Why you should fund the big conservative internet sites
If you believe in re-electing President Trump and advancing Constitutional American values, you must subscribe to conservative internet sites.
Once upon a time, big internet sites relied on advertising to pay for technology and staff. As ads began to clutter websites, slowing loading, and resulting in irritating pop-ups, internet users turned to ad-blocking apps. Indeed, because I am security conscious, my entire browser — the Brave browser — is a unified ad blocking app. I should feel guilty about this because I have ads on the blog, but I apparently can live with the hypocrisy. Moreover, considering that I bring in the low double digits in ad revenue every month, I suspect many of my readers also have ad blockers.
Some internet sites have responded to ad blockers by asking readers to “white list” the site, which means the site’s ads bypass the ad blocker,either by appealing to their sense of fairness or by blocking access until the readers do white list it. If I like the site, I will use the white list feature. If I’m just surfing and stumble across something, I probably won’t. I can be fair, but not that fair.
The ad / ad-blocking cat and mouse game between users and websites has forced internet sites to come up with other ideas. One thing they learned from watching the struggles traditional media outlets had with getting revenue is that you can’t offer the product for free and then suddenly snatch it away with the demand that people pay to regain access. Most people, even though they know that a favored site was hemorrhaging money during that “free” period, feel cheated if they can no longer read news and analysis that once cost them nothing more than the inconvenience of ads or getting an ad blocker. That’s human nature.
Of course, most people forget that the old ad system did not mean that either the newspaper or the TV station was free. Instead, ads just spread the cost to every because the cost of advertising is factored into the price of the product being advertised. This means that, for us old folks, all those years that we watched the TV networks for “free” thanks to advertising, simply meant we were paying more money at the grocery store, department store, car dealership, or travel agency. Nothing in life is free. In a free society, though, you get to have control over where your money goes, which is the point of the rest of this post.
Faced with declining ad revenue, the mainstream media sites tried multiple ways to bring in subscriptions. One approach that was apparently successful, because it’s still common, is to give users free access to somewhere between 3-10 articles per month and then cut them off unless the users pay. I guess the theory is that, like “the old dope peddler,” you give the kids free samples until they’re hooked and are willing to pay for the product.
Conservative outlets that used to be entirely free (barring ads) have gone a different route, which is to try to maintain as much free content as possible. This is because, while profit matters, as well as paying the bills, conservative outlets are driven by principles too.
In a media market that quashes conservative content (more on that in a minute), websites that want to present the news that the mainstream media suppresses or distorts have as a moral imperative giving everyone as much access as possible to their general content. After all, if conservative websites don’t publish the missing stories and analysis or give the facts to the lies, no one else will.
To keep free content flowing, conservative sites have identified those issues, writers, or podcasters that are most appealing. They then tell people that they’ll have to put money on the table to read in-depth analyses about the issues or commune with their favorite writers.
All of my favorite conservative news and analysis sites have now gone that route: The Daily Caller has its Patriots Program; The Daily Wire has its subscription program (complete with a Leftist Tears Tumbler); American Thinker has it’s “get rid of ads” subscription; and just recently Townhall and its affiliates (including PJ Media and Twitchy) introduced the VIP Program. At each of these sites, you can still get about 90% of their content for free, but they’ve sequestered some of their favorite stuff behind paywalls or given readers a guilt-free option for block ads.
I am ordinarily one of the cheapest people you will ever meet. You can dress it up by calling it “frugal” or “careful,” but the fact is that, as I get older, I get more and more paranoid about the poor house and dinner out of cat food tins. If I can get away without spending money, that money stays in my bank. I’ve long ago distinguished between “want” and “need,” and, while there are many things I want, there are few things I need.
For a long time, as far as I was concerned, those subscription programs to my favorite conservative news and opinion websites fell into the want category. Sure, that Daily Caller article looks interesting, but not interesting enough to pay for. And I love that writer’s take on things, but there’s enough of his free content wandering around for me to take a pass.
This weekend, though, two things struck me so forcibly that I realized I had to take a stand. I no longer merely want to subscribe to my favorite outlets, I need to because very important principles are at stake here.
The first thing that crossed my radar involved a closed conservative Facebook group to which I belong. It’s a large group but, in the many years during which I’ve followed it, I’ve never seen anyone post something inappropriate. By “inappropriate,” I mean something that incites violence, that’s obscene, that support terrorism, that touch upon perverse sexual activity, or that otherwise discusses or invites people to participate in anything illegal. It’s just conservative political talk, with the contributors ranging from loving Trump to hating Trump.
