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Monday, October 24, 2016

NBC’s Chuck Todd enraged liberals last week with the following comment:

“What I always love is when people say, ‘Well, it’s you folks’ fault in the media.’ No! It’s the President of the United States’ fault for not selling it.”

Many on the left — including tens of thousands of people who have signed an online petition asking NBC to reject Todd’s comment — believe that this is the problem in modern politics: Too many members of the media refuse to debunk lies.

The truth is that even when they try, they’re pretty bad at it. See PolitiFact.

The message discipline of the right-wing media — also known as “The Fox Effect” — gives Republicans a platform to do things like call the stimulus “the failed stimulus” before it ever goes into effect. But what’s equally powerful is the hundreds of millions of dollars right-wing groups have spent opposing the president’s agenda.

For instance, opponents of Obamacare have outspent proponents 5 to 1 since the law was passed in 2010.

Could the media successfully debunk an overload of misinformation like that, even if Chuck Todd wanted to? Not likely.

NextGen Climate Action has decided to circumvent the media the same way the right has, with ads that speak directly to voters. The anti-Keystone Pipeline campaign ad above doesn’t just debunk right-wing lies — like the suggestion that the pipeline would be a huge boon for the economy — it puts forth a competing narrative that contrasts the thousands of jobs clean energy is creating with the 35 permanent jobs the pipeline would create for Americans maintaining a foreign pipeline.

Unfortunately, to run this kind of campaign you need millions of dollars and billionaire benefactors. The right has both.

Billionaire investor and philanthropist Tom Steyer is the founder of NextGen Climate Action. He’s taken Warren Buffett’s pledge to give away at least half his wealth and in the meantime has quit his job to work full-time to make actual progress against climate change possible.

Relying on billionaires to advance the truth probably feels as hopeless as relying on Chuck Todd. But in a connected world, we all have the power to share the information we find to be valuable. And Steyer’s efforts are already making this a little easier.

KeystoneTruth Ad

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  • RobertCHastings

    Tom Steyer, God bless you, sir. May the wind forever fill your sails.

  • John Pigg

    At last someone gets it. If the Democratic Party has even the slightest desire to compete in 2014 it has to offer a different narrative.

    You are not going to retake the house by talking about the ACA, Guns, Gay Marriage, or others.

    If you want to retake the House, offer a different narrative on jobs. We have had 10+ years of tax cuts, where are the jobs that were promised. Where is the opportunity for your kid to work hard after college and get a job. Republicans will tell the voters that the reason for this is directly related to Washington Regulations. And if there is no alternative narrative given they will successfully sell this idea to the American rural voters.

    • disqus_ivSI3ByGmh

      John, maybe the Democrats need only tell the voters that THEY will vote on the Jobs Bill that Boehner and company promised three years ago and still have not brought forward. And keep hammering that message home about the failure of the Republicans to bring forward the Jobs Bill that they promised as part of their election platform in 2010.
      The other thing they need to do is hammer home the success of the current recovery, but how it has left behind the very people that the Republicans are claiming to defend and represent, but do not.

      • John Pigg

        You missed my point entirely. It’s not by backing the same legislation can you hope to advance your cause. If you want to win throw some money behind conservative Democrats running against weak House Republicans.

        And to do that you can’t use the same vocabulary or narrative that is usually used.

  • Bill Thompson

    This is all about communication Pres. Obama and the Democratic party has the worst communication skills of any memorable adminastration . Where is the Presidents press core on these issues where is minority leader Pelosi where is Harry Reid. You see Rep. Banner, Cantor and McConnell and their Entourage a regular basis probably 5 to 1 in comparison to Pelosi and Reid. If you want to get your point across to the American people you have to open your mouth.

  • Landsende

    I’ve listened to Chuck Tods’s reporting and he seems to have it in for the President. When he is “reporting” I’ve noticed he gives false information or likes to give his opinion. He says it’s not his job to correct misinformation. Well, it’s also not his job to give his opinion. Maybe he belongs on Faux News.