Mark Levin’s Conservative Review TV has just fired Mark Steyn, which seems like an incredibly bad idea, although we on the outside have no way of knowing what went on. That’s the bad news. The ostensibly good news is that with Mark Steyn out at CRTV, the new featured talent in its lineup of celebrity conservatives is the notorious #NeverTrump Steve Deace.
But Conservative Review has always been a little dodgy, in our opinion, and recent personnel decisions suggest CRTV is yet another fixture in the Conservative Celebrity Industry, existing to extract cash from naive conservatives ($99 per year) and advertisers.
One could argue that Conservative Review’s history might make President Trump’s supporters leery of the new network, and that doubt might have been tempered by Steyn’s presence.
But Steve Deace moves the needle in the opposite direction.
Credibility-wise, therefore, one could argue CRTV just created a hurdle for themselves.
Clinton is cunning. Trump is a clown. This matchup was over before it began.
Most people have no idea who Steve Deace is, but nearly all conservatives are familiar with the man CRTV let go.
That would be Mark Steyn, the columnist/humorist whose productivity level rivals that of many industrial nations.
Mark Steyn, the premier, go-to guest host for the most listened to radio talk show host in America, Rush Limbaugh.
Mark Steyn, author of several excellent books including the singular America Alone, which will be seen 100 years from now as an omen for the West.
Mark Steyn, soldier on our behalf, much more than a keyboard-and-green-room warrior, who goes repeatedly to the front lines of international debate, exposing himself to actual damage, to argue the case for reality-based, er, reality, on topics such as Islam and climate change.
Yes, Mark Steyn, whose January, 2016 report from a Donald Trump rally in New Hampshire made us, personally, take notice of what was really happening with the Donald Trump phenomenon.
Not having been to one of these events that already had given the indications of a true cultural phenomenon, we were grateful for Steyn’s summary. Steyn has the rare combination of policy and politics expertise along with a rich understanding of popular culture — and an equally rich sense of humor — so his imprimatur had us, and likely many other conservatives, taking Trump seriously before the first caucus votes were cast.
Conservative Review certainly appreciated what they were getting with Steyn when they got him. It was seen as a coup at the time, and CR capitalized on the PR.
When the channel itself was revealed last fall — as an outgrowth of Levin’s own television network — Steyn and Conservative Review Senior Editor Michelle Malkin were billed as the top talent. Current paying subscribers to LevinTV were ported over to Conservative Review Television
As recently as the evening of March 1, 2017, two days after Steyn’s firing, Steyn was featured prominently on the CRTV gift subscription promotion page.
When he announced the CRTV launch, Mark Levin credited the expansion to “a movement with millions of liberty lovers”
This is much bigger than any of us. It is about our beloved audience.
That beloved audience apparently doesn’t feel so loved all of a sudden.
Welcome to Glenn Becksville, population Glenn Beck. And you.
–unhappy CRTV subscriber after the network announced Mark Steyn’s firing on February 28.
Immediately after CRTV announced Steyn’s termination last night on their Facebook page, with zero explanation, many subscribers chimed in, the majority of whom do not seem pleased:
“Mark Steyn was the reason I subscribed to CRTV. I have little or no interest in the other shows.”
“I never missed Steyn’s show and it was a significant reason for my subscription. Not good…”
“Mark Steyn was the best on CRTV !!! He was the only reason why many viewers subscribed and me too.”
Steyn has filed a lawsuit, so apart from noting yesterday morning that the termination with several years left on his contract was a complete suprise to him, it will probably be some time before we the public hear Steyn’s side of the story.
What else do we know of Conservative Review?
Mark Levin’s CRTV #NeverTrump Connection
How weirdly appropos that just a few hours after announcing Mark Steyn out at CRTV, and Steve Deace on front page, President Trump would deliver one of the most acclaimed speeches by any Republican office holder in recent years, which even Trump’s former detractors on the Left and Right have called
- “one of the best speeches in that setting I’ve heard any president give”; and featuring
- “one of the most extraordinary moments you have ever seen in American politics, period”
Readers with good memories may recall that Conservative Review was an epicenter for the nascent #NeverTrump conservative movement last winter when scores of conservative celebrities were beginning to kick the virtual crap out of Donald Trump and Trump’s supporters.
Conservative Review’s editor in chief, Mark Levin, gave #NeverTrump a credibility boost when he declared: “I would never vote for Trump.”
And it was in the pages of Conservative Review that Amanda Carpenter made headlines with her blacklist fatwa against any American who dared to support Trump publicly, “current federal and state GOP officials, former Republican officials, and private citizens.”
Conservative Review published an actual enemies list, along with Carpenter’s promise “to remember who supported Trump” and her declaration that the NeverTrump movement was not merely against the candidate in 2016, but would “never give any kind of credence” to Trump’s supporters in the future, either.
Who Is Steve Deace?
We’ve compiled some of Steve Deace’s “greatest hits” from the 2016 campaign and beyond; click here for a quick perusal and a measure of the man.
- Mark Levin’s CRTV already wants you to buy Deace’s hats and shirts.
- CRTV promises “If you’re looking for principled conservatism with a snarky twist, you’ll love The Steve Deace Show… Join Steve as he shakes up the media establishment every weekday.
