Alex Abel pulled out a dog-eared copy of the Federalist Papers and the Bible out of his backpack and tossed it on the dining table with a loud thump.
“I’ve been reading and referencing these after I got the threats. Didn’t really matter though. YouTube just shut down my account without any explanation.” he said.
Abel is referring to the many threats and actions he was subjected to after posting a video about how he was brainwashed by the mainstream media.
“I thought I was woke, but really, I was lulled asleep by the leftist narrative,” he said in the video.
For half a decade, Mr. Abel was a cable television addict ensconced in a leftist media cocoon, but in the past few months, he has become one of its biggest critics—though YouTube’s banning might stop this. He described himself as a “leftist radical” who happily took in the views of pro-abortion celebrities, anti-Christian commentators, and outspoken socialists who endorsed the genocidal policies of communist dictators past and present. They convinced him that babies weren’t human beings, the president was a murderous dictator, and Christians were bigots who mercilessly bully the LGBT community.
“I really was a total NPC” he said—NPC (non-playable character) is a common conservative meme to describe unthinking leftists.
It’s a common story. A young man with a useless college degree and an addiction to pornography and videogames starts sitting listlessly in front of the television. Soon enough, he is drawn into the far-left abyss of cable television, never suspecting anything.
“We have a lot of leftist content on our channels which could be considered somewhat extreme, even diabolical. We figure that if we just keep it coming, people will start liking it,” said Cayden Smith, a programming data analyst for CNN.
Mainstream Propaganda Continues Apace
Cable networks have been hearing complaints of their one-sided biased politics for decades, but it has always ignored these complaints, confident in their objectivity and professionalism. For conservatives who had different opinions, they could go to Fox. In order to offset the perceived bias of Fox, leftist executives try to create some “balance” by giving the other side a fighting chance, leading to 93% negative Trump coverage and an excessively critical treatment of conservatism in general.
Despite the declining viewership, mainstream news outlets like CNN, CBS, and NBC along with entertainment outlets like Comedy Central and MTV continue to feature leftist content. This prevents helpless viewers like Abel to find their way out of their narratives. Whether he hopes to watch a comedy show, an interview with a celebrity, or just catch the news, he will be indoctrinated with leftist talking points such as the benefits of socialism, the president’s supposed collusion with Russia, and the imminent climate catastrophe that will wipe out humanity in a dozen years.
With the exception of Mr. Abel, who lacked the interest or the effort to see what was online, many Americans now choose to view their content from independent creators on YouTube to avoid the radical agenda of the mainstream media. Rather than respond with better programming, network executives have enlisted activist groups and writers in major newspapers to advocate shutting down these creators.
In the meantime, viewers like Abel took what was served. Hour and hour, he would passively watch what millions of other Americans watched. TV personality after TV personality repeating the same points, using the same words, obscuring any evidence or feeling to the contrary.
“No one really notices what happens with network television because it has been around forever and seems so mainstream. How can such famous anchormen like Anderson Cooper, no-nonsense women like Rachel Maddow, or comedians like John Stewart and John Oliver push a message that’s extreme and dangerous? Nevertheless, it happens,” said Cindy Louis, a spokeswoman for a nonprofit organization that specialized in media issues.
College Graduates Are the Most Vulnerable
Looking at Alex Abel’s viewing history, thousands of hours of mainstream media consumption the picture was clear: a smart young man without a job, without skills, and a strong desire to fit in, at the mercy of greedy network executives ready to exploit him. It was only a matter of time before Abel succumbed to leftist ideology.
The warning signs should have been obvious. Raised by moderately progressive parents in the suburbs who did all they could to boost his self-esteem, Abel needed an escape from the few demands they sometimes made, like waking up in the morning and taking showers. He found this escape through television.
After coasting through college majoring in political science (an avid marijuana user, Abel could not remember any specific classes he took), Abel hit a wall upon graduation. He could not find a job; no one bothered to offer him one; and he was deep in debt. So, like many of his peers, he went to live with his parents and sit in front of the television most hours of the day.
