Mightier Pen 2012: The Media, the Election and National Security

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Monica Crowley, Andy McCarthy, Peter Schweizer and more.

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To the Rescue: The New Media & National Security

Center for Security Policy | Dec 14, 2012

The Center’s National Security and New Media Conference brought together some of the the most experienced and provocative voices in journalism to address several problems in mainstream media reporting on national security topics, with an emphasis on the recent presidential election.

The second panel, To the Rescue: The New Media & National Security, addressed how the independent new media investigative reporters are reinventing American journalism.  All our panelists broke major stories during the campaign, as new media pioneers setting the highest standards for professional journalism.  Can they and their colleagues become the future of a free press in America? Featured panelists:

  • Tiffany Gabbay: Assistant Editor, The Blaze;
  • Peter Schweizer: Founder, Big Peace (Breitbart.com); William J. Casey Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University; New York Times and Washington Post best-selling author; and President, Government Accountability Institute
  • John Nolte: Editor in Chief, Big Hollywood (Breitbart.com)

FRANK GAFFNEY: The first panel has certainly given us a sense of the problems associated with the mainstream media’s coverage and the extent to which I think it really failed us in the course of this last election. We have, thank God, been blessed by an alternative that was much in evidence and is indeed becoming increasingly vibrant, it is expanding and I think it is valued as a source of information by millions of Americans. The sources, of course, are well known to you. We have internet news services. We have the blogosphere. We have social networking. We have YouTube, among many other and increasingly evolving opportunities to obtain information and to share it widely without relying upon the very, very calcified and I think increasingly corrupt organs of the old media.

It’s my estimation – we may get differing opinions on this from the panel, they are experts, after all, on it, but it certainly is my view as an observer and consumer of this medium that had we not had this, for want of a better term, new media in the mix in this last election cycle, it is almost certainly the case that the results of the election for the reasons that the previous panel has just talked about would have been even more skewed than they were. So all I can say again is thank God that we had people who were not in the tank for Obama who were also working the problem of keeping us an informed electorate. I can’t help but wonder whether things might have been not only different but decisively different leading specifically to a different outcome if one of the founding members of the new media and one of its most effective practitioners had not been struck down as election 2012 was getting underway. We were blessed to have present on the first of these symposiums and we’re blessed at this symposia to have several of those who worked closely with and are continuing the work of our friend, Andrew Breitbart. And I think it’s important to just take a moment now to say how important he was to both catalyzing the new media and to demonstrating the impact that it could have. He is sorely missed, needless to say, which makes all the more important the work of those like Larry Sulaf [PH] who will be with us. I don’t think he’s here at the moment, but will be with us for lunch and of course John and Peter who have been carrying on in his absence and we miss him. Let me introduce quickly the panel. We are going to start, my order of things, if that’s all right with you all, having not prearranged this, with Peter Schweizer who was the founder of bigpeace.com.

One of the parts of the Breitbart empire that I was privileged to have a small hand in helping get going with the Center for Security Policy as one of the early partners. Peter is a renaissance man in every sense of the word. In addition to his time as a journalist and editor, he has been one of the country’s most thoughtful, I think, chroniclers of our modern history. And the author of numerous bestselling books including Throw Them All Out, which got an awful lot of attention in my part of the world, I can tell you. But also Reagan’s War and Victory, two really monumental studies of how we won the Cold War and why. He can be found in all of the best op-ed pages and some not so good magazines as far as I’m concerned, but they’re nonetheless highly esteemed by the mainstream media like Foreign Affairs. But he’s most recently done something that is really important I think and I hope he’ll speak to how his experience with the Government Accountability Institute, which he founded in the wake of the success of Throw Them All Out, featured into this election and might have featured even more had it been given the attention that his work deserved by others than the alternative media. So we’ll look to him to speak about that. We have Tiffany Gabbay representing another of the titans of this new media. She is the foreign affairs editor for theblaze.com. Which, as you all know, is part of Glenn Beck, Inc. A remarkable person and contributor to the world of the alternative media. She’s an experienced journalist and I’d describe her – I don’t know if you’d agree with this – as kind of a political operative or an activist in her former incarnation in Washington. But someone who deeply understands and is very knowledgeable about the foreign national security portfolio which she covers for blaze.com. We of course are here today to talk not simply about the media coverage in the abstract, but very specifically with respect to the adequacy of its informing of the electorate with respect to the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States. And few contribute more to that than Tiffany Gabbay. So glad to have you with us. And finally, John Nolte. Who is the first of the editors hired by Andrew Breitbart as he set up the Big empire, initially with Big Hollywood. The empire now has some half dozen sites. John has been involved in both managing and the growing of this remarkable institution. He is currently an editor-at-large, covering most especially the media, but a great many other things as well. And it’s a real privilege to have this very, very highly regarded and properly so panel with us to talk about the new media to the rescue. Peter?

PETER SCHWEIZER: Well, thank you. It’s great to be here with this terrific panel and to follow what was a great panel to begin with. I was telling somebody earlier, I actually first met Frank when Frank was really one of the big stars in the Reagan Administration as the Assistant Secretary of Defense. And I was a lowly college student. And it’s really a testament to the quality of the person he is and his character that he had all these busy things going on in terms of arms control and the issues that the Reagan Administration was facing and he took time to encourage a college student like me on a path that I was interested in going, so I’ve known Frank since the 1980s and have been very fortunate to have considered him a mentor and a friend all that time since. I wanted to just make a couple of comments and then talk about a couple of areas that we have tried to work in and I want to try to take a slightly optimistic tone. I think that the first panel raised very, very important legitimate issues. And I think that some of the comments that Richard Miniter made I think were particularly on point. Mainly that as people are interested in issues related to freedom and the defense of the West, there has been a strong emphasis on opinion journalism. Rather than doing some of the hard digging on investigative journalism. And I think that’s really for a couple of reasons.

Number one, investigative journalism is very hard, very challenging, and also very, very expensive. Number two, it takes a certain type of personality to engage in it. As we say at our organization, you have to in a sense be obsessive compulsive. You have to find something that you think is important and stay with it and dig with it. And I think in this regard, approaching investigative journalism, we have opportunities to introduce ideas into the discussion that ordinarily would not be introduced because I think he was exactly correct that, really, it’s at the news page level where information becomes part of the national dialogue. And I think in addition to the discussion we had about journalism and media bias and the debate that has swirled there, I think there’s also the larger issue, too, there that we are in an era where even the large news outlets, establishment outlets, simply don’t have the resources and the capabilities anymore. There are a few of them, but not very many. They have the resources to engage in the type of investigative journalism that needs to be done. Because, again, it’s very, very expensive and media newsrooms are having trouble making a profit and they are, after all, businesses. So let me just illustrate a couple of instances of things that we have done at the Government Accountability Institute. We’ve been up for about nine months. Executive vice president Rick White is here with me. And what we really have decided to do with the Government Accountability Institute is simply hold the government accountable. And what that means is really looking at cronyism and corruption and how it affects the governing of our country. And I think there’s two things that are supreme that we all need to keep in mind that we have made hallmarks of our operation. The first one is, it needs to be fact driven. That is that we can spout an opinion about what we think is going on. But there are already wonderful people doing that. So ours needs to be fact driven. If we don’t have new facts and new information, we really are not doing our job and we’re not relevant. The second thing is, you have to have a complete and total willingness based on principle to go after both sides. If your view is that I’m only going to go after one side of the political spectrum, when it comes to a matter of principle, and you’re going to be inconsistent, you’re simply not going to be effective. And those are two hallmarks of what we’ve done. Let me just give you a couple of examples of what we’ve done the last couple of months as it relates to national security. And I think you could look at them and say that there are some very good successes, but more could have been done. And maybe we can draw some lessons of what we found. Now the first thing is we began in the spring of this year deciding to investigate and look at the very real problem of foreign campaign donations coming into the political campaigns in the United States.

