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Upworthy — or, How we are losing the internet to lowest of low information young liberals

Upworthy — or, How we are losing the internet to lowest of low information young liberals

I previously wrote about how BuzzFeed Politics has combined “the culture” and savvy crafting into a highly effective tool for undermining Republicans with subtle and not-so-subtle mockery.  “Look at the goofy cat, look at the goofy celeb, look at the goofy Republican” is more dangerous to us than a 5000-word article in The New York Times Sunday Magazine.

To follow up on that theme, I happened upon a website called Upworthy, which had one its posts run at HuffPo, Elizabeth Warren Asks The Most Obvious Question Ever, Stumps A Bunch Of Bank Regulators.

The post was so wrong on substance, I just had to click over to the source.

And therein I learned what millions of very low-information young liberals already knew — there is this website called Upworthy which is one giant liberal activist social media machine which creates viral social media memes in the cause of liberal political activism.

Upworthy was co-founded by the former digital media consultant for MoveOn.org.  Upworthy touts its political agenda (emphasis in original):

Upworthy is…

…social media with a mission: to make important stuff as viral as a video of some idiot surfing off his roof. Here’s a piece by The New York Times‘ David Carr about our first 100 days….

Our mission at Upworthy is to elevate and draw attention to the issues that really matter — from gay marriage to body image to global poverty — through irresistible social media. You should judge us by how good a job we’re doing at that. And please do, sincerely—we want you to hold us to that standard. Send us feedback on how we’re doing, anytime.

For mission-driven organizations working in a business like lead generation, where you’re very tangibly and concretely building organizing power to create change, whom you work with is a moral decision. We promise that we’ll never do lead generation/membership-building work with groups that we don’t believe are, on balance, creating positive social change.

Upworthy is the fastest growing website and already receives millions of visits a month despite being less than one year old, and has over 55 thousand Twitter followers.  It recently received $4 million in venture capital funding.

Upworthy is not interested in deep thinking, or you:

Who’s your audience?

Basically, “The Daily Show” generation. People who care about what’s going on in the world but don’t want to be boring about it

The Elizabeth Warren post at Upworthy is a prime example of how low information is combined with a political agenda to create a meme which is based on a lack of understanding, but very, very catchy.

As mentioned above, HuffPo ran the post with the same title as the original Upworthy post, Elizabeth Warren Asks The Most Obvious Question Ever And Stumps A Bunch Of Bank Regulators.  The post has been featured on Upworthy’s homepage all weekend:

Upworthy Elizabeth Warren most obvious question

The first thing to note is that when you click on the homepage link to the post, an anti-NRA poll pops up.  It’s the equivalent of a push poll, delivering a political message in the form of a poll.  The “I Agree” button already is highlighted, so that the reader does not even need to think through the already biased question.  How long before Upworthy runs a post about the overwhelming demand that Congress “stand up to the NRA”?

Upworthy pop up NRA

If you click “No” you go to the post.  If you click “Yes” they ask for your email address:

Upworthy - NRA pop up Yes

Here is the entire text of the post:

Someone drank too much coffee this morning before a Senate Banking Committee hearing and decided to “do the job we hired her for” and ask the question the rest of us have been “asking for years.” That someone is my new favorite senator, Elizabeth Warren. Someone go on another Starbucks run for her, pretty please?

  • At 1:20, she asks the question we’ve all been wanting someone to ask FOREVER. Then a government lawyer stumbles over his words.
  • At 2:20, she rattles off another one. Then a government lawyer stumbles over his words.
  • At 2:55, she asks another lawyer the same question. Said lawyer then tries to not stumble over her words.
  • At 3:25, she asks the same question again. That lawyer asks for some time.
  • At 3:45, she gets our back and goes for the knockout punch.
  • And then right after that you reward her good behavior by sharing this with everyone on the Internet. You know you want to.

As I explained yesterday, Warren engaged in pure demagoguery, asking a question which not only was not “most obvious” but was a designed-for-TV distortion of what the regulators appearing before the Committee do, Elizabeth Warren’s heroic Senate demagoguery.

