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"They Don't Give A Damn About Governing" - Conservative Media's Influence on the Republican Party

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"A paper by Jackie Calmes, Joan Shorenstein Fellow (Spring 2015) and national correspondent for The New York Times, examines the increasing influence of conservative media on the Republican Party’s agenda.

Calmes traces the history of conservative media, from its founding after World War II to the present-day proliferation of talk radio and Internet personalities. She finds that beyond the big names and outlets such as Limbaugh and Fox, smaller local personalities also exert significant influence over listeners and politicians.

This influence is troubling to leaders in the Republican Party, who Calmes interviewed extensively for the paper. She argues that today’s conservative media now shapes the agenda of the party, pushing it to the far right – at the expense of its ability to govern and pick presidential nominees.

Read related articles by Calmes in The New York Times, “As the GOP Base Clamors for Confrontation, Candidates Oblige” and in The New York Times Magazine, “Steve Deace and the Power of Conservative Media.”..."


This is a dissertation, so read at your leisure.

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And here's why conservatives rarely experience depression:

People with depression are more likely to feel bad in response to perceived inequality, according to a study published this week in Nature Human Behaviour. Simply, in experiments where participants were tasked with playing a game with a strong element of unfairness, those participants with higher levels of brain activity in depression-linked brain regions―as recorded via fMRI scans― were more likely to later demonstrate signs of clinical depression.

This is a new test of an old idea, one that's been demonstrated in previous research. People with depression commonly demonstrate increased concern for others, or for the perspectives of others. More precisely, prosocial attitudes predict depression, which is in contrast to individualist attitudes. Individualist here basically just means selfish.

Essentially, what it means is the decent people suffer emotional distress at other people's misery. Shitty people, i.e. conservatives like PkrBoy, ALTLEFTDOOFUS and Gatorfan, don't.

There's also this:

Intelligence Study Links Low I.Q. To Prejudice, Racism, Conservatism

Do conservatives tend to be less intelligent than liberals? A provocative new study from Brock University in Ontario suggests the answer to both questions may be a qualified yes.

The study, published in Psychological Science, showed that people who score low on I.Q. tests in childhood are more likely to develop prejudiced beliefs and socially conservative politics in adulthood.

But we all knew that, didn't we?

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Appendix A: Conservative Internet Sites

While not an exhaustive list, the following includes some news-oriented websites started in recent years that are popular with conservatives, as of May 2015. Descriptions are based on the sites’ mission statements and content, and on commentary from other sources.

Website Founded Mission

BarbWire Spring 2014 Describes itself as a “motley mix” of news and cultural and political analysis – “all fueled by the Word of Life,” that is, from a biblical perspective.

The Blaze September 2011 Says that it seek “answers of right and wrong rather than left and right,” and professes belief in capitalism, hard work and faith in God as American strengths.

Breitbart 2007 Publishes a variety of information, including news and analysis from a hardline conservative point of view, and says it is dedicated to “breaking the old media guard.”

The Conservative Review 2014 Claims to offer “best-in-class analysis and commentary on conservative political speech, votes, positions, and elections.”

The Daily Caller 2010 Founded by conservative journalist Tucker Carlson and former Dick Cheney adviser Neil Patel, to provide original reporting and investigatory journalism.

The Daily Signal (Heritage) June 2014 Says it provides investigative and feature reporting, political news and commentary, with a team “committed to truth and unmatched in knowledge of Washington’s politics and policy debates.”

The Federalist September 2013 Says it has “a viewpoint that rejects the assumptions of the media establishment” and explores “the philosophical underpinnings” of debates instead of “the horserace or the personalities.” Popular posts have included criticism of gay rights, global warming, Islam and Hillary Clinton.

The Free Republic 1996 Operates as an online message board for grassroots conservatives, and welcomes visitors with the message: “America’s exclusive site for God, Family, Country, Life & Liberty constitutional conservative activists!”

Gateway Pundit 2004 The work of conservative blogger Jim Hoft, describes itself as a right-of-center news site, and boasts of its influence with Fox News, talk radio figures and other rightwing sites.

HotAir 2006 A conservative site founded by pundit Michelle Malkin whose political content is more libertarian and less religious than some others; self-described atheist Allapundit and Ed Morrissey are writers.*

Independent Review Journal 2013 Started by two Republican operatives, it says it provides both an “inside the beltway” and “outside” perspective. Mixes topics from pets to politics, a cross between RedState and BuzzFeed, said a Republican consultant who advises the site.

National Review Online (NRO) 1998 Dedicated – like the longstanding print journal it is based on – to opposing “big brother government,” communism and world government; to supporting a two-party system, and being to “non-conformist in a time of conformity.”

Pajama Media 2005 Provides pop-culture as well as politics from a conservative perspective, and claims to be an alternative to so-called mainstream media – “a multimedia digital presence” and “a voice for free America.”

RedState 2004 Run by Erick Erickson, widely read among those on Capitol Hill, and also influential with grassroots conservatives, the site is aggressively antagonistic to Republican leaders and has a voice that is both evangelical and occasionally crude-to-vulgar.

Right Wing News 2001 Run by conservative writer John Hawkins, aggregates the work of bloggers on the right from outlets such as Townhall and HotAir.

Spero News 2005 Says its goal is interaction between conservative media and readers, promoting “correctly informed and discerning opinion that reflects Christian values,” according to the Conservative Encyclopedia.

Townhall 1995[136] Calls itself “the #1 conservative website,” and offers political commentary and analysis from columnists, partner organizations, conservative talk-radio and grassroots conservatives

Twitchy 2012 Founded by Michelle Malkin and with what it calls “a kinetic staff of social media junkies,” the site claims to “mine” Twitter for “who said what” on American politics, news, sports, entertainment and media.

Washington Free Beacon 2012 Headed by longtime conservative writers, says it uncovers “the stories that the powers that be hope will never see the light of day” on public policy, government affairs, international security, and media.

Sources: Conservative Encyclopedia (; Wikipedia; individual websites.

*Corrected on July 30, 2015. The original description stated that Ed Morrissey identified as socially liberal.

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