Now there are laws on the books that have made it illegal for the last thirty plus years for federal candidates to receive foreign funds. The problem is that they invented something called the internet. And the internet allows, literally, worldwide access to make campaign donations online. And the reality is is that there are no requirements by federal campaigns to do any kind of vetting. And so what we decided to do in keeping with our principle of looking at all sides is look at the major presidential campaigns and look at every member of Congress and ask some very basic simple questions. Number one, do they even use basic simple anti-fraud technologies that are common in e-commerce to make sure that they know when a donation is being made, that the credit card number they’re being given for the donation actually corresponds to the person or is a person using a fictitious name and address? And what we found is that half of the members of Congress don’t use basic online security protocols when it comes to campaign donations. We looked at the presidential level, we found that President Romney did – President Candidate Romney did. President Obama did not. President Obama did not also in 2008. Now this was reported on by Michael Isikoff at Newsweek in 2008 and also by Matthew Mosk at the Washington Post. But it was never a detailed investigation. So we decided to do a detailed investigation of the online fundraising activities of the Obama campaign. Keep in mind that over half of president Obama’s billion dollars raised came in the form of donations under two hundred dollars and largely came online. Now why is that interesting?

Why is that important? Because the federal election commission established laws thirty years ago that said donations over two hundred dollars you need to disclose on your FEC filings, make them public. Donations under two hundred dollars, you do not. And in the era of the internet, that creates an opportunity for the widespread churning of lots of donations. What we did was we hired a former US attorney to make sure that nobody went to jail in the midst of our investigation and we hired a systems engineer or an ex-hacker to help us dissect the online fundraising capabilities of the Obama campaign. We also did this for the Romney campaign as well. And what we found is some very troubling things related to the campaign. I would encourage you to look. We had a hundred and ten page report that came out. You can find that online and take a look. What we found was some very troubling things. Particularly that there was a redirect site called obama.com. Obama.com, you would think, would have been owned by the Obama campaign. It was not. It was owned by an American businessman named Robert Roche who has lived in China since 1996. In fact, in Shanghai, he’s partners with the Chinese government. He runs infomercials on Chinese state television. And his company, Acorn International, is incorporated in China. All the senior executives are Chinese, etceteras. What was troubling about obama.com is that if you typed in obama.com it would redirect you to a specific donation page on the Obama campaign that was specifically set aside for obama.com. And what we found was, was that there were actually search engine optimization efforts made to drive specifically foreign traffic to this redirect site. So we put all of this into the report. We put in all of the metrics. Went into great detail. This was a very expensive detailed report. Frank was – gave us sage wisdom as we went through this to make sure that we made the right call. The report came out and we did actually get some good mainstream media coverage. We didn’t get as much as we wanted. We had a good piece in Newsweek that I co-wrote with Peter Boyer called “Obama’s Illegal Donor Loophole”. Was the title of that piece. We had coverage on ABC News, which covered it. The New York Post and other news outlets. What we didn’t get was coverage from the New York Times or from other networks. We got coverage from FOX News, but not CNN and MSNBC. We also got a lot of great coverage from social media, from both Blaze and from Breitbart, which I’m associated with. So the end result of this was that it became somewhat part of the national debate, but not a central part of the national debate. And I think if I were to look at that particular case, a couple of things come to mind. Number one, if you are fact based, if you can actually show factual information to individuals that are in the news media, there are fair minded reporters out there that are interested in this. You have to identify with them, you have to work with them, show them what you have, help them reverse engineer what you did, but there are individuals out there that are willing to cover these stories.

And number two, the simple fact that velocity is hard to maintain. Cause the pace of media is so great it’s very, very hard to sort of sustain the pace of what happens. Let me just mention the second one that we did that I think was grounds for optimism. And this I said would have to start from an idea that our intern had. We have a student who is an intern at Florida State University. He’s in the Air Force ROTC program. And he noticed something very interesting when he was doing research. He noticed that on the White House log of the president’s schedule and Politico, which also did its own version of the president’s schedule, that the president didn’t seem to take his presidential intelligence daily briefing very often. And he came by and sort of said, hey, I kind of noticed this. And I said, well, take a look at it and see where it goes. So he went through the entire calendar and lo and behold he found that while former President Bush and others were very diligent in getting that daily briefing everyday, president Obama missed more than half of his. They never appeared on his schedule. So we took this information, shared them with a columnist at the Washington Post, we sort of did a report, which again, was very data driven, we didn’t draw any conclusions. We simply said, here is the schedule of how the president has spent his time or failed to spend his time on national security issues. And the column came out. Well, the next day was when Benghazi happens. So there was a huge flood of coverage. Carney was asked about it at one of the White House presidential briefings. You had a lot of ancillary follow up coverage. You had a lot of people who made excuses and said, well, you know, this president doesn’t need to be spoonfed intelligence like other presidents. He’s so smart, he just gets it off of his – off of his iPad. What’s interesting, though, and we tell – tease our intern about this all the time is that he – and he’s not even an officer yet in the Air Force, actually changed the schedule of the president of the United States. Commander in Chief. Because now it’s on his schedule that he’s getting those briefings everyday. So let me just say that, look, there are grounds for optimism. We do face media bias. But there are very real opportunities if we are fact-based and fact-driven to change the narrative of the debate. Thank you.

TIFFANY GABBAY: Hi, thank you. Sure, okay. Journalists have an awesome responsibility and power because we can shape the narrative, we can shape the way people think and act and feel. When that force is used for good we can strip the veneer off corruption, murder, despotism, any other number of ills in the world. But when that power and that responsibility is twisted and abused it becomes nothing more than propaganda. Famed communications theorist Harold Lasswell once wrote that propaganda is in the broadest sense the technique of influencing human action by the manipulation of representations. I want to talk about propaganda a little bit. Because I think that’s what we’ve seen so much with the last two presidential campaigns. I have family who comes from a time and place that was absolutely stricken by propaganda. Nazi German propaganda. I have family from the former Soviet Union. Every single one of them was able to see immediately what was going on in the 2008 presidential election when Obama was absolutely held to a cult of personality status. Throughout his presidency, his missteps were spun into triumphs and his abject failures were completely swept under the rug. We saw him, literally, with a halo depicted over him. He was the first gay president, the first woman president, the first Jewish president, he was all things to all people and yet he was none of those things in real life. One of the things that I really was struck by in 2007, 2008, was how the media did absolutely nothing to vet this person. He had the most dubious associations, Rezko, Wright, Ayers, Pfleger, you name it. And not one of them did anything to vet this person. Isn’t that the job that we have?