Upworthy doesn’t actually get into the substance of Warren’s questioning or the answers, just presuming it was pure genius and urging people to “shar[e] this with everyone on the Internet.”  To that end, Upworthy’s post becomes one giant share button as you scroll down:

Upworthy Elizabeth Warren most obvious question share buttons

 

And so they did.  The video now appears at Reddit with the exact same headline as at Upworthy and has generated over 1000 comments:

Reddit Elizabeth Warren most obvious question

The social media has helped propel the video to over 600,000 views as of this writing.  It’s on target to exceed Warren’s Factory Owner rant.

There is nothing like Upworthy or BuzzFeed on the right.  The closest we have come is Twitchy, Michelle Malkin’s brilliant website.

Are you surprised that Obama won the youth vote even though his policies are a complete disaster for the young?

We are losing the fight to the lowest of low information voters, who are pushed toward a liberal agenda by very smart and talented people who understand the power of social media in a way we don’t.

So often when I ask readers to follow us on Facebook and Twitter, I’m met with comments about privacy concerns on Facebook and “I don’t do Twitter” type responses.  Fair enough, but at least understand the swarm effect a website like Upworthy can create based on dumbed-down politically-savvy social media interactions, and how that swarm may result in Elizabeth Warren being on the Democratic 2016 ticket if Hillary doesn’t run.

When I read about plans for Republicans planning to narrow the digital divide, I can’t help thinking we are fighting the last war.

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Comments

…which creates viral social media memes in the cause of lieberal political activism.

Lieberal! May be a typo….but it’s a good one.

Down-twinkles for Upworthy…

A new and creative way to lie effectively.

Social media is not the issue here, as media is, um…..a medium. The issue is the low information voter.
Our society and culture are the real culprits here.

We’ve bought the Main stream media lies for so long, and have quietly acquiesced on important social norms that have slowly undercut the foundation of nation. Without morality, and religious principles of objective truth, divine providence and judgement, the nation cannot hold together as originally established. The level of education of our youth is exceedingly “Terribad” (To use a modern internet colloquialism).

The curriculum has been dumbed down to the point of pointlessness, in order to ensure even the lowest goalpost can be hurdled (Anyone remember Monty Python’s twit of the year competition? The Matchbox hurdle that proved an obstacle to most of the field competing is a good analogy.)

Upworthy is only reinforcing what is already bad popular culture. It may be time to do what is biblical, and cut off that part of our society which offends us. And indeed, that may be the conservatives being cut off by the liberals, but then the liberals would have to shift blame until there was no one left to blame but themselves. To paraphrase a famous poem, “First they came for the Conservatives, then they came for the moderates, then they came for the intellectuals, then they came for me.”

    two.bit.score in reply to Paul. | February 17, 2013 at 11:36 am

    So, what is your suggestion or solution here? I don’t see cutting ourselves off to be very effective.

      Any solution would have to leap a hurdle much higher than our educational matchbox, and undo at least 20 years worth of educational malfeasance and moral decline. The solution may be to let the cycle play out, and then pick up the pieces once the cycle ends. The Chinese have a concept called the “Mandate of Heaven” which may have to play out since we dropped the ball when we (for the majority it seems anyway,) abandoned our Judeo-Christian principles in exchange for political correctness. I really couldn’t offer a solution that would be politically palatable, but the solution is to return to our founding father’s admonition to be a moral, upright and educated people, based upon their understanding of morality and education at the time the constitution was framed. (It ought not to have changed, but it has due to progressive tinkering with society).

    Social media is not the issue here, as media is, um…..a medium. The issue is the low information voter.
    Our society and culture are the real culprits here.

    Exactly. While it would be a good idea for conservatives to become more engaged in the social media wars, the sobering fact is that it took decades for society to decay to the cusp of totalitarianism, and it will take at least that long to pull back from the brink. If that is even possible at this point, which I doubt.

    Communism and National Socialism have always relied on unthinking, politically disengaged people wildly and violently lashing out at (pick one or more of the following) Jews, Christians, business owners, intellectuals – anyone who would not bow the knee to their self-declared moral and intellectual betters. Conservative social media is not just attempting to fix stupid, but willful, reactionary stupid that sees fictitious enemies under every bed and nurses imaginary grievances. That is a monumental task with little prospect of success.

