On Breitbart News Saturday, Sean Spicer, the Republican National Committee’s chief strategist, said the growth of new media outlets such as Breitbart News is showing the mainstream media that “the game is over.”
Speaking to host and Breitbart News Executive Chairman Stephen K. Bannon on Sirius XM Patriot channel 125, Spicer addressed the suggestions that conservative intellectuals like Mark Levin and Breitbart News Editor-at-Large John Nolte have made about taking the mainstream media out of the debate process, waiving all copyright issues, and potentially even streaming the debates online.
Ahead of Tuesday’s Fox Business Network’s GOP presidential debate, Spicer said “the growth of places like Breitbart” has proven that “you can drive an audience online.” He said other new media and “good conservative outlets” are “showing the mainstream media that the game is over.”
Spicer said that “for so long the dynamic has always been we are NBC, we are CNN, and we’re a network and the only way that you can broadcast is if we’re the ones that produce it.” But the growth and influence of online and conservative media may make this model outdated going forward, according to Spicer.
Breitbart’s Nolte has written extensively about streaming the debates and Breitbart News Editor-at-Large Joel Pollak has even suggested a conservative blogger debate. Spicer has previously acknowledged that right-of-center outlets are often tougher on GOP candidates, especially Republican candidates, than the mainstream media are.
Spicer also said the profitability of this year’s GOP debates have changed the “current dynamic” and given the Republican National Committee (RNC) and the presidential campaigns more leverage with the networks.
“We need to go in and look at this differently than we did six months ago or eight months ago,” he said. “Now the networks are making money and we are negotiating from a much different place.”
He mentioned that “the average debate prior to this year used to yield about 1.5-2 million-people viewership” and “the networks really didn’t make any money off of them.”
In fact, Spicer said the debates cost the networks about $1.5-$2 million to produce, “and, in a lot of cases, they lost money. But they did ‘em because it was a part of a longer political strategy.”
Donald Trump, who is responsible for the huge ratings bump that the networks have seen in their debates, suggested that some of the profits from the debates go to the RNC or to groups like Wounded Warriors that support veterans in an appearance this week on Breitbart News Daily (6AM-9AM ET)
Spicer said the RNC would speak with campaign finance lawyers and see whether some of the profits from the debate can be given to groups like the Wounded Warriors.
Mark Levin, in a Breitbart News Daily appearance this week in which he said RNC Chairman Reince Priebus should be fired for throwing Republicans to the mainstream media wolves, also asked why the GOP is allowing the mainstream media to “make a fortune” off of debates in which the media try to bloody Republicans before the general election.
Levin insisted that the debates are the “Republican Party debates” and not the “media debates” and should not be owned by Fox News, CNN, CNBC, or any other outlet.
“We cannot allow the media to control or influence these debates,” Levin said. “They get to comment on them. They get to report on them. They get to observe them. They don’t get to participate in them.”