So you are a conservative and want to write a political OpEd piece, eh? And you want publishers to print it and social media to promote it. The reality is that it is easier said than done. I do not care how well you write or the importance of your message, it is necessary to form relationships with members of the press. Even conservative publications are tightly controlled by publishers and editors. Frankly, it’s a “good ole boy” club you have to contend with. You’re best chance for success is to correspond with them to establish some rapport. If they happen to make a presentation somewhere, be sure to attend and introduce yourself sometime during the meeting. Like most people, publishers and editors like to associate a name with a face (remember this, next time you print business cards). If you cannot contact them this way, pick up the phone and call them to discuss your idea for writing.
I have been writing political copy for several years now and I have learned a thing or two about censorship along the way. Hopefully, the following tips will be of use to you in getting your article published. First, let’s consider the embodiment of your article; here we need to discuss the Title, the Body, and Follow-up.
- The Title – give some serious thought to this as it will be used to entice people to read your article, and will be monitored by social media which automatically scans titles to alert them of potentially unsuitable content. For example, try to avoid the following keywords from your title: BIDEN, TRUMP, OBAMA, REPUBLICAN, DEMOCRAT, LIBERAL, CONSERVATIVE, ANTIFA, BLM, KAMALA, AOC, ILLEGAL, IMMIGRANTS, BORDER, AFGHANISTAN, IRAN, GREEN, BUDGET, ENVIRONMENT, SOCIALISM, CAPITALISM, POLITICS, POLITICIAN, etc. Such words are automatically picked-up by social media and may result in one of three things: voiding or delaying your posting, the triggering of “fact checkers” which will also void your copy, or suppression of the dissemination of your message. For example, it has been my experience on Facebook, where I have nearly 2,000 “friends,” depending on my posting, either they will all see it or only a handful (my political pieces typically fall into the latter category). Social media also monitors patterns in your postings which can result in an adverse effect on your readership. So keep this in mind when you create your title, your headline is important to getting your article posted and promoted.
- The Body – keep it clean and avoid crude language. Both publishers and social media alike will scan your copy looking for foul language and will stop your article from being published if so discovered. Also, add facts to support your argument, but be sure to note their source. Better yet, embed links into the copy to allow the reader to visit the source of the fact.
- Follow-up – provide a very brief bio of yourself (one to two lines at most). Be sure to include information on how to contact you, such as an e-mail address or web site. I DO NOT RECOMMEND YOU PRINT YOUR TELEPHONE NUMBER as you will likely be harassed by wackos.
If your article is published on the web, be sure to follow reader feedback. Under no circumstance should you get into a heated debate with a detractor, just ignore them or, better yet, delete them if possible. As Mark Twain said, “Never argue with stupid people. They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.”
Here are a couple more things I have observed regarding social media and e-mail:
1. In some social media, such as Facebook, you may join different clubs. For example, I belong to several political clubs within Facebook. If I have a political column I want to promote, I may “copy and paste” a notice in the clubs as well as notify certain friends (what I like to call “germ carriers” – people who will help spread your message). Here’s the problem: if you “copy and paste” too fast and too often, social media will automatically detect this and cancel your postings. So what can be done? Two things: do not “copy and paste” too rapidly, and slightly alter your postings. For example:
As an aside, this “copy and paste” phenomenon is actively used by the Democrats, particularly in the “Letters to the Editor” sections of newspapers. They simply “copy and paste” the same text for publication in several national papers. If you are properly organized, it takes just a few minutes to perform this.
2. This same phenomenon occurs in e-mail, particularly if you are trying to send bulk e-mails. If you are using Gmail, Yahoo!, MSN or others, they will be automatically looking for bulk e-mails and, if you are not careful, you will be classified a “spammer” and none of your messages will get through. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do here: break down your e-mail list into smaller batches (30-40 receivers at most); change the name in the “Subject” section of the e-mail to avoid detection of repetition (see above), and; mail to your receivers as “Blind Carbon Copies” (BCC), this keeps people from seeing the other receivers on your list.
3. If you don’t play by the rules of the social media, or write something they do not like, you may get suspended for a period of time (aka, “Facebook Jail”) or expelled completely. You can fight the suspension, but I haven’t heard of too many people being successful in reversing their decision. The length of suspension varies, anywhere from days, to weeks, to months, to permanent. When you come back, you are put on a watch list and carefully monitored. Another way to overcome this problem is to register as a new user, but use a substantially different name. The only problem with this, you lose all of your “friends” you have connected with over time, thereby hampering your ability to communicate with them (which is what the social media wants).
The last point I want to make is regarding fights with Liberals regarding your work. If you write several pieces regarding politics, as I do, and they are not aligned with Democrat dogma, they will assign an individual to monitor and criticize your work. The person’s objective is to harass, discredit, and tempt you into a fight. No matter what you write, they will disagree with you, regardless of how logically correct your argument is. Not surprising, the person is usually an “anonymous” person to avoid identifying themselves and face retribution themself. As such, they are cowards.
If your work is routinely printed in a journal, particularly if it is a public periodical, they will demand the publisher censor you and suppress your 1st Amendment Right to free speech. Again, this is what happens when you become popular and do not follow their political dogma.
When you are censored by a publication or social media, do not be surprised if you are not allowed to defend yourself. We must remember the mainstream media is very liberal, as is social media, making their stranglehold on what is printed or said rather formidable. They have a deep disdain for opposing opinions and will go to any lengths to thwart them.
Mark Twain seemed to sum it up accurately when he observed years ago, “It has become a sarcastic proverb that a thing must be true if you saw it in a newspaper. That is the opinion intelligent people have of that lying vehicle in a nutshell. But the trouble is that the stupid people, who constitute the grand overwhelming majority of this and all other nations, do believe and are moulded and convinced by what they get out of a newspaper, and there is where the harm lies.”
The most important trait you, as a writer, must possess is perseverance. Keep looking for new venues to write for, such as a conservative club newsletter, local papers, political blogs and podcasts, etc. Next, learn from your mistakes; consider language and sentence structure, excessive use of jargon, typographical errors and punctuation. Most importantly, KEEP WRITING! Practice makes perfect.
Keep the Faith!
P.S. – For a listing of my books, click HERE.
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