    The real solution is to convince wealthy conservatives that they need to fun right leaning sites, magazines, TV shows that serve the same group. Until we have people who can, and WILL pony up the $$$ to do this, the conservative movement will always be a minority movement in this country.

    We’ve allowed our schools, universities and media outlets to be dominated by the liberal Left. That’s why we’re losing the culture wars.

    Fox needs to require it’s local affiliates to start broadcasting the 6pm (eastern)news hosted by Brett Baier. That’s one solution, that would reach literally, millions upon mmillions of people who don’t have cable (any more), and yet still have TV’s…

    We need to start a dozen other sites, like Twitchy.com, that use the same “edgy” flavour that the site mentioned by the OP. We need to extend this to the entertainment industry with 2 or three right leaning Entertainment Tonight shows, that report favorably on conservatives and those issues as well as the bullshit “entertainment news” that is the fluff news of those shows.

    Same with sitcoms, etc…movies are already there, Most of the last Batman movies have been libertarian treaties on modern economics…BUT, we need more.

    Unfortunately, the GOP, and it’s deep pocketed donors are too dense to do anything like this. We’re not the party of stupid for no reason…

TrooperJohnSmith | February 17, 2013 at 11:17 am

Hmmmmm… what’s needed to get out front?

Conservatives need a site that is named innocuously enough so as to capture a browsing or linked visitor and hold that person long enough to interest them. You know, something like a variation on a theme of ‘Forward’ or ‘Hope’ or something with a hint of the other side. BestHope and ForwardHope come to mind.

The content needs to be somewhat neutral, highly entertaining and maybe a little bit irreverent. The message needs to be subtle, not preachy. One of the best ways to change people is to follow the method of, Subtle pressure applied relentlessly.

Just my 2-cents.

I’ve been following Upworthy for a while now as many of my friends use the “service.” It is as bad as or worse than you describe. In months, I’ve seen maybe two posts with any credibility. One last week, a take down of an admittedly crude feminine wipes advert. Mostly though, it is short and sweet simplicity written for the gullible. I’m so glad you did a post on it.

1. Golly, nobody was brilliant enough to appreciate that question except Elizabeth Warren and the juveniles at Upworthy. When you’re not brainwashed by oppressive racist patriarchal indoctrination, transformational insights just come to you!

2. Here’s another question Upworthy can use:

If America is such a great country, why are some people poor? Why doesn’t the government make everything fair?

Devastating, huh?

3. Only geniuses and idiots presume to question paradigms.

4. Attributed to the eminent British mathematician G.H. Hardy:

Young people ought to be conceited, but they oughtn’t to be imbecile.

5. “A lie is halfway around the world before the truth can get its boots on.” To the like of Upworthy, Bill Maher et al, that’s a feature, not a bug.

6. Obviously and unfortunately the distortions of Upworthy cannot be counteracted solely via reasoned argument. However, there may be an opportunity for a Breitbart/Malkin type to launch a competing site called Dumbworthy.

7. I continue to believe that my generation 🙁 of 1960s Tantrum Boomers is the worst in USA history. However, if the upcoming bunch canonizes a transparent scheming hag like Elizabeth Warren, I may have to revise my view.

    Ragspierre in reply to gs. | February 17, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    I’d like to cannonize her… A nice 75mm would do…

    Ragspierre in reply to gs. | February 17, 2013 at 12:18 pm

    Withering question for Eric Holder…

    “How many Federal firearms felonies were taken to a verdict last year?”

    “How many indictments were brought for lying on a background check”?

    Actually, THAT IS as good question…

    gs in reply to gs. | February 17, 2013 at 7:01 pm

    We are losing the fight to the lowest of low information voters, who are pushed toward a liberal agenda by very smart and talented people who understand the power of social media in a way we don’t.

    I neglected to comment on the boldface phrase, which is very important.

    It’s a serious matter that there isn’t an area in the Big Tent for people with the gifts of Harper Reed and Aaron Swartz (RIP). It’s a serious matter that most such people might not enter even if invited.

