"New Media"

Watch Breitbart, Bachmann, Cain, Pawlenty, Conservative Stars Live Online Starting Tomorrow At RightOnline!

The rapid change in the shape of the media is one of the exciting aspects of politics and policy today. No longer must conservative candidates, office holders, public policy organizations, think tanks, interest groups and issues advocates rely on traditional media to report on them and their message. Not that the mainstream media would cover conservative campaigns, officials and organizations fairly anyway. On the other hand, conservatives for years were overrun by the Left in effectively utilizing the Internet. Neither new or old media, one by choice and one by default, was kind to conservatives. Much of that is changing. Conservatives are getting better and better at using new, digital means of communicating and shaping stories, issues and campaigns, and in reaching voters directly. They have equalized the game. One of the reasons for that is the annual RightOnline Conference sponsored by our friends at Americans for Prosperity. Every year it brings together conservative bloggers, online commentators, social media junkies and the like, to learn more about the new media and technology, network with each other and make news themselves. The next RightOnline Conference is this weekend in Minneapolis and while not everyone can go (1,300 are expected), everyone can watch and participate.

Among those who will address attendees are conservative author and new media magnate Andrew Breitbart (making his first national speech since he broke the Anthony Weiner scandal) and presidential candidates Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, and Tim Pawlenty. You can see them and many other prominent conservative leaders by logging on to RightOnline.com starting at 10:30 Friday morning. (Click here to see live video stream schedule.)

But not only will you get to see and hear a number of the new wave of conservative leaders speak to important issues, broach new ideas and advance conservative principles, RightOnline.com will provide the opportunity to talk with fellow activists through its interactive chat feature. It all kicks off at 2:00 p.m. Friday, with featured speakers Congressman John Kline, Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn, and Ann McElhinney. We hope you take some time to log-on and experience the new media. There's nothing mainstream about it.

TFF's Victoria Cobb To Appear On Score Radio Network Saturday

Family Foundation of Virginia President Victoria Cobb will appear on the Score Radio Network Saturday (or, perhaps, another time in your market, check local listings as they say), with host Scott Lee. Score is a new statewide conservative media company headed by three of Virginia's most experienced conservative new media commentators. It provides online and over-the-air media services and content. Score's affiliates are WLEE-AM/990 in Richmond (8:00 a.m. Saturday), WLNI-105.9FM in Lynchburg, and WMBG-AM740 in Williamsburg. For those not in those markets, it also can be heard on those stations' web sites as well as on Internet radio sites NetTalkWorld.com, the CB Media Network and Ghost Fighting Network as well as on SRN itself as an archive (see affiliate information here). We hope to have the download here next week as well. Victoria will discuss this past session of the General Assembly and other issues involving the conservative movement.

A.G. Cuccinelli Responds To Feds' Motion To Dismiss Health Care Lawsuit

With all the weight of the federal government and its massive megaphone that is the liberal mainstream media, it seems as if there's only one side of the debate over Virginia's lawsuit against the federal health care takeover. But that's why we're here and that's what alternative and new media are for — to provide the other side. It's even better to get the other side straight from the primary source. So, here is Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli responding the the federal government's recently filed motion to dismiss Virginia's lawsuit seeking relief from the health care law — an area of governance not specified to the federal government by the U.S. Constitution — and which is in conflict with the Virginia Health Care Freedom Act.

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli explains and debunks four aspects and criticisms of Virginia's lawsuit against the federal government's health care takeover. 

Hank Johnson: Poster Boy For Liberal Genius

How often does the mainstream media portray liberals as the enlightened, the brilliant, the smart? Conservatives, on the other hand, are flat-earthers, dumb, Neanderthal. Yet time after time we see and hear liberal icons say things that should disqualify them from the ranks of the serious, such as Barack "57 states" Obama, which would go unnoticed except for the new and alternative media. It's bad enough they want to redistribute wealth and control people and business, worse still that they purposefully disregard the Constitution. But when they have completely lost the plot and substitute absurdity for thoughtfulness, by what right do they command credibility . . . from anyone? So, this is who we have making the decisions for us? U.S. Representative Hank Johnson (D-Ga.), part of Speaker Nancy Pelosi's leadership team (he's a regional whip), thinks Guam will "capsize" under the weight of a deployment of 5,000 Marines! Just as revealing is that  no one from the Speaker's team, much less Johnson, has shown the slightest bit of embarrassment. It smacks of arrogance and elitism. If this thinking is the new normal in the Age of Obama, no wonder these  people think they've "fixed" health care.

