May 5, 2009

The Slipstream Media: Creating a New American Network - Part 1

“Strait times come in history. Our time is such a time, millennial, full of fast currents, tossing, eddied, dangerous to pass through.” – John Fowles, The Aristos


The Media is how America fights its civil wars. In this war at least half the country is both under-served and is painfully aware it is being under-served and lied to. In pop culture parlance, “We’re going to need bigger guns.”

Seen as the 4th branch of government, the unelected and self-selected Mainstream Media, in cultural and political collusion with the present government, knows this and – even as it dies – will do everything it can to prevent the arming of the people with more and better media.

To control the medium is to control the message. And control of the message means control of the hearts, minds, and votes of the people. To bring a better, clearer, and brighter message to the American people, we must have media that, like the Internet itself, “sees censorship as system damage and routes around it.” To accomplish this we must, in a network of small pieces loosely joined together, work to create a pervasive new media across America. Many of these pieces are already in place. Many more need to be created. All need to be joined in an affiliation. Mainstream media already knows how to do this and we must, to paraphrase Abby Hoffman, "Steal Their Book." Media not busy being born is busy dying.

This is the first in a series of articles on how to go about building a new American media; a media composed of newspapers, television, radio, film, music, publishing, and the multi-media capabilities of the Internet; an American media open to all and founded on the five bedrock principles of “Duty, Honor, Country, Truth, God.”

When dinosaurs die large opportunities for growth bloom within the ecosystem. The death of the old media is such an opportunity. It affords a wide range of possibilities to create a new media, a media that runs to the side of the mainstream media, but ultimately supplants it by slipping by it. For now I call it, The Slipstream Media.

By “The Slipstream Media” I mean the use of all forms of media currently in use to inform and persuade the public that "There is another system."

This series of articles will be composed of theoretical and practical observations on the content, forms, principles, funding, and business structures involved in creating a new media network in the rapidly changing marketplace of today and the foreseeable future. It will focus on, in Lenin’s phrase, “What is to be done,” as well as what can be done, and how the creation of the Slipstream Media might be accomplished.

What is to be done.

The Premise: Better ideas require not only better arguments, but also better means of distribution.

To survive and thrive, better ideas also require funding, a sound business model based on the realities of the present, and a path to positive cash flow.

In their headlong rush to establish their liberal/progressive apotheosis, Mainstream Media has, for decades, alienated well over half of the American “customer base.” This customer base is vast and vastly under-served. It extends from the far right of the American political spectrum well through the center. A media that arises to serve this American customer base can thrive on many levels, in many forms, and in many places throughout the country. In a very real sense, the demand for media – in all forms – that is dedicated to “Duty, Honor, Country, Truth, God” currently far outstrips the supply.

The continued dominance of the Fox News network is Exhibit A, B, and C in this regard. The mainstream media mocks the Fox motto of “Fair & Balanced” to such an extent that you know that Fox has the correct formula for our time. After all, you only mock what you fear and hate.

Briefly put, Fox News teaches us that America requires, and will reward, a new media network that rises from the American grain, one that is sustainable and local but with national, even global, reach. Fox News is, after all, composed of local affiliates each of which sustains both itself and the network at large in a symbiotic relationship.

Fox News demonstrates daily that America requires, and will reward, a new media network run without fear or favoritism that rejects the proven failures of bias, distortion, collusion, and revisionism that have brought the current dominant media networks, electronic and print, to destruction.

I will examine the Fox formula in more detail in a forthcoming section. For now it is only important to know that Fox works, and has much to teach those of us who would seek to replicate its success in other media and on other, more local, scales.

Well over half of the nation knows that, due to a perfect storm of politics, economics, and the manipulation of mass public opinion through a colluding and biased media, the nation is being driven towards rocks that may well sink the ship of state that has carried us safely across two centuries. Nearly half the nation is partially persuaded that in the name of “hope and change” this fateful change may well destroy “the last best hope of Earth.”

To prevent this the captain’s tower must be retaken and the ship’s course corrected. This cannot be done through the reliance on established political parties. Those are only a vehicle through which the correction of the course may be undertaken.

Those presently in control of the ship will not go quietly. They will fight with all the weapons they possess that they feel they can get away with using. Of these weapons, the most deadly ones in their arsenal is the Mainstream Media. To prevail we must arm ourselves as well as they have. In this we are fortunate in that they can, following their playbook, only grow weaker. We can grow stronger but only if we are willing to create an alternate medium that employs all media.

In the cultural/political struggles we are now engaged in, the medium is the weapon.

In a democracy votes are garnered by shaping public opinion on local, state, and national levels. This “shaping” is not something that happens in an election year, but well before. Decades before.

As we have seen to our dismay, over time the composition of a local school board that determines what is taught in our schools, as well as how it is taught, is more influential in our nation than a sheaf of senators or a passing President.