    For a bright shining moment during the Derek Khanna affair, it seemed that the GOP was getting savvy about cybervalues. However, some Republican bigshots got Khanna fired on behalf of an entertainment industry that is the implacable enemy of conservatism and the GOP. Nobody in the hierarchy said that outreach to the emerging generation of voters is more important than Hollywood’s donations to a small number of GOP politicians.

It’s sites like this that provide liberal talking points. If you ask 10 liberals the same question you will get the same ignorant answer 10 times. That’s why we have an ignorant President elected by ignorant people. And it won’t get better because the idiot factories just keep generating more and more every year.

Don’t get so worked up. The low information young voter is also incredibly fickle. They may get bored with upworthy next week and abandon it en masse.

Sites come and go on the internet with amazing regularity. And the ones that grow the fastest frequently dry up to nothing almost over night.

The cultural factor – the immense popularity of snarky and blatantly dishonest or downright stupid reaction – is much more important than any one site.

I don’t think this is as effective as the professor lets on.

Besides, there are real issues that need to be dealt with.

I woke up the other morning to a nagging thought that I cannot escape. The thought? How utterly offensive the word “panties” is. It was like achieving a whole new level of consciousness. I feel enlightened, more aware. Evolving.

/tag

Obama got less votes than in 2008 … less youth votes than in 2008 … his victory had nothing to do with the internet of supposed data mining operations …

Conservative older Americans did not turn out …

Nominate a non Mormon conservative and they’ll be back in force …

Romney wasn’t a conservative and many senior religious folks are not comfortable with Mormans …

    At the risk of re-opening old wounds, it was not the fact that Romney was a Mormon that cost him the election. It was the fact that he was a relatively unsuccessful one-term left-of-center governor who foisted RomneyCare on the people of his state that did him in.

    It also did not help that Romney ran a terrible campaign, appeared clueless in the general election, let himself get bullied in the debates (except for the first), and generally acted as if the election was in the bag and he could coast to victory. Obviously that was not the case.

correction *** internet or supposed data mining operations ***

A few more thoughts after musing over dishes. This post is far more important than it might seem. We are getting killed, message wise, by sites like Upworthy. They use mainly the titles to confirm biases or create not-so-rebuttable presumptions to drive the narrative. For instance, after Hillary testified about Benghazi, their headline said something vague but suggestive about Hillary putting Congressional Republicans in their place. Just the tweet headline flying around gave the impression that Hillary came out on top of a hard brawl, and so most readers would have dismissed any contrary headline as Republican spin. We make that easy because our sites to fight this, like Twitchy, they are big and few so liberals easily inoculate each other against them. Twitchy, BIGwhatever, #tcot, they ignore items from these sources as a matter of course. (Related, this enlightening article about how FOX is hurting the Republicans even though it does good reporting. http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/danhodges/100188510/fox-news-is-killing-the-republican-party/ The writer seems unaware that it is his, and the rest of the conventional wisdom media’s, bias against FOX, not Fox’s reporting, that does disservice to the truth.)
The upshot of all of this is we can’t fight a big web service with a big web service. We have to be the Army of Davids; they can’t possibly inoculate them against us all. (Though they certainly give it a shot. Their resistance to anything un-conventional is considerable.)
For everyone who says “I don’t twitter”—no, man to man debate is our only option. By all means find what your are comfortable doing. It doesn’t have to be twitter. Post links in blogs, get active on FB. I wrote some pointers on Ricochet a while back. But just reading right and hoping these good arguments will percolate up to the openminded. That’s naiveté unbecoming a conservative or libertarian. Throwing up your hands in defeat that the masses would never be persuaded by our ideas, that’s even worse.

Any ideas on how to start a comparable, competitive info-entertainment site that serves as a (not an overt) channel for us?

Enough with the complaining. Ideas?

    jdkchem in reply to Aucturian. | February 17, 2013 at 12:42 pm

    The solution is simple create a site that combines the best of Maxim and Soldier of Fortune.

    Loads of them. The only difficulty is in the “not overt” part. You have to be independent of all the big right sites. If they sense a connection, they are outta there. (I experimented with anon twitter handles a while back. Followers are easy to get until you post something from the right.) You have to be talking about something else like knitting or electrical engineering. Pop culture is excellent for this, though you can’t be overt in your analysis. So you’ll want a large and topic diverse team. Some to write, some to cross post and tweet to create buzz. You need to recreate the volume buzz of the right blogosphere without using any of the big names.As for content, opened ended and neutrally worded logical analysis posts show some promise. Basically, model the logical thought process and hope it takes.

