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Or consider Jake Rademacher. Aggravated by the media coverage of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts and curious to learn more about his brothers’ motivation for joining the military, Mr. Rademacher made “Brothers at War,” the single best documentary about the fighting men and women who constitute the post-Sept. 11 military.

Then there’s Stuart Browning, who realized that the next great public battle was going to be over public health care; he put together a series of videos called “Free Market Cure” and put them on YouTube and at his own site in order to counter the distortions he saw emanating unchallenged from his opponents. His “Uninsured in America” does more to refute the mythical “45 million people in America are uninsured” claim than any magazine article possibly could.

The democratization of film production - the relative affordability of new equipment and editing software - enabled these filmmakers to burst onto the scene without the backing of major studios or journalistic outlets.

Sure, these artists all had help in their struggle: Mr. Maloney and Mr. Browning both received technical support through the Moving Picture Institute, while Mr. Rademacher found allies in Jon Voight and Gary Sinise, both staunch allies of the U.S. military. And Mr. O’Keefe has certainly received a publicity boost through his appearances on the Glenn Beck show and on Andrew Breitbart’s new blog, Big Government.

But their ideas and their drive to see their vision realized are what motivated them and inspired them to impact the debate. These men are the vanguard of a new front in the battle of ideas: They have realized that the time for whining is over; the time for doing has arrived.