Our job is not to be a publicist for someone, is not to create a cult of personality that we saw in Hitler’s time or Stalin or Mao or Lenin. It’s to actually ask those tough questions and be advocates for people who don’t have that voice. I talk about Stalin and Hitler and Mao and, you know, we could say, well, in those instances media was controlled, dissenting voices were stifled. And that was horrible, a horrible thing. So doesn’t that make it actually worse in terms of what we’re doing today in a free society? No one is stifling dissenting voices except the people who control mainstream media outlets. You know, one of the things that we did at The Blaze with regard to this particular election, was to vet Obama in the way that the mainstream media did not do in 2008. We conducted an entire series on his founding fathers. Where we did extensive profiles on Frank Marshall Davis, who was a card carrying member of the communist party. And Obama’s mentor. We did so on Reverend Wright and Bill Ayers and other number of people who were extremely influential in Obama’s life. We did not see such coverage in any mainstream media outlet. Breitbart and a few others, of course, absolutely did ask those probing questions as well. But that, of course, is one example of how, you know, we try to not allow the left to rewrite history. I did a series on the GOP for example being the actual true architects and heirs of the civil rights movement, because that narrative has been co-opted by the left and, again, that narrative is never challenged by any member of the mainstream media. As I go into some other examples, we have the Arab Spring. The mainstream media basically repeated the Obama administration’s meme that these were democracy seeking freedom fighters and just quote, unquote, middle class folks trying to catch a break. They never once, never once stopped to ask who are these people. Just because they are opposing a dictator that seems like a pretty bad guy doesn’t mean that they’re angels themselves. And I sometimes wonder, do journalists ever ask themselves what they’re doing? Do they ever realize the responsibility they have? Did they ever say, what if I’m wrong? What if they aren’t freedom fighters? What if they aren’t democracy seekers? What if their intentions are nefarious? But no one ever did and now we see what’s happening in Egypt and Jordan. We now see what’s happening in Libya.

Of course, Benghazi needs no introduction. Everyone here in this room knows what Benghazi is and the scandal that happened, but as was pointed out earlier, if we were to go outside no one even knows where Benghazi is or why it matters. That’s absolutely because of the mainstream media. Most people watch the normal everyday outlets to find out what’s going on in the world. This was a scandal that left four Americans dead. Two Navy Seals and a US ambassador. And it was absolutely swept under the carpet prior to a presidential election. If this was Watergate, obviously, for those who recall that – I was not yet around, but I’ve studied it, it would never have been the same way if it had happened on a Republican’s watch. One of the things that The Blaze did was cover extensively what was going on in Benghazi and that was through the help of Frank, both Andys, and Steve, and Clare Lopez, and some wonderful people at the Center for Security Policy who helped me put together a series of reports on what was truly going on in Benghazi at the time. And how it seemed that Ambassador Stevens was actually a point man in a gun running scheme, that those weapons have fallen into the hands of al-Qaeda and those weapons might actually be funneled through to Syria at this very moment. Again, that is not something you’ve ever heard in the mainstream media and that was certainly nothing that was reported on prior to Obama’s election. These are all blatant, you know, examples, of course, during Operation Pillar of Defense, the anti-Israel bias in the mainstream media is – it’s beyond the pale. I can only put it that way. I think a great example was when they featured a picture of a dead Palestinian boy and he was actually killed by a Hamas rocket, not an Israeli rocket. But these are the types of blatant biases we see everyday. But what about the subtle ones? There are so many subtle biases in reports that we read each and everyday that slip by the average person who’s very busy, who’s on his way to work and, you know, reading a news article on his Blackberry. All it takes is the use of just one more word or one less word to convey a particular point. So here’s an example. About a year ago, it was discovered that sixty-four thousand markers at Arlington National Cemetery contained discrepancies in name, rank, and service branch. One of the articles I did for The Blaze says that sixty-four thousand graves at Arlington National Cemetery have been misidentified or misplaced. A national travesty, of course. Here is the AP’s headline. Some Arlington Markers May Need Replacement.  I think that sums it up.

Another brief example, when Reuters was covering Operation Pillar of Defense. One of the lines said, Hamas is also supported by Iran which Israel regards as a rising threat to its own existence. That’s it. Full stop. It continues on. It doesn’t provide context in any way, shape, or form. It doesn’t state that Ahmadinejad has repeatedly vowed to wipe Israel off the face of the map. So you can see how subtle bias can be. These are the little things that I try to look for and one of the things that I like to cover are examples of this type of bias. Because I think it’s just so easy for people and they’re in a rush, I mean, how can you point out a bias that you can’t actually see or hold or is tangible? And I think that’s where new media comes in. I think when bloggers and newer media outlets first came on the scene, we were a little bit reviled, you know, we were the redheaded stepchildren, not taken seriously as journalists. But if these veteran journalists were actually doing their job then I don’t think there would be this absolutely huge market that needs to be filled. And that people who aren’t beholden to the interests of the few media outlets that do control everything are actually able to take the time and unearth the stories that are important and that journalists are meant to tell. Because there is so much of what I view as propaganda in mainstream media, it’s obviously up to individuals to be able to decipher which news outlets are credible or credible enough to gain their information from. I don’t think we’re going to change anything in the grand scale. But I do think that new media is growing. I know that, for example, at The Blaze, we’ve grown to become one of the largest sites that offer a differing voice of opinion or actually just reporting the stories that others aren’t. Breitbart is as well. And hopefully we’re going to grow to the point where maybe we can encompass some of these larger mainstream outlets and, you know, but it is an uphill battle and we’re just working everyday to try to report the stories that others aren’t.

JOHN NOLTE: Thank you and it’s a pleasure to be here and I thank Frank for being a part of this. I remember driving through awful 405 traffic to see Frank do forums like this. So this is a real pleasure. As you know, I had the pleasure of working for and with Andrew Breitbart. I was the first editor he hired when he had this idea of the Big empire. And it’s been extraordinary to watch it happen with the help of a lot of people, specifically his business partner and longtime best friend, Larry Solov. And it’s why we miss Andrew and I can’t tell you how much we miss Andrew. It is a testament to him that in his absence the site continues to grow. We’re bringing on new people. We’re doing much better than we had even forecast. And the great thing about Andrew, we never knew – Andrew had these amazing counter-intuitive skills. When everyone was zigging, he would zag. And the toughest part of this election has been to be that we don’t know what we were missing. Cause you never knew what Andrew was going to do. What he would do. But he left a great institution in place. And created a beautiful site for us. And one of the things that he did was – I think he’s had a lot to do with why people understand the media, at least he has with me. Better than I did when I first met him. A lot of the comments made in the previous panels – you know, we’re not talking anymore about just writing op-eds and we’re not talking anymore about just complaining, for lack of a better word. We’re trying to take action now and we’re trying to figure out how to take action now. And personally, I’m very optimistic about the future. Because when I hear the people in this room talk and when I see people on Twitter and on social media, they understand that it’s more than about just complaining. You have to fight. And of course that was every part of Andrew Breitbart’s DNA, was fighting. And the reason I’m optimistic is a number of reasons. The first is that the legacy media is dying. I mean, we live in a world now where people are thirsty for news, they’re hungrier for news than they’ve ever been – we’ve got these twenty-four hour cable news outlets and yet the old media can’t hang on. Everyday, they’re laying off people. Everyday, they’re filing bankruptcy protection. Everyday, in order to survive, they have to get eaten by some conglomerate that’s going to use them as a write-off. And their business model can’t stand it. The reason that people don’t go to them is because they don’t trust them.