Rep. Johnson thinks islands capsize and he's making decisions at the highest levels of the House of Representatives.

Education Freedom = Racism? Some Senate Dems Say Yes, Others Remain Silent

I’ve been working for The Family Foundation for over a decade and thought I’d seen it all, but this morning’s display by several members of the Senate Finance Committee while debating a school choice bill went far beyond anything I’ve ever seen. Delegate Jimmie Massie (R-78, Henrico) presented HB 599, a bill that would provide a tax credit for donations to private school scholarship programs. After several organizations, including The Family Foundation, the Virginia Catholic Conference, a private schools association and a Richmond Jewish school, spoke in support of the bill, the committee took over. From there, the normal decorum of the Senate vanished into a cloud of pure anger.

The hostility of several Democrat members of the Finance Committee to parents and education freedom went on full display. I cannot with words adequately describe what then took place. But you don’t have to take my word for it — we have the entire shameful sequence on video (see our YouTube channel as well)! Here is the entire committee hearing in its entirety:

Part 1, Delegate Massie's Presentation:

Common sense stuff from Delegate Massie and a host of expert witnesses.

Part 2,  Supporting Statements Continue:

An eloquent, passionate, personal and intellectual presentation by Chesapeake resident Alberta Wilson.

Part 3, Finance Staff — No Fiscal Impact And The Outrage Begins:

Senator Howell should know the answer before she calls the witness!

Part 4, More Race Cards, Conclusion and Vote:

Senator Miller: This bill is akin to "selling people" but she'd still vote for it once public schools are fully funded!

In addition to all of this, Senator Henry Marsh (D-16, Richmond) criticized the bill without reading it: He accused the bill of subsidizing parents who send their children to private schools, but the bill plainly states the student must currently be enrolled in public schools to be eligible for the scholarships! I urge you to take the time to watch these short videos. I know you will be as dismayed as I was sitting there watching.

In a nutshell, opponents to the bill implied over and over that efforts to provide education freedom for low and moderate-income families is racially motivated. Without actually making the claim it was clear what they were saying. The harsh tone and rhetoric on display was simply appalling. Perhaps most disappointing is the fact that the children who are suffering most from poor government schools are African-American children in urban areas. It is private schools in those areas that offer true hope for children who otherwise have little chance at success. In fact, one of the most compelling testimonies in favor of the bill came from an African-American woman, Alberta Wilson, a champion of school choice!

Question: Do Senators Colgan, Reynolds and Houck, who also voted to kill the bill, agree with their Democrat colleagues' assessment that school choice is essentially racist?

After watching the videos, ask them yourselves:

Senator Charles Colgan: district29@senate.virginia.gov, (804) 698-7529

Senator Roscoe Reynolds: district20@senate.virginia.gov, (804) 698-7520

Senator Edd Houck: district17@senate.virginia.gov, (804) 698-7517

This morning’s antics are emblematic of the philosophical divide between the political class in Richmond and families. But the anger displayed also is indicative that these legislators are beginning to feel the heat! Just two years ago, school choice bills didn’t even register a procedural motion in Senate Finance. Today, they generate heated responses.

I’ll say it again as I’ve said before — school choice is coming to Virginia! It might not be this year, it might not be next year, but it is coming. Families are demanding it. Watch the video so that you can see exactly whom it is that stands in the way of freedom.

You might not hear much about this in the Mainstream Media, although the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot mentions it toward the end of this article. But that's why we and the New Media are here. And, we'd love to hear from you, too. Let us know what your impressions of the committee hearing are.

