Word broke in early December, following massive wins by Democrats in the House of Representatives, that two powerhouses of conservative media — Glenn Beck’s The Blaze and Mark Levin’s Conservative Review — would be merging and offering a new clearing house of conservative opinions, a move that saw some big names walking away from their positions and most of conservative media wondering just how the new effort was going to stake out a spot in an already crowded field.
For one commentator, however, the move is only a positive because it takes the sizable name recognition of both outlets and opens the door to conservative voices from across the spectrum seeking a less rigid platform from which to offer thoughts on the new direction Washington — and the country — is headed under Trump.
Eric Bolling, (who, it should be noted, is a personal friend of President Trump), began his show “America” on Conservative Review TV (CRTV) a year ago and says the union of the two media outlets under the moniker Blaze Media is an exciting prospect not just for the hosts, producers, writers, and editors involved in the work, but for the conservative news faithful looking for new content delivered, as he does in his show, in the style of conversation rather than scripted interviews.
“This is like the Anthony Bourdain show if it was about politics,” Bolling says of “America,” which has already featured guests such as Melania Trump, Lara Trump, Rand Paul, Rick Harrison, Ted Cruz, Kellyanne Conway, Jim Jordan, and Wayne Newton.
Under the merger, Blaze Media will have a reach of reach of over 165 million each month across cable and satellite TV, subscription video on-demand, podcasts, social media, and other digital outlets. It will continue on a trajectory of programming that is “pro-America, pro-free speech” and will promote content free of censorship.
But what really sets it apart, says Bolling, is the approach to subject matter. In the stuffy world of political reporting, Bolling tacks differently, often interviewing his subjects in their offices or out in the field so that viewers can see who they are “as people.”
Take his recent interview with Texas Senator Ted Cruz. Coming off his hotly-contested win against Democrat darling Beto O’Rourke, Bolling chose to start the conversation with Cruz by discussing something the Senator wanted to discuss: his new beard, which had made him the talk of social media for days.
“Ted Cruz has gone through this hard-fought battle with Beto and he finally wins,” Bolling says. “And when I went to interview him, maybe a week after the election, in the Senate rotunda, Jim [Calcaterra, an executive producer of “America”] and I decide to start the interview with his beard. We started with something fun and something the Senator wanted to talk about, where traditional media would say, ‘So, you’ve just won your Senate race…’. We aim for content showing these are just people who happen to be making decisions that affect all Americans.”
He took a similar approach to interviewing the First Lady, choosing to spend a great deal of time discussing her much-maligned red Christmas trees, which had been a source of intense debate by watchers on social media when they were unveiled before Christmas. While his subject matter may veer from heavy policy, he says it will remain provocative because it will be about what people are interested in talking about.
Bolling knows a bit about what it takes to make an interview interesting and provocative. He spent 10 years and a host and co-host at Fox News Channel, filling in for Bill O’Reilly more than 200 times, Sean Hannity more than 70, and finally landing his own hosting gig on “Cashin’ In” where he discussed the nexus of business and politics.
Now, he says, he wants to offer interviews that show the real people behind the decisions that affect all the American people. He wants to showcase how they live and work, and finds news in, for example, the fact that Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert goes to work each day in an office adorned with a massive flag of his home state of Texas. He believes humanizing legislators and politicians, and getting to the heart of why they make the decisions they make, will make for compelling stories.
“I hope to show what these people are thinking and feeling,” Bolling says. “It will continue to be a lineup of every form of conservative opinion out there, despite that the Republican Party has bifurcated and trifurcated. We’ll have it all here, and it will be a positive thing. All are welcome.”