Last week, I began a series at the Megaphone mapping out the untamed wilderness of American Conservative New Media. I named 15 of the most significant ideological “tribes” on the Right and provided links to books that can get you started in understanding how ideologues compete over who’s going to lead the Republican Party for the next four years and attempt to win the Presidency for “the Right.”
Today I’ll provide a rough map of the most trafficked sites that align with these various traditions. Alexa and Quantcast are two of the primary sources measuring internet traffic and many conservative websites publish quarterly and annual rankings based on them. My list is drawn from these two primarily but also includes some of my own selections. Sites that I encourage you to actually read regularly I’ll link to directly… For the others, not linked I offer the 2 most important Latin words you can know, the name of my favorite used book store, located in the town of my birth, Bloomington, Indiana: CAVEAT EMPTOR!!!!)
- 1. Lew Rockwell
- 2. The Ludwig von Mises Institute
- 3. Taki’s Magazine
- 4. The Daily Paul
- 5. The American Conservative
Few have a hard time understanding my years of zealous opposition to this faction of the Right. I’ve made myself more than clear that the core of my conservatism is a “hawkish,” “Peace Through Strength,” General George S. Patton-style foreign policy. The modern day revivers of the Old Right are uniformly “doves” who preach a new version of Isolationism they try and make more palatable by re-christening “non-interventionism.” The whole thing can only sustain itself by refusing to learn anything about Islam or the Middle East and imagining we’re still living in the 19th century when big oceans could protect us from the barbarians. Don’t fall for their ideological shell game.
There are no longer any prominent publications championing this ideology. With the defeat of George H.W. Bush in 1992 and the fall of the Soviet Union it became largely irrelevant, and when George W. Bush shifted after 9/11 to the New York Neo-conservatives then the real politik approach to foreign policy was endangered in the Republican Party. More than a decade later it’s extinct save for a few hangers-on in Jeb Bush’s campaign.
You’re not really a conservative today in America if you don’t stop by NRO at least once a week. After more than half a century it still keeps the movement on track and raises the sophistication and intelligence of every discussion its writers consider. Rich Lowry, Jonah Goldberg, Andrew C. McCarthy, Jim Geraghty, Victor Davis Hanson, Kathryn Jean Lopez, Thomas Sowell, Quin Hillyer, Dennis Prager, Kevin D. Williamson, Matthew Continetti, John Fund, Jay Nordlinger, and Charles C. W. Cooke are some of the regulars -- read every article that carries their byline.
- 7. WorldNetDaily
- 8. Infowars
- 9. Free Republic
- 10. The American Thinker
- 11. Canada Free Press
Beware of the facts reported on the five sites above, which are known for popularizing conspiracy theories.
Mapping out the varieties of Libertarians is a whole other sub-category that I might eventually pursue, but for now I’ll recommend these three in particular. Reason is the National Review of the Libertarians. Nowrasteh focuses on immigration and his radically libertarian approach to reforming America’s outdated immigration laws is one I support. He’s Cato’s best thinker and one of my generation’s intellectual leaders. And Yaron Brook’s wing of the Objectivists - the pro-military, counter-Jihad, pro-Israel side of Ayn’s ideological family - are the ones I prefer.
I’m about a third of the way into the traditional Neo-conservative camp - largely agreeing with them on many cultural matters while parting partially on foreign policy, economics, and tactics. (I’m much more hawkish and libertarian and aiming at more middle-brow, broader audiences rather than the elite snobs they tend to prefer to influence.) The four sites above are some I especially like whereas the two most popular publications below are ones I care for less and regard as overrated.
- 19. The Wall Street Journal
- 20. The Weekly Standard
Above are five of the most influential religious, socially conservative, and pro-life sites online. TownHall includes more broadly conservative views but I include it here because it’s the online flagship publication for Salem Media, an influential Christian media company responsible for most of the best conservative talk radio and many websites. (They also own Twitchy, Red State, and Hot Air.)
