Why the Right Fails to Change Culture: “We don’t do videos.”

Why the Right Fails to Change Culture: “We don’t do videos.” By Larry Schweikart.

No one in conservative circles denies we are getting crushed in the culture wars. Yes, key conservatives have been banned from major social media. Yes, Facebook, Twitter, Google are biased.

But the broader question should be, “Why were conservatives relegated to predominantly social media in the first place?” Why are there virtually no conservative television shows? Why is Fox … the only “conservative” news network, and even then, one whose “conservatism” is fading rapidly? Why are there no conservative graphic novels?

Of course, Andrew Breitbart was the John the Baptist of this element of our culture. The creation of (at first) Drudge Report, then later Breitbart News, was essential to broadening a conservative alternative. But it wasn’t nearly sufficient. …

Hollywood:

One well-known actor told me, “When you go on a production site, at lunch time all the trucks where the stage construction workers and set designers are having lunch have Rush Limbaugh on. But if the director comes by, they turn it down.”

Another director told me of a conversation two of his producer friends had with an Amazon Prime executive as they pitched their children’s show. “We don’t take material from white males,” they were instructed. “The era of Aryan supremacy is dead.” Realize these two men had several successes in the field already, and possessed a track record of profits.

Prager U:

Their four-minute videos are masterpieces of hard-hitting, well-scripted commentary with a minimum of production added. Prager’s reach is immense. …

Prager’s work is incredible and provides key issue discussions for the “skulls full of mush” who are today’s youth. It does suffer, however, from two weaknesses. First, because the videos draw from diverse conservative voices who in general support each other’s fundamental assumptions, the gaps between each are enormous and the small differences between, say, a monetarist and an Art Laffer Trump supporter can be confusing to the point of fraying all commonalities. This is why college classes are usually taught by one professor, and why team teaching tends to break down without rigid control.

The other weakness of Prager U. videos is that they are, by design, focused on a niche market, namely those people interested in short takes on a particular issue. Again, without minimizing in the least the tremendous value of addressing this niche market, it does not take the place of thousands of hours of more subtle brainwashing on the part of what passes for “entertainment.” And it’s not just movies and television, but music and graphic novels as well.

Conservatives don’t do video:

As I began my “tour” of conservative think tanks, I was asking for what (in Hollywood terms) was a catering budget — about $450,000 per episode to make a six-hour series based on A Patriot’s History. …

I was not surprised at the first response from Heritage Foundation, which was simply, “We don’t do videos.” This pretty much ended all discussion. “What do you fund?” I asked. “We fund panel discussions, speakers, white papers.” “Do you realize,” I countered, “that none of those will reach youths, let alone significantly influence them?” I received a blank stare. Finally, the person I spoke with said again, “Well, we just don’t do videos.” …

Over the next several years, I met with virtually all of the conservative organizations and think tanks. Almost to a word, they repeated the “We-don’t-do-video” response I got at Heritage. …

Entertainment industry says “no” to conservatives too:

Consider the fact that not one major film depicting the life and/or challenges of Ronald Reagan has been made. A picture about Ronald Reagan, with Dennis Quaid attached to play Reagan, has languished for over a year. Pretty soon, Quaid will be too old to play the Gipper. At least one other Reagan script, somewhat more imaginary—but positive nonetheless—has yet to gain financial traction. Reagan’s life in Hollywood alone would make terrific storytelling, from the threats to have acid thrown in his face for his role as head of SAG to his epic battles with the communists inside the Screen Actor’s Guild (which he won). But from the filmmakers and financiers in Hollywood? Crickets.

And thus the culture war was lost, then a civilization.