For the past year, I’ve been asked (a lot): “Will you ever run for office again?” My answer is somewhere between “NEVER!” and “probably not.” I gave the same answer throughout the campaign — the only way I knew to not become a politician, would be…well, to not…become a politician.
This week I saw a quote that just floored me:
…David Frum, former George W. Bush speechwriter and once-prominent neoconservative, … “Republicans originally thought that Fox worked for us,” he said. “Now we’re discovering that we work for Fox.”
That’s from an article on the media and Sam Zell.
Think. About. That.
Republicans originally thought that Fox news worked for us
The ascendance of Fox news produced jubilation on the right and a great fear and loathing on the left. This incredibly clear, forceful, and loud voice was helping to drive the stated goals of the Republicans party. Essentially Fox was helping to sell the Republican agenda.
Now we’re discovering that we work for Fox.
Eventually a crazy thing happened: At some point Fox shifted their message to their ideology. Instead of taking cues to support a Republican agenda, they set the damn agenda. Their narrative fueled the people, who soon demanded it. This in turn became what Republican candidates needed to deliver to please their base. They now tangentially worked for Fox news.
As an aside, this has analogues in the tech world where the discussion today is dependence on platforms. Things like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter are platforms on which companies are built right on top of. The Republican party, in some ways, has built their business on top of the Fox News platform. When you build your business on top of someone else’s platform, you are dependent on and place yourself at the mercy of that platform. With Fox News’ absurd tilt to the extreme-right, Fox has helped to radically reshape the Republican party.
So back to my original question: Would I ever run for office again? Seeing all this take place has only affirmed to me that the highest impact is not necessarily in running for an office, but in shaping the public discussion. Fox, and other pundits, play the biggest role in all this. Things are still headed to shit in my opinion. Obama, the magical 2010 Republican congressional class, and the incumbents have done nothing to change this. As my irritation and rage smolder, I now think about how I can help shape this narrative. So that’s what where my mind is.
Run again? No. Shape narrative? Yes, but how?…