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Steven Crowder vs. Ben Shapiro: How YouTube’s monetization policies sparked a conservative media civil war

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

On one side: Steven Crowder, the most subscribed right-wing content creator on YouTube. On the flip side: The Daily Wire, a conservative new media company founded by Ben Shapiro that employs a number of other popular right-wing pundits like Jordan Peterson and Candace Owens.

And the crux of the feud: a $50 million contract and YouTube’s monetization policy.

What is this fight about?


Elon Musk just broke a world record. He probably won’t be happy about it.

Big Tech vs. Big Con

It all started when Steven Crowder went on his daily show, Louder with Crowder, earlier this week and ranted about the details of a contract offer he received from a conservative media outlet. Crowder hasn’t shared many details about the contract. For example, he did not mention the amount of the deal or the point of sale where the offer came from at the time.

However, what Crowder shared with his audience was that he was angry at some very specific terms in the deal. In particular, Crowder focused on what he perceived as a major conservative media outlet luring to Big Tech.

“Big Tech is in bed with Big Con,” Crowder explains in part of the segment. “The people you thought of, the people I thought were fighting for you, a lot of it was a big scam.”

Crowder then explained that as part of the terms of the contract, if YouTube demonetized his channel, his payments would be reduced until the channel was monetized again. For those who don’t know: YouTube shares ad revenue with creators who have been accepted into the partner program. If a creator violates YouTube’s policies, the company may demonize a channel and prevent that creator from monetizing YouTube ads for a period of time.

“If one of the major platforms issues a content warning preventing Crowder from monetizing such a platform, the fee will be reduced by 25 percent,” Crowder read in the contract.

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 — akin to censorship in the conservative media sphere — and punishing independent creators like him if they clashed with those technology companies. regulations.

It didn’t take Crowder viewers long to figure out that the unnamed company Crowder was referring to was Ben Shapiro’s The Daily Wire. And this is where it gets really interesting. With Crowder’s fans turning attacks on The Daily Wire, the company felt the need to also go public to defend itself.

The contract details

Soon after, The Daily Wire almost released its own one hour video(Opens in a new window) with CEO Jeremy Boreing going over every detail of the contract and sharing much of the information that Steven Crowder left out.

That’s when we find out that this offer, which Crowder called a “slave contract,” was $50 million over 4 years. In addition, Crowder only had to work 4 days a week and produce 192 episodes of his daily show per year. And, as Boreing emphasizes throughout the video, this was just the initial offer and the company was ready to negotiate with Crowder.

And that brings Boreing to Crowder’s main issue: The Daily Wire’s terms regarding Big Tech’s policies. The Daily Wire CEO explains it simply: Crowder misunderstood the terms of the deal. According to Boreing, the terms at the center of Crowder’s complaints were not the company’s underhanded way of enforcing Big Tech regulations, but a way of dealing with the realities of making money. For example, if Crowder, who retains full editorial control over his show’s productions, breaks YouTube policies and his show is demonetized, The Daily Wire will not be able to monetize YouTube ads on Crowder’s show.

There are other details Boreing brings up that add to the drama, such as when Boreing pushed back Crowder’s independence claims by pointing out that Crowder has always worked for big outlets funded by billionaires and that Crowder probably doesn’t know how much he actually brings. in from paying subscribers for his premium content because his employers always took care of that part of the business. For example, Boreing says the offer was initially made when The Daily Wire found out that Crowder was leaving a competing conservative outlet, The Blaze, knowing he would be a free agent.

The takeaway meals

Now the conservative online media sphere has a full-blown civil war on its hands.

Crowder hit back after The Daily Wire’s video to reveal that he had been secretly recording conversations he had with the company. Other Daily Wire personalities like Candace Owens have gone on to defend their employers. For example, Owens has described(Opens in a new window) Crowder going public with all this is a bitch move. Crowder’s fans have fought back against Daily Wire fans and vice versa.

But infighting aside, there are some big takeaways here.

First of all, the obvious: a right-wing YouTuber received a $50 million offer to continue making the same content he already made. There is clearly a lot of money in conservative media, bigger than many probably realize. For comparison, CNN’s Anderson Cooper Reportedly(Opens in a new window) receives an annual salary of $12 million. The Daily Wire’s offer to Crowder, which he declined, is more than that.

However, it should be noted that Crowder probably turned it down because he thinks he can make more than that. The whole reason Crowder voiced his grievances is to plug a new website he’s launched called “StopBigCon” which is simply a call to action to join his email list, which means that this whole outburst has been a way for Crowder to build out a large and very lucrative subscriber base.

It’s also worth noting that The Daily Wire’s terms regarding YouTube monetization make sense when you consider that Steven Crowder is involved in the contract. The YouTuber has been demonetized and suspended over and over on the platform for violating YouTube’s content policies. There have even been times when Crowder came close losing his YouTube channel based entirely on his consistent policy violations. Since The Daily Wire would give Crowder full editorial control, these terms can be seen as a sensible insurance policy.

And finally, one more thing to focus on is the acknowledgment of conservative media that for all their complaints about the Big Tech bogeyman…Big Tech treats them pretty well. Crowder’s entire career was built on YouTube. The Daily Wire was willing to cut Crowder’s salary by millions if he was suspended from big tech platforms like YouTube. Crowder was able to reject all of this due to his large following on Big Tech platforms.

If Big Tech’s alleged misdeeds against these creators – censoring and deplatforming and shadowbanning and generally assaulting these conservative figures with tyranny – are so appalling, isn’t the fact that Big Tech people like Crowder also make huge soapboxes worth of $50 million contracts gives? Many people know that the right-wing online media drives these controversies for clicks and cash. It’s just nice to hear them admit it so openly.

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