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COURIER in 2022

The 2022 midterm cycle could have been democracy’s last stand. The shadow of January 6, the fall of Roe v Wade, an epidemic of election deniers — all fueled by disinformation — signaled the 2022 midterm as more than an average election. The fate of democracy was on the ballot.

COURIER — cited as a “media powerhouse for the left” by Wired — recognized the stakes of the election and the right-wing authoritarian threats earlier than any other media organization. Driven by our mission to preserve and protect democracy by increasing civic participation, COURIER and our eight battleground state digital newsrooms delivered good, quality information to under-reached audiences in the places they actually get their news: online in their social media feeds and email inboxes.

The Americans who comprise our audiences have been left behind by the paywalls, stratification, and both-sidesism of legacy media and national newspapers. They get their news instead by scrolling their social media newsfeeds for free, and because of this, they are more likely to fall prey to bad actors and right-wing media outlets online sowing 24/7 lies and conspiracy theories to further their own quest for power. Our audience do not vote regularly – 50% of them voted for the first time after 2016 — but when supplied with year-round engagement and reporting that connects the dots between their lives communities and the politics politicians who make decisions that impact them directly, our research has proven they are more likely to vote – and over time, can be converted into lifelong, regular voters. We meet these millions of Americans with good information that matters before the lies can influence their relationship to democracy, and are strengthening democracy in the process. 

WHAT HAPPENED

Predicted to be a “red wave,” marked by historic losses for the Democratic party, the midterm elections proved the pundits and pollsters wrong, especially in COURIER states.

  • • Democratic governors won election or re-election in 2024 firewall states Arizona, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin
  • • Democratic senators or senators-elect held or flipped U.S. Senate seats in COURIER states Arizona and Pennsylvania
  • • Election deniers were defeated in key Secretary of State races in COURIER states Arizona and Michigan
  • • Democratic candidates for  Attorney General saw victories in COURIER states Arizona, Michigan, and Wisconsin
  • • A ballot measure to protect reproductive freedom passed in COURIER state Michigan
  • • State legislative victories in Michigan flipped the State House and Senate, giving the Democratic party a governing trifecta for the first time in 40 years, and the first time in U.S. history a women-led majority will run the state of Michigan
  • • Pennsylvania Democrats won control of the State House for the first time in 12 years

 

WHAT WE DID TO MAKE IT HAPPEN

COURIER’s network of more than 1 million online subscribers across eight newsrooms in key states allows us to deliver crucial information to under-reached audiences. Our content contextualizes and localizes from Washington and state capitals, driving home every day impact of policies and policy-makers, and increasing our left-leaning share of voice- and facts, in the online spaces that matter most. 

Building Local Trust

Staffed by local journalists who live in the states they cover, our newsrooms know the importance of building trust within the communities they serve. Across our eight states and 75+ member team, our newsrooms strive to become trusted local sources for news, human interest stories, and information. This allows our teams to tell strategic stories that inform and instill a sense of agency and empowerment in our readers to motivate civic participation. In Arizona, for example, our team at The Copper Courier, was able to break a story about a Republican legislative candidate wearing blackface. Because they are the most trusted local source for news, they were given an exclusive tip about this story, and could quickly verify it, leading to wide pickup of their breaking news story. Here, Copper’s managing editor explains how:

But Copper Courier didn’t just break news that state, national, and international outlets picked up. The team knew this information had to be shared repeatedly with their audience to drive home the impact. Their insight into what makes information sticky — and why it matters to their community — impacted that race’s election outcome. The extremist candidate lost by 2.5 points, to a Democrat who previously lost that district by 20.

Boosting Our Content

For years, COURIER has been testing the hypothesis that our content impacts outcomes, as long as people see it. Randomized Control Tests (RCT) experiments in the 2021 Virginia elections and the 2022 Iowa Primary showed us that more of our folks get out to vote when we boost news from our outlets into their social media feeds. In Michigan, our experiment found that boosting our coverage on reproductive freedom led to increased opposition to recriminalizing abortion by four points and a growth in support for Governor Whitmer’s plans to protect that freedom.

With the support from COURIER underwriting partners, we ran an ambitious boosted news program that targeted 10 high profile, competitive races across seven states. Gaining nearly 100MM impressions, our boosted news programs targeted and reached essential voters for both state and federal races. While we will not know the full impact of these advertising programs until state voter file data is released in the new year, we believe that these programs, like those tested in the past, ensured more of our low-turnout voters showed up to vote, and moved the needle, in a crucial year for pro-democracy candidates and issues.

