A guide to conservative publications

Which ones are trolling you, and which ones are simply bad?

A guide to conservative publications

Which ones are trolling you, and which ones are simply bad?

Ranking the many publications of the online right on a linear left-to-right scale would be difficult — the conservative internet is a jungle of resentment and pent-up sexual energy. The neo-fascism of Steve Bannon’s Breitbart is farther to the right on race and immigration than, say, the National Review, but on certain economic issues they appear to flank them from the left. Instead, we must rank them by their demeanor. How thoroughly do they embody the worst characteristics of conservative writing? How smug are they? How convinced are they of their own superior intellect? Are they painfully, seethingly horny? As many of the worst specimens delight in terrifying the world with poor grooming decisions, our measuring stick will be the goatee, here affixed to a tiny troll face. The longer the goatee, the more batshit insane the publication.

Thanks to editor Steve Bannon’s appointment as chief strategist at the White House, Breitbart has effectively become the Trump administration’s mouthpiece. Unfortunately for them, they are not good at being the president’s PR team. Following in the footsteps of founder Andrew Breitbart, whose 2012 death from a heart attack at 43 may or may not have been related to using the internet too much, the current staff keeps it cranked to 11 at all times. Every headline is in all caps, and most are devoted to defending Trump’s honor against ANTI-TRUMP HYSTERIA from the FAKE NEWS. The rest are about the “migrant rape crisis,” illegal immigrants, or black shoplifters. The recent removal of senior editor and professional troll Milo Yiannopoulos only enhances its appeal. No more classic Yiannopoulos stories about video game boob size or how blue-haired indie developers are ruining everything, just a constant supply of catnip for thrice-divorced dads collecting disability for high blood pressure. This is news for your racist uncle’s racist uncle, and it serves an important function — it allows us to see what he thinks about current events, in real time, without having to actually talk to him.

Goatee qualities: Perpetually outraged at cherry-picked news stories, enormous victim complex despite being influential with the White House

Anti-goatee qualities: It’s hard to be smug while screaming so loud that you burst blood vessels

Worst current headline: “5 Unanswered Questions About ABC’s Cancellation of ‘Last Man Standing’”

The Daily Wire is the pet project of Ben Shapiro, an aging College Republican with an endless list of grievances, and it certainly shows. Upon opening the website, a splash screen demands that you read Shapiro’s FREE EBOOK, titled 5 Lies Colleges Tell Your Kids. The anti-college beat has been his schtick for 13 years — while a student at UCLA, he built a media brand around remaining a proud virgin in the face of widespread liberal indoctrination and sexual debauchery. Now a decade out of college, the sources of Shapiro’s emotional angst have broadened somewhat. The Daily Wire is angry enough at Lena Dunham that they mentioned her in 38 separate articles so far this year. They’re also angry that the terminally unfunny sitcom Last Man Standing was canceled, that Amy Schumer exists, that Joss Whedon made a tweet — every time a Hollyweird sicko lib celebrity takes a breath, The Daily Wire is there to raise the alarm with a paragraph-long “article.” Shapiro’s brainchild is essentially a celebrity news aggregator masquerading as a real publication, but that’s the beauty of it.

Goatee qualities: Opposed to Trump in the most superficial, dishonest way possible, massive victim complex, enormously racist comment sections

Anti-goatee qualities: Minimally intellectual, Ben Shapiro is almost certainly unable to grow facial hair

Worst current headline: “James Woods Destroys Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards In Single Tweet”

For some reason, founding a news website seems to be a rite of passage for conservative pundits. Ben Shapiro, Pat Buchanan, Bill Kristol — all of them, rather than continuing to write for others, started their own publications with the bare minimum of effort. This is also true of Tucker Carlson, who founded The Daily Caller in 2010 and left in 2016 to focus on his show at Fox News. The site itself is difficult to pin down, as it fails to embody any specific branch of conservatism. It runs columns by diehard Trump backer Ann Coulter next to measured critiques of Trump’s conduct. In a 2012 interview, Carlson said he intended The Daily Caller as “a conservative news site in the mold of the liberal Huffington Post but with more firearms coverage and fewer nipple-slip slide shows.” That’s strange, since the front page is full of garbage like “Jennifer Lawrence Not Apologizing For Leaked Pole-Dancing Video” and “Elise Lobb's Skirt Is Losing The Battle With The Wind In This Video.” At least Huffington Post doesn’t have a feature called “Daily Vaper.”