Jim Gilmore To Lead Free Congress Foundation: Not the Breaking News People Thought, But Good Nonethesame

This is an interesting tidbit: Former Governor Jim Gilmore announced Monday that he had been elected the new president and CEO of the Free Congress Foundation, the influential conservative think tank founded by the legendary conservative leader, strategist and grassroots activist Paul Weyrich (see New York Times), who died last December. Weyrich was one of the architects of the conservative renaissance that eventually brought about the Reagan and Gingrich Revolutions. When the announcement hit my inbox, I was eager to post it. This is big news — a Virginian taking the lead at a conservative hallmark, in the shoes of a true legend (Washington Times). But in his letter, the former governor included a link to a December 10 column by John Gizzi of Human Events in which he explains why he is taking the position and his goals, etc. That was more than two weeks prior to Monday's e-mailed letter. Figuring it was old news, I ignored it. Yet, the announcement still exploded in the media, new and mainstream. There's articles everywhere. Interesting how news can still trail real time, no matter how electronic and digital we become. It just goes to show that good reporting still beats all.

So, we join in the congratulations to former Governor Gilmore in his new position. He is a good, hard working, earnest man. He will have a national platform and a well schooled staff to put forth and advance conservative ideas and solutions to problems America faces in the economy, foreign policy and cultural and social issues, of which Weyrich was a determined traditionalist. In the age of Obama, there can be no shortage of limited government conservatives working in the vineyard.

Who Says Bloggers Can't Fill The Gap?

Hopefully, you've perused the March 3 News Stand. In it, I bring to readers' attention an article by The Washington Post's Marc Fisher who laments that economic downsizing has led to a reduction in media coverage of state government in Richmond and Annapolis. Among the Mainstream Media, he notes, several newspapers have reduced the number of reporters at the capitols, about half as many in Virginia as there used to be, and that only one Virginia television station still maintains a bureau in capitol square. Alas, he maintains, despite the explosion of new media —blogs in particular — it isn't enough to fill the gaps left by the reduction of full-time journalists. Says who? While we won't be pretentious enough to claim bloggers fill the exact same role as political beat journalists, especially the old-fashioned five W's objective reporters — those days disappeared along with the buggy whip manufacturers anyway — we can say, speaking for ourselves, that bloggers have more than replaced what passed for electronic media coverage of the legislature. Never more than sound byte "journalism," exactly how much depth do viewers get from one- and two-minute television reports, or 30-second updates on radio?  

Perhaps Mr. Fisher should have looked at our blog during session (see Capitol Square Diary) and our YouTube page. Everyone should. At last count we had 23 videos posted there, almost all concerning the General Assembly, and many of them from committee hearings. Not five- or 10-second sound bytes, but full testimonies and questions and answers between committee members and witnesses, not to mention the committee votes. Ahh, the votes.

Often what passes for news coverage of devious parliamentary gimmicks that kill bills without the legislators going on record is the media's complyingly innocuous, "the bill died in committee." But how? We show you! Which is something, that no matter how many television or radio station bureaus there are, never seems to be told. We don't let the politicians escape, unlike the Mainstream Media. I'm not sure why Mr. Fisher doesn't think that's laudable.

The fact is, the new media is here and will continue to grow in outlets as well as users, evolve in its delivery mechanisms (we were just getting used to blogs, then Facebook, when Twitter came around), and increase in importance. If that's to the Mainstream Media's demise, so be it. But if the MSM is at least partly responsible for its own demise for its complacency in  seeing the future, it surely is fully responsible for its diminishing presence by its lack of depth of coverage and its flat-out distortations of its coverage of politics and policy.

Apparently, what matters most to MSM apologists is numbers — after all, what can legitimize the biased MSM other than to say tens of thousands read their publications or watch their broadcasts? It certainly isn't in the quality or depth of coverage. But the velocity of change in information consumption is happening faster than a Dick Saslaw foot-in-the-mouth comment. So new media audience numbers will grow in time. Of course, expecting the MSM to acknowledge that is like expecting them to cover a Dick Saslaw foot-in-the-mouth comment. It rarely, if ever, happens.