Innovative Distribution Tactics

COURIER understands the rapidly shifting landscape of how people consume news and information. By being laser focused on our audience — and where they spend their time — we stay ahead of the trends and capitalize on opportunities to innovate. Which is why we capitalized on the popularity and success of vertical video social content ahead of the election.

Our deputy editor for social media Victoria Leandra trained several of our journalists to package their reporting for platforms like TikTok and Instagram Reels — platforms that have increasing reach with younger voters and our underserved audiences. She also piloted a trusted messengers program with state-based influencers, using our newsroom content to create videos for their trusted followers. This rapidly-scaled program delivered critical information and stories about the stakes of the midterm elections to more than 1.3 million people in Pennsylvania alone — through known, trusted, personalities. 

Here, Victoria explains:

Stories That Move The Needle

At COURIER, we know we have to do more than flood the zone with good information. Our strategy is simple: tell the stories that matter in the smartest way, and tell it often enough that it shifts peoples’ opinions.

We don’t just break hard hitting political news, but also engage audiences with human interest, cultural and lifestyle content that fills a need other local news organizations are failing to provide to audiences on social media, keeping them informed and engaged with their local communities. When we do publish political coverage, our reporters center their reporting on issues that people care about,  like reproductive freedom and extremists in their local government, and connect the dots between our audience, those issues, and politics through local, human stories. 

A case study from Michigan this cycle hammers home how COURIER’s layered approach to political coverage leverages community connection and the most relevant narrative “drumbeats” that are necessary to move voters to take action.

When Roe fell with the Dobbs decision leak in spring 2022, reproductive freedom became the biggest voting issue in Michigan, a state with an antiquated trigger ban still on the books. With polling partners, our team ran a poll in Michigan that found six in 10 Michiganders opposed re-criminalization of abortion. We knew that was an important statistic to share with our audience-but it wouldn’t stick unless told through a local and human lens.

When looking for a source, we went straight to northern Michigan-in the newly redistricted 103, a competitive but stretch state house district where turnout would have an outsized impact on the entire state- it was the lynchpin flip seat to secure a majority.

Telling personal stories to humanize policies makes an impact. An impact multiplies tenfold when the person is a member of your community.

We knew no other outlet in the region would have the capacity to localize reproductive freedom coverage, and we also knew voters in the 103 would decide between an anti-choice incumbent, and a fierce advocate for reproductive freedom.

Our analytics team designed an experiment to test the impact of The Gander’s story and when the experiment concluded, we saw a four point jump in opposition to recriminalizing abortion in our state.

Through our unique model of content organizing, we were able to rapidly scale this personal and impactful content to reach our target audience on a hyper-local level. We also layered in coverage of anti-choice extremists in hyper local races in the region, knowing the margins would be razor thin.

That district flipped by 750 votes, securing the first Democratic majority in the State House in 40 years. Local news matters. COURIER’s model for local news delivers measurable results. The communities our newsrooms serve are the direct beneficiaries. 

COURIER IN THE NEWS

We are building the largest left-leaning media network in America, and it’s making a difference both in bettering the information environment millions of Americans live in today, and strengthening our democracy. But our work on the ground requires support from leaders in mission-aligned and media landscapes, which is why we’re thrilled to see legacy outlets taking notice of the value a news network like COURIER has in strengthening and protecting our democracy.

Columbia Journalism Review: “A Good Information spokesperson told the Tow Center that Courier is a legitimate network of newsrooms—saying that Courier is investing in real on-the-ground reporting; that it discloses its funders and values transparency; and that the newsrooms follow industry guidelines on fact-checking, corrections, bylines, and the separation between reporting and opinion.”

WIRED Magazine: “”The best antidote to disinformation,” McGowan says, “is increasing the volume of good, factual information” in the places where low-quality information is spreading.’”

Washington Post: ““[Courier] has gone to extensive lengths to try to earn journalistic credibility. At Courier, McGowan has gone to extensive lengths to try to earn journalistic credibility for her newsrooms, which publish on sites with names like UpNorthNews in Wisconsin and The Gander in Michigan. Their coverage is far broader than just election news…”

Columbia Journalism Review: “The Gander, like Courier’s other seven newsrooms, avoids what’s called ‘bothsidesism.’ The basic idea being that there’s a tendency in journalism to represent both sides of an argument, which presents things as equal, although they might not be.”

