Interesting piece in Buzzfeed about the Republicans starting to wake up to the fact that they need to start appearing on other news outlets – real news outlets – than just Fox News.
The thing is, going before real journalists can be hazardous to your health. Not often. But it’s certainly more risky than having Hannity brown-nose you for ten minutes.
The argument some conservatives are giving is that they’re only preaching to the choir when they go on Fox. Yes, but.
It’s a complicated question as to when its useful to go on a show that might as you tough questions. For the left, there really isn’t an alternative kind of show. Only lately MSNBC has been trying to fill Fox’s shoes – and MSNBC does it with fewer lies and less party loyalty. But before then it was either go on CNN and the other networks, and face tough questions, or go on Fox and be treated like a subhuman.
The interesting thing is that on gay rights issues, it was useful going on the Fox in the past. I went on the O’Reilly Factor a lot in the late 90s and early 2000s. He liked me. And it got us a better spin on the story. To wit: After a series appearances on O’Reilly’s shows in 2000, about our boycott of Dr. Laura Schlessinger’s new TV show, O’Reilly ended up agreeing with me that Schlessinger brought all the trouble on to herself because of her inappropriate language.
We couldn’t have asked for anything more than the left and Bill O’Reilly saying Dr. Laura had crossed the line.
But there came a time when Fox became just so hateful, just so anti-gay – not that they were ever neutral – that I stopped going on. It’s a trade off. At some point, you’re validating bad people, fake journalism, by continuing to go on their shows. But still, that’s not to say that it can’t help your cause. I think it helps gay people to have respectable representatives go on Fox and show the world that we’re “normal” even if they disagree with us. Same with transgender people. There’s always a risk.
Of course, for Republicans going on CNN, it’s an entirely other matter. When I went on Fox, I was already used to answering questions about whether gays were pedophiles, posed to me on other networks (usually by the religious right pig debating me). But Republicans who are have been in exile on Fox, aren’t used to actually having to defend their lies in the light of day. It’s why CNN’s Soledad O’Brien is such a breath of fresh air, and so confounds Republicans who simply can’t believe someone who calls herself a journalist would ask a hard question, and then ask it again when you refuse to answer.
Finally, there’s the question of the value of “preaching the choir.” Buzzfeed argues that you don’t get much mileage by preaching to the choir. And sometimes that’s true. But not always, and I’d argue not often. One of the strengths of the liberal blogosphere has been our ability to find stories and help them go mainstream. Now, it’s certainly possible that the right has had less success doing the same. Mostly because they’re a little nuttier than we are. Not all of them. But on par, far too many of the top folks, yeah. Republicans are learning the hard way that it’s harder to sell BS than it is the truth, at least when you’re not on Fox.