Panelists Henry Payne, Kathy Hoekstra, John Fund, Frank Beckmann and Ken Braun.
free-market ideas were often ridiculed or ignored by the mainstream media. Now,
the same new technologies that are breaking down the influence of traditional
media are also allowing these principles to reach a wide audience.
On Oct. 21, the Mackinac
Center joined forces with some of the most respected voices in Michigan to
discuss this media revolution. The panel discussion, “The Alternatives: How New
Media Are Transforming the Political Landscape,” featured some of the biggest
names in free-market media: John Fund, Wall Street Journal columnist and Fox
News contributor; Henry Payne, Detroit News editorial cartoonist and editor of
TheMichiganView.com; Ken Braun, managing editor of Michigan Capitol
Confidential; and Kathy Hoekstra, communications specialist at the Mackinac
Center. WJR radio show host Frank Beckmann moderated the event at the Oakland
County Commissioners Auditorium. Each brought a unique perspective on how the
news media has been transformed by outlets such as talk radio, Fox News, The
Drudge Report, state-based think tank reporting and online opinion sites. All
agreed that new media have created a novel, freedom-oriented national
infrastructure that has fed a starved market, diversified coverage and provided
an alternative to the legacy media.
In the days leading up
to the panel, Beckmann promoted the event on his radio program, and The Detroit
News marketed the event with ads and billboards in the Detroit area.
In the spirit of “new
media,” the panel itself was streamed live on the internet and promoted by some
of Michigan’s most prolific political bloggers, Michigan Taxes Too Much and
Theblogprof. Around 75 people attended the event in person, and more than 500
watched the live video feed online.
Before the event,
Hoekstra interviewed Fund, a long-time political observer, on-camera about the
elections in Michigan as well as the prospects for Congress. The 10-minute
video was posted on YouTube and quickly picked up on Politico.com, one of the
nation’s leading political websites.
investigative videos, the widely read daily news site Capitol Confidential,
regular e-mail updates and other methods, the Mackinac Center is taking
advantage of this new-media revolution. Free-market think tanks no longer rely
on the atrophying traditional media — they are becoming the media.