“New media” is quickly becoming the most powerful organizational and political force of this generation. Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and text messaging, among other tools, now define campaigning and advocacy. Those who cannot use these tools will almost certainly be left in the dust, if they have not been already. U. S. Representative John Culberson (R-TX) joined a group of conservative bloggers at the Heritage Foundation on March 31st to discuss the recent spate of harmful government interventions and how new media can help the conservative movement organize to fight back.
Congressman Culberson spoke of a “revolution”, one that “will come through the use of new technology.” He is convinced that politics are changing rapidly, and that the conservative movement can effectively ride the wave of change and make serious political gains in the coming years. New media can be an indispensable tool for organizing and dispersing information, but also for holding government officials accountable in the Democrat-controlled Congress and White House. New media, said Culberson, is “an incredible new tool to shine light into all the dark corners of our government.”
It is particularly important to employ new media in journalistic endeavors because corruption and mishandling of government assets has reached epidemic levels. He referred specifically to the massive, steadily increasing debt which is effectively “enslaving future generations.” New media can help reverse this trend by exposing inappropriate government actions more quickly, broadly and clearly than ever before. It “offers a window into everything that the government is doing.”
Culberson mentioned Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi specifically, reminding listeners that she had promised “the most open, accountable, transparent government in history.” This promise was made laughable by the application of new media tools employed by Congressman Tom Price (R-GA) , who filmed himself outside of Congresswoman Pelosi’s closed office doors as she and other leading Democrats discussed the stimulus bill. The video was posted on his website and YouTube almost immediately after it was shot.
The idea of new media as a political tool received widespread attention during the 2008 presidential election. President Obama’s campaign was able to apply new media tools like text messaging and facebook in unprecedented ways to reach out to voters. The tactics were especially effective among youth and first time voters who propelled Obama toward an easy victory on Election Day.
“I’m really convinced that the next revolution lies here in this room,” Congressman Culberson said to the group of bloggers and journalists.
Congressman Culberson also asked listeners to participate in a “tea party” to be held on April 15th at noon. The goal is to organize as many people as possible, and have them call their Congressman at noon on the same day to say “no new taxes.” The Congressman suggested making a “real time effort” to make the tea party a success. He asked every conservative organization who was listening to contact their followers and subscribers, urging them to participate by calling their Congressman at the designated time.
“Everyone out there listening who’s sick and tired of paying higher taxes, who’s sick and tired of government intrusions into your life, who’s sick and tired of government control over your business, your family, your home, your privacy, your gun case, who wants the government out of your life, off your back and out of your way ought to participate in this tea party on April 15th,” Culberson ended his remarks.
New media tools can help conservative organizations get the word out faster than ever before. With a brief text message or blog posting in the right place, thousands can be mobilized to take part in this protest almost instantly. That is the power of new media.