Wednesday, January 25, 2006

The storyline trumps the story

Call it framing, memetics, or unintentional bias. Call them narratives, memes, soundbites, or talking points. You pick the terminology, but please take a clear-eyed look at how our political discourse really works:

…the traditional media, the trusted media, the "neutral" media, have become the chief delivery mechanism of potent anti-Democratic and pro-Bush storylines. And the Democratic establishment appears to be either ignorant of this political quandary or unwilling to fight it.

Some background: Peter Daou, who managed Kerry’s internet campaign and publishes the much-read Daou Report (now behind the Salon subscription wall), has been studying the interaction and messaging power of netroots, traditional media, and the political establishment. In his earlier essays The Triangle: Limits of Blog Power and The (Broken) Triangle: Progressive Bloggers in the Wilderness, he observes that
the left messages in isolated pieces, while the right has linked its units into into a strong functioning triangle. (Here, have a graphic courtesy of Corrente.)

His point is that the media is not necessarily biased one way or the other - say what you will about reporters trending left and owners trending right - but that the right plays the media better than we do. Far better. So where the right has an “intricate interplay of Republican persuasion tactics, media story-telling, and 21st century information flow,” the left has bloggers talking hellish reality while Beltway Democratic strategy is still "two parts hackneyed sloganeering and one part befuddlement over the stifling of their message."

His latest installment, Matthews, Moore, Murtha, and the Media, is a must read.

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