As the Sixties radicals I was once a part of knew all too well, losing control of the schools and the colleges leads, in a decade or so, to losing control of the government. If you can convince the young that the New York Times is the fountainhead of truth, their votes will follow the editorial bias the Times promulgates.

Many factors determine how votes are cast in a democracy, but the ability to reach, inform, and influence public opinion is chief among them. In our “winner-take-all” electoral process it is not enough to seek to influence on a national level if you have little influence on a local or state level.

To win modern media wars it is not sufficient to be armed with better ideas and better arguments alone. You must also have better and deeper distribution across a significant stretch of time. Just as the Lilliputians immobilized Gulliver with a large network of many thin threads tied together, so it will be necessary to do the same with the moribund mainstream media.

This can be done.

The creation of the Slipsteam Media will neither be easy nor instantaneous. It not even needs to be a formal structure. Many useful elements, mostly Internet based, are already present that can be used in its creation. Facts, content, and talent are present in overwhelming amounts within the Web, but the Web is only the hub of a media network and is too easily a closed circuit. The Web can be a center, but it cannot be the whole. Other, more focused, elements have to be brought to bear.

Again, better ideas require better distribution. A new media requires that information not only be routed up to the Web, but that information be routed out from the Web.

It will require the creation of many nodes and many modes of communication on the local, state, and national level.

It will require filling information eco-niches as soon as larger media life forms abandon them.

It will require the creation and syndication of many small local newspapers and journals (Yes, newspapers and journals. Do not dismiss fully mature media, but learn to use them in new ways and to better ends. Print reaches places the Internet does not go and retains an innate credibility that the Web has not yet surpassed.)

It will require the exploitation of extant local radio and television resources as well as the creation of new ones.

It will, at all points and in all phases, require the use of the Web to co-ordinate, support, and share the activities of the many with the whole. It will require a network of “small pieces loosely joined together,” agreeing to aid but agreeing to disagree in good will as long as all are united in the five bedrock principles of “Duty, Honor, Country, Truth, God.”

How might this to be done? The next part of this series will deal with that most venerable and endangered medium; the newspaper and what can be done to leverage its untapped power in the age of the Internet.

Posted by Vanderleun at May 5, 2009 8:34 PM | TrackBack
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

“Freedom of the press is a flaming sword! Use it justly . . . hold it high . . . guard it well.”

Posted by: Rob De Witt at May 5, 2009 11:43 PM

Well stated, Vanderman! ... and don't forget that content is still king.

Posted by: Eman at May 6, 2009 4:00 AM

It's about damn time.

Posted by: gabrielpicasso at May 6, 2009 5:24 AM

It is time. The existing press facilitated the election of someone who was and is unknown to the majority of our electorate. If we wish to remain reasonably free, this is unacceptable. It can be done and many of us are willing. The academy will be next.

Posted by: Thalpy at May 6, 2009 5:44 AM

while I would quibble with some of the founding principles that you suggest, as well as their order of importance, I think you lay out a very interesting concept. The foundation of such a proposal may already be forming in, for e.g. 1), 2) PJTV.

Posted by: Barnabus at May 6, 2009 5:48 AM

Good ideas. We must be relentless in promulgating the substance of free market/ conservative principles in all new media forms, without being dowdy in style. Be hip without being silly. Big Hollywood is another nice addition. Look forward to reading more.

Posted by: Webutante at May 6, 2009 6:37 AM

Hallelujah!! Finally the crux of the problem is identified and a real solution is offered!!!!!!!!Thanks!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: carols at May 6, 2009 6:41 AM

RE: Facilitating Subversion
Based on my experience as college marksmanship program director at my local gun club, I'd like to make a related suggestion. Simply put, a revival of interest in the shooting sports is one adjunct to the reconquista of the schools and the media. The battle over guns is at the white hot center of what the statists and their allies in the state run media are attempting to affect. Why? Two primary reasons. One, an armed populace has options that a disarmed one does not. Two the moral dimensions of the sport are not lost to the leftists - namely that individuals are responsible for their actions. We trust our fellow citizens and want them empowered to protect their lives and those of their neighbors. The statists trust the power of the government and not the people. So in summary, if possible, make it a point to teach others to shoot. Have a good safe time doing it. You'll be doing yourself a favor and your country will benefit. You will demonstrate to the new shooters that a) they have the physical, practical and moral capability to defend themselves and b) that the state run media is lying to them in significant ways.

Posted by: RKV at May 6, 2009 6:47 AM

Just as the Left has become culturally dominant via a "long march through the institutions", media, academia, the arts, so the classically liberal must follow. It won't be easy and it will take much time but there is no other way.

