The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

‘It’s Not About Politics, It’s About News’

Posted on | January 6, 2013 | 15 Comments

That, in seven simple words, is what Ali Akbar has been thinking about for the past month. He and I have had several long conversations about what an effective, innovative New Media operation would look like and, by the end of this month, he plans to start rolling it out at Viral Read.

Not much to see there now, but don’t sweat it. An expanded team has been recruited, a site re-design is in beta mode and, most of all, Ali’s been doing a lot of research about what exactly he wants to do. What he wants to do is something that works, something that succeeds.

Like I said, there have been a lot of long conversations, but if Ali hasn’t been making much noise online the past few weeks, there is a reason.

Go look at MediaGazer. Go look at TechMeme. Go look at WeSmirch. Lots of news in the world has nothing to do with politics. For that matter, go look at the Drudge Report and figure out how many of the headlines — at a site universally recognized as a major force in political news — don’t have anything to do with politics, per se.

Everybody knows Ali Akbar is an experienced Republican operative and conservative activist. But to do what he wants to do with Viral Read, Ali had to get his mind outside his purely political self and think like a businessman — as an entrepreneur, as a publisher.

So he’s been looking at what works — and what doesn’t work. He’s been looking at what succeeds — and what fails. He’s been looking real hard at that kind of stuff. He doesn’t plan to fail.

Nor has he failed to plan, but he has figured out (and this is something I have repeatedly emphasized in our long conversations) that being innovative and creative in New Media requires an experimental approach. If someone had told you in 2005 that Michelle Malkin was going to launch Hot Air, turn it into one of the go-to sites on the Internet, then sell that site and, a year later, launch Twitchy, which would in turn become one of the go-to sites on the Internet . . .

Well, there was just no way to anticipate that, just as there was no way to know in advance that Andrew Breitbart was going to suddenly zoom into glory in 2009 as a result of a video sting operation against ACORN by a couple of kids named James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles.

An entrepreneurial attitude toward New Media requires a trial-and-error approach. You have to try different things, see what works and what doesn’t, and then revamp your original plan (whatever that may have been) to accommodate the reality of a rapidly changing marketplace.

So whenever Ali has the new and improved Viral Read ready to go, don’t expect a Major Public Announcement. Instead, expect . . . news.

Because that’s the name of the game. Also, cute puppy pictures.


15 Responses to “‘It’s Not About Politics, It’s About News’”

  1. Quartermaster
    January 6th, 2013 @ 5:13 pm

    Just a warning, in case you go looking and expecting to find. There are no cute puppy pictures over there.

  2. dkmkc2000
    January 6th, 2013 @ 5:18 pm

    RT @smitty_one_each: TOM ‘It’s Not About Politics, It’s About News’ #TCOT

  3. Ali A. Akbar
    January 6th, 2013 @ 5:42 pm

    Ali A. Akbar liked this on Facebook.

  4. Becca Lower
    January 6th, 2013 @ 5:59 pm

    Just wait! 😉

  5. BLBeamer
    January 6th, 2013 @ 6:10 pm

    I’m not very familiar with Akbar’s work, but didn’t he “guarantee” that Ohio would go for Romney as late as November 5th?

    If he is the guy I’m thinking of, why should we look forward to more of that kind of insight?

  6. Evi L. Bloggerlady
    January 6th, 2013 @ 6:19 pm

    I wish you the best and will help any way I can.

  7. Evi L. Bloggerlady
    January 6th, 2013 @ 7:07 pm

    Maybe substituting Rule 5 for LOL Cats? Oh wait, it is about the news.

  8. Bob Belvedere
    January 6th, 2013 @ 7:13 pm

    Cats draw eyeballs, dogs don’t.

  9. Evi L. Bloggerlady
    January 6th, 2013 @ 8:01 pm
  10. Wombat_socho
    January 6th, 2013 @ 8:47 pm

    Are you implying Rule 5 isn’t news?

  11. Kevin Alexander
    January 6th, 2013 @ 9:08 pm

    Ok.. These Obama WITCHHUNTS have gotten beyond ridiculous. Every day it’s something else he’s supposedly doing. “Obama is gonna take your guns!” “Obama raised my taxes when he said he wouldn’t!” “Obama is responsible for high gas prices!” I’ve been called this HUGE “Obama Supporter” because I regularly defend him. I’m actually not. I actually think he is clown. HOWEVER, I do get sick and damn tired of reading posts and seeing pictures defacing the man based on SPECULATION. Not facts. Just rumors.

    THIS JUST IN: Everything you hear on Facebook, at work, or in public bathrooms isn’t always true! I can’t believe I’m actually having to say that ADULTS. BUT… have no fear, the truth is just a few clicks away! That’s right! GOOGLE IS A THING.

    WARNING: You may have to change your thinking just a bit, and accept the facts as truth, but it’s honestly a better way to think.

    Here’s a link:

  12. Evi L. Bloggerlady
    January 6th, 2013 @ 9:26 pm

    True. Very true.

  13. BLBeamer
    January 6th, 2013 @ 11:11 pm

    Stacy – I don’t know if you condoned or were even aware of the fact that somebody changed my comment below from what I originally wrote.

    I suspect you had no part in it, because believe me: I have been insulted often, and at length, and by people who know how and this is not even close to being the quality of insult that I would expect coming from you.

    What is also obvious is that I touched a nerve somewhere. As someone who has been a fairly regular commenter here and who has even hit your freakin’ tip jar from time to time, I would have expected someone to at least make sure they understood what I was getting at rather than fling the superfluous insult.

    Really, I thought my comment was pretty benign.

  14. robertstacymccain
    January 6th, 2013 @ 11:24 pm

    I didn’t do this. Will inquire.

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    January 11th, 2013 @ 2:56 pm

    […] CommentsLast weekend I remarked that I’ve had several long conversations with Ali Akbar about plans for his Viral Read news site. One of the things I’ve repeatedly stressed is how important it is in the news business to be […]