The reason CNN gets less ratings than MSNBC is cause even liberals don’t like to be lied to. And CNN lies to them. CNN pretends they’re unbiased. MSNBC doesn’t. FOX News doesn’t.  So that’s why CNN – as Andrew famously said once to the media, it’s not your business model that sucks. It’s you that suck.  And that’s what’s happening to CNN. I mean, they’re offensive to hear people talk about, you know, does anyone believe Soledad O’Brien is unbiased?  Nobody believes that. Liberals don’t believe that and they don’t want to be told that, so they’re going to go watch Hardball or Chris Matthews or something. So the media’s going out of business. And that’s because people have alternatives now. I mean, they can go to the internet. And they can get the news and they can get the news from Glenn Beck, they can get news from Breitbart, and we don’t lie. Talking Points Memo doesn’t lie. We say, here’s our opinion. Here’s the information. Make of it what you will. And I think the people respect that. And we see in polls and we see in movement that more people are moving to the internet and that’s another reason I’m very, very optimistic. In media, it’s like Hollywood. You can make a movie, you can have a desire to write something, but the distribution is bottlenecked. Only a few people control it. And that’s what’s true on television, even cable, you know, the bottleneck’s a little bigger, but in the internet, anybody can get on. Anybody can try. And through your hard work and through your effort you can rise to the top. And you can become an Andrew Breitbart. And there’s a lot of Andrew Breitbarts out there and I see them on Twitter and I see them on other sites and we’re growing in that respect. So we have an infrastructure in place. The second reason I’m optimistic is because of the change I saw between 2008 and 2012. And I think it was Andrew McCarthy who said that we can kill false narratives. But we can’t push narratives into the mainstream media.

And Libya’s a good example of that. But we can kill false narratives. And in 2008, we couldn’t do that. In 2008, I was blogging at this little site none of you have ever heard of. And I was watching what was happening. I was watching politicos build these narratives against Sarah Palin and against others and it was infuriating because there was nothing we could do about it. But in 2012, we were able to do something about it. When the Washington Post came, the day after Barack Obama comes out of the closet and says he’s in favor of gay marriage – in other words, the day he decides to stop lying about his position on gay marriage, the Washington Post just happens to drop a story that says that fifty years ago, in high school, Mitt Romney might have bullied a kid who might have been gay. I would submit that in 2008, that story would have gotten a lot of traction. Probably would have bogged Romney down for a long time. But new media was able to get in there and we found problems with the story and we found discrepancies and we found factual errors. And new media was able to kill that story. We weren’t able to kill everything. But I think that – I think Frank’s right. I think that it would have been a much bigger blowout had it not been for new media. I think what the media wanted in 2012 was a triumph, was basically 1996 all over again. Where Bill Clinton just walked in on this wave of how awesome he was. And that just didn’t happen with Barack Obama. We made – we gave him a much, much tougher fight this year. And that’s progress in my opinion. The other thing is that we won some battles. And I think it’s important to remember that we won in Wisconsin. The union battle in Wisconsin. I grew up in Wisconsin. It is a blue collar union town. It has these liberal strongholds. It’s very much like California where much of the area is conservative, but you have Madison and you have Milwaukee just like you have San Francisco and you have LA and it’s very union, very blue collar, very left wing. Democrats own that. But Scott Walker gets in, that caught the left out – I think by surprise. And he decides to go after the heart of the left’s stronghold, their stranglehold on power, which is union. And the stealing of union people’s wages whether they like it or not and of course that all ends up in the Democrats’ coffers. So they decide to take a stand there. And the reason we won that battle – and that was a very tough battle – I believe had a lot to do with new media. You had stars like Andrew Breitbart and Sarah Palin. They went there and they turned it into a story and got information out there because they spoke up and they did events. You also had people like the MacIver Institute, you had Breitbart, you had Beck, you had a lot of new media. We were getting video. And video’s huge. And we would get video of these union people saying the most outrageous stuff. Or we would get video of a doctor handing out excuses so that these people – so that teachers wouldn’t have to go to work. Or we would get video of students who were hauled there by their teachers against their will and without their parents’ permission. And we would get that video and we would play it and Drudge would pick it up. Or Glenn Reynolds would pick it up.

And this was a huge deal because people saw the face of who these people are. And they saw the face of the enemy and they heard our argument. When I say enemy, I mean political enemy, obviously. And they heard our argument. They heard our point of view. And you also have a very good talk radio structure in that area with Charlie Sykes and Mark Belling. So we were able to make our case, we were able to bring attention to it through new media. And we were able to get video out that made our points. And video’s hugely important. One of the things I regret now is that during Sandy, we didn’t get out there and try and turn Sandy into what it should have been and that was Obama’s Katrina. But we did win that battle. Now you can’t take that battle and win it on a national level. Because it’s a totally different thing. But I think that’s a big plus. I don’t think if new media – if there was no new media, I don’t think it would have happened. I don’t think we would have won every single battle in Wisconsin. The thing that I think about for the future – and I’m excited, you know, I have the best job in the world. I get to get up every morning  and I get paid to fight the worst people in the world. Those are the people in the media. I’m sure that individually they’re all very nice people, individually. But as an institution, they’re the worst people in the world. Because of what they’re doing to our country. And what Richard Miniter and others said today is absolutely true. That we just can’t complain. And the other thing we can’t do is we can’t effect what the media does. And I think that’s something that we have to remember. We can’t – they’re not going to change. Their MO has been, since Barack Obama stepped onto the stage, that Obama can do nothing wrong. And whoever’s trying to harm him can do nothing right. That includes a hurricane. Or an oil spill. He can do nothing wrong.

That’s why Libya was handled the way that it was. That’s why the oil spill was handled – that’s why our economy, which no one should have been reelected on that, Republican or Democrat, that’s why he got away with it. Because they will never allow him to do anything wrong. So one of the things we did at Breitbart we figured out very early on was the media has a narrative and nothing – we can kill bad narratives but if they’re going on after our people, they’re going on to praise Obama we can’t stop them from doing that. We can’t shame them. We spent decades trying to shame them. That’s not going to work. They just get worse, really. What we need to do is create an infrastructure where we create a counter-narrative. People are moving online. They’re moving into our terrain. They’re moving into the terrain where all of us can rise and have a voice. And we need more – we need another FOX News, we need two or three FOX Newses, just like they have CNN, just like they have MSNBC. Because it amazes me we don’t have another FOX News. It’s one of the most popular and famous things to happen in the last ten years and no one’s thought, well, maybe we’ll do another one. But that’s what we need. We need more FOX Newses. We need to have more reporting. And that’s one of the things I’m hearing here. Is that instead of complaining we’re figuring out that we need to get out there and we need to report. And we need more new media. And we need people in Libya. We need people doing what Peter does – I mean, Peter’s report on the potential fraud with respect to Obama’s campaign fundraising machine, that should have been a monster story. And he did get some traction through it, but at the same time, we don’t yet have the infrastructure to get that out there. So that everybody knows about it. Because if we can do that – if we can push things to a point where everybody’s talking about it, the media is forced to cover it. But we want to get to a point where we don’t need the media to cover it. Where we can create a counter-narrative and we can say, Obama’s doing this and the American people are talking about it because we have another FOX News or we have two or three FOX Newses.

And we have enough new media out there creating these kind of stories to get attention and we figure out also how to use SEO, which is social media and these things that make things pop up on Google so that people see them. I mean, Media Matters is a genius at this. If you put in someone’s name, usually the top story on Google is a Media Matters story. And these are all things that we need to get better at. Finally, I think that – I remember one of the things that Andrew said when I was working for Big Hollywood, when we were going after the movie Avatar, which was anti-true and anti-American and we had caused James Cameron all kinds of trouble and someone asked him, well, how did the fight with Avatar go? And Andrew said, quite seriously, he said, well, instead of the movie making five billion dollars, it made 4.99975 billion dollars. And the point that he was making was that we didn’t have that big of an impact. On the box office. But we did give – we did take a high profile target, we told the truth about it. And we did have an impact, at least, on I think the victory lap James Cameron thought he was going to have. And he had to answer a lot of our questions a lot. You have to look at the election the same way. This election the same way. We didn’t win, but we came a lot closer than I think that we should have. And I think the media did themselves a lot of harm. I think you’re going to see in many cases it was a Pyrrhic victory for them. Because they’re so over the top and they’re so – they’re killing themselves, their credibility, so much. And you can see their poll numbers going down. You can see their ratings going down. You can see the money they’re making going down. Their advertisers going down, the eyeball’s going down. And that’s a victory for us. And we just need to keep pressing that. And just remember that in 2016, it’ll be Hillary who can do no wrong. So we just have to be ready for that. Thank you.