Posted by: MSL at May 6, 2009 7:34 AM

Fox is no model, Gerhard, Fox is a compromise. Hamilton and Jefferson found compromise between competing truths. That is the model. The compromise between Right and Left is always Left. Truths are neither fair nor balanced.

The Left cannot work without the conservative cheerfully working as a tool for his enemies. It is helpless by itself, other than to immolate. W and Herbert, McCain and Romney; even Gingrich was essential to It back in the day that he was worth something.

Rove is at Fox now. Who there will cough up that hairball, or even be prepared to see it is one now?

Garet Garrett, 1938--
There are those who still think they are holding the pass against a revolution that may be coming up the road. But they are gazing in the wrong direction. The revolution is behind them, gone by in the night of depression.
The New Deal entered the old form and devoured its meaning from within. Opposite and violently hostile ideas were represented by the same words. This was the American people's first experience with dialectic according to Marx and Lenin. The revolutionaries were inside, the defenders outside.
You do not defend a world that is already lost. When was it lost? That you cannot say precisely. We only know it was surrendered peacefully, without a struggle, almost unawares. There it is, and there it will remain until, if ever, it shall be reconquered. Certainly government will never surrender it without a struggle.

Posted by: james wilson at May 6, 2009 7:48 AM

Indeed, the "Medium is the Massage". McLuhan's prescience so long ago was a gift. I am glad you are taking up this cause formally, though the quality of your product, and that of a few others, clearly signals we have been awhile already in the throes of a birthing process. You've been on this path almost your whole life, I suspect. Now it is time to ride the crest of the wave you yourself have helped create. That mother of all invention, necessity, has made you do what you do, develop your skills into growth of a new life to fill a growing niche. We can show them what "real" change looks like.

Posted by: John Hinds at May 6, 2009 8:01 AM

Well done. A call to arms for the culture wars. I often worry if the battle isn't already lost, but we must carry on. Your plan is a hopeful one.

I've recently been re-exposed to the Boy Scout Oath which expresses your five priciples admirably.

"On my HONOR, I will do my best
to do my DUTY, to GOD and my COUNTRY
(then comes an extended exposition of TRUTH)
and to obey the Scout Law;
To help other people at all times;
To keep myself physically strong,
mentally awake, and morally straight."

It is no wonder the Boy Scouts are under attack.

Posted by: BroKen at May 6, 2009 9:05 AM

"... we must have media that, like the Internet itself, “sees censorship as system damage and routes around it.”"

Brilliant insight. I mean that sincerely. Can't wait to see the next piece.

I am wondering if some of the techniques of the Founders are applicable here. Do we need a Declaration of Independence from Censorship? An Information Bill of Rights?

Posted by: sherlock at May 6, 2009 9:58 AM

"Fox is no model, Gerhard, Fox is a compromise"

I note in passing that most successful business and politics is based on compromise. A purity test in no path to power in a democracy.

Too much perfection is a mistake.

Posted by: vanderleun at May 6, 2009 10:34 AM

In addition to all the above, I think we should hack into the AP stories and re-word them to be fair and balanced. It would actually take AP a very long time to figure out that their copy has been tampered with.

Posted by: Roderick Reilly at May 6, 2009 1:07 PM

Now that's a good idea. Or condense them to what is hidden below the lede.

Posted by: vanderleun at May 6, 2009 2:02 PM

I like it.

Like it a lot.

Posted by: Morgan K Freeberg at May 6, 2009 3:32 PM

The Democrats and the teachers' unions that support them oppose home education and charter schools at every opportunity. No educational system outside of their control can be tolerated. If home schools and charter schools grow in number, people will wake up, realize how badly they are being screwed and vote the Democrats out.

Posted by: Jonathan at May 6, 2009 6:39 PM

Good in time is always better than perfect too late.

Patton said something akin to that, I believe.

What a world this is become.

Posted by: TmjUtah at May 7, 2009 10:42 PM

I'm puzzled by Fox; it is a Murdoch outfit yet its Sky TV sister is in the thrall of the liberals in the UK (not as badly as the BBC admittedly); but my point is Murdoch can create and if necessary destroy given local economics. Its immediate ambivalence once Obama won the election bothered me badly. Beck worries me, too: it's not what he says, which mainly I agree with. But his hysterical presentation makes me wanna zap him when my wife walks into the room - a bad acid test. He enthuses like a teenager who has just found out how his dick works. Is his style as unpalatable to the American audience as it is to the British? I note the reserve of his fellow anchors when he is mentioned or is about to take the airwaves and wonder whether he embarrasses them too?

Looking forward to the next chapter Gerard, Interesting. The Long March reversed? Over scorched earth? Impracticable I suppose. Or a new Long March with different components? Possible, but the time is short, given the demographics:

Posted by: Frank P at May 8, 2009 9:03 AM

I'm all American and that's exactly my feelings towards Beck. I also don't disagree with him, but can't stand to watch or listen to him. His style strikes me as a frustrated fundamentalist protestant preacher.

