll sign project caught KATU’s attention once again, and once again, they formed their own narrative and conjured up details to fit it. Imaginative and eye-catching signs about the coming tolls and Madore’s candidacy became a nefarious attempt to look like a construction crew and cause danger in traffic that was already stopped for an on-ramp light. Hard hats and construction vests were conjured up for effect. A friendly conversation with a state trooper as we were leaving was transformed into the Washington Department of Transportation ‘booting’ us from the scene and facing fines. The fact that we had no contact with WashDOT until we called them a few days AFTER the story was reported, and that we were never cited by anyone did not make any difference.

These things could be discouraging, except that the message did get out, and people sifted through the negative reporting and Madore was elected, and Proposition 1 rejected. The response from voters was so decisive, that even Congresswoman Jaime Herrera today released a statement calling for a bridge plan that does not include light rail. The lesson for us is that the media and the spin doctors do not control public opinion. The voters are accustomed to journalists misrepresenting the facts, and have learned to sift through the falsehoods and find the real story.

Meanwhile ,alternative media is cropping up everywhere and providing much-needed accountability. Network television ratings and newspaper circulations continue to plummet as website and blog hits rise. As long as outfits like KATU continue to butcher the facts, look for the trend to continue.

  1. Steve Madore says:

    If I were to take this article and pull it, stretch it, and squeeze it to find any slanted untruths, then press it through a funnel to see what would come out, I would discover that I still have the raw truth.

  2. Amy Winton says:

    Well said, sir. Well said.
    Did Ms. Rice ever have to print an apology or take back her false representation of what happened at the convention?

  3. The way this kind of reporting works, there are always subtleties of language to hide behind. So, for instance, Fox News is famous for prefacing outrageous accusations to interviewees with, “What do you say to your critics who say….”. This way, it is not Fox News saying these terrible things, but unnamed ‘critics’. In Stephanie’s case, she said that ‘Ron Paul supporters were blamed’, so Stephanie is not the one doing the blaming. The effect is the same though. If you said something evil about somebody, and I repeated it in print, am I not culpable?

    We have been interviewed by several media outlets, from the Wall Street Journal, to the Seattle Times, to several television stations, a couple of radio shows, and several reporters at the Columbian. Stephanie Rice and KATU news are the worst of the lot, and they would probably not be received well if they were to ask for another interview.

  4. Earl Schwartz says:

    This article demonstrates why, of the three local conservative blogs I visit on a regular basis, I think calleduntoliberty is by far the most thoughtful, well-written, and persuasive.

  5. Steve, Amy, and Earl, thanks for the affirmation, and for reading and taking time to comment.

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