Being a part of the so-called ‘legacy media’ is good work if you can get it. The success middling intellects such as Michelle Malkin–who is still for some reason popular despite being a neocon who for over a decade unfailingly supported the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan [and also the Patriot Act, war on terror--literally everything many dissents oppose, and AFIK has not renounced those beliefs], is not white, and has no original ideas or guiding principles but rather latches onto whatever idea or belief is popular at the moment, that today begin anti-immigration conservatism–is evidence that being early is a greater predictor of professional success than being smart or original.
You don’t have to keep up with the times if you have establishment ties. This is is evident with sites such as National Review, which owes its very existence to legacy donors, as it has largely ceased being culturally relevant in an era of Trump (and also having squandered much of its credibility by misreading its readership in 2016 by so strongly opposing Trump). NRO is still frozen in the ’80s and ’90s, when Reaganomics and supply-side was used un-ironically.
Today’s up-and-coming political/social writers and commentators, who lack such legacy ties, have to actually have talent to succeed. They cannot just regurgitate conservative pablum and, unlike in the ’90s and early 2000s, expect to have a pre-established audience ready to lap it up, as that audience is shrinking and saturated by likes of Limbaugh, Hannity, Levin, Malkin, etc.
To break new ground, today’s pundits have to employ a more intellectualized or equivocal style of discourse, by supporting their claims with actual evidence as well as anticipating and arguing against the objections that astute readers will observe, than just assuming that the reader will take the author at his or her own word and overlook such objections. They have to write to the most skeptical reader in mind, not the preordained. And it works: such writers and commentators have much more influence as measured by viralness and cross-appeal, than those who default to preaching to the choir. The pay is certainly not a good as being a legacy pundit with a contract and syndication, but the intellectual reward is greater, as well the sense of accomplishment from disseminating a message to a much larger potential audience.
No one cares anymore what National Review has to say, but ‘fringe’ sites and ideologies are making headlines. Academics such as Eric Weinstein and Jordan Peterson, who have real intellectual credibly as opposed to being just another pundit, are seeing their ideas gaining widespread currency in contemporary political discourse. Maybe not in the most flattering of light, but it’s still better than being ignored or relegated to the dustbin of irrelevancy. Same for Rush Limbaugh, who only made headlines because of being diagnosed with cancer, not for anything has has said. Or Sean Hannity and Mark Levin, who outside of the insular world of talk radio conservatism, are otherwise unknown and irrelevant. Even Thomas Sowell is in a similar predicament of ending his long career with a whimper, his latest book barely making a splash, the public and young conservatives having long grown tired of his “dems are the real rassists” and “pull yourself up” shtick. Today’s young conservatives are sufficiently versed in economics and biology to understand that many poor blacks are not sufficiently smart enough to ‘pull themselves up’ in an increasingly competitive automated society. Dr. Peterson, to his credit, has red pilled many young conservatives that biological reality supersedes good intentions and hard work. That is not to say that environment/nurture is not important, but that biology is a necessary condition, too, but legacy conservatives ignore the biology aspect of the equation.
But also, the definition of conservatism or what it means to be a conservative, has also changed, especially in recent years with the rise of online dissident-conservatism, as a challenger to ’80s and ’90s-era legacy TV, print, and talk radio conservatism. The post-WW2 dichotomy of capitalism vs. communism/socialism, in the eyes of younger people at least, is eroding, as one need not choose between one or the other. Recent events and empirical evidence has shown that , as far as the US is concerned, that capitalism and large social safety nets are not mutually exclusive. How many times have we heard from talk radio conservatives and the likes of Peter Schiff that the rising national debt would result in crisis and hyperinflation, yet a decade later, interest rates are the lowest they have ever been and the US dollar is stronger than ever? These people have no credibility.
Modern American capitalism ingrains a false sense of scarcity and need to always compete, which possibly comes at the cost of community cohesion and social trust. Why do people need or are compelled to put in 40+ hours of work per week and spend half the day away from their families, when there is already enough for everyone. Like a rat running on a wheel to chase a carrot suspended by a string that is just out of reach, careerism is a perpetual pursuit of what is already there. There is no reason why a social safety net and traditional values, such as opposing gay marriage and opposing immigration, cannot coexist. This entire quadrant , until only recently, has been completely ignored by most conservatives.
Bit it’s not just about conservatism vs. socialism, but the tapestry of right-wing politics has become much more diverse, with various factions and groups and beliefs, such as the manosphere, HBD, trad-conservatism, MGTOW, NRx, etc, that borrow from paleo-conservatism, fusionism, and libertarianism and or are an amalgamation of various ideologues and beliefs, but are unique in their own regard.