Last week, progressives were handed a gift. Right-wing YouTube personality and so-called comedian, Steven Crowder had a meltdown on his show when presented with an opportunity to debate The Majority Report’s Sam Seder. #ColdFeetCrowder isn’t an anomaly, however. His rhetoric and framing are straight out of the right-wing playbook.
You can be forgiven for not knowing who Steven Crowder is or anything about his YouTube channel, Louder With Crowder. Or, really, any of the US political-media personalities that I bring up here.
But trust me… whatever your YouTube diet usually consists of, Crowder’s “debate” with H3 podcast‘s with Ethan Klein turned into the kind of sublime poetic justice that should make progressives the world over jump for joy.
The reason that I put “debate” into inverted commas is because Ethan, who doesn’t do much political content and is not particularly well-informed by his own admission. Crowder had said, when organizing a debate with Klein after their disagreement over whether or not American should follow CDC guidelines, that Klein would be a lay-up. So Ethan showed up with a guest who does know what he’s talking about – Sam Seder, the host of the Majority Report.
Sam and Steven have a history… and #ColdFeetCrowder has been a popular hashtag for years now. Why? Because Crowder pulled out of a debate with Seder at Politicon in 2017. For years, people have been posting #DebateSamSeder in the comments of right-wing content. Sam has been completely blackballed by everyone from Crowder to Dave Rubin to Ben Shapiro and even Joe Rogan. Why is he persona non grata? This is why…
Sam has dozens, if not hundreds of videos up on YouTube where he allows people to call into his show (completely unscreened) and debate with him over charged political issues. Seder’s been doing it for more than a decade. There probably isn’t anyone on the internet that can debate better than Sam (sorry Destiny, Vaush, etc.), with the possible exception of his late co-host Micheal Brookes.
Sam Seder actually knows what he’s talking about and has heard every right-wing talking point under the sun, presenting cohesive, compelling rebuttals to toxic narratives, misinformation, and just straight-up lies. He has had a few debates with some conservatives (liberals as well), such as his debate with Charlie Kirk two years ago.
And Sam Seder isn’t alone. Right-wingers never, ever, ever allow their ideas to be challenged by anyone noteworthy. You will notice that their whole narrative is about the “marketplace of ideas”, that they don’t want all this animosity… they want to hear both sides. Whenever they bring left-wing guests onto their show, they’re always “reformed lefties” – why I left the left vibes. Funnily enough, the “real progressives” who are just so tired of critical race theory, woke culture, and radical feminism, just seem to align on almost every issue with the show hosts.
And their fake-left guests are just the start. You know, they do hold their ideas up for criticism! They go onto college campuses and debate students who might have taken one sociology class – it makes for some great YouTube compilations. “BEN SHAPIRO OWNS RADICAL FEMINIST” or something to that effect frames the debate to fit their narrative that they push, portraying “leftism” an intolerant political ideology that’s not open to new opinions. And their incredible ability to own 19-year-olds in debates turns to cowardice when confronted by someone who knows a thing or two…
And my experience of some of South Africa’s most prominent political YouTubers, the strategy is the same. Jeremy Nel (a.k.a. Jerm) will invite unknown people, such as myself, onto their shows, with the intention of getting their own lay-ups, to use their own talking points. However, once you’ve spent an hour dispelling their bullshit narratives and are getting ready to embarrass them in front of their audiences, they always seem to “run out of time”, and promise to have you on again to continue the conversation… but never do. Then, challenge them on Twitter and get blocked when you call them out on misinformation and the text-based conversations don’t go their way. But they will have holocaust deniers and white supremacists on their shows… and complain when they lose sponsors.
But all they wanna do is talk about ideas – they wanna just to listen to bad ideas so that people can challenge them. And it’s okay that they provide a platform to white supremacy and antisemitism to their probably at least 90% white South African audience… There’s no way that those kinds of ideas are gonna stick…
This is an opinion piece and reflects the views of the author, not that of the Essetial Millennial