    Another option is to go old school. For example, Gen X mothers, a decisive voting bloc, aren’t as social media based as the youth. Reaching them might be done on paper. Or through the book club/playdate circuit. For instance, plant ideas, suggested books and perhaps a study guide, for book clubs on blogs and mom sites. Those kinds of things we could just let float out there for them to catch on by themselves.

      MargaretM. in reply to AHLondon. | February 17, 2013 at 1:41 pm

      You are absolutely right about losing audience as soon as you tip your hand at having right wing views. I can only get acceptance of my e-mail forwards and links from other true-believers. Anyone even “moderate” tends to block my sends or asks me to desist.

      I hate to say it, but just as our best candidates for office get “killed in the cradle,” any source of information not from the Left is denigrated immediately in the MSM. It seems that all the effort in setting up sites is useless in converting the willfully ignorant.

      The value of the sites is for keeping the rest of us informed of what’s going on and assured that we are not alone; raising money for candidates of the Right, etc.

      upstate in reply to AHLondon. | February 18, 2013 at 9:01 am

      Practical suggestion for reaching women: start flooding Pinterest w/ conservative messages wrapped up in ueber-cupcake recipes. With pictures of kittens thrown in for good measure.
      Sarcasm aside, we as Conservatives need to be clear about what we want to pursue-fickle, low-info voters that come and go with the next big internet sensation or do we want to fill those skulls full of mush with reverence for the Constitution and Liberty. The Ace of Spades blog is about as close a model as I can think of at the moment.

MaggotAtBroadAndWall | February 17, 2013 at 12:33 pm

We have known at least since the Enlightenment – and probably as far back as 500BC when the ancient Greeks invented democracy, that a republic needs two things to endure: 1) a virtuous populace; and 2) an informed populace.

It’s politically incorrect to say it, but universal suffrage is a disaster if the populace is not virtuous and informed.

I think there is an inherent bias of low-info voter/kids to migrate to speculation, sensationalism and shocking/sarcasm sites. Conservatives don’t share that mindset and I don’t think it possible to mimic this type of reach-out because the demographic is so retarded.
Yes, retarded. This and the leftist media take advantage that the modern school system teaches, that everyone is equal and no country is special, except really white men are mostly racists and privileged and America is morally bankrupt and needs to be kicked down a few pegs.

There is no way to reach low-info voters; young people, that have this mindset. Young conservatives who appreciate our country, our constitution, know history and civics don’t suffer the same misconceptions nor seek out this kind of drivel. I blame the indoctrination in schools/universities and the cynical left that have no problem lying and misinforming for the sake of power.

    jdkchem in reply to RobM. | February 17, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    The retarded left has their claws in the school system. Until that changes we’re screwed.
    First step get rid of the department of education and eliminate all government backed student loans. In fact if the GOP was smart they would introduce a bill making all government backed student loans dischargeable in bankruptcy. In fact create a new chapter specifically tailored to student loans.
    If Reagan couldn’t get rid of the doe it is not likely that we will with the idiot in the oval office. I would double down on no child left behind and stick it to blue states like CA. 85% competency in 8th grade algebra in the 8th grade or no fed cash, period. If one “teacher” even thinks about whining about “teaching to the test” prepare to be called an idiot and be thoroughly humiliated. We’re talking math here wtf do you think the test is? I want to see peloozer squirm when asked if education is so important why can’t Californians successfully complete 8th grade algebra.

Until you can make shit for brained libtards like adam mordecai pay for their stupid nothing is going to change. The only way low information libtards learn is by 2×4. The first step is to go hard at their little heroes.

    Downworthy in reply to jdkchem. | February 17, 2013 at 9:37 pm

    Or instead of threatening a guy with actual violence for having an opinion different than yours, you could just have an actual conversation with the dude and hash out your differences with some thoughtful discourse. I’m old fashioned like that. Also, I’m not little. I’m 5′ 8″ which is considered average height. Just sayin. I wasn’t aware I was so powerful being one shrill guy on the intertibez that no one has ever heard of.