Goatee qualities: Founder used to wear bowties, publishes anti-immigrant screeds by Ann Coulter, loves vaping

Anti-goatee qualities: Openly horny for Jennifer Lawrence

Worst current headline: Tie between "STUDY: Women Report Being Unhappy In Leadership Positions” and “Sanctuary City Mayor Trashes American Hero Robert E. Lee”

Heat Street was founded by Louise Mensch, the former Tory MP and Murdoch footsoldier who recently retooled herself into a liberal icon by tweeting conspiracy theories about Trump and Russia. Shockingly, Mensch is actually the least objectionable thing about the site. Heat Street panders to an audience younger and more internet-addled than that of other conservative publications. The ideal reader is male, inexplicably moist-looking and furious that “Social Justice Warriors” took over his favorite video game forum, and Heat Street is there to confirm his assumptions. The entire internet — nay, the entire world — is compromised by SJW extremists who seek to take away our video games and superhero movies. The evidence for this raging culture war comes in the form of headlines like “‘Star Wars’ Triggers Social Justice Warriors With ‘Offensive’ Tweet” and “Gay Porno Attacked for ‘Culturally Offensive’ Sex Scene Using Aboriginal Wind Instrument,” both of which reference random internet comments. When Heat Street isn’t scouring Twitter replies for TRIGGERED PC SNOWFLAKES or claiming that Google search results are a SJW SAFE SPACE, they unearth goofy articles in no-name journals and present them as indicative of academia as a whole. One might even say that people so frequently outraged at things so inconsequential are a bit... oversensitive?

Goatee qualities: Fixated on campus politics, constantly vein-popping mad at cherry-picked and exaggerated incidents

Anti-goatee qualities: Remarkably transparent in their pandering

Worst current headline: “Guys Are Now Using Colorful Mascara To Give Themselves 'Manicorn' Beards”

The New York Times is the paper of record in America. It boasts a subscriber base second only to The Wall Street Journal, and it features heavily in the unhinged rants of President Trump. It isn’t quite “failing,” as Trump would say, but it remains in print in spite of its horrendous op-ed page. Its columnists range from center to center-right, and the farther right you go, the bigger the goatees. Thomas Friedman, who has a resumé of needless world tours and severe head injuries that rivals only that of Keith Richards, is the resident pro-war centrist. David Brooks is Thomas Friedman without the mustache and with one-third fewer brain lesions. Nick Kristof rescues sex trafficked children and then fights for their right to work in a sweatshop. Ross Douthat is a closet Francoist whose sole purpose in life is to rid the world of birth control pills. The newest addition is Bret Stephens, a climate-change denier who just sold the same article as a commencement speech and then an opinion column. Their only good columnist is Maureen Dowd, but only when she takes too many edibles.

Goatee qualities: Unflinchingly self-serious, convinced it can pull a fast one on liberals by being racist eloquently instead of with phrases like “the disease of the Arab mind” — actually, scratch that

Anti-goatee qualities: At least one columnist has blazed it

Worst current headline: "Leave Your Safe Spaces: The 2017 Commencement Address at Hampden-Sydney College"

The American Conservative’s contributors largely adhere to the Old Right value of isolationism, to their credit. However, the energy not spent calling for nuclear strikes on Iran is instead devoted to berating a fallen society for rejecting traditional Catholic values. These include fanatical homophobia, strict gender segregation of public restrooms, and soul-destroying self-hatred. Many of the most popular articles are by Rod Dreher, a fascinating specimen who was raised Methodist and converted to Catholicism in 1993. This itself is indicative of a personality disorder, but he one-upped himself by becoming Eastern Orthodox in 2006. For Dreher, religion is a springboard for misanthropy. From his latest article: “We are dead men. We have poisoned ourselves. We are a depraved civilization that deserves judgment. And we are going to get it.” If that doesn’t float your boat, they also have articles about how liberals are too self-righteous.