Deace is a conservative talk show host from Iowa. In 2016 Deace published one broadside after another against Donald Trump and/or Trump’s supporters, whom he calls a cult.
When it comes to “shaking up the establishment” Steve Deace is a champ. Assuming that by “establishment” one means “Donald Trump and the rubes who voted for him.”
Because, faced with one of the most anti-establishment Republican candidates for president in many years, Steve Deace responded with a solid year of ridicule, derision, and interminable taunting that seems almost designed to denigrate any Trump supporters who might tune in or read Deace’s writing (or plunk down $99 for a CRTV subscription, for that matter). Steve Deace’s commentary for much of the past year seemed almost a perfect fit with what we were hearing from the establishment.
So it is sort of funny and clueless for Mark Levin and Co. to paint Steve Deace as even remotely anti-establishment. In fact, it seems so utterly inaccurate one wonders whether the Conservative Review folks are employing a bit of the old Democrat-style Big Lie: Turn the weakness into a strength by saying the opposite of what is true.
In any case, the new front page icon at CRTV is Steve Deace, who bemoans the “fake news provocateurs and discredited conspiracists” now provided White House press access in place of the august traditional news outlets.
No doubt, CRTV viewers longing to see the media “shaken up” have been waiting for a host bold enough to stand up for CNN and the Associated Press.
This is the Steve Deace who foretold President Hillary Clinton’s victory in the 2016 election, while issuing a dark warning to Donald Trump’s children
If I were one of the Trump kids hoping to continue living the lifestyles of the rich and famous by coasting off daddy’s fumes long after he’s assumed room temperature, I’d be afraid. Very afraid, in fact.
The very same Steve Deace who predicted Trump would finish the campaign “a drooling lunatic” and several weeks before the election announced it was time for Donald Trump
to do what he does best: walk away rather than face accountability
Comically, in his columns (at Conservative Review, natch) immediately after the election, Deace held forth with a stream of advice for President-elect Trump.
The third-tier talk show host rendered judgement on everything from Trump’s public persona to his private social media habits to what it’s actually going to be like to be leader of the free world (“with great power comes great responsibility” saith Deace)….
…. while also slipping in this curious comment that sounded an awful lot like a mewling suck-up from a startled conservative celebrity sniffing for a job:
And please surround yourself with good ones and not just ones you see as loyal because they say nice things about you or shill. But put some contrarian voices in there as well, who aren’t intimidated by you and can remind you that you have to do number two just like the rest of us.
Following the media narrative, Deace reliably jumps on any “disaster for the Trump administration” du jour bandwagon, which was Deace’s modus operandi throughout the 2016 campaign. Only now, instead of simply insulting Donald Trump and his family, Deace is brimful of advice on how to be President, right down to planning the day.
President Trump has yet to reveal the extent to which his administration was constructed upon the advice of Steve Deace.
With Mark Steyn Out At CRTV, Will Trump Supporters Tune In?
It seems unlikely that CRTV would expect to achieve any level of credibility within the Trump administration, who probably don’t have short memories and who certainly don’t seem to suffer media fools just because they’re “media.”
But CRTV does appear to be making a play for a wide range of conservatives. Not merely for the Trump-haters.
Their other celebrities — Michelle Malkin and Steven Crowder — are serious, talented new media personalities.
That $99 annual fee is no small price. If the CRTV management thinks it reasonable to charge $99 for what is at best a niche political portal, they must have both a high appraisal of the value of their product, and an equally hefty budget. Both of those factors suggest their goal is to cast a wide-as-possible net at the conservative audience.
Yet, CRTV’s leader gave a crucial boost that helped launch the Republican #NeverTrump movement, which almost handed the White House to Hillary Clinton.
Conservative Review literally hosts the blacklist of Trump supporters, along with the entire Amanda Carpenter catalog of bilous criticism of the Trump movement, and the anti-Trump repertory of Steve Deace — who with the termination of Mark Steyn is one of only four in the top echelon of CRTV hosts.
When it comes to a legacy of hostility against Donald Trump’s supporters, therefore, one could argue few media institutions outside the mainstream media seem to surpass Conservative Review.
And now, CRTV has dumped Mark Steyn who, much like Donald Trump, seems to be one of the few prominent figures who seems to both understand how misplaced our concerns as a nation have become, and is also willing to step up into the firing line of public debate. Steyn, like Trump, has the ability to state what many folks think but have rarely heard spoken by leaders.
And Steyn, like Trump, takes on the arbiters of political correctness not so much by refuting them but by dismissing them with the scorn they so richly deserve.
Instead, the top billing on the site today goes to Steve Deace, who not only is no Mark Steyn, but whose opinions over the past year often matched those of the political correctness czars, and who frequently referred to Trump’s supporters as cultists. That is quite a shift for the network to take.
Some might say CRTV just traded one of the foremost conservative intellectuals in the world for one of the biggest a-holes in America.
And CRTV seems to want Donald Trump’s supporters to hand over $99 to support an enterprise which has #NeverTrump blood coursing through its veins. Isn’t that bad business?
Some might even question Mark Levin’s business acumen.
But we say, it is not our place to judge the business decisions of Mark Levin and CRTV.
Let the free market decide.