Posted by: phil g at May 8, 2009 12:15 PM

Patton said "A good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow".

Also, I enjoy Beck - he's eccentric and a typical American Original. You-guys who are embarrased by him are prissy old maids. He has a perspective related to this post, but his own unique view, naturally. (Why is eccentricity so despised in America today?)

Susan Lee

Posted by: Susan Lee at May 8, 2009 4:53 PM

British law requires broadcast and cable news to be of "unbiased presentation," which of course means BBC-style liberal. That's why Sky News bears no resemblance to FNC.

Though Murdoch is also smart, and knows that American-style conservatism wouldn't sell too well right now, given how off-the-scale even the Tories are these days.

But basically, opinions of any sort (except of the government-is-good, global-warming-will-imminently-kill-us-all sort built into the "hard news" itself) are banned on British radio and television.

If you ever want to experience true pain, go listen to the live streams of a London talk radio station like Talksport or LBC sometime. Where we discuss hard news and the issues of the day, they spend two hours at a time taking calls on why one breed of dog is better for apartment living than another.

Posted by: Thatcher at May 9, 2009 6:32 AM

Frank P, that YouTube address you gave is missing 2 characters.

Posted by: Morenuancedthanyou at May 9, 2009 12:19 PM


Sorry - try this:

Posted by: Frank P at May 10, 2009 4:34 PM

As someone who spent 15 years as a reporter at several mid-sized newspapers, I can attest to the ubiquitous groupthink ObamaReich mentality.

It is powerful. It works mainly through the conscious AND subconscious omission of any story that would make the liberal point of view (i.e. preferred Democrats) look bad.

I don't believe it can be overcome simply with an alternative media due to the fact that the vast vast majority of common everyday news (top-of-the-hour radio newscasts, Yahoo, Google, local TV, Hollywood movies, cultural magazines such as Vogue or National Geographic) are packed to the gils with do-good liberals who were raised to believe they are more enlightened than the cultural conservatives.

I hate to sound so cheesy, but I truly believe that wealthy conservative entities (of which there are very few compared to liberal entities) must aggressively start buying up as many mainstream news outlets as possible ... and start printing the facts.

Posted by: Storm Chaser at May 11, 2009 8:29 PM

Storm Chaser, I don't think that idea is at all cheesy.

In fact it would seem that venture capitalists have the most to lose if capitalism itself is subverted and the wealthy are demonized to the point where the public openly cheers the theft of their assets... more loudly than they already are, that is.

It's been a mystery to me for some time why capitalists have failed to grasp this idea. Perhaps it takes the threat of a true Chavez to spur them to action, but the effect capitalist wealth could have on restoring Liberty would be considerable if it were applied conscientiously right now. Same holds true for our academic institutions, which are perennially short on cash.

Meanwhile, cancel your newspaper subscription if you've got one and write to NBC, ABC and CBS advertisers telling them you've stopped buying anything that appears on those networks. Something's gotta give.

Posted by: goy at May 12, 2009 11:09 AM

Yeah, I know this is late, but I hope you get a chance to see it.

I always enjoy your work here. I would like to add two things, if I may:

1)The current version of the MSM (taken as a whole, and treated by this post for brevity's sake as if it were all TV) will persist exactly as long as those who hate it still watch it, appear on it, use it to disseminate information, discuss it, and act as though it can or should be improved. In other words, if the non-lefties can't just let it go, it will survive far longer than it ought.

Those who hearken to the phony days of yore (when journalism was supposedly a profession--see "Callender, James") need to stop giving the MSM credence. Build a true profession from the ashes of the MSM, and let the MSM[]just[]die. It's the honorable thing to do.

2)Sadly, pointing to FOX as a success is problematic in that the old-time "broadcast" media still totally crush the new "cable" media. Especially when it comes to news. The alphabet networks measure views in the millions, while FOX measures views in the hundred-thousands. This is a lot of inertia to overcome, and item #1, above, shows why the process of overcoming it is still in it's gestation phase, not infancy or any more mature comparison. Too many "conservatives" who work in MSM media persist in trying to see if it can be fixed. Just let it die, please. Work on a replacement, use that replacement to defeat it, and let its pathetic husk rot in peace.

Posted by: K~Bob at May 23, 2009 11:25 AM

"" (Frank P)

See a debunk of this faked video (although funny, especially the 8.1 children/woman fertility rate of Muslims in France) in Tiny Frog, Muslim Demographics, 2009-05-03, and Duncan Macleod, Muslim Demographics on YouTube Abuse of Statistics, 2009-05-11.

Posted by: Nicolas Krebs at June 14, 2009 8:29 AM