At first, Abel liked to watch John Stewart and Stephen Colbert on Comedy Central. As a college graduate eager to win respect without doing anything, these shows particularly flattered his ego with smart-sounding subject matter and easy mockery of Republicans and Christian conservatives.
Over time, Abel began to rely on these shows for news as well as laughs. When he actually changed the channel to the news, they seemed to be saying many of the same things anyway. As the news and comedy shows became more political, so did Abel. He even started to reinforce his leftism by listening to NPR and skimming frequently referenced online journals like the New York Times, the Washington Post, and other far-left publications.
He had stopped looking for work at this point. “At the time, I thought this was what I supposed to do. It also made me feel smarter than the average person,” says Abel.
On the night of November 8th, 2016, Abel’s transformation was complete. Donald Trump won the presidency, inspiring Abel to join the resistance.
In practical terms, Abel simply continued to watch television with an uncritical eye and repeat the same arguments. His family and friends became worried about him. It wasn’t that he was lazier than usual—this was always true—but that he was much more belligerent and annoying than before. He was even dating an anarcho-Marxist atheist person who occasionally baked pot brownies for Antifa members.
“Yeah, politics definitely brought them together. I think she eventually dumped him for using the wrong pronouns. Kinda sad,” said Daisy Ganondorf, an old high school friend.
His conservative relatives pleaded with him to stop being a loser, but Abel would yell over them and refused to change. When a few of them offered to pray for him, he even spat at them and said that prayers were useless and offensive.
It was around this time that Abel admits to having a crush on progressive icon Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. He referred to her as his “commie bae” or communist crush. Even after leaving the Left, he will sometimes watch videos of her interviewing or dancing and sigh longingly.
Although he came close to throwing a milkshake at an old woman praying outside a Planned Parenthood clinic, Abel admits that there was a line he couldn’t cross even after so many years of stewing in leftist ideology. He would cheer on those who rioted in the streets or those who proposed extreme proposals in the capital, but he did nothing himself. He didn’t even vote in the 2018 midterms.
“I wanted to vote for my commie bae, but she wasn’t in my district,” sighed Mr. Abel.
Soon after midterm elections, however, Abel accidentally changed the channel to Fox and was too lazy to change it back to CNN. What he saw changed him. Tucker Carlson was interviewing a Canadian professor, Jordan Peterson, about the plight of men. Both made some points that hit home with Abel. Apparently, his failure was not the fault of the patriarchy, implicit bias, corporate greed, climate change, or Donald Trump—it was his own fault.
Abel eventually changed the channel back to CNN, but he couldn’t shake off the feeling that he had been wasting the last five years of his life watching cable television under his parent’s roof.
Later that night and for the next few weeks, Abel went online to watch more videos with Tucker Carlson and Jordan Peterson. This led him to watching Prager University videos along with “Change my Mind” segments with Steven Crowder. Instead of NPR, which started yet another pledge drive, he started listening to Daily Wire podcasts. He was also reading articles in The Federalist, The American Conservative, American Thinker, and other sites that actually cared about making sense.
When Abel learned that YouTube was demonetizing conservative creators’ content and Pinterest was banning Christian pro-life groups on their site, he decided to join the struggle and make a video arguing against this kind of censorship and cable propaganda. Within 48 hours, his account was suspended and his video was taken down. Somehow, there was still enough time for leftist trolls to threaten him for his bigoted views and mock his “sex-starved male” ranting.
Abel is undeterred at this backlash and takes it as a chance to step away from screens altogether. He has given up on compulsive television consumption and simply plans to follow Dr. Peterson’s advice to “clean up his room.” In keeping with this, he has found a job and plans to move out of his parents’ house next month. He has also started going to church, reading the Bible, and reconnecting with old friends.
When asked how he feels about coming out of his leftist radicalism when so many others stay in it, he becomes quiet and thinks for a few moments.
“I grew up, and thank God I did. I hope and pray that others have the chance to do the same. I’m a lot happier now,” he says solemnly before going to the gym.