"First they ignore you..."
First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then you win.
These are the immortal words Mahatma Gandhi used to describe his fight against British occupation. These are the words used by dissenting groups everywhere to inspire their followers and to judge the progress of their movement.
With that in mind, let me review some stories we've seen in the blogosphere just today.
Let's take Mike Stark of Calling All Wingnuts. I remember when the diaries he used to write were merely recaps of his latest call into Sean Hannity, Bill O' Lielly or some other wingnut. We were proud of him for taking the time and making the effort, but I can bet you the wingnuts in question didn't take much stock of it. They just ignored it. He was a minor inconvenience. A thorn in their side.
But now look what has happened. Bill O'Lielly made the mistake of calling for the replacement of Keith Olbermann. Now, before going further, we need to understand the significance of this.
I work in marketing research. In fact, my brother--you may know him as the popular diarist thereisnospoon--and I founded our own marketing research business together. In marketing research branding, there is one fundamental rule: if you are on top, don't mention the brands below you in your advertising. The explanation is simple enough: mentioning your competitors only reminds your customers that there are in fact other options out there. The only time you want to go directly on the attack against another brand is if you know you are losing marketshare and you feel the need to convince your customers to come back to your brand, as opposed to using someone else's.
What's the upshot? The only reason Bill O'Reilly would have even attempted to call out Keith Olbermann is FEAR. Bill O'Reilly attempted laughed at Keith Olbermann's "bad ratings"--the first step in Gandhis methodology of success.
But it gets better: because of the blogosphere, we've moved onto the next stage Gandhi talked about. Fox Security is now engaging in legal threats against those who call in mentioning Keith Olbermann. You can read some examples here by Adigal and here by FloridaVoter. And now, Keith Olbermann has picked up on our story. There's only one thing that could actually make Fox Security use jackboot tactics to attempt to silence any voice that even mentions Keith Olbermann. You know what it is? ABJECT RECOGNITION OF THE IMMINENCE OF DEFEAT.
So much for Bill O'Reilly. Let's move on to another story: Howie Klein and Joementum.
I should start by mentioning that I've met Howie Klein--you can visit his blog here. I had the fortune of meeting him at General Clark's blogger meetings.
But let's move on to Joe Lieberman. I'm not sure he ever really ignored us to begin with. But he did laugh at us. He called us names. "Radicals." "Out of touch." "Angry activists." The list goes on. He did ignore Ned Lamont, though--something he can't afford to do any more.
But we've moved on from there. The Lieberman camp has demonstrated its abject fear by making the effort to ATTACK HOWIE KLEIN! Now, I like Howie Klein. We're both in the same city. I like his blog. But let's be honest: he's not the biggest name in the blogosphere. The Lieberman camp could have just as easily ignored or laughed off what Howie wrote.
BUT THEY DIDN'T. They chose to attack. And there's only one thing that this can be ascribed to: once again, FEAR. Only those totally lacking confidence in their position of strength would dare risk giving strength to a story by trying to stamp out the writings of a blogger with small circulation. But they did anyway.
The reason they did? As thereisnospoon so eloquently wrote, the winds are changing. And they're not only changing because of O'Reilly's lies. They're not only changing because of Joementum's treason against the Democratic party. They're changing because of us--and we need to keep the pressure on. Public opinion didn't change because the media actually started reporting the truth; public opinion changed because we started reporting truth to the media.
Keep going, everyone. Because there's only one possible result of our stories--it's the one part of Gandhi's story that hasn't happened yet:
[Cross-posted at Daily Kos]