Based upon historical precedent within the group, it was impossible to explain why the group moderators suddenly received this series of messages — and I should add that the moderators were at a loss as well, for they had seen nothing criminal or untoward that required moderation. Moreover, I’m familiar with the posts from all the people named (I’ve obviously redacted their names for privacy reasons) and nothing they’ve written has ever come even close to incitement or criminality, or that was sleazy or otherwise morally inappropriate:
It didn’t take long to discover that mine is not the only group that suddenly felt the Facebook censor’s heavy hand. Facebook is now censoring anything that refers to Eric Ciaramella, the highly connected Democrat operative who almost certainly wrote the hearsay memo that is being characterized as a “whistle blower” report about President Trump’s phone call with President Zelenskyy of Ukraine. And by “refers to Eric Ciaramella,” I don’t mean anything that accuses him of wrongdoing. Instead, Facebook is memory-holing his name entirely in a way that would have made Orwell’s evil Big Brother deeply proud.
I ran my own little experiment, putting up a Facebook post that said only that “For some reason, I’m thinking of the name Eric Ciaramella.” Without a few hours it was deleted. I then put up the following Facebook posts, again merely saying Ciaramella’s name without saying anything else about him or his activities:
All were deleted within hours, sometimes minutes. The fourth deletion finally elicited this statement from Facebook:
Please note, again, that I said nothing about Eric Ciaramella other than his name.
It’s not just Eric Ciaramella’s name (can I say that again? Eric Ciaramella) that’s verboten on Facebook. Trump’s rallies, with tens of thousands of passionate supporters, are being erased as well:
Apparently Facebook is unwilling to let people see the difference between a Trump rally in Ilhan Omar’s “true blue” Minneapolis attracting 55,000 people, and the latest Democrat forum, featuring several Dem candidates, including Elizabeth Warren, attracting practically nobody. The differing levels of enthusiasm might further increase Trump’s popularity, don’t you know….
Facebook is ostensibly free, but we’ve long ago learned that it’s demanding a payment from America that may well be much more expensive than a free society can bear. It has become a primary vehicle for American communication and it has its thumb firmly on the Democrat / Leftist side of the scale.
We also know that Jack Dorsey, of Twitter, just last week banned all political advertising. In case you missed it, Dorsey’s move isn’t some nice, even-handed way to deal with keeping paid politics off of Twitter. Here’s what’s really going on: The Democrat National Committee has pennies compared to the Republican National Committee and Donald Trump’s campaign is also sitting on a pile of gold compared to any of the Democrat candidates.
Looking at a situation in which Republicans could clearly out-advertise Democrats, Dorsey declared the game over and took his marbles home. Given the real reason behind his ostensibly principled stand, you can expect that, if Mike Bloomberg manages to buy his way into the nomination, the fact that he has even more money than Trump will see Dorsey suddenly declare that he was wrong and that political ads are once more welcome at Twitter.
In addition to social media censorship, we all know what’s been going on with the traditional media. I did a long post deconstructing just one example of the Washington Post’s crudely done anti-Trump propaganda. Sharyl Attkisson also has a running list of what she politely deems “mistakes” on the media’s part when it comes to reporting about Trump.
Even Attkisson’s lengthy list incomplete, for a friend pointed out to me that she missed the infamous Charlottesville Hoax. As you may recall, despite Trump’s repeatedly denouncing White Supremacists, the fact that he acknowledged that some good people might have shown up at Charlottesville to prevent the mob-like desecration of historic monuments allowed the media to convince most Americans that Trump supported white supremacy.
A more evil canard than the Charlottesville Hoax is hard to imagine. It’s a reminder that the media, wittingly or not, has learned from Hitler’s theory about how to create a successful “Big Lie.” Rather than repeat his writings in Mein Kampf, let me just take you the way in which his Minister of Propaganda, Goebbel, defined “the Big Lie.”
“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”
I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say that the Obama era media began to rely heavily on the Goebbels’s technique and that the Trump era media (both social media and mainstream media) has perfected it. And no, I’m not saying the Dems are Nazis. I’m just noting that they’re relying on Nazi-style techniques to get their message drilled into American minds regardless of truth.
And it’s that Goebbels’s quotation that gets me back to why you should open your pocketbook to support conservative media, even if you find doing so a bit irritating. Let me repeat important point Goebbels made: “The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie.”
As matters now stand, mainstream media outlets are working with social media outlets to shield people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the Democrats’ endless streams of lies. The only thing that stands between them and total control of the narrative is the conservative media on the internet.
I always like (like? whom am I kidding? love!) receiving donations from my readers, but the reality is that it’s not the little opinionators like me who are the last remaining purveyors of a counter-narrative. It’s those bigger sites — the Daily Callers, Daily Wires, PJ Medias, Townhalls, Blazes, Federalists, and Breitbarts — that are the ones standing athwart the barricades pushing back against the censorship and misrepresentation that is now standard in other outlets.
So, much as it kills me to say this, if you have $10 or $20 or $20 a month lying around that you’d like to put to good use to advance conservativism, don’t give it to me. Give it to the big conservative internet sites. I’ve already started doing so, and will be adding a subscription a week — and I’ll be feeling pretty damn smug about having done so.