    -Adam Mordecai, “libtard”

      jdkchem in reply to Downworthy. | February 18, 2013 at 11:44 am

      Fact, the only way these people learn is through negative reinforcement. If reason worked they would not be shit for brains libtards. You do not reason with humanoids who call you racist extremist kooks.

      jdkchem in reply to Downworthy. | February 18, 2013 at 11:54 am

      You can play the “I’m not little” game with your fellow pissants chief. If you want reasoned discourse then you turds should start acting like it. When you’ve actually had to pay for the stupid you do let me know. It’s obvious from your comment you’ve never been held accountable. Like your jug eared savior.

It isn’t as if people suddenly started agreeing with the welfare/entitlement culture. The left has been slowly, painstakingly, subtly influence our culture mores for almost a hundred years. Now that we have reached the social-able Web 2.0+ age, they have a stage to broadcast, openly and interactively, *opportunities* for the masses to participate in the new game.

“But isn’t participation the very essence of democracy?” they might ask.

People see these ad spots, websites, media, and the like, and the ideas are already in their minds, sometimes unformed until the “click” moment. They’ve found an avenue to join the bandwagon.

It is culture. And if we think we’re going to reverse this trend in a short period of time, we will continue to lose ground and sink further into irrelevancy. We must be a *counter* culture. *We* have to be the rebels. *We* have to be the outsiders. *We* have to be the radicals. But simply making fun of Obama, or criticizing the effects of socialism, isn’t going to cut it. The masses don’t understand it; it isn’t part of their culture.

The left has enjoyed virtually uncontested cultural outlets in academia, Hollywood, and mass media for nearly a century… and they sell it as “progressive.” What are our cultural outlets? What “art” do we send into society for consumption? Talk radio? I love Limbaugh’s show, but isn’t the talk radio format essentially stuck in the 1980s/90s, preaching to the choir the same things we already know? Is talk radio an effective cultural outlet for us? Can it adapt?

And if we are going to counter the prevailing culture, which so many people have embraced, who is doing it? Who is moving into the communities hardest hit by leftist policies? What are we doing to rub together the sores of the welfare/entitlement society? How can we show these social victims that there are alternatives, that they need no longer serve political pimps and slavers, that they really can make their own lives better? What will we say are those alternatives?

Is it worth it to try to improve the lives of our fellow citizens when some of us say that altruism is the highest form of evil?

Fantastic post, Professor!

This is what Andrew Breitbart was talking about.

We re-dub the offending website Upchuckworthy.

casualobserver | February 17, 2013 at 2:34 pm

Isn’t this just the same as any other mainstream outlet (even such as the NYT or now-digital Newsweek), but with a TMZ twist? I haven’t put a lot of thought into it, but my first reaction is to wonder: Do you really want to compete on this exact turf? What causes me some initial anguish is the idea of making the wrong connection between the true facts or good governance ideas and pop-culture. In other words, making some valid tie between TMZ/SNL/Jersey Shore types of hip, modern ‘coolness’ and ideas seems like it could just as easily backfire. An oversimplified example might be the situation where elections are lost because the Dem candidate had Ashton Kutcher and Justin Timberlake campaigning for them versus Ted Nugent and Kirk Cameron. The later group have their own followings, but aren’t exactly in the modern-hip-entertainment crowd. It might be too easy to be ‘out-cooled’, especially when you are already treated as the definition of uncool by most of the entertainment (and news media) industry.

I have an idea, but don’t have the skills to pull it off. A variation on the “buying women’s magazines” idea. A website dedicated to the issue of child support. Single parents should be collecting it and their children’s lives will often be much improved by collecting it. Also include a forum for single parents to help each other with ideas for saving money, entertaining their children on a budget, cheap and easy recipe swaps, and general venting. Something like a ‘collect child support’ website could attract some traffic and conservative ideas are a natural fit for this format.

Otherwise, or in addition, the internet savvy could check search term rankings and develop websites to suit.

    punfundit in reply to liesel409. | February 17, 2013 at 4:33 pm

    If you want it to truly infiltrate the culture, it will have to be free. Zero consumer cost. There are business models out there that make such a thing possible, but there are also the “no free lunch” and “altruism = evil” problems.

