OPINION: DW/Crowder Fight Highlights Ideological Battle Within Conservative Movement

The Daily Wire’s god-king Jeremy Boering responded to the video the Steven Crowder made accusing a nameless company of providing ridiculous contract terms for Crowder’s show. Boering responds in possibly the most transparent fashion that can be possible, he read and explained the offer that the Daily Wire made to Crowder in detail. After watching the video, its clear the Crowder is viewing the deal from a very specific lens.

The right wing of the political spectrum has had a hard time between the monetary aspect of politics and the ideological purity aspect. This occurs all the time in electoral politics, where there are those that stand for “true” conservatism against the “RINOs” and the “Swamp”. Accusations are leveled at anyone who supports Ron DeSantis in 2024 to those who think that negotiating with Dems on the debt ceiling is a good idea. This was behind the Speaker fight a few weeks ago. Now, there are times when the fight is good and must be done, like in said Speaker fight. The concessions that the hard-right got in denying McCarthy the gavel for 14 rounds is going to make the Republican Party stronger.

Yet there are also times when conservatives cut off their own nose to spite their face. The results of the 2022 midterm elections are one such example. Hard right conservatives fought to get their candidates through the primaries, flipping off the “Swamp” and burning the bridges. The problem is, the “Swamp” has the money, and they don’t mind losing the Majority for now if it means they can have the candidates they want. Building a movement that can win elections requires ideology, but it also takes money. You cannot expect to win when you are outspent 19:1 like Don Bolduc was in New Hampshire. Creating a movement that is both ideologically pure and monetarily solvent is a generational job, it doesn’t happen overnight.

Same is true with the business of conservative politics. Until the Right builds legitimate platforms that can reach hundreds of millions of people, regardless of their previous political affiliation, they need to play in the sandbox that YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms built. The Right has done this before. When the Left had complete control of the airwaves in the 1980s, the Right escaped to AM radio and built a brand that was unparalleled. When the Left owned the networks, the Right built Fox News on cable.

Steven Crowder has made his career on YouTube, even though YouTube doesn’t pay him anymore. Crowder can reach millions of viewers, and bring those viewers to other sources of revenue. He may view his demonetization on YouTube as a badge of honor to his ideological purity, but a badge of honor does not pay for his employees (or his lawyer), as he well knows. This is why he built Mug Club, a very successful paywall where users can get his content. This is why he was working for the Blaze, and why he got into negotiations with the Daily Wire.

The Daily Wire is incredibly good at straddling that line between conservative ideology and business prowess, better than nearly anyone in the business. Fox News has done segments on trans children. Newsmax has fired employees for getting banned on Twitter. The meeting of Ben Shapiro and Jeremy Boering is the Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs of the conservative movement. Creating a contract for Crowder that allows for creative discretion while still remaining profitable is not an easy task, but it was something that the Daily Wire was willing to do to bring Crowder on as a talent. Crowder obviously disagreed.

Crowder’s mindset has a ceiling of success. He can only reach so many people and make just enough money to keep his show going if he continues on the path he’s on. The Daily Wire is building a multimedia entertainment and news company that is unprecedented in the sphere. That means there are different tactics that need to be taken, including a strong contract that ensures that they make money with their talent so that money can be spun back into the business. They are not going to sign a talent only to have it be a money-loser. That’s not a way to grow a movement, let alone a company.

All of this is a shame, as a collaboration between Crowder and the Daily Wire would have made for incredible content. A documentary with the Crowder team would have been incredible, as would have the backstage episodes with Crowder smoking cigars with Ben Shapiro, Matt Walsh, Andrew Klavan, Michael Knowles and Jeremy Boering. Hopefully this public spat can get resolved privately, with both sides coming to a mutual respect for one another. The conservative movement is too small for these two giants to be fighting.

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