Why Substack Matters

The ruling class and its most sycophantic underlings hate competition. So it comes to no surprise why many gatekeepers are freaking about the emergence of Substack, an online platform that allows independent journalists to publish subscription newsletters that they can monetize. Substack ultimately serves as a refuge for independent voices who want to make a living during a time when making independent commentary could get someone cancelled. 

Certain gatekeepers feel legitimately threatened by Substacks’s very presence. Just look at UCLA professor Sarah T. Roberts. In a tweet she posted in late February, she declared that “Substack is a dangerous direct threat to traditional news media. But more importantly? It is a threat to journalism.”

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Substack’s ability to give independent journalists like Glenn Greenwald a platform that they can make a living off. In fact, he’s raking in the big bucks with some sources speculating that Greenwald is making roughly six figures monthly through his Substack subscriptions.

Funny how doing actual journalism can be a rewarding endeavor. Corporate journalists, on the other hand, are involved in a vicious rat race, where they try to one-up each other by publishing dubious content for the sake of generating clicks, advancing the regime’s narrative, or with the intent of destroying people’s lives. 

Because of the rise of Substack as a platform, journalists in legacy outlets, who were once paladins of free expression, are using their platforms to have Big Tech ban and muzzle dissenting figures that cross the entire political spectrum.

In a Substack post he published on March 11, Greenwald had some poignant observations of how desperate the legacy journalist class is becoming:

That same motive of self-preservation is driving them to equate any criticisms of their work with “harassment,” “abuse” and “violence” — so that it is not just culturally stigmatized but a banning offense, perhaps even literally criminal, to critique their journalism on the ground that any criticism of them places them “in danger.

Under this rubric they want to construct, they can malign anyone they want, ruin people’s reputations, and unite to generate hatred against their chosen targets, but nobody can even criticize them. 

Success on Substack is instantly met with a firm response by the gatekeepers who fear any views that fall outside the increasingly narrow range of acceptable opinion. Greenwald, who has been in the journalist game for a while now, understands what’s the score and what the media hall monitors have in store for independent media voices who challenge the regime narrative:

Any independent platform or venue that empowers other journalists or just ordinary citizens to do reporting or provide commentary outside of their repressive constraints is viewed by them as threats to be censored and destroyed. 

One Journalist Clio Chang, wrote a piece for the Columbia Journalism Review titled “The Substackerati” which argued that Substack was structurally unfair due to how “most” of “the most successful people on Substack” are “white and male; several are conservative” and “have already been well-served by existing media power structures.” 

Greenwald took down Chang’s assertion effortlessly, noting the following:

All of that was false. The most-read and highest-earning writer on Substack is Heather Cox Richardson, a previously obscure Boston College History Professor who built her own massive readership without ever working at a corporate media outlet. And the writers that article identified in support of its claim — Matt Taibbi, Andrew Sullivan, Matt Yglesias and myself — do not remotely owe our large readerships to “existing media power structures.” That is precisely why they are so furious. They cannot stand the fact that journalists can break major stories and find an audience while maintaining an independent voice, critically questioning rather than obediently reciting the orthodoxies that bind them and, most of all, without playing their infantile in-group games and submitting to their hive-mind decrees.

The legacy media faces a real threat in Substack, which is why many of its most vocal guardians are trying to dismiss it as much as possible.  In a time of mass censorship, there must be alternative platforms for the gadflies and dissenters to make a home at. Thankfully, there are intrepid entrepreneurs out there who are willing to solve the very real problems political commentators face by turning to the market and building competing structures. 

More of this kind of entrepreneurship will be needed in order for genuine voices to spread their message, and most importantly, earn a respectable living from their work.

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