Monday, March 04, 2013

WSPD, Dennis Rodman and the low-information voter

Dennis Rodman
Dennis Rodman Pictures

I'll admit - I'm not a fan of pro basketball, but I've at least heard of Dennis Rodman. I know he had a great reputation as a rebounder in the game, but that his outrageous antics were just too much for most teams.

He's done some movies, written a book and, just recently, had an interesting chat with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Apparently, that visit was enough to garner him an interview on ABC's "This Week" with George Stephanopoulos. The interview was also the subject of scorn and ridicule from Fred LeFebvre, host of 1370 WSPD's morning show.

Fred talked about how ridiculous it was to give any credence to Rodman's discussion with the leader of a country that has been condemned by the U.N Security Council, and whose human rights record our State Department has called one of the worst in the entire world... especially when Rodman said Kim Jung Un was "an awesome guy."

Normally, I'd agree with Fred. Rodman is an entertainer and his opinion that a communistic dictator is an 'awesome guy' really doesn't interest me.

But Fred also noted that the ABC interview was designed to appeal to the low-information voter, people who vote but who aren't really that interested in politics.

And then I started to think about this differently.

I recently attended ROCblog, a retreat sponsored by the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity. Franklin Center's mission is

" address falling standards in the media as well as a steep falloff in reporting on state government and provides professional training; research, editorial, multimedia and technical support; and assistance with marketing and promoting the work of a nationwide network of nonprofit reporters. Supplementing these efforts is our newly launched Citizen Watchdog program that trains ordinary citizens to report from local communities."

This two-day retreat was to help established bloggers be better at investigative work and 'telling the story.' Conservative principles, free markets and liberty are terrific items and, as Andrew Breitbart once said, "If you can't sell liberty, you suck."

Sadly, conservatives and bloggers aren't always the most effective at communicating that fact. We sometimes 'suck.'

A lot of our discussion that weekend dealt with pop culture and how lacking conservatives are in that arena. Breitbart always told us that politics follows culture. We ignore culture at our peril, while liberals and progressives embrace it and dominate it.

The low-information voter (LIV) forms their perspective on politicians based upon opinions of celebrities, seeing Michelle Obama dancing with Jimmy Fallon, or with other - often not so subtle - comments on what should be non-political sites lie The Weather Channel.

And we - conservatives, Libertarians and Republicans, ridicule such things. But we risk losing a whole segment of the population when doing so.

There's nothing wrong with reaching out to the LIV. They vote!

And if their primary source of news and data regarding politicians and issues is from pop culture, we need to be there as well.

We need to embrace pop culture like the left has done and ensure that if we cannot dominate it, we at least have our opinions and perspectives shared so that the LIV has a semblance of balance to the 'information' they're receiving.

So as much as I might have agreed with Fred two weeks ago, I now believe Dennis Rodman's visit with a communist dictator and the ABC interview he did regarding it was part of a brilliant plan.

How many Rodman fans are going to form their opinion about N. Korea from what Rodman said? How many are going to think, 'hey, he's not such a bad guy...why does our country hate him so?'

How many are going to remember Rodman's quote of Kim saying "I don't want to do war. I don't want to do war" versus remembering that N. Korea detonated a mini-nuke and could soon put such a weapon on a missile that could reach U.S. territory?

My bet is on the former.

Rather than ridiculing such ridiculous interviews, we need to take a lesson from the left and play our own part in pop culture. Because if we don't, those low-information voters of today being spoon-fed leftist, statist, progressive, liberal propaganda, are going to espouse those same ideas when they become our leaders tomorrow.

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