FRANK GAFFNEY: Well, I think most of you are of an age or at least a background that you remember the game Monopoly. Well, I confess to having made a bank error in your favor. I miscalculated on the timing and reduced the rank, but it winds up giving us more time to have a conversation with this excellent panel. So forgive me for doing that, but take advantage of it. I’d like to put a couple of things on the table if I could and maybe ask you guys to comment on them and then we’ll open it up to everybody because one of the sort of recurring themes in several of these comments was the idea that the mainstream media is kind of coming a cropper. Financially cropper. One of the things that I keep hearing about – and I confess I haven’t actually spent the time to run it to earth, but presumably one or more of you have been looking at this, is the idea that the taxpayer ought to subsidize some of these media operations of the left, the mainstream. As a means of making sure that they don’t go down. And that would seem to me to be a whole new level of assault on the, you know, separation of press and state, if you will. And problematic on the financial level as well, needless to say. Another issue which we sort of touched on a little bit in the previous panel, but that – if you might address as well, is there is unmistakably at the moment, Benghazi was sort of symptomatic of it, an assault on freedom of speech. And that is clearly going to be, over time, if this Istanbul process, which Hillary Clinton is about as you may know this week, the latest iteration with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. Beginning to see what can be done to accommodate demands that we not offend Muslims. Well, at some point, the press will find themselves constricted as to what they can say if that’s not already happening in the mainstream press and I would argue it is, maybe ultimately in the new media. Another issue that will be coming up I believe shortly in yet another of these UN fora is the idea that the UN ought to take over control of the internet. The reason being that they would like to insure that some stuff that is not currently filtered, censored, you know, denied to their people that they don’t want them to have will in the future as a result of their managing this enterprise. And especially to the extent, of course, that the new media is very dependent upon the internet. What are the implications of this sort of machination? And finally, in a related point, I was talking with Bill Gertz about this earlier, I discovered this week that the Center for Security Policy’s website is now being blocked by the Defense Department. So that its personnel cannot have access to it. And I’m certain that there are many others that are similarly now impermissible. This sounds vaguely like what the Chinese and, you know, the Russians and others are doing. So if in your various capacities you’d be willing to speak to one or more of those points that would get us up and running. Peter, you were nodding vigorously at some of those points. Why don’t you start?

PETER SCHWEIZER: Well, there’s always a lot of ground to cover, Frank. A lot of great points. I think you’re exactly right, the separation of press and state is important, not only in the context of taxpayer support for PBS, but one of the things we’re actually looking into right now, we were actually shocked to find out, is that a lot of news outlets, the New York Times, other newspapers, actually get very generous tax breaks that are specific to the media for buying things like, you know, News Inc. and updating their own – their own, you know, electronic computer capabilities. Which is kind of ironic, because of their criticism of this kind of behavior for other industries. So I think there is very well ground there for delving into it. And raising the question of we don’t want a state owned press and a state influenced press. And if the press is increasingly in financial trouble and they’re increasingly looking from a business standpoint for government largesse to keep them in business, it doesn’t take a whole lot of analysis to realize the problem that raises. I think the self-censorship issue is a huge one. And one that’s very troubling and one that I never frankly quite understood because I find the notion at the State Department and Pentagon and elsewhere that discussion of Islam or concerns about elements of Islam or certain Islamic groups, that it’s going to send people into such an angerous tizzy that they can’t control themselves – I mean, that’s a highly insulting position. They’re basically saying that people that have a certain set of beliefs are basically like, you know, out of control teenagers. So we better just sort of steer clear. And I think we need to frame it that way. I mean, it’s an outrageous insult. And I think it’s one of those creeping problems that is hard to quantify, you don’t see it happening. But, you know, Frank and I have talked about this before. I mean, there are a lot of news outlets or individual reporters who are in a situation where they are self-censoring. Because of concerns about these issues and how you can actually show that and quantify it I think is a very difficult and challenging issue.


JOHN NOLTE: I think as far as the government bailing the media out, I don’t think there’s any question, they’re going to try to do that. And I think that one of the ways they’ll get away with that – they need the media. And it’s not even a matter of the state owned press. I mean, for all intents and purposes, the press, the mainstream media, already is state owned. They just do it voluntarily. And the bias in the media is towards the government, bigger government equals compassion. More government equals compassion. We need to protect all aspects of government. You can’t cut government, blah, blah, blah. And this is important to the government and I think one of the things we’re seeing – and this is something that I heard in one of the other panels, was how the bureaucracy in our Defense Department becomes more and more political. And when you hear that, you know what that means. You know that their bias is in favor of bigger government. And in order to protect that, I don’t think there’s any question that if the media gets in a lot of trouble, they’re going to bail them out. And one of the ways they’re going to get away with that is twofold, is that they’re not going – they’re probably not going to make a case where they say, well, we need to keep the Washington Post in business. But I think that most of these media groups are owned by big conglomerates. So these conglomerates use – hang onto the media and we can bail them out instead. We can bail GE out instead of MSNBC. And GE obviously loves having MSNBC out there because MSNBC is pro big government and GE benefits by big government. So if you’re talking about tens of thousands of workers that are going to lose their jobs unless we bail them out, instead of talking about bailing out MSNBC, the people are going to be I think more willing to do that and so I think that’s the approach they’re going to take. And I think that’s one of the big downfalls of how the media’s been eaten up by all these bigger conglomerates.

FRANK GAFFNEY: Tiffany, I particularly wanted to hear from you on this UN and the internet, because Glenn has been arguably on the UN case and the threat to sovereignty that it represents as much as anybody. So, I’ll let you comment on that particularly.

TIFFANY GABBAY:  Sure. And I’ll weave in a couple of other points as well.  Am I on? Okay. Yes, one of the things that we’ve covered ostensibly at The Blaze is the UN’s agenda 21 and I’m not sure if many of you here are familiar with it. A lot of people aren’t, actually. And I even wasn’t, working for Glenn, even though I’ve heard agenda 21 – kind of banged into my head for months and years on end. But basically it is the realization of what a George Soros has always dreamed of, which is a one world government. And the UN has outlined – and it’s interesting – their Agenda 21 program that has been documented on the UN’s website for a number of years, it actually came out in the 90s, has since been taken down, interestingly enough. But yes, I mean, the UN is absolutely looking to take control of private property in certain instances. To become better stewards of the land. You know, it’s always under the auspices of we are better stewards of the land than you are. We are better protectors of free speech than you are. And it’s always under the banner of we are going to help people – we’re going to protect you from yourselves, basically. And it is about growing government. So the thought that the UN would take control of the internet and an organization that lost its credibility I don’t know how many decades ago, someone who had placed Yasir Arafat on their, you know, human rights council or the likes of Muammar Gaddafi, I don’t really think that you want an organization like that controlling the information waves, the number one information wave that the world knows. But that’s obviously something that you can see happening and you can see, you know, a pro big government administration like the Obama administration which has signed on to the UN’s Agenda 21 program being very much in favor of this sort of control by the UN. And I think it all ties in, in a very interesting way, you look at Obamacare, like this is one-sixth of the nation’s economy, this brings us one step closer to socialism. If you look at the government, again, a pro big government administration like the Obama administration you could of course see how if the opportunity came about to acquire or control any number of press or media outlets, it would absolutely leap at the chance to do so. Of course, you know, you had pointed out earlier that the media is willingly giving government favorable coverage in this instance, but it would still be actually government controlled media. And I want to tie this back to the point about when you talked about the OIC. Because I think this all ties in together. I had done a report – I interviewed a very –

FRANK GAFFNEY: What about just – emphasize what the OIC stands for.

