Rich Stowell is a citizen-soldier. I met him in the summer of 2010 when he was assigned to shepherd me around Kosovo on my visit to the California National Guard deployed there.
Rich is also a citizen-journalist, one who is very kind to me in his most recent column for the Washington Times. I don’t mention him because of that column, but because it appeared the morning after John Hanlon was on my radio show Thursday.
John Hanlon is the young techno-wizard who helps keep the Townhall.com engines running. He is also a citizen-movie-reviewer who began with a few reviews for Breitbart’s Big Hollywood and who a couple of years later by sheer productivity, talent, and work ethic has not only his niche at the house of Andrew but also at Patheos.com and his own site JohnHanlonReviews.com.
Lonnie Fravel is an extraordinarily talented –and patient– producer-director of documentaries whom I spent filming with Thursday on the Mall as I did narration for an ADF special on religious liberty that will air in the next few weeks. Lonnie is based in Florida, goes anywhere the story needs to be told, and her only credential is her talent not any badge given her by a network.
Rich, John and Lonnie have all made careers in media because they wanted to, not because they were hired by a big brand to produce the news. This is the future, and it is here already.
In the Heritage Foundation radio studio where I broadcast Thursday, I hosted over the course of three hours the Washington Examiner’s Mark Tapscott, the Weekly Standard’s Fred Barnes, and Politico’s Mike Allen. I quizzed each on the massive transformation that has already swept and continues to shake Beltway media. The old institutions are crumbling, unable to pay for their sunk costs and slow to change, mired in declining circulation and ad revenue or stunned by ratings so low as to call into question the viability of CNN as a real news network as opposed to a niche for liberals with better taste than MSNBC permits.
Each of my guests celebrated the rise of the new and the fast, but Tapscott, Barnes and Allen all work for brands that are relatively new and very fast. Each in turn saluted some new expression of the electronic churning, whether it is Matthew Continetti’s Washington Free Beacon or Ben Smith’s growing domain at Buzzfeed. Tapscott, Barnes and Allen are old hands with young eyes. They see the future of news and they are getting there first. (Lileks added a segment that noted the arrival of a new App guaranteed to further pummel newspapers by grabbing their classifieds and making them available on your handheld.)
Which brings us to the dinosaurs who are running the Obama campaign, with its stilted rhetoric and stunts, now caught in an OODA loop match with a Team Romney vastly more adaptive and effective than the Chicago Gang that talks a good game but can’t execute a decent series in over a month.
Here’s what the best and the brightest running the president’s flailing campaign don’t seem to understand: Everyone knows everything except the stuff the White House is covering up like Fast & Furious, the secret deals behind Obamacare, and the full extent of the Solyndra-like crony capitalism that is going to define this presidency.
“The cake is baked,” I told Mike Allen yesterday though he rejects my argument that the latest polls spell doom for the president absent a foreign crisis like an attack on Iran by Israel or the U.S. The latest numbers showing margin-of-error races in blue states Iowa, Colorado and Nevada, poll results marked by significant numbers of “undecideds,” really mean terrible trouble for the president because “undecideds” don’t break the president’s way. They know what they think. They just don’t want to tell pollsters.
The emergent media have told all the stories about the president, and voters have been listening. Citizen journalists have spread them far and wide while old media watched Piers Morgan ramble on in incoherent mutterings against Jonah Goldberg. The story has been written and absorbed by the country far and wide, and the last ones to know it are the Manhattan-Beltway media elites.
President Obama rode a financial panic and media chaos to victory four years ago. This cycle he’s the one with the terrible record and a thousand and one new media outlets eager to remind everyone of its details.
Listen to the Buzzfeed audio of the chanting of Solyndra at David Axelrod yesterday. (HT: Andrew Kaczynski, Cleveland St. Ignatius’ finest.) The would-be ambusher ambushed and the audio filed by a new media rising star in time for me to play it across the country.
That’s why the president is flailing. Though he knows everything about Judaism, he’s ignorant of the reality of media while Mitt Romney and his team have gotten ahead of the curve being drawn by thousands of new name using new platforms to force an old elite to concede.