- 26. The Rush Limbaugh Show
- 27. Sean Hannity
- 28. Media Research Center / Newsbusters / CNS News
- 29. Hugh Hewitt
- 30. Mark Levin
- 31. Dennis Prager
The talk radio world is a whole other realm I’ll devote a separate post to exploring. For now, understand that of the 32 top hosts for May named here about 14 might be characterized as conservatives, and the ones in particular I prefer are Mark Levin, Dennis Prager, and Hugh Hewitt. (Though, I’ll still very much encourage you to listen to Rush and Sean Hannity too - they’re just not as stylistically in sync with my own talk radio preferences. But I still have a lot of respect for them.)
Also: I include The Media Research Center and its publications Newbusters and CNS News here because they most remind me of 1980s talk radio conservatism incarnated on the web, given their focus on “liberal media bias.”
- 32. The Heritage Foundation / The Daily Signal
- 33. The American Spectator
- 34. The Washington Times
- 35. Human Events
The publications and think tank I’ve grouped here are ones that particularly took their character during Reagan’s time and have largely stayed there since given that they’re non-profit/donor-supported and do not have to adapt to changes in the ideological marketplace beyond what their donors or the billionaire owning them wants. (It’s only recently that Human Events stopped publishing in print!)
The fatal flaw of seeing the world primarily through a corporate lens is that one begins to focus too much on the immediate present - the next quarter’s profits, the immediate expansion, the very next election, the twists and turns of the immediate news cycles, whether Sarah Palin might excite enough conservatives into voting for John McCain... Previous generations of conservatives were motivated to pursue goals they knew would take decades to accomplish. Now the Conservative movement is driven by a daily, 24-hour news cycle and little “media events” with which we’re all expected to engage, rather than a unified goal to pursue incrementally over time. The op-ed page of the NY Post is still very much worth your time.
So which is more important: being a business that makes money or being an activist who furthers a “conservative” agenda? As a capitalist myself I bear no ill will at all against the former, let’s just all be up front about when we’re doing what. Don’t make people think you’re a conservative activist when really you’re just a businessman. In other words: do not expect Mr. Drudge to “use” his site to advocate for “Conservatism” -- understand that he’s one of his generation’s cleverest media-millionaire wizards, not an ideological Street Fighter.
You’re not a genuine American political junkie if you’re not checking Real Clear daily.
- 44. Ann Coulter
I challenge everyone to read Demonic: How the Liberal Mob Is Endangering America to begin to understand the depth of Coulter’s intellectual and polemical skills.
The next 23 sites and two tribes are the ones that I spent the last 6 years fighting to defend. There are others that could be grouped here in a more authoritative list, but these are some that I would most encourage you to read regularly:
- 45. Power Line
- 46. PJ Media/Instapundit
- 47. Ace of Spades HQ
- 48. Jihad Watch
- 49. Daniel Pipes
- 50. Center for Security Policy
- 51. Bosch Fawstin
- 52. Neo-Neo-Con
- 53. Mark Steyn
- 54. The Daily Caller
- 55. Hot Air
- 56. Right Wing News
- 57. Chicks On The Right
- 58. The Federalist
- 59. Redstate
- 60. Louder With Crowder
- 61. Legal Insurrection
- 62. Moonbattery
- 63. Ricochet
- 64. Twitchy
- 65. Prager University
- 66. The People’s Cube
- 67. YidWithLid
I am no more opposed to “clickbait” than I am to fast food -- don’t make it the staple of your diet and you’re fine, but a little in moderation is harmless. The four above are my favorites. This genre of blogging that has grown popular in recent years relies on provocative headlines and timely stories that hook people’s emotions and inspire sharing on Facebook. I’ll explain more of its secrets soon.
The 9 below include the most dominant in this field and again I’d offer an extra “Caveat Emptor” before consuming them...
- 72. Independent Journal Review
- 73. Breitbart
- 74. The Blaze
- 75. The Tea Party News Network
- 76. Glenn Beck
- 77. RedFlag News
- 78. Western Center for Journalism
- 79. Rare
- 80. Clash Daily
Next: a post for each of the 15 ideologies, starting with explaining the Old Right, its failings, and the misguided lost souls trying to revive it today.
But first: if any Canadian friends have specific questions about American political culture then please let me know below in the comments and I’ll try and do some special posts in the series answering them.
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