Saturday, April 17, 2010

Proposed Tea Party Tactic: Targeted Boycotts of Media Advertisers

Three rules of political conflict are (a) a tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag; (b) go outside your opponent's experience, that is, use surprise; and (c) use your opponents' force against them.   The  media have become used to the Tea Party demonstrations.  Hence, this tactic may be starting to be a drag.  It may be time to escalate or shift this approach into different ones to go outside the media's experience and to limit the boredom that develops with tactics that drag on too long.

The Tea Party has indulged in victimization-consciousness. It has failed to recognize its own power for civil protest.  Strategic thinking requires the identification of an opponent's points of vulnerability.  The Tea Party has several under-utilized strengths and its opponent, the Democratic Party-media nexus, has several under-identified vulnerabilities.  The Tea Party is primarily middle class and includes a significant share of the nation's consumption budget. 

The Democratic Party-media nexus and the elites it supports, public sector employees, the investment banking community, trial attorneys and the state-dependent super-rich (real estate developers who rely on eminent domain; investment bankers who depend on public finance; hedge fund managers who depend on the Fed, etc.) have retained power in large part through control of the mass media and education.  Today, virtually all newspapers are Democratic as are virtually all television stations.  In other words, the Democrats have relied on "old media" to secure their power base.  Although they have also taken advantage of the Internet, the World Wide Web is far more decentralized.  Without the old media the Democrats' base of power will be significantly weakened.  Education needs to be addressed, but I start with the media.

The Tea Party is the first significant mobilization of conservatives since World War II.  Its nature is still not well understood. One of its characteristics is decentralization.  This is an asset for some purposes because local media can be targeted by decentralized organizations of activists.

Media is vulnerable to boycotts of advertisers.  If advertisers sense risk, the disincentive to advertise with a given outlet is powerful because there is no need for loyalty to it.  Advertising is normally an elective expense, the sole purpose of which is to improve sales.  If advertising has the reverse effect, harm to sales, advertising will be reduced.

Hence, the Tea Party might be effective by targeting specific advertisers for boycott and writing large numbers of letters to the targets informing them of the reason for the boycott, i.e., advertising in a Democratic newspaper or on a Democratic Party television station.  

The old media is increasingly vulnerable because of sharp declines in readership and viewership. This may in the first place be related to their Democratic Party bias.  However, this will not change because the Democratic Party-media nexus drives the media's perspective. Chris Matthews is an employee of Microsoft and General Electric. He is by definition loyal to these two firms and his views will respond to their needs regardless of protest.  Nevertheless, the Tea Party could conceivably cause a sharp change in MS-NBC's policies. 

Picture a boycott of Microsoft or General Electric.  If 10 to 40% of the public stops patronizing one or both of these firms, will they be loyal to the editorial policy of MS-NBC?  No matter how valuable Matthews has been, for instance, to General Electric's drive for government subsidies for its financial division, a major boycott would be far more costly to GE than whatever political gains Matthews produces for them.

Further loss of advertising could well bankrupt many newspapers and cause takeovers of television stations.  The Tea Party is excellently situated to exercise boycotts.  Because Tea Party members hold jobs, often several jobs, and are solvent, much of the nation's consumer base is in the Tea Party.  Systematic boycotts could be extensive and powerful.

Boycotts would have an additional advantage of striking the old media where it is vulnerable. Because of its loss of viewership and readership, advertising revenues are likely down already.  A series of systematic, targeted boycotts of advertisers would further drive advertisers away.  Many newspapers are already on the verge of bankruptcy.  The closing of a wide range of Democratic Party newspapers would have a salutary advantageous effect.  Much of the bias in favor of the Democratic Party is generated by local newspapers.

Because the Tea Party is decentralized, this line of thinking needs to be taken up on a decentralized basis.  Media sources such as Fox are vulnerable to counter-measures from the left and so cannot play a role.  However, the left lacks the kind of organization the Tea Party has.  As well, there are so few GOP-related news sources that there is little possibility of counter measures.


TK said...

I don't think GE is vulnerable enough, with NBC already too far gone. On the other hand, ABC is very vulnerable to pressure through Disney.

How much Disney junk do TEA Partiers buy in a month? Tens of millions, easily. Disney gets to pass itself off as family friendly, yet their ABC news coverage is slanted markedly to the left. Not as bad as CBS, or NBC, but they are a reachable target.

Mitchell Langbert said...

Excellent idea.

cat said...


The Progressive/Liberal Media was single handedly the most important tool utilized by the Obama Administration and the Pelosi-Reid cabal in ensuring that Obamacare passed. The ever present lies, distortions, and distractions it foisted on us allowed Obama-Pelosi-Reid to get away with passing off the nation’s biggest entitlement which will lead us into a fiscal nightmare as true health care reform that we can easily afford.

We must STOP this from ever happening again!

And now that Obama and Pelosi and Reid are doing all they can to radically CHANGE the essence of our nation, the Progressive/Liberal Media is assisting at every step of the way.

It is time we begin to FIGHT BACK and demand that we get fair, responsible, and appropriate media representation.

We control an important vote: Television, to start, makes its money from RATINGS! If you want to make a statement to these companies, nothing hurts as much as a loss in ratings!

We must register our votes in the ballot boxes that count-NBC’s real sources of income: The NBC Network schedule.

Let’s start our own Two-Step Community Organizing this way:


That includes The Today Show, The Office, Saturday Night Live, 30 Rock, Biggest Loser, America’s Got Talent, Heroes, and so forth.

That includes turning off all NBC network news shows with Brian Williams and others as well as news related shows such as Dateline.

That includes refusing to watch Jay Leno.

That includes the important new shows in which NBC has invested extraordinary sums such as The Marriage Ref, Minute to Win It, Celebrity Apprentice, Who Do You Think You Are?

And, yes, even their sports shows!

Want Obama to lose support? Help NBC’s programming to lose viewership!


Let's use our own Saul Alinsky tactics! Once an example is made of the worst, NBC, the others will get the message. And, if not, we can always expand as the November elections approach.

The power of all of us together is significant. And the publicity of it happening, itself, will have a substantial impact.

We must all learn to STOP certain activities in order to take better care of our country. Each of us must begin to learn how to eliminate those activities that, while perhaps gratifying, are self-destructive. Eliminate NBC programs from our media diet and stop purchasing products from advertisers on those shows. There is no better time to start than NOW!

Have a TV Party instead and invite others over to watch FOX or Fox News or some of the many other channels unaffiliated with the Progressive/Liberal Media. This is too important. Refuse to allow the Progressive/Liberal Media to continue its efforts to destroy our nation. A few million eyes removed from NBC ratings will tell them “We have had enough of your politics” loudly and clearly.

For the time being practice the new behaviors of turning off NBC and actively get your friends to do so as well. Show them now that we do not even need grand organization to get this underway. This is a matter of individual voting! Be surprised at how effectively this new behavior can expand.