Goatee qualities: Unbelievably horny to the point of causing profound psychological damage but unwilling to honk off, fixated on bathroom politics, website looks like shit

Anti-goatee qualities: Against foreign intervention, except for the Crusades

Worst current headline: “How Many People Actually Feel White Guilt?”

The Weekly Standard is a time machine. It both looks and reads like a website from 2006. The layout itself is unnerving, possibly because it recalls the heyday of Internet Explorer 6 when websites were allowed to format your hard drive through Javascript. Scrolling through it feels like walking through a crowded antique store, as though at any moment the shaky CSS elements might fall victim to entropy and disappear into the ether. For the Standard’s readership, time stopped the day George W. Bush’s approval rating peaked. Those were the halcyon days of neoconservatism. For founder Bill Kristol to accept that the public largely rejected his pet movement shortly after its apogee in 2003 would necessitate some real soul-searching. Instead, when not condemning Trump while letting his enablers off the hook, Kristol and his acolytes attempt to drum up support for ground war in Iran like it’s 2003 again. If we can’t put the architects of the Iraq War in front of war crimes tribunals, all we can do is ensure that their noxious views have no audience — and nothing has less of an audience than The Weekly Standard.

Goatee qualities: Offended by Trump’s language but not much else, staff is 95 percent male, has earnestly used the phrase “Bathroom Wars,” still has those goofy caricatures for author photos like a local newspaper in the 1980s

Anti-goatee qualities: None

Worst current headline: “The Dangers of the FDA's Regulatory Hegemony”

The Federalist is a strange beast. Rather than the usual red-faced louts or country-club fodder, its masthead is overflowing with young women. Even though the ‘list remains ~95 percent white, women actually outnumber men 24 to 15, a rare occurrence in conservative (and non-conservative, let’s be real) media. However, the tendency of American women to lean slightly more liberal on social issues is not evident here. The Federalist is almost singularly paranoid about threats to the nuclear family and “traditional values.” What are those threats? Well, the marginal practice of identifying as a “dog mom,” for one, which is apparently causing the millennial generation to “miss out on the real joys of parenthood.” If that isn’t scary enough, you can also fret about the dangers of junior high sex ed, fall for a Bill Nye Photoshop hoax or complain that American Girl dolls are “virtue-signaling.”

Goatee qualities: Constantly afraid, ostensibly high-minded but largely fixated on inconsequential trend pieces and children’s television

Anti-goatee qualities: Majority of masthead female and presumably unable to grow goatee

Worst current headline: “Couples Are Turning Their Unwanted Embryos Into Jewelry”

Founded in 1955 by William F. Buckley, the National Review exists to give humanity’s worst instincts a thin justification. Buckley’s life’s work was to create a new, more noxious brand of American conservatism that wedded backwoods Christianity to robber-baron economic policies. In Buckley’s view, his magazine was part of an intellectual tradition dating back to John Locke and Edmund Burke. Unfortunately for him, no such tradition ever existed. In reality, the Review is part of a tradition of white resentment and cultural philistinism dating back to John C. Calhoun and Ben Tillman. The early National Review denounced the Civil Rights Movement while calling Southern whites “the advanced race.” In 1985, Buckley defended South African apartheid and said Nelson Mandela was a terrorist who belonged in jail. The Review’s Mandela obituary included the phrases “black-on-black crime” and “open season on whites.” In 2016, the magazine made a big show of opposing Trump — for being too populist and too soft on legal immigration. Having been left behind by Trumpism, the National Review has resorted to publishing blatant, barely-political sociopathy. Kevin D. Williamson wrote a piece earlier this month narrating his own experience evicting his stepmother from her home of 20 years. Reminder: This is the intellectual side of conservatism.

Goatee qualities: Aggressively pseudo-intellectual, massive victim complex, convinced of its own moral superiority despite being on the wrong side of every issue for nearly 70 years

Anti-goatee qualities: None

Worst current headline: “Samurai Jack vs. the Social-Justice Warriors”


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Alex Nichols is the social media editor at Current Affairs.