Stephen Crowder v. Ben Shapiro: How YouTube’s Monetization Policy Started a Conservative Media Civil War


Two of the biggest names in right-wing media are currently battling it out, forcing their conservative viewers to take sides in a feud that perfectly epitomizes the modern internet culture wars.

On the one hand: Stephen Crowder, YouTube’s most subscribed right-wing creator. On the other side: The Daily Wire, a neo-conservative media company founded by Ben Shapiro that employs a number of well-known right-wing pundits like Jordan Peterson and Candace Owens.

And at the heart of the controversy: a $50 million contract and YouTube’s investment policies.

So, what is all this fighting about?

Big Tech vs. Big Con

It all started when Stephen Crowder took to his daily show, Louder with Crowder, earlier this week and talked about the details of the contract offer he received from a conservative media outlet. Crowder didn’t mention many details regarding the contract. For example, he did not say how much the deal was or which outlet the offer came from at the time.

However, what Crowder shared with his fans was that he was upset about some very specific terms in the deal. Specifically, Crowder focused on what he saw as a major conservative media outlet acquiescing to big tech.

“Big Tech coexists with Big Con,” Crowder explains in one part of the clip. “The people I thought, the people I thought were fighting for you, a lot of them were a big sham.”

Crowder then explained that as part of the terms of the contract, if YouTube monetized his channel, his payment would be cut off until the channel was monetized again. For those unaware, YouTube shares ad revenue with creators who are accepted into the Partner Program. If a creator breaks YouTube’s policies, the company can demonetize the channel and that creator won’t be able to make money via YouTube ads for a while.

“If any of the major platforms issue a content strike so that Crowder cannot be monetized on such a platform, the fee will be reduced by 25 percent,” the contract reads.

Crowder’s overall point, as he explained to his fans, was that a major right-wing media outlet was essentially enforcing Big Tech’s policies—similar to censorship in the conservative media milieu—and punishing independent creators like himself if they disobeyed those tech companies. Grammar.

It didn’t take long for Crowder viewers to discover that Crowder’s unnamed company was referring to Ben Shapiro’s The Daily Wire. This is where things get really interesting. With Crowder’s fans attacking The Daily Wire, the company also felt the need to come out to stand up for itself.

Contract details

Soon after, The Daily Wire almost released its own site One hour video(opens in a new window) With CEO Jeremy Boring going over every detail of the contract and sharing much of the information left by Stephen Crowder.

That’s when we found out that this offer, which Crowder called a “slave contract,” was for $50 million over 4 years. In addition, Crowder only needed to work 4 days a week and produce 192 episodes of his daily show each year. As Boreing confirms during the video, this was only the initial offer and the company was willing to negotiate with Crowder.

Boreing then gets to Crowder’s main issue: The Daily Wire’s terms regarding Big Tech’s policies. The Daily Wire CEO puts it simply: Crowder misunderstood the terms of the deal. According to Boreing, the central terms of Crowder’s complaints weren’t the company’s devious way of enforcing Big Tech’s rules, it’s a way of dealing with the realities of making money. If Crowder, who maintains full editorial control over productions of his shows, breaks YouTube policy, for example, and his show is canceled from circulation, The Daily Wire will not be able to make money from YouTube ads in Crowder’s program.

There are other details Boreing brings up on the drama, such as when Boreing walks back Crowder’s claims of independence by pointing out that Crowder has always worked for major outlets funded by billionaires and that Crowder is likely unaware of how much he actually brings in from paying subscribers for his premium content. Because employers have always paid attention to this part of the business. For example, Boreing says this offer was initially made when The Daily Wire found out Crowder was leaving a rival conservative outlet, The Blaze, and knew he was going to be a free agent.


Now, an all-out civil war is in the hands of the conservative online media world.

Crowder responded after the Daily Wire video to reveal that he had secretly recorded discussions he had with the company. Other Daily Wire figures such as Candace Owens have entered the fray to defend his employer. Owens, for example, has described(opens in a new window) Crowder is heading for the crowd with all this “fallen action.” Crowder fans have pitted against Daily Wire fans and vice versa.

But, inner fighting aside, there are a few important points here.

First of all, the obvious: The right-wing YouTuber received an offer of $50 million to continue creating the same content he was already making. There is clearly a lot of money in the conservative media, probably more than many realize. For comparison, CNN’s Anderson Cooper It said(opens in a new window) He receives a salary of $12 million per year. The Daily Wire’s offer to Crowder, which he turned down, is more than that.

However, it should be noted that Crowder will likely turn it down because He thinks he can achieve more So. Crowder’s primary reason for voicing his grievance was to plug in a new website he launched, “StopBigCon,” which is just a call-to-action to join his email list, meaning this total blowout was a way for him to build a huge, highly profitable subscriber base.

It’s also worth noting that The Daily Wire’s YouTube monetization terms make sense if you bear in mind that Stephen Crowder is included in the contract. YouTubers have been demonized and suspended repeatedly on the platform for breaching YouTube’s content policies. In fact, there have been times when Crowder has come close to that He lost his YouTube channel entirely based on his consistent violations of policy. Since The Daily Wire would have given Crowder complete editorial control, these terms could be seen as a reasonable insurance policy.

Finally, something else to focus on here is the conservative media’s admission that for all their complaints about the Big Tech boogeyman… Big Tech treats them well. Crowder’s entire career has been built on YouTube. The Daily Wire was ready to cut Crowder’s pay by millions if he was suspended from Big Tech platforms like YouTube. Crowder was able to dismiss all of this due to his large following on Big Tech platforms.

If Big Tech’s supposed misdeeds against these creators — censorship, deregulation, shadow blocking, targeting these generally conservative figures for tyranny — are so egregious, is that unbalanced by the fact that Big Tech is giving people like Crowder massive $50 million soapboxes? ? Many people know that the right-wing online media broach these controversies in exchange for clicks and money. It’s nice to hear them admit it openly.


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