The Alternatives

How New Media Are Transforming the Political Landscape with John Fund, Henry Payne, Frank Beckmann, Ken Braun and Kathy Hoekstra

Live Video is Oct. 21, 2010 7:00 PM (Afterward watch the archive.)


Mackinac Center For Public Policy Live Video -
Mackinac Center For Public Policy Video -

A revolution is transforming a media landscape once dominated by the “mainstream media.” Democracy needs good information, but until recently, a media culture sympathetic to big government skewed the news playing field. No more. Talk radio, Fox News, The Drudge Report, state-based think tank reporting and online opinion sites have created a new, freedom-oriented national infrastructure that has fed a starved market, diversified coverage and provided an alternative to the legacy media. In this crucial election year, that new media universe is playing a crucial role. A panel of five “new media” figures will discuss how this revolution affects Michigan.

There is no need to register for the event.

Thursday, Oct. 21, 2010, 7:00 p.m. 
Oakland County Commissioners Auditorium
(part of the East Courthouse Complex)
1200 N. Telegraph, Pontiac, Mich.

(click for maps)



Frank Beckmann, a morning talk show host on WJR 760 AM in Detroit. "The Frank Beckmann Show" is the most listened-to talk radio program in Michigan.

For each of the last four years, Beckmann was named the Michigan Association of Broadcasters Broadcast Personality/Team of the Year. He was cited by the Detroit Press Club Foundation as a 2007 Michigan Excellence in Journalism winner.

John Fund, a columnist for the Wall Street Journal, where he also writes the online newsletter “Political Diary.” He is also a contributor to the Fox News Channel and that network’s online debate platform “Strategy Room.” In 1996, he was one of the first mainstream journalists to plunge into writing for Internet-only news sites when he became a regular contributor to

Fund has won numerous journalism awards and been honored by Roll Call, the Capitol Hill newspaper, as “the modern-day Tom Paine of the Congressional reform movement.”

Ken Braun, managing editor of Michigan Capitol Confidential, the Mackinac Center for Public Policy’s daily online news service. Coverage from the Lansing-based bureau exposed Oakland County Democratic Party ties to a fake tea party, highlighted bizarre pork spending by Michigan Congress members and led to state legislators publicly apologizing for bills they supported.

Braun joined the Center in 2006 after five years as a chief of staff for a Michigan state representative. He graduated with a degree from Michigan State University's James Madison College.

Kathy Hoekstra, communications specialist with the Mackinac Center. Hoekstra produces hard-hitting investigative videos on the impact public policies have on those who live and do business in Michigan. Her work has won awards, triggered Attorney General investigations and uncovered the misuse of taxpayer money. She has also testified before state House and Senate committees.

Prior to joining the Center, Hoekstra spent nearly 15 years in broadcast journalism. She was an award-winning news anchor and reporter for radio stations in Port Huron and Saginaw and worked for more than a decade in local television news. In addition to her reporting and anchoring duties, Hoekstra hosted a weekly public affairs program.


Henry Payne, editor of, and editorial cartoonist and writer for The Detroit News. A 25-year newspaper veteran, he joined The News in 2000 from Scripps Howard News Service in Washington, D.C. The Pulitzer Prize-nominated cartoonist’s work has been reprinted in publications from USA Today to to The Washington Times.

Payne is founder and editor of, the state’s premier commentary site featuring the state’s best writers. He is a correspondent for National Review magazine on auto and regulatory issues, and is an occasional contributor to The Wall Street Journal, the Weekly Standard magazine, Reason Magazine, The New York Post, San Francisco Chronicle and other publications.


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