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One of conservatism’s strengths is accepting divergent thought away from fundamentals such as limited government and individual freedom. Evidence of this is plentiful here at RedState, where diverse topics, be they cultural such as the Star Wars franchise, or political discussions (Trump or DeSantis in 2024) evoke different, spirited responses. This is how it should be. Iron sharpens iron. Leave identity politics to leftist cultists.
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. Pool has Crowder scheduled to appear on his show this coming Monday, January 23rd, so expect the fireworks to continue firing.
The above aside, three points warrant discussion. First, I strongly suspect this brouhaha will have as many lasting repercussions as Kevin McCarthy’s battle to win Speaker of the House in January 2023. The moment the final vote was over, and he won the Speaker position, did anyone continue to care about the different arguments regarding why it took so many votes? No. The House did the deal, and everyone got on with the business at hand. “Louder With Crowder” will continue to air, only now as an independent entity, and Daily Wire will continue doing whatever it does. Everything else will fade into another meaningless, purposeless chapter of Twitterati internecine warfare.
Second, one of the proposed deal’s main sticking points with Crowder — substantial reduction in income should his show run afoul of YouTube, which Google’s parent company owns, or Facebook — highlights something Thomas LaDuke mentioned here on January 19th, that being the extreme importance of subscribing for VIP content.
One of the overlooked points in this discussion by Crowder and Boreing is that media companies like the ones mentioned above and Salem Media, which owns RedState, have had to move to a model of putting some content behind a paywall because of big tech censorship.
When the RedState VIP program was about to be rolled out, the writers here at RedState were invited onto a call to explain why this was happening and the underlying reason was simple: Our posts could get hit with reduced visibility or even banned on Facebook, YouTube, or Twitter for simply writing a story that asked the question if it was “normal” for the FDA to speed up the approval of any vaccine. The magical violation of the “Terms of Service” or “Independent Fact Checkers” tag would be slapped on almost anything not agreeable to the benevolent overlords on the public side and take revenue needed to keep the lights on.
You could protest the decision but the writing was on the wall and tactics needed to be changed. Behind a paywall, those anti-free speech rules do not apply and that is why these programs are needed.
Crowder is 100 percent correct in pointing out the ludicrous nature of Daily Wire’s insistence that any strikes against his show on YouTube should incur a financial penalty when demonetization is already his YouTube status. Tim Pool mentioned on his January 17th show that Daily Wire is indulging in 1990s thinking. A popular content creator no longer needs corporate backing. He or she can do his or her own thing by themselves, assembling a small team if necessary to assist. It’s nice if a corporation says hey, let’s work together; you do you, we’ll handle the technical stuff, and in return, we’ll split the profits. This is eminently fair and promotes both parties’ strengths. Also, a conservative commentator should organically tick off big tech by promoting an alternate message. Conservative media relying on income received from ads or story placement on Google (or variations thereof) or Facebook is acting with utter foolishness. Complete independence — your own URL, a trusted hosting provider, and direct compensation from fans — is the only way to go. This applies to corporate-run entities as well. Keep it in-house, develop direct revenue streams via VIP subscriptions, and sell your own ad space whenever possible.
The third and final point is that neither side has handled this issue properly. Crowder could have, and should have, told Daily Wire to get bent and then kept quiet about the matter. All of his protests about doing what he has done to benefit the next generation of content creators aside, this was not the best way to denounce antiquated online business practices. For its part, the Daily Wire and all associated with it are presenting themselves as whiny children blaming the rock they tripped over for their fall instead of admitting they weren’t looking where they were going.
The sooner this matter fades from attention, the better. Hopefully, the truths learned along the way will enjoy a much longer life.
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