The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

What Happened to Oliver Darcy?

Posted on | September 7, 2018 | 2 Comments

Oliver Darcy as a young conservative in 2013.

The purge of Alex Jones and his Infowars site from social media is the work of one man, CNN’s Oliver Darcy, who in recent months has been on a sort of jihad again Jones. While I have never been an admirer of Jones (a 9/11 “Truther” who led an enraged mob against Michelle Malkin at the 2008 DNC in Denver), his site InfoWars has published some good reporting about various issues, and it is wrong to suppose that any “right-wing” voice is safe from the tactics used against Jones. If conservatives are afraid to fight against efforts to silence “controversial” figures on the Right, this will produce a steady retreat, as various figures are targeted for destruction the way Oliver Darcy targeted Alex Jones.

What I can’t understand is why Oliver Darcy would volunteer for this destructive mission. I remember Darcy when he was at Campus Reform, the college-beat site run by the Leadership Institute. From there, he went to Glenn Beck’s site, The Blaze, becoming deputy managing editor. In mid-2016, however, Darcy left The Blaze, joining Business Insider as politics editor, before signing on with CNN in spring 2017.

So why did Oliver Darcy — who called himself a “conservative-leaning libertarian” in 2013 — become a Torquemada leading an online Inquisition against right-wingers? While I have no inside information to account for this transformation, and I’m not sure if Darcy has ever explained his anti-free-speech crusade, my hunch is that his experience working at The Blaze for three years might have been pivotal.

Glenn Beck’s operation once generated $90 million a year in revenue, but since 2014 the company has become increasingly troubled, and when there were mass layoffs in 2017, the story included this:

Meanwhile, as Beck himself has acknowledged, his staunch opposition to Donald Trump has cost him dearly in alienated former fans, and even his most reliable source of income, his daily Premiere Radio Networks syndicated talk show, has not been immune from the consequences of his Never Trumpism. An industry observer noted that Beck’s radio audience is also taking a hit.

The rise of Trump was also the decline of Beck, and we may imagine that there would be some bitterness in Darcy’s heart about that.

But why go after Alex Jones? Well, there was never any love lost between Beck and Jones. Beck called Jones a “fascist” and Jones called Beck a “global operative,” so here, too, it may be said that Darcy is doing Beck’s work in attacking a hostile rival. And let’s face it, ratings at CNN are so low that Alex Jones probably reaches a larger audience than the “Clinton News Network.” The primetime audience for the week of Aug. 27 was 2.3 million at Fox, 1.9 million at MSNBC and 1.1 million at CNN. In attacking Jones, Darcy was depriving a CNN competitor of social-media access. And who will be next on Darcy’s hit list? Once a purge gets rolling, it’s difficult to predict who will be targeted next.



 

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