COURIER BY THE NUMBERS


LOOKING AHEAD

The threat to democracy did not disappear after the midterms. While campaigns unravel and electoral organizations regroup for the 2024 fight ahead, COURIER’s newsrooms keep doing exactly what they have been doing every single day – telling the stories that matter to Americans, reaching them with the facts, and engaging them in their local, state and national government. Our teams will be closely covering state legislative sessions in their statehouses, implementation of the Biden administration’s historic legislation victories on the ground, and growing a trusted community of millions of Americans who, when reached authentically and in a sustaining way, are the difference makers in elections big and small. 

We also know investing in COURIER’s model builds infrastructure beyond just our newsrooms. We test, hone, and share our most effective content strategies and distribution tactics with ally organizations and newsrooms throughout our states, and have built a program to increase our collective share of voice online to scale next year. We do this work because we know that in order to win the war for our democracy, we have to keep winning the information war. 

Join us as a founding supporter of COURIER today, and be part of a family of supporters who are building the most influential left-leaning media network in the nation. We can’t do this work without you, and we can’t afford not to keep it going and growing with your help. 

To find out how to support our work or for more information please reach out to COURIER’s Head of Partnerships, carrie@couriernewsroom.com.

 

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FACT CHECK: Joe Biden is not coming for your gas stove

Right-wing media’s newest culture war du jour is the use of gas stoves. Following a Bloomberg report where the head of the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) discussed safety hazards of emissions from gas stoves, the right decided that meant President Biden was coming to take the gas stove out of your kitchen.

Fox News personalities spent hours this week raging on air about the egregious affront to freedom that this would represent. Politicians like republican Congressman Ronny Jackson and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis expressed their anger online and vowed not to comply with the White House’s alleged stove grab.

However this story, of course, is an outright lie.

While it is true that Commissioner Richard Trumpka, Jr. said that “[p]roducts that cannot be made safe can be banned,” he never stated that a ban was imminent or that POTUS had directed him to consider a ban. The CPSC clarified on Wednesday that they are not looking to ban gas stoves, rather they are seeking out ways to reduce harmful emissions.

The same article that caused the controversy also lays out empirical research about the dangers of household emissions from gas stoves:

Natural gas stoves, which are used in about 40% of homes in the US, emit air pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide and fine particulate matter at levels the EPA and World Health Organization have said are unsafe and linked to respiratory illness, cardiovascular problems, cancer, and other health conditions, according to reports by groups such as the Institute for Policy Integrity and the American Chemical Society. Consumer Reports, in October, urged consumers planning to buy a new range to consider going electric after tests conducted by the group found high levels of nitrogen oxide gases from gas stoves.

Research published at the end of 2022 also shows that gas stoves are likely the cause of nearly 13% of childhood asthma cases in the US.

The Biden administration is making historic progress on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and protecting Americans. However, no one from the government will be busting down the doors of the 40 million homes with a gas stove to remove it.

Rather, this is another example of a bad-faith attack on the president launched by right-wing lawmakers and media personalities.

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In the fight to save democracy, journalists need to pick a side

By Tara McGowan and Mark Jacob

Just a few days after taking over Twitter, Elon Musk shared a bizarre conspiracy theory blaming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband, Paul, for his own assault.

“There is a tiny possibility there might be more to this story than meets the eye,” Musk wrote.

The tweet (later deleted) reflected a dangerous and growing view that all theories are worthy of wide public attention and that opinions are as valid as facts.

This view helps right-wing liars, of course. It’s why so many people don’t believe that one of the cleanest elections in modern American history was riddled with fraud. It’s why a pizza parlor in Washington, D.C. was shot up over a ridiculous lie about a child sex-slave ring. It’s why anti-Semitism is being mainstreamed today.

Yet the idea that every elaborate lie or whack-job theory deserves attention has seeped into mainstream media. Under the guise of “objectivity” and deference to “free speech,” news media amplify voices they know are either sadly deluded or intentionally trying to mislead their audiences.

Why do the media do this? Do they think this performative “objectivity” serves the public? Or are they actually trying to serve their own desire to protect themselves from criticism and market themselves to a wider customer base?

