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I have been observing this battle going on in Conservative, Inc. between Steven Crowder and the Daily Wire. Both my colleagues Jerry Wilson and Thomas LaDuke have written about it in more detail. Their pieces focus a bit more on conservative media’s need to employ and delve into different business models. This piece will touch a bit on that, but focus more on the people that contribute to this media.
For those who haven’t been paying attention, Jerry gives the best encapsulation:
I say this as a preface to wading into the septic tank cesspool that is Steven Crowder versus Daily Wire. The basics are as follows: Crowder, conservative comedian and host of the wildly popular “Louder with Crowder” video podcast, announced on December 15th, 2022, that he was leaving Glenn Beck’s network The Blaze. Daily Wire made Crowder an offer to bring his show under Daily Wire’s auspices. Crowder took severe objection to various clauses in the offer. He went public with same on January 17th, 2023, not naming names. In response, the following day, Daily Wire CEO Jeremy Boreing went public acknowledging it was his outfit that made the offer, adding in the preliminary numbers ($50M for four years). Crowder shot back publicly. Assorted high rollers at Daily Wire chimed in, be it Ben Shapiro through Twitter or Candace Owens on Tim Pool’s video podcast.
Crowder shot back and aired actual details of his supposedly “personal” conversation with Boreing on the premise that Daily Wire got personal, so he felt justified. The video is 15 minutes or so, and rather fascinating.
Give it a listen if you’d like.
Suffice it to say, nobody comes off smelling like a rose or looking like a winner here. You can practically see Boreing twirling his mustache when he talks about their business model:
“Sure there would be. I’m not suggesting that the guidelines aren’t terrible. I’m saying that if making money off of those platforms is the way you justify the salary you’re paying someone—I keep saying salary, the fee you pay someone. That when those go away, everybody loses money. You can’t pay the same amount with less revenue.”
And in regard to new content creators looking to build their brand:
“Benchmark, young talent, they don’t get deals like this. They can be wage slaves for a little bit, come over and make a salary and grow their brand.”
CROWDER: “That you then own.”
“I own parts of it. I don’t own it. When their contract is up, they can still go out and they’ll still be famous, they can keep doing their shows or go do a show somewhere else. They’ll be in a far, far, far better place. You help make them.”
Part of Crowder’s argument is for a different business model for conservatism than what has been commonly adopted and that works well for non-conservative content creators and media types. Both Jerry’s and Duke’s commentaries about the validity of this are worth the read if you haven’t done so, here, and here.
However, despite Crowder’s protestations to the contrary that, “It’s not about the money,” and that all he cares about is “the country, a message, the movement,” and the young conservative content creators coming up through the pipeline, bottom line is that he likely does care about the money. And in the current model, reach translates into dollars. So, connected to getting money is rebuilding/shoring up your audience. Many of the conservatives who are following this story feel that this move by Crowder to call out the Daily Wire was simply a stunt in order to rebuild the viewers he lost when he left The Blaze. I am inclined to agree.
This hubbub has died down a bit, thankfully. But the root problem (more on this later), is the locus of the new battles brewing. Conservative media personality Nicole Arbour has a podcast called “The Arbour Affect.” Thanks to the recent revelations from Crowder and the Daily Wire, Arbour’s subject for her 37-minute podcast is, “The Disturbing Truth About Candace Owens.”
If you have read some of my work over here at RedState, you already know my feelings on Candace Owens, so I will link them, but won’t rehash them at this point. I will simply say that Arbour further reinforces them in her own personal story and commentary.
Candace Owens is OPENLY HARASSING Nicole Arbour to try to cancel her again right now.
Watch @NicoleArbour's video to see her receipts.@RealCandaceO is a narcissistic psycho and @JeremyDBoreing and The Daily Wire support her while clutching their pearls over Crowder. https://t.co/YvtyJiGkOs
— Karlyn Borysenko (@DrKarlynB) January 22, 2023
The entire video is below and it is worth a listen for the following reasons:
- It shows how certain conservative personalities are platformed and given promotion, while others are minimized and marginalized.
- It shows how Conservative, Inc. is primarily a bastion of males, and a hiding place for predatory males, of which there are many.
- It shows a good number of males in Conservative, Inc. are disinterested in promoting female conservatives, and even less interested in protecting them when they are truly under attack.
- It shows that just like the Left, Conservative, Inc. will circle the wagons to protect their brand generators and cash cows, no matter how wrong they are.
Toward the end of the video, Arbour discusses famous conservatives complicit in the attacks on her and their commitment to defend Owens.
“A lot of really big conservatives knew what Candace did to me. And they begged me. When I say beg, I mean begged me not to tell the truth. Not to make a video about Candace, not to talk about it publicly, not to go on Meghan Kelly and talk about it. They. Begged. Me. ‘We need her for the movement, we need her. She’s worth so much money for us, we’ve pumped so much money into her. We need Candace, you can’t go after Candace.'”
What this really reflects is the fact that there are powerful, credible, and cogent conservative voices who actually articulate conservatism well, who will gain little audience or attention because the likes of the Daily Wire, The Blaze, and Fox News only want to pour their money into the Steve Crowders and Candace Owenses. These entities like their business model because it works for them. So why should they feel any need to change it?
If it was truly about changing hearts and minds and spreading the conservative gospel, there are people who are less loud and abrasive, less petty, less pretty, less media-packaged, who know how to debate and articulate what being a conservative is all about, why conservative thought wins the day, and why it matters to our nation. I follow many of these people on Twitter and Telegram and get more from five minutes of their content than I do from 30 minutes of Tomi!. Most of these people have never gotten an audience or their platform recruited or promoted by Conservative, Inc. No doubt, because of some of the reasons exposed by Crowder and Arbour.
The only thing this Crowder vs. Daily Wire drama shows is how unserious our movement is about creating good people and fixing America. I feel like I’m watching the Kardashians or reading gossip tabloids. Why should I, or anyone else frankly, care about any of this?
— Will Witt (@thewillwitt) January 24, 2023
I don’t listen enough to Arbour to know whether she has any heft, but because of her toxic experiences, she says she is done with the conservative movement. This is tragic because the real conservative movement has little to do with Conservative, Inc. Unfortunately, Conservative, Inc. has brashly given a false face to the conservative movement that does not reflect the people within it. A new business model and the promotion of other platforms can change this.
And it needs to if conservatism is to survive.