Conservative media’s success
Keying off a Conor Friedersdorf column, Politico’s Dylan Byers seems to be arguing that conservative media is largely ineffective.
Just take a look at the latest major scoop out of Washington — a leaked Justice Dept. memo revealing the legal case for drone strikes on Americans. That wasn’t obtained by Fox News, Matt Drudge or the Weekly Standard, and it certainly wasn’t obtained by Breitbart, Washington Free Beacon or the Daily Caller. It’s hard to imagine that it ever could be.
A few thoughts…
While conservative punditry has long existed — with the exception of a handful of top-notch reporters like the late Bob Novak — conservative reporting is still in its relative infancy.
As recently as just four years ago, outlets like Breitbart, Washington Free Beacon, and the Daily Caller didn’t even exist.
The same can’t be said about the longstanding establishment media which, despite their many resources, still don’t always take advantage of their terrific access (for example, why did “60 Minutes” sit on footage of President Obama seeming to contradict his debate statements on Benghazi?)
At the end of his post, Byers seems to hold himself up as the arbiter of what constitutes great reporting, by offering some us some advice: “Stop complaining and go report. And when you do, don’t come back with another conspiracy theory. Come back with a memo.”
The implication that being leaked to by the Obama Administration constitutes good reporting is, perhaps, ironic. Smart politicians pick the friendly reporters and outlets to leak to. They do this in order to curry favor — and to receive favorable treatment. Would anyone honestly expect the Obama Justice Department to leak a memo to The Daily Caller?
Speaking of TheDC, she just celebrated her third birthday. A quick look at some of the stories we have broken is, I think, telling. Hint: It largely consists of getting leaks from Republicans, holding the establishment media accountable, and reporting on stories about Democrats that the MSM ignores. (This is often not done through internal leaks, but instead, via FOIA requests).
Here are a few examples:
JournoList – The Daily Caller uncovered a secret group of liberal mainstream journalists and public figures who conspired to help the Obama campaign. As a result of the ensuing controversy, a leading JournoList member was fired by The Washington Post and JournoList itself was disbanded.
RNC Waste and Abuse scandal – TheDC exposed the news of waste and abuse at the Republican National Committee, including funds paid to a Los Angeles bondage-themed nightclub.
Dick Lugar doesn’t live here anymore – TheDC broke the story that then-Sen. Dick Lugar no longer lives in Indiana.
Operation Fast and Furious – TheDC has broken more stories than any other news organization about “Operation Fast & Furious,” in which the ATF purposely allowed guns to be smuggled across the US border to Mexican drug cartels. As a result of this dogged reporting, more than 120 Members of Congress have called for the resignation of Attorney General Eric Holder.
Pelosi’s Obamacare Waivers – The Daily Caller exclusively reported that businesses in Nancy Pelosi’s home congressional district received a full 20 percent of all Obamacare waivers issued in April 2011.
Horse Soldiers of 9/11 – War reporter Alex Quade’s gripping story and accompanying video chronicle the first U.S. soldiers’ arrival into Afghanistan who rode horses into combat, won multiple awards, including an Edward R. Murrow award for Journalism.
Senator Bob Menendez Dominican Republic Scandal – After TheDC reported on Senator Bob Menendez, new documents surfaced which indicated that the Senator was under an FBI investigation.
Jon Huntsman’s love letters – TheDC exclusively reported that Jon Huntsman, who at the time was preparing for a Republican presidential primary run, had written effusive letters of praise to President Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton.
Michele Bachmann’s migraines – The Daily Caller exclusively broke the story that Rep. Michele Bachmann suffers from debilitating stress-induced migraines, which often force her to seek medical attention and which she manages with several medications.
(My own personal scoops include breaking news that Rick Perry would run for president, Paul Ryan would endorse Mitt Romney, and that half of Newt Gingrich’s campaign debt was from private planes. Additionally, I wrote a post that resulted in Reuters issuing five corrections to a profile of Sen. Marco Rubio.)
The list above is by no means a full representation of The Daily Caller’s work. Additionally, it is important to remember that TheDC is merely one of the outlets listed by Byers — and that it has only been around for three years.
In any event, I think it’s silly for someone to suggest that — because one memo went to a mainstream outlet — that conservative media is somehow a failure.