Posts Tagged ‘New Media’

Tammy Bruce: Passionately Independent Conservatism in the New Media

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

"Chick With Gun and Mic"

If you’re not familiar with Tammy Bruce, I would like to urge you to check out her show.  I listen to Tammy Bruce almost daily, as time permits, although it’s generally while I’m at work, and I’m in and out of the office, get pulled away for meetings and problems, and all the usual things that prevail upon my daily schedule.  Hers is an entertaining and informative show, and most days, I will listen to the opening hour of Rush Limbaugh, and follow that with the two hours of Bruce’s show.  It’s an interesting contrast in style and presentation, but each has their own merits above and beyond the superficial differences.  Tammy is a good deal more serious, although cheerfully so.  She’s a former liberal who woke up to the direction in which the left was steering the country, and since then, she’s been what she calls an “independent conservative,” because she owes no allegiance to party.  She’s also the author of  The Death of Right and Wrong: Exposing the Left’s Assault on Our Culture and Values,” a serious examination of how the left has debased our culture by design and intention.

Her independence also defines another distinction between her show and many others in conservative radio:  Hers is a commercial-free show that thrives on the power of subscribers, known as TAMs, or “Tammy Army Members.”  She frequently points to this as leaving her free of “Gestapos” of the sort Limbaugh is now facing in the latest controversy involving Sandra Fluke:  Advertisers who pull the plug on a host when things get too hot in the kitchen.  This helps make Bruce the leading edge of a new wave of new media that waits for none, and takes no prisoners, because she doesn’t need to do so.  She answers to her conscience alone.

I’ve been a TAM for roughly half a year now, and it’s the best investment I’ve made in some time, and while I don’t always agree with Bruce on every issue, I do respect her delivery and her passion.  She’s the beating heart exemplifying new media, and she’s part of what traditional media both deplores and fears: An independent voice that has a direct relationship with her consumers, skipping the middle-men.  From 1p-3p eastern/10a-Noon Pacific, Bruce offers up a seldom-restrained run-down on the day’s events, and if you’re a subscriber, you get a bonus with a recorded Daily TAM Briefing she posts each night, and usually a weekend update too.  The community of her listeners get together in two venues: One is a chat that is available via her website that is open from just before the live show until just after its conclusion, and the other is via the Twitter hashtag: #tbrs.   Like most talkshows, there is a core of supporters, but hers are able to avail themselves of the chat during the live show, and they enjoy an uproariously good time commenting on Tammy’s broadcast in real time, or occasionally schmoozing with other celebrities who pop in on occasion, like Jedediah Bila.

I had the good fortune to meet Tammy at meet-up she held last September 3rd, in Des Moines, the evening after the Tea Party rally at which Governor Sarah Palin had delivered the keynote address.  Tammy gave a frank talk to the TAMs present about the ongoing campaign, and what it would take to overwhelm the left in 2012.  She was precise and her thoughts were well-organized, and she was gracious as can be to all in attendance.  I was pleasantly surprised at how thoroughly engaging and down-to-Earth she was, and that she wasn’t smitten with herself like so many celebrities seem to be.  Instead, she made rounds of all the tables, and engaged the people assembled, and sincerely answered questions, making it abundantly clear that unlike some in radio, whatever Bruce says, you can bet she believes it.

As for her radio show, I find it to be quite entertaining, and besides, who doesn’t love it when Tammy blows her stack over the latest leftist outrage?  She gives voice to the frustrations conservatives feel in the face of a monolithic mainstream media that is in league with the left.   The nice thing about her show is that because of the format, she’s able to speak frankly and without commercial interruptions when she gets on a roll.  Naturally, one of her favorite targets is Barack Obama, who has several nicknames on the show, including “Furkel” (an development of his earlier label as plain “Urkel,” with an “F” prefixed in order to convey “F-Urkel,”) along with the ever-popular DB,(or Dumb Bastard.)  The show is available via TalkStreamLive.com, and they now have an iPhone app, so you can listen there too, but the best part is even if you miss it live, even non-subscribers get access to her daily public show podcast.

What I find most valuable about Tammy’s show is the perspective of a former leftist, a woman who knows how the left operates, and easily recognizes their latest game-plans usually well in advance of the rest of conservative talk radio.  This distinction makes Tammy Bruce unique in talk radio, because she’s able to cut through the superficial nonsense and directly to the meat of most issues.  This makes her insight doubly refreshing, because in so many cases, she is able to see the heart of a matter with a clarity most cannot.  She knows how the left works, and she knows how the left is able to manipulate or collude with media in pushing their agenda, because not so very long ago, she was among their number.

She doesn’t like the Republican establishment for most of the same reasons she can’t stand the institutional left: She knows the fraud at the root of their agenda.  When I need a boost in the middle of a long day, Tammy Bruce is there to offer her audience wisdom, but also a good kick in the seat, exhorting them not to wallow in self-pity or doubt.  If you want to hear what an independent conservative with a passion for her country sounds like, you need go no further than Tammy Bruce.  Hers is a talkshow with a refreshing difference that is really quite addicting, and if you become a TAM, and join in the lively discussions, you’ll soon find that the crowd she attracts is of a similar mindset.  I translate it into the impression I first got when I heard Tammy’s blunt, incisive commentary, bold and rebellious with the fervor of a warrior:  “You’re not the boss of me!”

Tammy is the first woman I’ve ever heard in radio who espouses a belligerent rejection of authority that warns those who would tell her how to live where to get off.  That’s an endearing quality in my book, in this world of obnoxious, overreaching bureaucrats who wish to tell us whether we can have salt on our fries, or how many gallons our toilet-tanks may dispense per flush.  Her direct words to the would-be tyrants?  “Screw you!

