Thomas Sowell - William Buckley and the New Media
I and others have written a great deal about William Buckley since his death more than a week ago. Much more needs to be written, as this important figure played a pivotal role in modern conservative thought. Thomas Sowell contributes to this discussion as he notes how differently certain incidents might have ended up had the media's role been different. With regard to Vietnam's Tet Offensive:
There was a time when Walter Cronkite's version of what was happening in Vietnam was enough to force a change in policy more disastrous than the Communist offensive which Cronkite depicted as a big loss to American military forces, when in fact the American military inflicted a crushing defeat on the Communist guerrillas.
Imagine how differently that war might have turned out -- how many millions of people in Southeast Asia might not have been slaughtered by Communist governments there -- if there had been a sizable contingent of conservative journalists to tell a very different story from that told by Walter Cronkite and the liberal media.
Modern conservatives are only now learning and discussing how wrong Cronkite was.
Sowell notes that the reverse holds true with regard to modern events that the MSM/DNC was unable to control:
By the same token, think how successful Cronkite's successor, Dan Rather, might have been with his fake documents about President Bush's National Guard service, broadcast on the eve of the 2004 elections, if the fraud had not been exposed immediately by conservatives on the Internet, on talk radio, and in newspapers.
We owe a debt not only to Buckley, but to the modern pioneers of the alternative media, such as Rush Limbaugh and Matt Drudge. As I wrote almost 2 weeks ago:
Buckley was a throwback to the era when the MSM/DNC enjoyed a virtual monopoly on information. I first discovered Buckley in the early 1980's. At that time, I was treated to an almost non-stop barrage of twisted news presentations, distorted facts, repeats of Democrat talking points, etc. from the nightly news and the pages of newspapers. Once a week, William Buckley (and a very few others) would have one chance to rebut the entire MSM/DNC in the confined space of an opinion column on the editorial page of some newspapers. Even though it was hardly a fair fight, Buckley's (and others') few inches of weekly space was more than a match for the daily rants of the NYT, AP, WaPo, John Chancellor, Walter Cronkite, etc. Buckley kept the conservative light glowing until the New Media could begin fanning the flames at the end of the 1980's.
Conservatives born after 1975 cannot fully appreciate what it was like to live in the era before the New Media existed. Buckley was one voice that helped make that era bearable.
The MSM/DNC still lies and is more leftwing now than ever before, but at least must endure real competition.