Imagine you are a mover and shaker in conservative media. Perhaps you are a host on radio, produce a show on Fox News, or write an influential column. You learn about the political demographics of a particular group, and they are attractive.
62 per cent are conservative or independent, and similarly 61 per cent favor fighting budget deficits through spending cuts while only 25 per cent favour higher taxes.
This group has a big streak of anti-authoritarianism, rejects political correctness in all its forms, and favours the concept of meritocracy. Most importantly, a large chunk of them fall into the category of younger voters, which in past elections have been treated as automatic liberal votes.
In our scenario, you would be drooling at the chance to reach this group in order to help them embrace their conservative nature and reject the liberal programming that has been force fed to them throughout their entire lives and school careers.
This isn’t really a thought experiment — the group exists, and they are called gamers. The statistics I’ve quoted come from a survey by the Entertainment Software Association, which we reported on Thursday.
The amazing thing is instead of making inroads into this vibrant community of young people, most of the conservative media has completely ignored it in the best cases and been openly antagonistic towards it in the worst. This approach doesn’t make sense to me.
But the good news is that there is still time for conservative media to change course and make inroads to gamers as fellow travellers in the free speech battle, if not for social conservatism.
Gamers champion personal and creative freedoms, enthusiastically supporting the concept of the cultural libertarianism as outlined by Breitbart’s Allum Bokhari. They are by nature competitive and relentless – the ultimate campaign machine – making uniquely terrific progress in a culture war against authoritarianism and the unethical press that foists it upon them through the consumer revolt known as #GamerGate.
Gamers have a subversive attitude towards authority and politics, preferring to mock it and point out its flaws, as shown by the interest in the Trump campaign amongst the gaming community.
The subversive political attitude of gamers is similar in many respects to the Tea Party. (And Occupy Wall Street, too, of course.) Perhaps gamers, many of whom are already right-leaning, could become a second wave of anti-establishment centre-right conservatives eager to follow principles that so many feel have been ignored by the Republican Party establishment.
The differences between gamers and the Tea Party are largely generational. The typical Tea Party member upgrades their gun collection, searches online for investment strategies, and uses social media to keep up with the kids and grandkids. Gamers upgrade their computers, search online for game strategies, and use social media to insult each other and share memes.
Conservatives have demonstrated an ability to take over communications mediums when properly motivated. Hollywood and television networks have been under the thumb of big government liberalism for long enough that the right learned to flourish in the spaces left in between. Rush Limbaugh pioneered the conservative takeover of talk radio starting in the 1980s. Now AM radio is almost the exclusive domain of conservatives of all stripes, ranging from party mouthpieces to anti-establishment rabble-rousers.
Similarly, Andrew Breitbart and Matt Drudge pulled conservatives kicking and screaming into the Internet age, which we’ve come to embrace enthusiastically. Remember that before the left fell in love with their precious progressive blogs, they sneeringly derided conservative online reporting as “pajamas media.” Today they’re once again retreating into walled gardens, closing their comment sections.
Conservatives will never take over Hollywood, where only a few mavericks like James Woods, Tom Selleck, Robert Davi and Adam Baldwin are open with their right wing leanings. But who needs Hollywood? Gaming is bigger, earning $15.4 billion dollars in 2014, and growing rapidly in every direction including gameplay streaming and e-sports. The industry as a whole is worth nearly $90 billion.
The real question isn’t if conservatives should embrace gamers, but rather if gamers are willing to embrace conservatives. Gamers have experienced complete abandonment by a hobbyist press comprised of corrupt, far-left progressive bloggers captured by the corrosive ideologies of left-wing radicals. They have lost any faith they once had in the mainstream media after witnessing journalists blindly swallowing the narratives of professional victims.
They have even rejected The Colbert Report following a sympathetic interview with anti-video game crusader Anita Sarkeesian, the video of which had comments disabled, a first for videos of the show.
The failure of conservative media to fill this void is stunning. Gamers have an old-fashioned view of conservative media, associating it with disgraced and disbarred Jack Thompson, who crusaded against video games a decade ago. Events over the past year have not changed this view, as support for gamers outside of Breitbart have been few and far between.
Perhaps more journalists need to meet and interact with gamers, who completely changed my opinion of them by being some of the friendliest and accepting people I’ve ever met.
There is still time for right-leaning media to do an about-face and support the next wave of conservatives. Gamers are forgiving and will side with news sources that tell the truth. We’ve already launched Breitbart Tech, but more must be done by other websites, not to mention TV and radio. Or, you know, maybe not. More for me.