As 2021 begins, The Daily Wire is about to launch into a new arena: the arena of entertainment. We want to explain just why.
My mentor, Andrew Breitbart, always said politics is downstream of culture. What he meant by this is that more people are shaped by the culture that surrounds them than by politics directly: we consume movies and TV shows; we get together and discuss the latest in sports; we join in churches and at universities and at restaurants to discuss our lives. We swim in a sea of culture. In large part, we’re defined by the culture in which we swim.
Then, every so often, we’re asked to weigh in on issues surrounding politics — issues like tax rates, or abortion, or religious freedom. We don’t come to those questions as blank slates. We bring all of our feelings, all of our experiences — our culture — to bear. That’s why when I’m asked how to raise a conservative kid, my first two recommendations are cultural rather than political: go to church or synagogue or mosque and regularly attend Fourth of July parades.
But conservatives have never truly understood the cultural battle. Yes, we occasionally fight the culture war — from time to time, we fight back against some idiotic TV show or nasty movie; we’ll mobilize others to unsubscribe from Netflix over promotion of reprehensible material; we’ll stop watching the Oscars after being insulted one too many times. But the simple truth is that we conservatives live increasingly in the same culture as those on the Left. Because our media are national in scope, we consume the same sort of material as those who disagree with us. We may yell at Netflix and Apple TV and Hulu and Disney+ and ESPN, but most of us still subscribe to one of those services. And Daily Wire and Fox News and conservative media aren’t competition for those services, either in what they do, or in the numbers they reach. Fox News’ primetime numbers this year, which were stellar, averaged about 3.6 million people. Netflix has over 70 million US subscribers. The difference between the reach of political content and entertainment content is at least an order of magnitude. There is a reason millions of people believe lies about conservatives. They’ve been trained to do so by a culture that despises conservatives.
So conservatives have two choices: they can tune out, or they can find alternatives.
Many conservatives have been tuning out. Ratings are down in sports, thanks in large part to the politicization of the fields of play. Many conservatives cancelled Netflix over the Cuties controversy; conservatives properly understand that Netflix isn’t on their side, with just 42 percent of Republicans saying they had a positive perception of the company as opposed to 63 percent of Democrats.
The problem is that Republicans won’t win anybody over by simply disengaging. We need those who aren’t political to engage with a different sort of content: content that is edgy and entertaining and awesome, but that doesn’t actively work to undermine the very values that have made this country exceptional. We need to give people options.
So Daily Wire will, in 2021, be jumping into the world of entertainment content. We’re going to be bringing out movies — edgy, entertaining, awesome movies that won’t mock your values. We’re going to be producing TV shows — comedies and dramas that take you seriously, and that don’t take advantage of your viewership to promote Leftist causes.
This is a risky move. It may alienate some people who feel uncomfortable with conservatives making entertainment, and who think that disengagement with the culture is the best strategy. We get it. But we believe we need to fight back. We’re fighting back on the journalistic front by hiring new investigative reporters. We’re fighting back in the political space with our massively popular podcasts. Now it’s time to fight back in the culture — it’s time to blow up the Death Star that is the Left-wing monopoly on entertainment, and to provide a replacement for your dollars, so that you’re not paying the people who want to see your values disappear. To that end, we’re going to be making provocative content to compete for the most important audience in the entertainment sphere: young adults. This necessarily means our content may offend some people in our audience, but we cannot win the culture if we do not compete for it.
So get ready. 2021 is going to be a wild ride.
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