TIFFANY GABBAY: The Organization of the Islamic Conference. It’s a fifty-six member state or – [OVERLAPPING VOICES] Fifty-seven?

FRANK GAFFNEY: Seven with the new state of Palestine added in.

TIFFANY GABBAY: Yeah, well, fifty-six. It is a group of fifty-six, fifty-seven Islamic nations that basically try to set the standard for the whole of the Islamic world. And one of the things that they talk about extensively are blasphemy – Islamic or shariah blasphemy laws. Slander laws. And we saw this very much with what happened in Benghazi. Directly following Benghazi, I interviewed a very prominent imam here in New Jersey. He – his name is Imam Qatanani. I’m not sure if anyone has heard of him. And he admitted to me that anyone who speaks out against Islam, like the creators of this YouTube video, should be pursued by the government. They should be jailed, they should be imprisoned, they should be fined, and you absolutely see that they went after the filmmakers or YouTube video makers of Innocence of Muslims. Which was the alleged video that spawned the entire protest in Cairo and Benghazi and, of course, we know that that’s not true and that was a red herring. But at the same time you can absolutely see how in the name of sensitivity to different cultures, you know, pro big government and political correctness can trump even free speech. And it would be little by little, a step by step approach where we see government manuals being purged of these, you know, terms terrorist or terrorism and it just kind of goes in a very subtle step by step approach. So, no, I mean, they may not say, you know, one day it’s unlawful to slander the prophet Muhammad, but what they can do is cause some very serious ramifications for those who do. And I think that’s how you would see something like that start to take hold.

FRANK GAFFNEY: Right. Very important points, all. Thank you very much. Let’s open it up to questions. Mike coming, there you go.

QUESTION: Question regarding how you might handle the story that I just saw break this morning on FOX News which I think will be a biggie potentially. What strategies you might use. The story, very quickly, is a new movie coming out on the 19, Wednesday the 19 of December, Zero Dark Thirty, on the bin Laden raid. In it, it begins apparently with waterboarding of the courier who supposedly – who led to bin Laden. And the official position so far is that the CIA did not waterboard the courier. Waterboarded KSM. And Kathryn Bigelow, the producer, director – director said that she talked directly to sources from it sounds like classified information who said that the courier was waterboarded. Is this something best fought by trying to show that that is false or by saying, hey, suppose it’s true and asking the public, well, gee, was it worth it to get bin Laden? Or how might you handle that kind of a story?

PETER SCHWEIZER:  I think that’s a great question. The challenge, always, with national security issues is because there’s so much that we don’t know and we may not know. I think the issue of interrogations is an important one. A longtime friend of mine, Mark Thiesson, wrote a great book on this subject and the success that we had with the interrogation methodology. And I do think that there needs to be a larger, more vigorous debate. You know, I know Frank has addressed this issue and other groups have about the whole aggressive use of drones by this administration. You know, we all, I think, generally applaud when, you know, a terrorist gets a chance to meet his maker so to speak. But the reality is, is that when you have a policy where you’re aggressively killing terrorist commanders rather than capturing them when you can and interrogating them, you lose enormous intelligence possibilities and capabilities. And so I think that’s a very, very legitimate issue. Again, though, I think the challenge on these national security issues is always, you know, sort of knowing what we know and hopefully we’ll get somebody that was involved in the interrogation program to come forward and sort of clear, you know, clear the air on that subject.

FRANK GAFFNEY: Would any of you like to speak specifically to the question that I think was behind this question, which is to the extent to which the administration apparently spoonfed a lot of classified information to this particular filmmaker, I think in the expectation that it was going to come out, the film, before the election – [OVERLAPPING VOICES] Speak to that if you would, John.

JOHN NOLTE: The film was originally scheduled, I think it was Sony that schedule, they were going to film, release the film, I think, two or three weeks before the election. And the duo that made the film, Kathryn Bigelow is the director and her writer won the Academy Award for The Hurt Locker. And he’s a very left wing guy. I can’t remember his name offhand, but he’s a very left wing guy. He’s written a lot of stories about the troops for like Rolling Stone and what not. And of course, it’s a soda straw context that makes us look terrible instead of an overall viewpoint. But there was no question at the time that the idea behind releasing the film then wasn’t just so that people would see it. Even if the movie flops, the media would cover it to death and then we were talking about the one thing Obama did right before the election which was to kill Osama bin Laden.   But you’re absolutely right. I mean, there’s no question that it’s a situation, again, where the state has a willing party and this time in Hollywood where they wanted a propaganda film made that would help Barack Obama. Unfortunately, he didn’t need it. But they brought these guys in and there’s been a lot of freedom of information act releases that tell us they received unprecedented access to everything that they needed to tell the story. Because one of the things that Barack Obama understands and one of the things that the left understands and the media and we’re starting to is how important the culture is. Not just culture, but pop culture. And how a movie can change a narrative even historically. And so Barack Obama found willing very talented people and they wanted to make the film and he wanted to help them and give them the information they wanted and, quite sadly, they got more information than even our media did. This is another situation where new media made a difference. We created an absolute uproar over the date of the film. And the media wasn’t able to ignore it. And they moved the date, and I think that’s another area where we were effective. To your point, directly, Christian Toto, who took my spot, he’s running Big Hollywood now, he has seen the movie and he sent me a long detailed narrative of what it was about. And our position on the – when we’re able to release the review, is going to be, hey, waterboarding works.  We’re just going to turn it to our advantage, because it worked. And if we hadn’t have waterboarded, whether it’s the courier or KSM, Barack Obama wouldn’t have had his big victory. And who was opposed to waterboarding? Barack Obama. So he wouldn’t have had his big victory were it not for this policy that he didn’t agree with. So we’re going to take that and we’re going to turn it into our own narrative and just say, hey, waterboarding works. We’re not doing it anymore. What does that mean? And again, we have the infrastructure to do that. Now new media has the infrastructure to do that. And I think that’s going to be an effective narrative.

FRANK GAFFNEY: Tiffany? Anything?

TIFFANY GABBAY: Yeah, no, and I agree that new media absolutely does have a great opportunity ahead of it to review properly big Hollywood films. Again, I’ve obviously was on the topic of propaganda and I don’t think that there’s really a more powerful force than Hollywood. Movies have shaped the world’s view of America and it’s shaped Americans’ view of America. How many people do you know, immigrants, who dreamed of coming to this country simply because of the films that they saw? And I think, years ago, America was portrayed as the heroes, as the good guys. And the culture here in America and the outside world’s view of America very much reflected that. And today we now see films like Avatar or this particular film that was released that are really just being – that are really used as propaganda vehicles for the left or for this particular administration, let’s say. And it does paint America as more the villain, as the colonialist power, as a force of oppression over people the world over and I think that we have an interesting opportunity in new media to, again, cause a stir when the release date of a particular film is clearly going to aid a political candidate in his or her election. And I think that we also have an interesting opportunity to actually review those films and point out, again, the subtle and not so subtle biases and hidden political messages that are in so many of these – these big films.

