How Libertarians can talk to reporters

Denver Post columnist David Harsanyi, a self-described conservative, issued some words of advice at a luncheon during the Libertarian National Convention in Denver today explaining to party members how to interact with members of the press.

Harsanyi said he was disappointed to see Libertarians mocked by the media by taking the "most craziest idea they can find and run with it."

The columnist, who said he had approximately 10 years of experience in the media industry, then proceeded to tell a ballroom full of Libertarian Party supporters how to converse with reporters.

Freedom Isn’t Enough

According to Harsanyi, the fact that Libertarians value personal freedom more than other individuals isn’t enough to woo reporters. Instead, he suggested bringing up popular issues like the encroaching "nanny state," a topic he has incidentally written a book about.

Cite Bureaucracy

"Everyone hates government," said Harsanyi, which is why Libertarians should bring up specific examples of failed bureaucracy when they talk to the press.

Use Fear

It’s not just Democrats and Republicans who can use scare tactics, according to Harsanyi. "You can use fear too," he said, citing instances like forced education about global warming in public schools. "Losing our freedom, that’s a scary thing."

Avoid Questions About Polygamy

While reporters will want to get a Libertarian take on the recent polygamist Mormon sect in Texas and ask if it’s alright for a 14-year-old girl to be married to a middle-aged man, Harsanyi recommended avoiding the issue. Even though a Libertarian mindset may approve of the scenario as a private matter not be interfered with by the government (as long as no one was hurt or coerced).

"You can hold off on that and just try and pick a topic that is little more powerful," Harsanyi said.

Erin Rosa was born in Spain and raised in Colorado Springs. She is a freelance writer currently living in Denver. Rosa's work has been featured in a variety of news outlets including the Huffington Post, Democracy Now!, and the Rocky Mountain Chronicle, an alternative-weekly in Northern Colorado where she worked as a columnist covering the state legislature. Rosa has received awards from the Society of Professional Journalists for her reporting on lobbying and woman's health issues. She was also tapped with a rare honorable mention award by the Newspaper Guild-CWA's David S. Barr Award in 2008--only the second such honor conferred in its nine-year history--for her investigative series covering the federal government's Supermax prison in the state. Rosa covers the labor community, corrections, immigration and government transparency matters. She can be reached at

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