Damned straight.  Check out her show, and you’ll quickly become addicted too.

Conservatives Shouldn’t Chase Media Approval

Monday, September 12th, 2011

Slipping Relevancy

One of the many phenomena I’ve noticed is that conservatives frequently seem captivated by the premise that if only they could get some positive media attention, they’d be in better positions.  This leads to a great deal of buzz and hype when some media outlet, generally accepted as a liberal/left purveyor of pseudo-news says something nice, or merely honest about a conservative.  In my view, this misses the point, as those traditional outlets on television and in print are seeing their influence wane.  If the NY Times bothers to say something nice or merely honest about a conservative only one day in ninety, it’s no reason for excitement.  That outlet is losing subscribers as this website is gaining them.

While my subscriber list is in no way growing at the rate the Grey Lady’s base is declining, considering the growth of the greater blogosphere, every day the Times or other traditional liberal/left outlets continue their endlessly biased rage against all things center-right, the rest of us are gaining audience.  This fresh diversity of news, opinion, and rhetoric is why the “New Media” is gaining while traditional media declines.  My advice to others is simple:  Stop worrying about what the old media  is saying.  As some in talk radio have explained, we don’t need their approval and we shouldn’t seek it, for when they rarely offer it, it’s generally the precursor to future attacks.

This weekend, I received emails from a couple of friends who were happy to tell me how the New York Times did a story on Gov. Sarah Palin in honest terms.  I read the story, and it was mostly accurate, but the article left unexpressed the large four-legged herbivore standing in the room:  Sarah Palin has always been a different sort of Republican.  Her twenty years in various offices should have made that clear, and what the article reveals is nothing new or extraordinary about Sarah Palin, but instead something deeply disturbing about the “Lamestream Media:” In the more than three years since her introduction to the nation, somebody over there finally bothered to look a bit more closely at her record.  While I suppose we could consider this a stunning inroad  for the truth over at the NYTimes, what it really demonstrates is the reason they’re bleeding at that publication:  They’re completely out of touch and out of time with the American people.  While this one story runs, their favorite red-head will doubtless regale us once more with how the Tea Party is composed of “terrorists.” How long before Paul Krugman will feed us more leftist propaganda about President Bush “cashing-in” on terror while he himself publishes the rant on the anniversary of 9/11, in order to get attention for his position(cashing-in.) Maybe he’ll make his case for alien invasions again.

It’s worth pointing out that there is nothing under Heaven or on Earth new about getting stories right.  Many in the blogosphere established their sites with that goal in mind, not because they sought the approval of the major media, but because they no longer cared what the major media were broadcasting or printing, knowing much of it to be useless nonsense and biased drivel disguised as objective reporting. I don’t wait for the major media to tell the truth about a story.  I do the research and run with it.  Just like them, I make errors, but the difference is that my errors aren’t intentional contrivances, the corrections for which I post somewhere deep in the site.   My corrections appear as updates to the stories in which the errors appeared, and if severe enough, will get an entirely new blog post of its own.

The reason why people seek this sort of validation through the old media is easy enough to understand.  Having been pummeled and mis-characterized for generations, conservatives(and others) understandably seek some sort of  justice or vindication.  The truth is that we will gain no lasting satisfaction from it.  Instead, we should focus on building our new media, where the world is rapidly turning for more complete, detailed, and diverse information.

Consider our advantages on the Internet.  The old media is present too, but consider that their reach is fading as the web becomes more diverse.  If you want specific original content attached to your story, you can post it, and if you’re relying upon other sources, you can link it.  You can go into as much detail as you like, or as little as time permits, but in all cases, you are able to customize your message to suit your own tastes, or if you know them, the tastes of your audience.  This presents another danger, and it’s the same problem the old media faced, although in a different form:  Preaching to the choir is common on the Internet, but it’s not dangerous until the perception becomes one of insular reasoning.  We should take full advantage of the diversity of the new media in exploring the stories to which we give coverage, because in truth, we should not wish to become the electronic version of the old media with all its well-known self-congratulatory tendencies.

The ability to avoid these pitfalls may be our most precious advantage, and while the old media scrambles to retain its relevance by shifting to new media outlets of their own, we should be mindful that to avoid becoming them, we should look in other directions.  Trying to find approval with them is pointless.  They simply don’t have the influence they once held.  Sarah Palin provides an apt example: She tweets and she posts Facebook notes, and she shows up without warning in the most spectacularly apt places.  The old media runs like the devil to keep up, but in the end, they look silly and inept.  You’d think they would stop doing it, but the truth is that they’re structurally unable.  In an era when every person with a smart-phone is a potential reporter, photographers, and videographer, there’s no way they can simply abandon their methodology.  The moment they do, they will be beaten to the punch by somebody else, perhaps me, or perhaps you, but somebody somewhere other than on their pages will have gotten the story.  Without the story, their business model is dead.  They must now compete not only to get the story, but to edit, upload and otherwise publish world-wide no differently from you.  At present, all their press credentials really provide them is easier access, and even that is changing as public figures realize that they needn’t play the old media’s conventional games.

Don’t seek the approval of the dinosaurs you’re displacing.  Don’t give them the web traffic.  Their record is one of misinformation, and you shouldn’t assist them even on the rare occasion that they’re right or simply honest.  Truth be told, while I challenge them from time to time also, they’re simply not as relevant as they once were, and you shouldn’t expect them to change.  At the heart of it all, they’re mostly leftist rags, and few really pay any thorough attention to them any longer.  One can find better information, news and opinion elsewhere. Waiting for their acknowledgment or approval serves them, but it scarcely serves us.  We won’t defeat them by becoming them, or even referencing them.  Instead, as the endless evolution of new media continues to gain mind-space with people everywhere,  it’s time for the old media to begin paying attention to us.