Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service
Across the heartlands and hinterlands of conservative America, many doubters and desponders wake up every morning to retrieve their newspaper, a product of the downtown left. And so it shall remain, they say.
But for America’s growing army of young conservatives, there are no boundaries to the battle for the future. Even the newspapers of America must stand to reckon with a new generation of conservatives.
Two students at Seattle Pacific University named Matthew McCleary and Benjamin Williams are launching a publication called the Seattle Sentinel at www.seattlesentinel.com. The sophomores have a long-term goal no less than turning the Seattle Sentinel into “the dominant paper in Seattle.”
Pessimists who doubt about America’s future, who insist that the liberal bias of the media is permanent and impenetrable, think a goal like the Sentinel’s is impossible. But McCleary and Williams and their new staff of writers and editors are energized. They’re devoted. They’ll make it happen within fifty years, they say.
“We want a conservative newspaper in Seattle,” says Williams. “We have an interest in Seattle because it is our town. We are sick of the Times and Post-Intelligencer controlling the Seattle print media. People who do not investigate the news only get one side of the story, the liberal side. We need to provide people in Seattle with an alternative to our biased newspapers.”
Across the country, more and more young conservatives are taking on similar projects, on their campuses, in their communities, on the Internet. The conservative youth opinion site www.yconservatives.com, was established after Sept. 11, 2001 when Gresham Kay was inspired by the voice of Rush Limbaugh to “get out there and do something.” Even an 11-year-old public school student from Massachusetts who goes by the pseudonym Emil Levitin is in the action with www.republicanvoices.org.
Youth-oriented conservative print publications abound also. College freshman Alex Bozmoski recently started a new nationwide journal called The Right Idea, “dedicated to propagating a message of freedom, justice, and social values throughout our communities and our nation,” to provide a “conservative print alternative to what the liberal establishment has made so readily available.”
Hundreds of mainstream college campus newspapers must now compete with an array of successful conservative publications, many of which have been founded in the last few years as the number of informed and active conservative students has increased.
One of the most widely read campus newspapers is UC Berkeley’s California Patriot at www.calpatriot.org. “In an area dominated politically and intellectually by radical, outspoken, leftist organizations,” declares the Patriot’s Mission Statement, “it is our moral obligation to balance class liberal saturation with conservative viewpoints that will no longer be maligned and stifled.”
Established, famed publications like Ann Coulter’s Cornell Review and Dinesh D’Souza’s Dartmouth Review thrive with admirable budgets, talent and readership. Nearly every major college and university in the nation now has an active, controversial, right-minded publication.
And these campus publications are not without a support network.
Since the Collegiate Network of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute was founded 25 years ago, it has been instrumental in providing financial and technical resources to hundreds of conservative newspapers and magazines on leading college and university campuses, especially in recent years. Today, the Collegiate Network supports 80 top conservative campus publications with an annual combined total distribution of 2 million.
“Don’t let the left dominate your campus for another year!” proclaims the Web site of the Leadership Institute Campus Leadership Program, which also plays a role in developing conservative campus publications by training editors, writers, and fundraisers and providing startup cash.
With the Collegiate Network, Leadership Institute and other organizations like Young America’s Foundation, Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle Forum Collegians, and David Horowitz’s Students for Academic Freedom, conservative students are able to build and maintain impressive conservative publications on their campuses.
Some young conservatives are revolutionizing the campus media. Others are making waves on the Internet. For Matthew McCleary and Benjamin Williams of the Seattle Sentinel, the battleground is nothing less than Seattle. Seattle can become a more conservative city, says McCleary, “but it will take a cultural revolution. It will start with the youth.
Our parents got us into the mess of liberalism. We need to rebel against it, and stand up for conservative Christian values.”
When McCleary speaks of rebellion, he means rebellion against rebellion. He means restoring those old American values rejected by a couple of previous youth generations of recent decades.
But there is something new and exciting about the rising generation, of which I am a part. A powerful number of young people born during the Reagan era are optimists, idealists and dreamers in a radically conservative way. Rebellion against rebellion is just that, radically conservative.
These conservative young Americans see a bright future on the horizon. True, we’re spoiled; we’ve never known hardship like most people in the world have known it throughout history. True, many young Americans are more lost and more decadent than their parents were. But the greatest truth about America, says Williams, is that “We live in the greatest nation on God’s green earth where the American dream is still prevalent.”
McCleary agrees: “There is still a core of conservative Americans. As long as there are people like us doing everything in our power to preserve America’s liberty and Judeo-Christian foundation, the future will always be bright. It’s a matter of perspective.”
Hans Zeiger is a columnist and conservative activist. He is president of the Scout Honor Coalition and a student at Hillsdale College in Michigan. Contact him at email@example.com.