International TV commercials would be a great pop culture draw.

Fanta soda explores different teaching styles in the Japanese public school system:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5223jswwa_U

OMFG…It’s simple! Don’t advertise that your a rightwing/conservative/anti-all-that-is-democrat website. Part of the reason why Drudge and Buzzfeed, despite opposites on the political is that they don’t advertise their ideologies despite the obvious.

These sites are a current example, they publish filtered news with slanted opinions but they do so as though they are coming from a mainstream viewpoint instead of a liberal one – wheres every other conservative blog or news source has to proclaim within the article their ideological stance. They need to stop that.

Pranks would be a great pop-culture entertainment draw, too.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gdUCaNrvAQU

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tad7NWwOjwI

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.” – Joseph Goebbels

I would simply add, that in this 24/7 information saturated age, stupid people will eventually come to believe (the lie or litany of lies).

It’s not the existence, or even popularity of propaganda sites like ‘upsworthy’ that is disturbing, but WHY do people eagerly embrace them and uncritically accept the lies? I blame government schools.

One problem that conservatives face in battling the lefty progs is morals. Conservatives have them, the lefty progs don’t. This means that we value truth. They on the other hand believe in the righteousness of their cause so deceit is fine if it helps to accomplish the goal.

Its depressing how the lying liars of the left accuse conservatives of being dishonest, which since they are dishonest they believe everybody must be dishonest. Just like the lefty progs scream “astro-turf” at the TP because they can’t fathom that people, real people, would actually get involved, since they do things like bus in the unions to build their numbers at protests.

They are willing to lie, cheat, steal, whatever it takes to win. Bound by morals and decency, conservatives simply can’t compete on that level. Facts don’t stand in the way of their cherished memes.

If conservatives would fully embrace liberty, we might have a chance. Both the GOP and the Dems exist to gain, maintain and grow their own power. Liberty. Living your own life, on your own terms is a powerful message. Here is my afternoon liberty tweet:

#YouMightBeaDemocrat if u think gov should tell u how much pepsi ur allowed to drink, #YouMightBeARepublican if you quibble over the amount

Too often the GOP plays the game on the wrong field, rather than standing for liberty, the Dems define the parameters and the GOP plays by their rules.

I think conservatives have to do at least 3 things, all of which involve reaching young people:

1. Use grass-roots efforts to refocus education on academic skills instead of PC messaging.

2. Counteract the liberal bias in the media.

3. Focus on using pop culture on TV and in social media to spread a conservative message.

Unfortunately, I don’t think we can successfully do any of these things. Liberal control of education is entrenched and the only thing that will stop it is vouchers, homeschooling and private schools. There aren’t enough parents willing or able to do these things to make a difference.

Similarly, conservatives can’t counteract the way the media and pop culture cater to the young because we don’t have a PC message that appeals to young people. The conservative message of personal responsibility will never appeal to young people the way the liberals “you can have it all now” message does. Further, their ability to influence elections will only enhance their willingness to turn out and vote in future elections.

Frankly, I think we’ve lost the culture war … but I also think liberal policies will ultimately fail and most voters will have to consider conservative or libertarian solutions. Sadly, some of them will never give up — no matter how lost the cause.

    Ah, the “let it burn” response. Truly though, if the only real solution is to engage in the same sort of dishonest emotional manipulation we see on Upworthy, than I say we choose to lose. The ends do not justify the means.

    But I do think we should be more engaged on a personal level. Don’t hide your politics, let your philosophy came out in conversation as easily as it does for liberals.

[…] started writing this post about two weeks ago. In light of this post at Legal Insurrection today (which I encourage you to read) about low information voters and how we as conservatives should […]

[…] left knows how to manipulate these people and their infantile intellects.  Here is one way they do it, using memes (h/t Ace of Spades).  In the era of the internet, when people don’t have the […]

theduchessofkitty | February 17, 2013 at 6:57 pm

One word: Idiocracy.

“Welcome to Costco. I love you. Welcome to Costco. I love you. Welcome to Costco. I love you.”