Virginia News Stand: March 6, 2009

The Communications Department says he's ill today, so I've cobbled together a couple of interesting articles — or at least an interesting topic: internal strife within the Virginia GOP. Didn't say it was news, because RPV fratricide certainly is nothing new. Still, interesting, as always. Also, there's a link to an interview with Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell via podcast at Bearing Drift. Worth the listen (at least read the summary). Something else of interest that is news concerning the gubernatorial campaign: For as much as liberal groups and Democrat candidates have been, and are, ahead of conservatives and Republicans in the adaptation of new media and technology to campaign effect, Bob McDonnell, according to the March issue of Richmond Magazine, is leading all three Dems in a Facebook supporters landslide with nearly 2,100 as of a few minutes ago (at RM's publication it was 1,700). Sorry, no Web links provided by RM, but we hope to have a scan next week.

News:

Va. GOP chief asked to leave (Washington Times)

Major Va. donor named new state GOP finance chief (Daily Press)

Podcast:

VPOD #52: Bob McDonnell, GOP gubernatorial candidate (Bearingdrift.com)

Polls:

For more substantive polling information than Facebook, there's a recent Rasmussen poll that shows McDonnell leading all three Democrats by significant margins, increasing his December lead over his nearest rival, Terry McAuliffe, who, apparently, has not recovered from liberal blog attacks prompted by not knowing who we are!

Election 2009: Virginia Governor Election — GOP's McDonnell Has Edge Over All Democrats In Virginia Governor's Race (Rasmussen Reports)

McDonnell takes early lead in poll (Pilot On Politics blog) 

Coincidentally, in New Jersey, the Republican gubernatorial candidate leads the incumbent, Democrat Machine Boss Governor Jon Corzine, by nine points, with Corzine's approval rating less than 40 percent.

Fairleigh Dickinson poll finds Corzine trailing Christie by 9 points (Newark Star-Ledger)

Virtual Lobby Day This Thursday And Live Blog Interview With AG Bob McDonnell!

As you know by visiting our blog, The Family Foundation has taken seriously our pledge to not only use the "New Media" to communicate our traditional values message, but to lead the way in it (click here to read what we've done with YouTube, Facebook and Twitter). As an example, we now take our own video and place it on YouTube and on our blog. More exciting is the power of the Internet to involve grassroots activists directly and increase our effectiveness at influencing policy, especially during the incredibly fast pace of the General Assembly — where legislators read their constituents' concerns over specific bills on their laptops at their desks on the House and Senate floor! 

With that in mind, we are going full force with our annual Virtual Lobby Day on February 5. If you have ever been to Richmond for our "in-person lobby day" you know face-to-face contact with your legislator is important. But you can leverage that by staying in touch with him or her throughout session. So on February 5 we are modeling our Virtual Lobby Day as we would a conventional one.

First, instead of meeting with your delegate and senator on a given topic, we will provide a topic for you to e-mail them about. Hint: February 5 is Planned Parenthood's lobby day here, so that gives you an idea of what our topic will be. Imagine the power of several thousand e-mails arriving in legislators' e-mail boxes as Planned Parenthood activists meet with them! Although in-person meetings such as our lobby day and Pastors Day (also on February 5) always will be important, new technology creates a whopping impact as well; one that can't be ignored.

Also, instead of hearing speakers, you will be able to follow two interviews on our blog with two very interesting lawmakers, one from each party. Names forthcoming. Additionally, you can watch or listen to both the House and Senate proceedings from the Internet every day. (See link on the blogroll.)

But we are especially excited to have Attorney General Bob McDonnell participate for the second straight year in a live blog interview. All you have to do is leave a question on this thread or our original thread (click here and see who's already asked what). He will then answer the questions posted on that thread live at 2:00 on February 5. You can read his answers as he posts them or read them later at your convenience. 

While we thank everyone who attended our Lobby Day in January, we look forward to your just-as-important participation in Virtual Lobby Day on February 5! Look for our e-mail alerts with more specifics and check back here as well throughout this important week at the General Assembly.

We also encourage you to forward this link to friends and family who you think are interested in issues affecting traditional family values and encourage them to sign up for alerts at the link at the upper left corner.