The Republican National Convention’s first night included all the usual partisan spin. That, of course, is why these occasions exist. But in 2020, the Republican narrative is a commodity, giving the RNC an allure with exasperated corporate media consumers who recognize they aren’t being served by mainstream journalists.
I have no idea how big this audience is, or whether it’s large enough to boost the ratings. But it’s exactly the kind of programming that rocketed podcasters and YouTubers such as Joe Rogan into the stratosphere, attracting larger audiences than cable networks in some cases. Why? Because it’s the story the corporate media refuses to tell. The Trump presidency finally helped people beyond the conservative movement recognize the severity of media corruption, creating a broader audience for the other side of the story.
Pro-Trump addresses from speakers such as Herschel Walker, Andrew Pollack, Mark and Patricia McCloskey, Tim Scott, and Maximo Alvarez contained compelling personal narratives that get zero oxygen in the corporate media. It’s not that the audience for this kind of content is a MAGA army of transitioning “walk away” Republicans; it’s that curious consumers are increasingly aware the media is ignoring one side of the argument — presupposing its evilness — and are eager to hear what’s being kept from them. They’re sick of hostile filters.
Even a politician like Nikki Haley meets these criteria. Her remarks on Black Lives Matter, which vigorously affirmed the dignity of every person, finally brought a cogent conservative argument about racial justice to prime-time television. Haley wouldn’t have a chance to make that argument outside Fox News without being filtered through adversarial coverage, overt or subtle.
That’s what drives people to Rogan. Several years into this trend, corporate media still has no clue that the success of heterodox programming, which allows anti-progressive voices a civil platform to make their arguments, is related to their own inability to do the same. People know they’re not getting the full story, and they want it. Honest conversation, by the way, makes for much more entertaining content anyway.
Roughly half the voting population cast a ballot for Donald Trump, but their representation in corporate media is slim and almost always slanted unfairly. Nobody outside the MSNBC faithful wants to watch that.
Judging by the left’s reaction to the first night of the convention, they are still clearly too terrified and too ignorant to understand why it’s better for business and journalism to give people like the McCloskeys or pro-Trump Alvarez a fair platform. That’s why they’ll continue losing trust and losing viewers, while clips from the RNC affect more people than they could predict.
New media is thriving because of corporate media corruption. They’ve created an exploding demand for heterodox perspectives, perspectives that undercut the elite narrative that everyone to the right of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is bigoted, whether they’re black like Tim Scott or immigrants like Alvarez. The legacy outlets are losing their monopoly. The RNC isn’t exactly an episode of “The Joe Rogan Experience,” but like Rogan, it’s giving people the corporate media ignores a fair chance to tell their stories.