I tell you, that wasn’t a comedy. That was a warning!

It’s brutal that Republicans are not only losing this war, they’re almost refusing to fight. Romney was smeared every day for a year by Obama and his zombies, yet remained a “nice guy” – and he lost.

We need to take up Glenn Reynolds’ idea of moving into media, particularly media that appeals to low information voters.

Or else we need to our bunkers and wait for the apocalypse. I think those are basically our choices at this point.

What is most obvious is that this is stage-craft echo chamber political theater. It is contrived. She asks a question that she already knows the answer to and gets the expected response, all for the camera, having arranged before-hand for the exchange to be picked up by this web site. The irony is that the Democrat Party is the party that gave us the big banks. The proper response is not to criticize the aplomb with which these people practice the craft of political theater, but to call them on their hypocrisy and make it known that WE will be the ones to take down these institutions of organized theft.

[…] Brilliant article by Prof Jacobson detailing low-info hipster astroturfing starring Sen. “Fauxchanatas” Warren. Until and unless conservatives start to learn how to fight the information war, they’re going to see elections become more lopsided. […]

[…] Jacobson at Legal Insurrection has a column discussing how the left makes its messages go viral targeting low information […]

[…] and Twitter to engineer the 2012 elections. Of course Facebook gets a tax break. Media Matters funds a social media site to dumb down the left’s message. Remember when the left was furious over sound bites in the […]

[…] we are losing the internet to a bunch of low information young liberals. “Perez likes health care for everyone.  I […]

[…] to the occasion movie review but yesterday, Ace wrote a piece about a lengthy article posted at At Legal Insurrection by William A. Jacobson, an associate professor at Cornell Law SchoolSays Ace: ‘Give it a read; I […]

[…] a universe of “low information voters” the only recipe for success is for conservatives to stay laser focused on the idea that limited […]

Lots of us knøw how to do these things. Hell, I know how to do them and I know how to assemble a team, several teams, to do the same. The real fact is not a lack of talent but the odd and persistant fact that there is simply no funding for this. Not even a smidgen of the amounts that the left raises.

[…] And if that weren’t enough, there’s upworthy to worry about. […]

[…] to do is so obvious yet it is a matter of great debate among the right of center these […]

[…] The post I have just been looking at has introduced me to another website called Upworthy which is designed by the American left for the low-information voter in the US, that is, for the ignorant and stupid. The title of this post is “Upworthy — or, How we are losing the internet to lowest of low information young liberals”. Here is the central para in the post but if you are interested in politics and how to affect the future, this is what you need to read: […]

[…] A rather timely article from Legal Insurrection. […]

[…] Meet Elizabeth Warren, Senator from Massachusetts… former Harvard Law prof, liar extraordinaire, and perhaps in the running to be on the Democrats 2016 ticket… Don’t laugh… read this post from Legal Insurrection about a liberal website called Upworthy and how and why we are losing the digital war with liberals… Warren and anyone else in 2016… gives me chills. […]

We need to take over the idiot factories and change them back into institutions of learning. I suggest right of center people should become public school teachers. One good teacher explaining the truth early on can prevent later decades of idiocy (like a good vaccine prevents disease).

This is dead on, prof!!! And exactly why I make goofy photoshops and funny videos in between reporting on politics.

[…] I think the pop culture overhaul is long overdue for the conservative movement, and is an idea being promoted at Legal Insurrection by Professor Jacobson: Upworthy — or, How we are losing the internet to lowest of low information young liberals […]

[…] » Upworthy — or, How we are losing the internet to lowest of low information young liber… […]

[…] William A. Jacobson over at Legal Insurrection points out, combining “the culture” with the sometimes subtle inclusion of political […]

[…] Upworthy — or, How we are losing the internet to lowest of low information young liberals […]

[…] “legitimate media”) their very own website to cater to and enhance their perceptions, Upworthy. They have many others, but at least Upchuck Upworthy is modern. Please click on the link to be […]

[…] a universe of “low information voters” the only recipe for success is for conservatives to stay laser focused on the idea that limited […]

Quick update, a few days ago Upworthy sent an email asking for feedback. “Email us at [email protected].” They are hiring too.

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