Saturday, January 07, 2006

Iraq News -- Think Outside the Blog

The key to getting the good news in Iraq to a wider audience of Americans requires us to think outside the blog.

The power of the internet to convey news that the MSM won't broadcast has been recognized by most bloggers. It was a critical component of George Bush's victory in 2004. Unfortunately, no one seems to have appreciated the most important of all the internet tools when it comes to getting the message out to most Americans -- e-mail. Bloggers are simply too blog-centric.

Glenn Reynolds has a post on the topic of getting the news out of Iraq. He posts on the shabby treatment of bloggers by the MSM, Michael Yon's call for volunteers to read his e-mail, and a colonel back from Iraq who laments the unwillingness of the Pentagon to use blogs to get the message out.

The best way to get the message out about the good news in Iraq would be to simply employ the best tools of the GOP election campaign of 2004. The "story" of that campaign has focused on the blogosphere and spending by section 527 organizations. The most effective tool for blunting and rebutting the liberal message of the MSM, however, was the e-mail message. E-mail was used effectively as Republicans built and maintained the organization of contributors and volunteers. Perhaps even more important, though, was the way people used e-mail to send along news stories, blog posts, cartoons and jokes (or Swift Vet ads on the internet).

When a conservative at the water cooler wants to rebut the conventional wisdom, "I heard it on talk radio" has little power to persuade. A blog post with links to cites or a story from a recognized publication packs a lot more wallop. E-mail was the way that most Americans became familiar with the Swift Vet ads. Remember, while the number of regular blog readers is small, everyone reads their e-mails from friends and family.

While I agree with the colonel that it would help if the Pentagon made an effort to reach out to bloggers to get the news out, the reality is that most blog readers are already fully aware that the MSM isn't telling the real story. The problem is getting the message out to the vast number of Americans who don't read blogs. Forming a 527 and raising money for TV and radio ads would help, but building e-mail networks would be quicker and cheaper.

First, the Pentagon should let people sign up for a daily or weekly summary of the news. The military must learn to take the story straight to the people without interference from the MSM.

Second, military bloggers should prepare their own weekly summaries (with links) and post them so that interested bloggers can link to them.

Finally, and most importantly, blog readers and those on the Pentagon distribution list should e-mail important stories and summaries to everyone in their informal network and remind them to pass it on.

If everyone simply uses e-mail to pass it on, the good news will reach more people in a week than have heard or seen it since the war started.


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