Those questions come up a lot when you read legacy newspapers or watch the new CNN. As CNN has purged some of its voices most critical of the rise of MAGA Republican extremism, it’s clear that the network is turning in a “more neutral direction,” as one news report described it. For CNN, that means putting disinformation specialists like Kellyanne Conway and Mick Mulvaney on the air. CBS even pays Mulvaney to appear as part of its attempt to appeal to “both sides,” or at least to preserve access to both sides.

It wasn’t always this way. In fact, CBS’s history provides great examples of journalists uncovering facts and then courageously drawing conclusions when those facts pointed in a clear direction. Edward R. Murrow confronted the fraud of McCarthyism. He didn’t “both sides” it. Walter Cronkite took a reporting trip to Vietnam and then told Americans they were failing to win the war there.

Would a CBS news anchor be allowed today to tell the American people that the Republican Party is systematically attempting to overthrow our election system? The evidence is obvious that this is occurring. But if a CBS anchor said that today, would they be in the chair again the next day?

Part of the problem is that the two-party system in America has created a mentality in which the news media have ceded their role as an arbiter of truth and decided instead to be a moderator in a debate between the parties, with each side given its say, however honest or dishonest that say is.

But this is a fairly modern convention in American journalism. A century ago, most newspapers staked out sharply defined positions along the ideological spectrum. They took policy positions. They embarked on crusades. And to the extent that their positions were supported by the facts, they developed credibility.

Today, though, many major news outlets are posing as objective. They want you to think that reporters could cover a beat for three decades and not reach any conclusions about where the truth sits. In reality, the reporters have come to conclusions. They just won’t tell you what they are. 

This posture of objectivity actually hurts the credibility of journalists. It’s a performance — a mutually agreed-upon myth. The very act of an editor assigning a story to a reporter is a value judgment. Editors are not assigning every possible story. They’re assigning stories based on what they deem important on any given day. And the best journalism rarely looks objective. When reporters confront liars, they make the liars look bad. And strong journalism presents facts that are so compelling that they inspire action.

In his Nobel Peace Prize speech. Elie Wiesel had something to say about making a commitment.

“We must always take sides,” he said. “Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”

Too many people in the news industry are afraid of telling the whole truth and dealing with the impact and criticism that it brings. They fear that the right wing will call them “woke” leftists. Of course, these right-wing critics do not really want fair and objective coverage. They want coverage that amplifies and enforces their spin. They will never be satisfied. And this defensive posture by news organizations certainly isn’t preventing the right from calling them “fake” or accusing them of having a “liberal bias.” Yet major news operations keep trying to satisfy them.

It would be more honest for journalists to come clean on where they stand. And to embrace clearly established facts instead of pretending that anything could be true. After all, they’re not basketball referees tossing up jump balls. 

COURIER is an example of the rise of “values journalism,” with a thoughtful and deliberate focus on impact. COURIER is a network of local newsrooms that adhere to hard facts and present them in the context of its clearly stated left-leaning values. What’s more, at COURIER, we measure the impact of our reporting to ensure we are achieving our mission to build a more informed and engaged electorate — what action did our journalism inspire? Did this reader register to vote? Did they change their mind? Did they vote in their local elections?

This is part of a “here’s where I’m coming from” movement in journalism. Tech journalist Casey Newton and New York University journalism professor Jay Rosen encourage news people to write their own “coming from” statements, declaring their values and what they see as their mission.

That is a step toward transparency and credibility. And it is a step away from journalists serving as mere delivery systems for lies that bad actors on the right wing of American politics want to dump into the national conversation. Disclosing where we’re coming from is not only the right thing to do but also a way to succeed in a challenging news environment. Many consumers distrust performative “objectivity” and support content creators who earn their trust by telling it to them straight. For example, email newsletters that gain strong audiences are those that have a distinctive voice, not those that use the phrase “on the other hand” a lot. And social content creators are gaining larger audiences than most media start-ups today.

News organizations must respond to the current political crisis by trumpeting the democratic values that oppose fascism and support a free press. They must reject the policy of neutrality that makes media outlets willing partners in their own potential demise. For journalists who understand their role in society as holding the powerful accountable so that our democracy remains strong, the only way to live up to those ideals is to shed the conventional wisdom that elevates objectivity over the courage to report the truth, at any cost. 

Tara McGowan is the founder of Good Information Inc., a public benefit corporation that operates COURIER, a network of local news operations in eight states. Mark Jacob, former metro editor of the Chicago Tribune and former Sunday editor of the Chicago Sun-Times, is a consultant to COURIER.

