Sunday, March 18, 2007

Winning the Propaganda War At Home: Lessons from the Gathering of Eagles

Let's Build on the Success of the Gathering!

Thanks again to all those who put boots on the ground (or mud as the case may be) at the Gathering of Eagles in Washington, D.C. on Saturday. Folks who have now returned home are beginning to share more of their photos and recollections and I invite you to visit their sites via some of the links in the posts below.

What I'd like to do now, is reflect on the larger questions of how the successful event was portrayed in the wider media and make some suggestions for how we could do it even better next time.

The reason we need to ask and answer these questions is simple: Before we win the war against Islamic Fascism we must win the political battle against defeatism and delusion at home. Our troops are fighting and dying to secure military victory. It's our job to win the political victory.

Take A Page from Kookville's Play Book: A Good Photo Speaks Volumes

Editors putting together the next edition of the local newspaper have a variety of sources to choose from in deciding which photos to use to accompany text reporting on an event. Even if the text is fair and balanced, if the one photo picked gives a favorable impression to one side of the issue at hand, that's what sticks in most reader's minds and reinforces whatever positive coverage is in the text.

By now, we've all seen the photos of the masses of people gathered to protest against an American victory in Iraq or anywhere else (example). And you may also see photos of the Eagles, such as the one below:

But if you saw any lamestream media images emphasizing the crowd at the Gathering of Eagles, please drop me a link in the comments section. I haven't seen any.

One reason could be the choice of venue for setting up the stage for the Gathering. Cajun Tiger took this dramatic image of all the flags blowing in the wind at the Gathering with the Federal Reserve Building in the background. But it's difficult to get a sense of the crowd.

I realize that the Gathering organizers desired their site to be as close to the Vietnam War Memorial as possible. But perhaps it could have been oriented in such a way as to encourage news photographers to work harder to capture dramatic images of the crowd with the Vietnam War Memorial in the background.

The organizers of the kookville parade are old hands at site selection and even choose march routes that offer possibilities for the most dramatic images. They also work to make sure that news photographers are encouraged to exploit those carefully selected angles to best effect. If they need to pay to build a temporary platform to encourage the media to take better crowd images, they do it.

This is not a criticism of the Gathering organizers. I don't know what efforts they undertook to encourage better coverage. But it is a reflection on the experience and sophistication the lefties in kookville have gained from years of producing mass propaganda spectacles.

The Gathering of Eagles matched or exceeded the kookville crowd in numbers and the Eagles soared above the angry defeatists in spirit. And I am hoping they can capitalize on that spirit and unity of purpose with ever more successful events in the future.

Imagine how many more real Americans could be turned out with a redoubled effort at financing, organizing and communications?

Communications and coordination have always been a weak point for conservative groups. Tom Delay was on the radio last week discussing his new book: "The Hammer: Tom DeLay: God, Money, and the Rise of the Republican Congress." He correctly observed that by our nature, conservatives are independent, vs. the collectivist mindset in kookville. It's often difficult for conservatives to unite the various groups around a central event such as the Gathering.

This is not meant to suggest that we need to turn something as focused as the Gathering of Eagles into a hodgepodge of various conservative causes. But certainly, with wider participation in an event such as this success can be visibly multiplied without taking away from the central focus.

Do Your Part

We've previously discussed the failure of C-Span to cover both sides of this happening. I want to remind readers that they can make a difference by phoning or emailing C-Span to remind them of their responsibility to be fair and balanced.

And you can certainly send an email to the editor of your local paper reminding him or her and their readers that the Gathering matched or exceeded the kookville crowd, even if the media coverage did not.

Finally, The Gathering of Eagles has more information on their web site. Unfortunately, the lovers of lefty free speech have hacked the site again and taken down their photo gallery from the event. Talk about Nazi tactics! I would encourage those who are able to do so to make a contribution at the Gathering site and help them overcome that assault on our rights and get the message of the Gathering's success to an even wider audience.

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