JOHN NOLTE: The reason I don’t particular go in the favor of boycotts is because it’s just the truth, I’m worried someone’s going to launch a boycott against us in retaliation. The other thing – and this is even a bigger, more than just self preservation, it’s that I don’t think that in our current environment that boycotts would work for a couple of reasons. As far as against films, nobody – you’d be amazed how few people go to movies anymore. I mean, Hollywood’s – it’s already going down and down and down and a lot of people, I mean, how many people have gone to more than three movies in the last six months in here? I’ve been to one. And we don’t go because we’re offended by them and it’s sort of a natural boycott. But the – but Hollywood has figured out a way to make money without us. They’re expanding. If you want to know why – why the movie 2012 grabbed China and gave them a big kiss on the lips and made them the heroes of the movie, this huge blockbuster, it’s because they wanted to get into China. Hollywood doesn’t care about human rights. They just want those markets to be open. Cause they don’t want to have to worry about conservatives screaming about their movies because they know the Chinese will go. So they’ve been able to create these audiences above and beyond, outside of – outside of America and outside of people in this room, churchgoing people, and make money. The other – as far as the media goes, they’re already losing money hand over – we’re already boycotting them. I mean, I think that’s something that’s already – that’s already happening and, again, because they’ve been eaten up by these big conglomerates, they’re able to survive because they’re just write-offs for these bigger companies.

To that, I would just say that there have been efforts – some people have made efforts to boycott shows before. I remember when Married With Children came out, there was a huge boycott against that. It actually made the show more popular. I’m not a believer that it always makes the show more popular, but I haven’t seen an organized boycott against popular culture which is so beloved by people that aren’t political, it’s just not something that I have seen be effective. I like your idea, though, of exposing more of the conglomerates behind it. So NBC does something, maybe instead of going after NBC, go after the people who own NBC. And that’s something we’ve tried to do as well, put a face on, you know, instead of going after Chris Matthews, here’s the guy who runs NBC News, why does he still have a job? But I like – I think you make a very good point there.

FRANK GAFFNEY:  It’s also an interesting question whether NBC leading a boycott against Breitbart might not be very good for business.

JOHN NOLTE: That’s true.

QUESTION: Thank you for your comments. In the 1960s, it was very obvious that the romance among young people was in something called adversary culture. I now find myself based on the comments that you made with a counter-narrative which is my adversary culture. We now live in an adversary culture. So the question is, how do we change things? And there have been a lot of comments and very interesting comments made by this panel and the previous panel. But the one thing that has been overlooked is the change that has occurred in university life. Fifty years ago, there was nothing called a journalism program. Today, New York University, Northwestern University, UCLA, the largest programs in those three universities are journalism programs. And the journalism program as you can well imagine is a journalism program based on the new journalism. Not fact based. It’s entirely subjective. How do you feel about looking at that fire. Not whether it’s a four alarm fire or how many people have been injured, but rather how do you feel about it? So the question then becomes how can you change what is happening in universities? Because by and large, it is the Woodward and Bernsteins that serve as the exemplars of what journalism is all about. And so you have to change that. Now you have a romantic image, a view of the future based on the new journalism. And it strikes me that what you have to do is insinuate yourself into university life so that those people that are being trained to be journalists today take into account the sort of things that you’re doing at the moment.

FRANK GAFFNEY: Who’d like to take that?

PETER SCHWEIZER: I think you raise a great point and I think, you know, there is not only the question of the institutional media, there’s a question of the broader culture and who are the people that are going into journalism. I sort of reject the idea that some people on the left proffer that the reason that if there is sort of a tendency for liberals to dominate the media it’s because, you know, conservatives would rather be off doing something else. I reject that. I think it has a lot more to do with the culture that pervades and I think it has to do also with the, you know, with the training process. I think ultimately the way in which we are going to influence media, you know, unless, you know, somebody has the capacity to establish, you know, large universities that can, you know, train people – similarly, I think the way that we’re going to do that is to simply challenge them professionally. To make sure that they are, in effect, doing their job and if they are practicing new journalism, you have, you know, the new media that’s holding them into account. I tend to think, though, that those appeals are going to have a lot less practicality. Because I think the era of lots of people being able to go into professional journalism to work for magazines or newspapers, there’s just not a lot of jobs there. I mean, that’s the reality. And the jobs that are there, they don’t pay very well. So the entire model of journalism, I think, is changing. And I don’t know that anybody has completely figured out exactly where it’s going. Part of it is the new journalism that we’re seeing here. Part of it is, you know, the rise of the, you know, non-profits like Pro Publica and others that have certain agendas that are partnering with the media. All of those are going to be factors in news media. I do think, ultimately, that you’re going to still have, you know, these large institutional media outlets like the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and others, whether they are making money or not, sort of driving the institutional agenda. Because even people, you know, I come from a sort of a libertarian, conservative perspective. But I read the New York Times. Because I have to. Because I know that it is going to – whether I like it or not, establish a mood for the national agenda. So if I want to be informed, I have to continue to rely on that publication and I’m sure that there are probably a lot of people in this room that would share that – share that opinion.

FRANK GAFFNEY: Anybody else? John, Tiffany? Solving the university problem?

JOHN NOLTE:  I do – you know, one of the things that Andrew always talked about with Hollywood was we need to get into Hollywood, we need to learn our craft, you just can’t go into Hollywood and make a conservative movie. You have to get in there, you have to spend a couple of decades at least learning how to be a screenwriter, director, and then, you know, once you’ve gained a foothold, you can make the kind of films you want to make and effect the culture. I think it’s the same for academia. I’d just like to see conservatives do what liberals did over the last twenty years and that’s infest these institutions and not to do what the liberals did cause we’re not – I don’t think we’re that type of people where we’re going to get into the propaganda and we’re going to try and push people to our way. But we are going to say, you know, All The President’s Men isn’t about bringing down Republicans. It’s about finding the truth. And that’s – but people look at All The President’s Men and they think it’s about bringing down Republicans. Cause that’s how it’s spun and they want to be – they want to do that. So you’re right, I would like to see more people move into Hollywood and move into academia, but with specifically that in mind. I’m going to be – I’m going to be somewhat of a hero here and I’m going to bring something else to this and I’m going to be a spy, I’m going to keep my mouth shut for ten years and then when I don’t have to anymore, I’m going to do what I can to change the culture. And that sounds like fun. I wish I was younger.

TIFFANY GABBAY: Yes. I mean, in terms of academia, there is no doubt that there is obviously a very left wing bent of university professors – even a hostility towards conservatives, conservatism, Israel, let’s say, and I’m not sure that that’s going to change anytime soon. But one avenue that I do see in helping students, whether they be majoring in journalism or any other area, are certain organizations, there are conservative, libertarian, or pro-Israel for example. Organizations and think tanks that actually do have campus outreach efforts. There are organizations like Media Central, which take aspiring journalists on tours of Israel, let’s say, to show them exactly what is going on. So I think those are some of the ways that students today can acquire a different perspective. But I think we obviously have a role in new media to do so and to do some of that outreach. But it also falls to grassroots organizations that do have those campus outreach programs to show the other side that their professors are not –

FRANK GAFFNEY: If I could just add one point with the greatest of respect to somebody who’s spent a lot of time in the academic circles, Herb London, one of the things I’ve been encouraged about coming back to sort of the new media role in all of this is the extent to which Glenn Beck, most especially, Dennis Prager and others are using their media as vehicles for really teaching. Not simply covering the news but doing the deeper drill down and maybe that’s a hopeful, you know, new academia as well that will be developing. And one other thing which, again, Herb, you know more about than I, but I’m prayerful that the emergence of a whole new cohort of students who are coming out of military service under the new GI bill will give rise to both a demand for better teachers and curricula and, you know, consumers of it who will apply it. So maybe that will be true in the journalism field, maybe not. I got a  it’s a march to the institution, I think that’s what everybody’s saying.