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Messaging is a challenge. But without messengers, it’s impossible.

BY: KATE BASSETT

I once wrote an obituary for a pet pig. In that same paper I also wrote about important city policy discussions, celebrated an ordinary citizen with extraordinary ideas, or planted seeds for community organizations that are thriving now. 

I spent more than 20 years writing for a family-owned, small town newspaper. I can say with certainty: locally-based reporting is essential to a healthy democracy. But real local news needs trusted community messengers who are intentional about lifting up factual, relevant content.

With so many online bad actors spreading disinformation, we can only get so far by debunking twisted facts. We need a playbook that goes beyond telling the truth. That is why we at COURIER developed Good Info Messengers as part of that strategy. This new model of organizing melds the best principles of advocacy with civic journalism to help win the information war and increase the flow of good, strategic information online. 

I know some newsrooms may balk at the idea of training volunteers to engage with and share the content they create. However, the evergreen rule of relevant stories finding their audience ignores two modern developments: paywalls and social media. Readers are less likely to pay for news and are increasingly getting the majority of their information from online social platforms.

We know disinformation spreads far faster than real news. Quality content alone is no longer enough to break through the noise – and not just on a national level. Communities are being torn apart by disinformation. The panic, anger, and mistrust it creates simultaneously suppresses civic engagement and froths up a new, misinformed faction steered by politically-motivated cultures of resentment. 

By teaching communities  how to use social media platforms as tools to share quality news, Good Info Messengers help shape the information diet of people within their sphere of influence. This theory of change has a goal bigger than slowing down disinformation. We also want to increase civic participation, and ultimately, help restore trust in the foundations of democracy (and yes, in journalism, too). 

Good Info Messengers is, at its core, a simple idea that may help reduce an algorithm deficit quality news often faces. But it’s also about building connections, re-learning how to have civil dialogue, and most importantly, entering into a two-way conversation with local news.  

Subscribers of my small town paper did not always agree with the stories we chose to publish…or chose to ignore. They would come to the office or pick up the phone, write frustrated emails or Letters to the Editor. But also, they would keep coming back, week after week, to read. 

Why? We had relationships. We saw each other in the grocery store, or at school pick-up, or a non-profit fundraiser. We built a rapport around a mutual love of place. We could agree to disagree without falling into conspiracies or reducing each other to that dreaded sense of “other” we know all too well today.

That era of small town news started fading with the rise of social media. We  fell prey to the belief that good information will always rise to the top. We didn’t think to be proactive in building a grassroots movement to protect not only truth, but trust. Everyday, I witness the systematic destruction of faith in local government and public institutions in a town without a single stoplight. In 2021, I was sent screenshots of someone wanting to string me up in our nonexistent town square following coverage of the great school masking debate. Less than 24 hours later, I was in the grocery store picking out honeycrisp apples next to the person who posted that comment. He didn’t say a word.

That’s the shift. National rhetoric tinged by disinformation has reached our doorsteps. 

There is a growing movement to return to local news after a decade-plus of papers folding or being bought by large corporations. Without intentionally developing news verifiers within our communities, however, this renewed interest may be a nonstarter. 

Trust in media institutions is at an all-time low. Investing in local reporting without an innovative model – both to remove the stigma of elitism and to create a sense of pride in state-based journalism – may only deepen the divide.  When it comes to local coverage, we need newsrooms that can survive without a paywall, and we need to think like non-profits who invest in ambassadors for their cause. 

I believe in local news. I believe to repair what’s broken in democracy, we have to start with a well-informed electorate. I also believe that in order to breathe real, authentic life into that ideal, we need to first be in the places we are trying to serve. We need to all become Good Info Messengers. 

 

Kate Bassett is the National Organizing Director for Courier Newsroom — a network of newsrooms across eight U.S. states. Prior to joining COURIER, Kate was a political and community organizer and also spent two decades reporting for a local newsroom in northern Michigan.

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Democrats Won the Election. So Why Does Only Half of the Country Believe It?

BY: TARA MCGOWAN

Depending on what news you consume- or what social media platforms you hang out on, you may not know that the historic 2020 presidential election is, in fact, over. President-elect Biden won by a margin of votes more than twice as wide as that of his predecessor, and will be sworn into office on January 21st. President Trump has very publicly refused to concede to reality, and only a handful of elected Republicans have publicly accepted the outcome. The collective delusion of elected Republicans is not representative of their constituents however, as more than half of all Republicans say that Biden won the race. But a more troubling trend is starting to gain traction.

