For the sake of "The Movement"
Daily Wire vs Steven Crowder
If your media consumption leans right, then you've seen headlines about Stephen Crowder and the Daily Wire trading sound bites about a contract off going wrong.
Stephen Crowder, who has one of the most popular independent YouTube channels for conservative commentary and comedy released a video calling "Big Con" to task. During the video he details punitive measures incorporated into an offer given to him by what was later revealed to be The Daily Wire. An ensuing back and forth between Crowder, and the Daily Wire and its talent took over much of the popular news cycle.
Crowder is arguing that by penalizing creative talent if they are demonetized on platforms like YouTube and Facebook outlets like the Daily Wire are doing the bidding of "Big Tech." Crowder further argues that for the "conservative movement" to succeed creators have to feel emboldened to run afoul of the "community standards" established by YouTube and other platforms. Companies in the conservative space therefore should have a business model that allows for this.
The Daily Wire , who outed themselves as the company with said provisions, have pointed to the fact their offer was open to negotiation and was for $50 million dollars. Their business model relies on advertising, and so these seemingly punitive measures are put into place so that creator and company sink or swim together. In other words "it's just business."
Business or Belief?
Plenty have weighed in on the specifics of the term sheet, and what they think is acceptable and what they think is not. What I wanted to focus on was the narrative tension between matters of business and matters of belief. Crowder defending his position on Timcast IRL said many times that his decision wasn't about money - it was about ideas. So much so that he was willing to walk away from $50 million contract negotiations. The vision he lays out is an ecosystem where young creators who aren't as fiercely tied to their independence as Crowder was don't censor themselves for fear of losing compensation. The reply from young creators at the Daily Wire? Brett Cooper said her contract didn't have the same provisions, and having access to the mentorship from more experienced talent at the Daily Wire is well worth her compensation.
Outlets like the Daily Wire claim (rightfully) to be one of the largest platforms in conservative/right leaning media. Expanding beyond news and commentary to include documentaries and fictional movies. It may seem obvious then, that a scrappy independent creator like Crowder is the David fighting proverbial Goliath, but that's a matter of belief.
The reality is no matter how ideologically driven someone is - no matter how much belief is at the core of their being - business interests must be taken into account. While it is certainly worth discussing why conservative and right wing creators burn out of the larger corporate outlets - that doesn't change the fact Crowder has business interests to pursue and employees to protect, ideologically driven as he may be.
Personally I don't think Crowder intended to go to war with the Daily Wire, but I think he was willing to use their term sheet in order to help him launch his business to its next phase. I don't see that as a conflict between what he's saying - chances are he believes he can help shape the growing modern conservative/right wing media landscape
One of the earliest sentences written at BeenAwake.com was "Categorization is a useful tool, but unlike rocks and plants, human ideas are not so easily separated from one another." Writers and creators including your author, will often make references to "The Right" or conservatives, libertarians, and so on. Many people like to see this as one connected movement of people opposing "The Left." However, the reality is the defining characteristic of whether someone is "of the right" is that they are opposed to The Left. While not a monolith, The Left is able to operate more efficiently because their mission is the same - maintain power and achieve progress.
What is progress?
What the people in power decide it is. After all, everyone is down for "the cause."
The right doesn't manifest the same cohesion because it is still not cohesive. They do not hold much institutional or popular power. Mainstream conservatism was split by Donald Trump's presidency. For example, elected Congressmen Matt Gaetz and Dan Crenshaw call themselves conservative, yet they have very different perspectives on what that means. As you move farther away from mainstream sources this trend manifests itself continually.
Many people in this media space will pay lip service to the idea of "creating culture" while never really defining what that is beyond watching their show, going to their events, and buying their products. As a creator it is sound advice for one to cultivate a sense of community with your supporters. This creates positive feedback and helps you retain and grow an audience. As a media personality, you put out a formulation of ideas to attract people to your platform. So while there are multiple communities in this media space with overlapping audiences - there is no unity in movement - only opposition. As this becomes more apparent in the run up to the 2024 election, it will be interesting to see whether a culture and coalition actually comes together.
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