They didn’t lose only because the media wasn’t on their side. They lost because there were too many instances when — and too many issues on which — they failed to communicate.
The consensus among researchers like Zaller is that people rely on the beliefs that are “at the top of their head,” meaning the beliefs they heard most recently. What one hears on the “Today” show or “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer” the night before can entirely determine one’s opinion on complicated policy issues, a candidate, or even a political party.
Too often when it comes to communicating with voters, the GOP seems to want to stem the flow of information, rather than broaden it. But for the millions of Americans who get their information from the mainstream media, they must receive a competing message — a competing viewpoint — and a two-sided flow of information.
Choosing to disengage from major networks more than two years in advance of an election seems a sure-fire way to ensure that conservatives not only don’t reach millions of Americans with their message but also that they alienate them before they can even try.
Schaeffer is executive director of the Independent Women’s Forum.