According to a recent Morning Consult poll, a shocking seven in ten Republicans don’t believe the election was free and fair. This partisan divide of trust in our elections is no accident, but the result of a deliberate strategy. For months, Trump and his administration have been laying the groundwork with one clear goal: to protect their power at all costs, even if the cost is our Democracy.

While we knew this could happen, too many Democrats didn’t see it coming. Through hubris, denialism (or both) many prominent voices on the left believed that this election was an open and shut case against a flailing president, and that Joe Biden and Democrats up and down the ballot would deliver a resounding rebuke of Trump and all he stands for. It’s painful to admit but the numbers don’t lie: over 70 million Americans did cast their votes for a second term of Trump. That’s not enough to keep him in power, but it is enough for us to be struck by their power.

The power of this bloc shouldn’t have felt like a surprise. The dangerous myths that are still circulating that claim that “the election results aren’t true” are being spread by the same voices and through the same channels that helped deliver Trump 63 million votes in 2016 and another 72 million votes in 2020.

Fueled by powerful conservative voices like Ben Shapiro and outlets like The Daily Caller that reach tens of millions of followers online every day, right-wing media have been using misinformation to cultivate and reinforce voters’ support of Trump for years. By spreading conspiracy theories and outright lies, these digital-savvy channels work lockstep to surgically influence the opinions and behavior of millions of Americans, drawing them into an alternate reality where facts don’t matter and the only source you should trust is Trump himself. Those efforts have paid dramatic dividends — both financially and politically.

Pandemic misinformation started in the early spring of 2020, seeded directly by the President. Right-wing outlets — online and through talk radio and Fox News — amplified this misinformation at dramatic scale, resulting in large numbers of Republicans refusing to wear life-saving masks, putting millions of Americans at risk and slowing any hope of economic recovery. Baseless conspiracy theories about “liberal pedophile rings” and “radical socialist” coups jumped from Americans’ news feeds to their group text threads, dinner tables, and ultimately, ballot boxes. And, now, in the weeks following the election, the posts with the most engagement on Facebook scream election fraud — from the same usual suspects.

Though this election also saw Democrats step up their digital investment and tactics in ways that undoubtedly contributed to Biden’s victory, the harsh reality is that those efforts are not sufficient on their own. Paid advertising is not how the majority of misinformation is spread online, so when campaign media budgets dry up or political ads are arbitrarily banned by platforms like Facebook, as they are today, Democrats have no recourse or lever to counter the disinformation actively gaining traction online.

The always-on conservative media ecosystem not only ensured another too-close-for-comfort election at the top of the ticket, but effectively kept Democrats on the defensive in hundreds of Senate, House and down ballot races across the country. For Democrats to blame any one message or tactic for these losses would be reductive and destructive when the media ecosystem they are actually competing with exists to misinform and inflame Americans to vote against them — regardless of their agenda or the facts. Given their dramatic reach through social media, conspiracy theorists like Ben Shapiro are the new mainstream media that candidates and parties must contend with — and this new ecosystem is only going to get more volatile in the years to come.

The reason that Democrats still find themselves losing the information war after winning the presidential election is clear: we’re still not fighting on the same battlefield Trump and the Right are — and the field they’re fighting on is one where the vast majority of Americans are getting their information. As long as Democrats continue to over-rely on cyclical paid advertising to get their message to voters rather than building online communications infrastructure that can communicate to voters year-round, we will remain at the whim of narratives driven by the Right.

This is not an argument to stoop to Republicans’ level to win the information war, either. We can tell the truth. We can reveal and counter the lies. We can compete and win with the facts — and with the powerful stories of Americans impacted most by the decisions being made for them in Washington. What we can’t do is win real and sustainable political power if we show up to the wrong game.

As Trump continues to deny us the concession we all crave and buy time to plot his own pardon, raise his bailout moneyor build his own media empire, Democrats need to think hard about how we move forward. Winning the election was a good and necessary first step, but having President Biden in the White House will not silence Trump or put a stop to the disinformation machine that propelled him to power. It’s time to get serious about building a modern media infrastructure that engages Americans year round, online, with the facts and stories that counter the lies — and to begin the critical work of rebuilding trust in our government, elected officials and one another. If we don’t, we may still very well lose the democracy we just narrowly secured the opportunity to save.

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