The “alternative media” is often not that much of an alternative

Upon reading the “about Us” of Unz Review, which is as follows “A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media,” and other publications of the so-called “alternative media,” one may be under the mistaken impression that the views espoused in these websites and publications are ignored, neglected, suppressed, and fringe. The evidence shows quite the contrary: that these views are more common than assumed, are accessible and not samizdat, and are not that fringe.

If by “alternative media,” we define it to mean ‘stories and opinions that are not front page on Fox, CNN, or the New York Times,’ than I suppose such stories could be called “alternative,” but such a definition is overly inclusive. But even that fails to some degree. As of writing this, the front page of Unz has the following story in prominent font: “Michelle Malkin’s OPEN BORDERS INC.—Exposing Conservative Inc. As Controlled Opposition.” Who is this Michelle person? If it weren’t for alternative media such as Unz I would have never even heard of her in spite of her being a syndicated conservative columnist who a decade ago championed the Iraq war but has since turned to paleoconservatism, which I guess now makes her alternative. Hew views are very similar to fringe figure Tucker Carlson, who happens to also have the most popular show on Fox right now. But I never heard of him also.

Sarcasm aside, given the immense popularity of the aforementioned pundits, and given that such opinions are disseminated in major media such as Fox News and major publishing houses and bookstores, by definition such views cannot be alternative. It does not get any more mainstream than having Regnery Publishing, an imprint of Salem Media Group, publish your book, or having the one of the most popular show on Fox news, watched by 2 million people.

How about articles questioning historical narratives, such as regarding World War 2, the Holocaust, 911, Iraq, etc. I think people are underestimating how common and accessible these views are. Anyone who follows conservatism and right-wing and even some left-wing websites will almost without fail bump into these views, and over the past few decades tons of stuff has been written about these topics. These is a deluge of information easily accessible online and in bookstores and libraries about alternative historical views. The jobs of historians is to investigate this stuff. Hundreds of books have been written about WW2 and probably 911 , too. There is the “official story” about WW2 or the Holocaust, but alternative views are also very common, popular, and accessible as shown by the huge success and popularity of Alex Jones and Unz. Alex Jones, until recently due to social media censure, had one of the most popular podcasts and apps on iTunes. Jones’ YouTube channel in 2018 had 2.4 million subscribers, just prior to its removal.

I think the media is a spectrum. It’s not like the media falls into this dichotomy of being alternative or mainstream, but rather lies on this spectrum. So on the left side of the spectrum of “conservative media” are neocons, who are presumed to be the mainstream. And then there are other gradations of conservatism that are further right, but it’s still part of the spectrum, but just not as prominent.