Taylor Marsh did a post recently that really stuck with me and I’ve been meaning to do something on it for a while. It was about local radio, and how the Republicans have such an excellent network of people they can rely on to get their message out. There is nothing like it that exists on the left:
Every day across this country Rove’s "precinct captains" are at work. By precinct captains I mean local radio hosts. Their job cannot be underestimated. Air America is a wonderful new outlet for progressives, but their audience is miniscule compared to Rush, Sean, Fox radio, Christian broadcast and local radio programs. It will take a long time to get even. When trying to make the case against illegal wiretapping local radio can make the difference.
Local radio works the roots.
Local radio is an audio hand shake.
Local radio is also the grass roots whispering campaign of the Republican Party.
Local radio is where real change occurs, because the host is a member of the community. Nothing offers an opportunity for people to get to know the political parties on a more personal basis, which is what wins hearts and minds.
That’s why radio is working so well for Republicans, because it seduces the listener into believing he or she actually knows the host. When you know someone your trust level rises, as does the respect for the opinions he or she is delivering. The extension of this local radio whispering campaign is that if you know someone, you’re more likely to work for him/her or the person for whom they say to vote. The listener is also more likely to believe the host when he or she delivers the "truth" about something like Bush’s illegal wiretapping.
(Note: I should make it clear that what we’re talking about here initially is organizing people to call in to local radio talk shows.)
Also, further to Glenn Greenwald’s piece this morning, it was notable that a local (and heavily Republican) Wichita Eagle came out yesterday extremely critical of Pat Roberts and his groveling before BushCo. with regard to the illegal NSA wiretaps. No wonder the Bush junta is so frightened about these investigations proceeding.
And as I mentioned on Saturday, Cheney (and by extension) BushCo. are heavily damaged after Cheney got away with shooting an old man in the face, they could not hold their people in place last week and their attempts to strongarm while weak quite possibly backfired, at least on the Chuck Hagel and Olympia Snowe fronts (and she, in particular, had announced as of Tuesday that she would probably vote against any inquiry — her change of heart is therefore quite notable.)
Anyway, the upshot — several GOP are in critical positions with regard to these investigations, and they are also extremely susceptible to pressure in their own back yards right now. Since GOP Senators tend to be from small or even single-market states it is much easier to target them through, say, LTEs and local radio talk shows than it would be with someone from a state with a much larger population. What we’d like to do is organize people from these states who know the media outlets in their areas the best (as well as local blogs, as both Kos and Atrios noted this morning) and work with them to put pressure on these people over specific issues since blogs like FDL, Crooks & Liars, Glenn Greenwald and others can drive traffic and make these efforts more impactful.
These are the markets we’d like to target for right now (looking towards expanding as we move into other issues):
5. South Carolina
DeWine (Ohio) is acting as a total Bush shill over the illegal NSA wiretaps even as being tied to Bush in his state won’t win him any love. Snowe (ME) is a critical vote on the Intelligence Committee, as are Hagel (NB) and Graham(SC) on the Judiciary. Arlen Specter (PA) is head of the Judiciary Committee. Pat Roberts and Sam Brownback of Kansas also hold positions on both the Intelligence and Judiciary Committees
If you live in any of these states and would like to help organize these efforts, or simply take part in them, please either email me or leave word in the comments section. We’ll start to put together a network of local media that can be quickly and effectively targeted within these markets, putting in place an infrastructure to work with Glenn Greenwald to apply selective pressure on critical Senators as the investigations into the illegal NSA wiretap investigations go forward.