In the beginning, long ago, before the rise of talk radio, cable TV, and blogs, the liberal-leaning mainstream media was the only game in town. This began to change with the rise of magazines like William F. Buckley’s National Review, and sped up in the 1980s with Rush Limbaugh, in the 1990s with Fox News, and in the 2000s with sites like Red State, to name just a few important outlets.
When conservative bloggers began fact-checking Dan Rather’s report on George W. Bush’s Texas Air National Guard service, utterly undermining what might otherwise have become the defining narrative of the 2004 presidential campaign, alternative media (which perhaps first made its bones when Matt Drudge helped force the Monica Lewinsky scandal into the mainstream) seemed to have arrived as a vital force in the American political and media landscape.
That’s not to say there wouldn’t be growing pains. For a long time, the knock on conservative media was that there were too many opinion writers — too many of us trying to be the next William F. Buckley or George Will — and too few conservative-minded reporters like Bob Novak out pounding the pavement. That, too, has changed a lot in recent years. The Daily Caller (where I serve as a senior contributor) made major strides in terms of focusing on reporting guided by a conservative worldview — rather than straight up conservative opinionating — and serving an under-served niche of news-hungry conservative readers as a result. For example, while much of the liberal media thought the ousting of New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson was last Wednesday’s biggest story, The Daily Caller thought the Veterans Affairs scandal was, perhaps, one of the most important. And so on.