Silicon Valley and Hollywood may seem culturally monotheistic. Recent rifts suggest otherwise.
It seems that Twitter and media outlets have been abuzz this week with one high-profile drama after another.
The fall of Netflix and its abandonment by progressive investors, Disney’s myriad problems in Florida, Elon Musk’s very public efforts to buy Twitter and take the company in a more free-speech positive direction, Jack Dorsey’s thoughts on the subject, Joe Rogan and the bad kids on the block of new media, rabble rousers like Matt Taibbi, Glenn Greenwald and Bari Weiss: Cracks are showing in the ice of what has heretofore seemed like an impenetrable wall of moral certitude and progressive bona fides from New York City to Hollywood to Silicon Valley and back.
These cultural kerfuffles have done nothing so much as expose one of the chief dangers of groupthink. When everyone is saying one thing, anyone willing to say something else has a lane of their own.
Writing another 2,000 word article about the unique evils of the Trump Administration puts any content creator from the NYT to CNN+ in a pile with 10,000 others just like it, some written by people more influential and with larger online followings.
A true contrarian, someone like Elon Musk, Glenn Greenwald, Joe Rogan, Matt Taibbi, Russell Brand, Bari Weiss, Jason Whitlock- even Jack Dorsey- willing to buck the party line goes right to the top of the heap. They are tackling subjects no one else on the left is willing to touch, staking out positions unoccupied by a thousand other influencers.
The prevalence of groupthink and monoculture has also created the ideal environment for snitching. A employee within a progressive organization willing to dish the dirt on the ugly internal workings of the company is welcomed on the talk show circuit.
A juicy story, preferably with “the receipts” in the form of video or audio recordings or email screenshots, is good for a least a few news-cycles, more followers and perhaps a better book deal down the road.
On one hand, any of Donald Trump’s former friends, acquaintances, even someone who met him once in a restaurant, with a story to tell, can find a ready audience and at least 15 minutes of fame.
On the other hand, anyone with similar stories to tell about prominent Democratic Party politicians is now doing the same- and with a great deal less competition than anyone dishing the dirt on Trump.
The spectacular recent fall of former New Governor Andrew Cuomo is a perfect example of this principle. Andrew Cuomo’s younger brother Chris is another good example. After being fired from CNN, the younger Cuomo brother is suing his former employers, laying out the company’s dirty laundry in his court filing.
Because of the prevalence of progressive ideology in the media, Hollywood and Silicon Valley, it is easy to forget the truth.
Yes; most people working in Hollywood and in Silicon Valley are of the liberal persuasion, as are a majority of the people on Twitter. But the population of the U.S., and especially its population of likely voters, are almost exactly and equally split between the two parties.
Which means roughly 50% of U.S. consumers are on the conservative end of the spectrum. So, right away, no matter how much the editors at CNN, MSNBC, or the LA Times believe conservatives need to hear about how the Republican Party is a threat to Democracy, a threat to national security, or some such, those news consumers turned the channel long ago.
They aren’t clicking on those stories and what’s more, news aggregate sites that conservatives favor aren’t linking those stories to their landing pages.
More and more, and especially with the ignominious recent demise of CNN+ after only 23 days, progressive news outlets are preaching to the choir. That is, they are pushing progressive causes to people who are already converted and who have no shortage of quality content dedicated to this bent.
The audiences of CNN, MSNBC, NYT, The Washington Post, and the LA Times are already registered Democrats planning on voting the party line this November and every subsequent one thereafter, just like anyone watching FOX News is already voting Republican.
Democrats don’t watch FOX News; they profane it, they openly mock and deride the network and anyone who watches it. Republicans now feel exactly the same way about CNN and MSNBC.
Anyone on the left having trouble understanding this concept need only apply the Golden Rule.
Anything Democrats would have blamed on Donald Trump- from the inflation we are currently experiencing in every aspect of our lives to the conflicts in Ukraine and Afghanistan- Republicans are now blaming on the Biden Administration, fair or not.
What has been done unto the Republican Party will be done to the Democratic Party, and how.
Consider how much attention Republicans who break rank have been given by the left over the past few years. Republicans like Liz Cheney and Mitt Romney are practically revered on the left. Even formerly-hated conservatives like George W. Bush- a man who most leftists called a war criminal not long ago- have been image-rehabbed by a willingness to cross the party line and give aid and comfort to the “enemy”.
Republicans like Cheney and Romney aren’t unintelligent. When everyone else in the Republican Party is only saying one thing, anyone willing to say something else is going to get all the attention.
As such, any progressive Democrats criticizing the left from the left are bound to get an equal if not greater amount of attention. The current media model makes salacious content the cream that always floats to the top of the vat.
Whatever gets those fingers clicking.
A political party getting along is boring. A political party breaking apart along deeply calcified ideological lines is much more dramatic and newsworthy.
So when Tesla CEO and Silicon Valley entrepreneur golden boy Elon Musk publicly starts to battle with the Twitter board over his intentions to acquire the company, it attracts a high level of gleeful notice.
And that was before former Twitter CEO and current board member Jack Dorsey jumped into the fray, if not exactly on Musk’s side, definitely critical of the board.
There are ideological fault lines showing through elsewhere as well. Content giant Spotify has declined to contract the podcast of former President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, offering various reasons from not enough personal appearances by the power couple to their reluctance to make podcast content exclusive to Spotify.
Joe Rogan, once and future king of California turned Texan, is earning his stock and trade criticizing popular figures on the left from Stephen Colbert to Chuck Schumer and making a royal mint doing it. That plus the cost-of-living savings Rogan is enjoying since leaving California may soon be launching him into a new tax bracket.
Comedian-turned-social-commentator Russell Brand is a serious up-and-comer in the Rogan genre of independents, angry conservatives and disenchanted former liberals.
Everywhere you look in popular media lately, it seems like the cracks are starting to show. It makes perfect sense: No demographic group is a monolith.
During the Trump presidency, liberals and progressives were united against a common foe. Things have been growing less clear since 2020.
Elon Musk, Jack Dorsey, Glenn Greenwald, Matt Taibbi, Jason Whitlock, Bari Weiss; they may be the first prominent figures on the left and in the media mainstream to notice the 80 million conservative voters amenable to content not steeped in leftist ideology.
They won’t be the last.
(contributing writer, Brooke Bell)