Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Don Irvine from AIM to CCM: Surprised to hear that conservatives dominate the AZ political blogosphere

Don Irvine, chairman of Accuracy in Media, spoke to the Coalition for a Conservative Majority Monday night. He was very interesting, and told the history of AIM. Perhaps the most intriguing thing gleaned from his talk was that the liberal bloggers are ahead of the conservative bloggers - because that's not true in Arizona. The conservative Sonoran Alliance is easily the most popular political blog in Arizona (it has the highest alexa rating by far of any Arizona political blog), followed by the Republican blogs Espresso Pundit, Exurban League, Politico Mafioso, Lighthouse Blog, and Seeing Red AZ. When asked how many attendees had heard about the CCM meeting on Sonoran Alliance, approximately half raised their hands.
AIM was started by Irvine's father Reed because there was nowhere to take media bias complaints to. There was one organization that attempted to handle media complaints, but it collapsed because it was composed of the media establishment. In 1986, a Lichter landmark study of bias in the news media was released, called The Media Elite. It was the first of its kind exposing left wing media bias. It revealed that 80% of the time the media voted for Democrats.

The Fairness Doctrine was in place at that time (from 1969-86 when Reagan signed it out of existence), and ironically it was the only way conservatives could get anything done. There was no talk radio back then. AIM would file complaints under it.

With the advent of right wing talk radio, the internet, and Fox News, the Fairness Doctrine would no longer be helpful today. Its existence is up to the FCC, not legislation. So if Obama wins, the FCC can put it back in place. Meanwhile, although Congress may not have much authority over it, Congressman Pence keeps the issue live – getting broadcasters like Ingraham to cover it.

Irvine discussed the news media's biased coverage of the Republican and Democrat conventions, notably their favorable coverage of Obama versus their unfair coverage of Palin. MSNBC has purposely gone farther left, because it was going nowhere as the third major network and needed to distinguish itself.

Irvine believes that if the left hadn't been in control of the news coverage during the Vietnam War, we wouldn't have lost. The left wing media wrongly portrayed that we were losing battles that we were really winning.

AIM's wing of Accuracy in Academia got started accidentally, when Irvine's father casually mentioned it in a speech and it grew into a real organization.
Irvine told the group that little maneuvers can make a huge difference. AIM loves using film to get messages across. Al Jazeera tried to get an English cable show in America. To stop them, AIM created a mini-documentary with the help of friendly Arab organizations, at a cost of only $3000. They put together Al Jazeera was furious. They did launch the show, but only one tiny station in Ohio would run it. AIM had already warned other stations about them. In order to view the Ohio station, you have to pay $7-10/mth.

Irvine recommends letter writing campaigns – writing networks & going after advertisers. One of their big successes involved the bogus alar scare. UPS even called them asking who they were, since they saw so many postcards come through.
Irvine thinks demonstrations have a powerful influence. DC is tailormade for them, as well as NY since the NY Times & CBS are located there. AIM links up with the Freepers from Free Republic at these protests.

Irvine told a funny story of how liberal Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee once referred to his father as a "miserable, carping, retromingent vigilante." AIM used that line to its benefit to host fundraisers. The senior Irvine kept the letter framed on his wall.

Perhaps the coolest part of Irvine's presentation was hearing all the ways he's adapted to the new media technologies and is on top of them - even Twitter! He blogs instead of writing opinion articles. Tries to be a little editor, since there is so much information out there.

The Heritage Foundation runs a weekly bloggers briefing which he attends. Robert Bouie from Human Events runs it. At least one Congressman attends every week.

Media Research has launched a conservative youtube called Iblast. 10 videos gets you your own channel.

Twitter is good for sending out headlines – Heritage, Fox News, Politico, etc. use it. You can set it up to get blog posts sent to your cell phone. Congressmen are on it, such as John Culberson from Texas.
AIM is currently focusing on Obama with a series called The Truth About Barack Obama.

His father Reed spent a lot of time when he was head of AIM investigating Vince Foster & TWA. What bothers him is that the government never answered the questions. Same with the guy the government initially accused of sending anthrax in the mail. After he was finally exonerated, the government conveniently pinned it on someone who had committed suicide.

Chris Simcox from the Minutemen Civil Defense Corps gave a brief talk at the end about the Democrat and Republican conventions and their blackout on immigration and border security issues. Along with other conservatives, he held a conference 6 miles away from the Democrat convention for conservatives. Of the 40 members of the media present at his rival meeting, only three bothered to write stories. He was told by media at both conferences that they had been instructed not to cover immigration issues, if they did their editors would ax it.

Fortunately, the GOP platform on immigration and border security "sounded like it could have been written by the Minutemen." Simcox's organization issued a challenge to the presidential candidates on combating illegal immigration. While neither Obama nor McCain responded, three third-party candidates did sign the resolution, including Alan Keyes. Simcox suspected there is some collusion between the media and the political parties on their failure to cover the parties' immigration platforms.

Simcox also discussed some recent examples of media bias. Ron Paul recently had a Campaign for Liberty, with over 10,000 attendees. The media reported that there were "a few hundred" that showed up. At Simcox's rival conservative convention, over 200 people attended. The media reported that only "a dozen" people were there.

Simcox is holding training for local folks interested in joining the Minutemen this Saturday at the American-Italian club. For more information see

The next meeting of Coalition for a Conservative Majority will be October 6, featuring former U.S. House Majority leader and CCM co-founder Tom DeLay as the speaker. 7pm at the American-Italian club, 7509 N. 12th Street in Phoenix, AZ.

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