QUESTION: To go along with what Herb said earlier about going up against the institution, it’s true you can’t build an institution to go against institution and, Andrea, we always talked about spending the years learning the craft. But there’s push and pull. New media pushes out, talk radio pushes out. It’s sometimes as simple as engagement, not just hoping they read the site and take the information. And what we need to do in new media and in talk radio is to engage them one on one. Last week, I brought in fifteen students from NYU and their professor. They spent three hours in the studio with me. I talked to them before and I brought them in. When they leave, I’m not trying to convince them to become conservatives or otherwise, but I’m giving them that simple moment that when you open up a new book or a new chapter and you read something you have a new view. And what we should be doing is also engaging pockets of people at these universities by going to them, because you can’t meet a one on one connection with a website, but combined you can have a greater potential for effect and I’ve done that at universities here, at Pace and NYU, at Columbia, and if it works, they’re coming back with results, then we need to expand that kind of approach.

FRANK GAFFNEY: Great, great suggestion. Any comment, response?

PETER SCHWEIZER: No, I think that’s exactly right. I mean, obviously, the solution at the university problem is to clone Herb London. I was going to say, and also to get David Webb on lots of college campuses. I think David’s exactly right. I do think that there’s no question that there are people who have a very left wing view because they are fully immersed and engaged in that culture. But you also have a lot of people who have a sort of liberal skew basically by osmosis. I mean, they watch popular culture, they, you know, went to schools that are sort of liberal oriented. They’re at NYU. They’re at other places and isn’t this what smart people do? And when they get exposed to a David Webb or somebody else that says, well, hey, here’s a different way of thinking about it, it does tend to change their views. I – one of the reasons I’m optimistic – and John and I have talked about this before, is, you know, do we think and honestly believe in our core that our ideas of individualism and freedom of American exceptionalism are superior ideas? If we do, engaging in open discussion this way is only going to lead to one result. So I think David is exactly right and I think we all need to be bolder about that. You know, one of my pet peeves is that sometimes – and I am at the top of the list of this, I spend too much time talking with people that already agree with me rather than trying to talk to people that don’t agree with me, with neighbors and friends. That’s what’s so great about social media. There are people that come to The Blaze or people that come to Breitbart because they’re looking at something online and they are getting a whole new perspective similar to the Center for Security Policy or David’s show. So I’m a big believer in engagement. I think it comes down to, you know, Ronald Reagan’s famous saying, I’m not a great man. I just believe in great ideas.


QUESTION: I’d like the panel to address how Islam is represented or not represented in the new media. And what I have particularly in mind is that we all have the notion here in America that – I shouldn’t say we all – many have the notion that Islam is just another religion like all religions. We have our way of thinking, they have their way of thinking. But unique to Islam is that the Koran has to be taken literally. There’s no changing it. And one of the things that it teaches is wife beating. So if you search on YouTube, for example, how to beat your wife, you will find many – not one, but many interviews with imams explaining exactly how to do it. You know, not allowed to break their bones, not allowed to poke their eyes out, but other than that, you know, go to it. How come the new media doesn’t make more of this? It seems to me this would have an effect on how people view Islam.

FRANK GAFFNEY: Tiffany, do you want to say what you’re doing on that score? Which is considerable.

TIFFANY GABBAY: Sure. Again, as journalists, you would hope that our job is to uncover injustices, human rights abuses, and the like. And those are obviously perpetrated in the Islamic world to a degree that is unfathomable by most cultures. Instead, we have a lot of journalists here in the mainstream media talking about same sex marriages being the civil rights issue of our time. And I’m not going to comment on same sex marriage or anything like that. Except to say that you so rarely ever see any mainstream media coverage on actual human rights abuses that are occurring, not just in the world, but there are very much instances of honor killings and abuses here in this country as well. And I think if we want to be honest stewards of this information and uncover these human rights abuses, then there is absolutely an onus on journalists to uncover these stories. I know that it’s something that we do in new media. In the mainstream media, you probably won’t hear it as much because it would undermine this narrative and this theme they’ve created where everybody is equal, everything is, you know – mainstream media operates under the banner of moral relativism. So they can’t admit to these truths without saying one culture may be more flawed than another or one religion may be more – or have more instances of abuse than another because it would undermine that narrative and that political correctness agenda they’ve set for themselves.

QUESTION: Well, this is unfortunately not going to be a very decisive question. It has to do with my own experience over the last forty-five or forty-six years working heavily in the education area at two levels. One, the prep school level which used to be a very exclusive group of people whose parents could pay a lot of money for prep school and the other, the Boys and Girls Club. Where about forty years ago, I changed the oldest Boys and Girls Club in New York, The Madison Square Boys and Girls Club from one that was focused only on keeping the streets cool in the summertime, having basketball, swimming, ping pong, things to divert kids and turned it into a Boys Club where our primary focus was to help our kids through a program called self improvement through education, learn how to read and write and speak English and make it in the real world. And my concern is not at the college level – it’s too damned late, the college level. It seems to me. At the very earliest public school level where kids are being taught things that most of us would say, well, gee, that’s a good thing to think about. The poor people of the world. The hungry, the sick. The deprived. We should all think of people as part of one world. We’re all human being, we’re all created the same way. Which is not the worst thing to think about. But unfortunately, it sometimes doesn’t get modified and it’s why we have an enormous number of people in this country who are more inclined to think about the United Nations as a good thing for the world. And our approach, which you talked about having to do with individual effort, individualism, the things that we tend to think are associated with the United States. They are not the big thing and everyone knows that statement that is made, if you’re not a Democrat when you’re twenty years old, you got no heart. But if you’re not a Republican when you’re a forty-year old, you have no brain. Somewhere in that area is where we have got to make the changes because as much as I think that the new media are wonderful, we still have an awful lot more people who are interested in what the Giants are doing and what happened to the Jets and all the rest of that. And so my question is, what can we do at the earliest level, at the public school level to make sure that we don’t have teachers who are just teaching everything that Democrats want them to hear.

FRANK GAFFNEY: Not a quick question, as it happens, but we need a very quick answer from anyone who would wish to offer one.

JOHN NOLTE: One of the things that we’re going to do eventually at the Big sites – and this is going to be action, it’s going to be Big Education. And we want to do with the media and with the – Hollywood, to the academic world. And I remember Andrew Breitbart, he would talk about everybody’s got a camera now. He’d ask the audience, he talked to Tea Party audiences – if you’ve got a camera, hold it up. And thousands of cameras would go up, you know, at least three out of five people had a camera. We want students to get in there and record these things and look how big these things get. I mean, FOX News will blow up a teacher lying to a student or punishing a student for badmouthing Obama or something. And I think one of the primary things we need to teach kids is to be skeptical, is to think for themselves. There’s good rebellion, there’s bad rebellion. I think good rebellion is, wait a minute. I’m not sure I believe in that. I’m not sure I agree with that. Is there another side to that? So big education is intended – and I’m not sure when we’re going to launch, but I know we’re moving towards it,  is intended to be one of the weapons in that war – cause the first thing you got to do is expose it. And say this is happening. And I think that’s what we’ve done with the media. Everybody knows the media is biased. So what’s next? And that’s the phase we’re moving into. And that’s what we want to do with education. Okay, here’s what’s going on in your schools. And then we can go to the next step and fix it. So it’s a great question.

FRANK GAFFNEY: That’s huge. Thank you to this terrific panel and to all of you for being here. Well done.


Center for Security Policy

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