"Resistance Media" Makes a Big Splash at Politicon

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From left: Jon Favreau, Jon Lovett and Tommy Vietor at this year's Politicon

While conservative media made a showing at the Pasadena conference, it was left-leaning media outlets that were treated like rock stars.

The so-called "resistance media," an ascendant segment of the industry in Donald Trump's America, just had another coming-out moment. 

At the two-day Politicon conference last weekend in Pasadena, MSNBC personalities were treated like rock stars, discussions featuring the left-leaning The Young Turks network were standing-room-only, and the guys from the Crooked Media podcast Pod Save America nearly filled an auditorium.

On Saturday, three former Obama staffers behind the podcast and company — Jon Favreau, Jon Lovett and Tommy Vietor — played to an extremely enthusiastic audience that hung on their every word and Trump administration criticism.

Cenk Uygur, who founded TYT in 2002, said his Sunday debate with conservative commentator Ben Shapiro had to be moved to an auditorium because several thousand too many people showed up.

"These guys who are resisting Trump, whether it's on TV, like [MSNBC's] Joy Reid or us online or [the Crooked Media podcast] Lovett or Leave It, they're serving as the champion for progressives who want to fight back," Uygur told The Hollywood Reporter. "And it makes sense that there's great passion and thirst for something like that at a time like this."

Uygur said there will "almost certainly" be more media companies popping up and catering to an anti-Trump audience.

Both Uygur and his fellow former MSNBC anchor Touré, who interviewed Trump advisor Roger Stone on Sunday, agreed that this year's Politicon had a much stronger showing from conservatives.

"The first two years, it really was a progressive conference that some conservatives showed up to," Touré told THR. "This year, there was a strong conservative presence onstage and in the audience. It was much more 50-50. That made for real tension and friction."

Touré, who left MSNBC in 2014, argued that "there's a lot of good content on the resist side," and as such there's probably not a white space in the market.

One prominent conservative media personality in attendance was Mike Cernovich, who spoke to THR while waiting to attend a panel discussion featuring longtime conservative provocateur Ann Coulter.

Cernovich, a day earlier, had scored a scoop when he reported on Twitter that Reince Priebus was out as White House chief of staff more than an hour before President Trump announced the news on his Twitter account.

He was very pleased to have gotten one over on members of the mainstream media, and credited his news nugget to being well-sourced in the Trump administration.

"People were like texting me, 'Is this true?' and I was like, 'Hey man, it was a reliable source. They've never let me down before," Cernovich said. "And then I get text messages, 'Go to Trump's Twitter right now!'"

Cernovich said he doesn't need credit or recognition from political reporters working at prominent media outlets. "They're still more well-sourced than I am, but the future is people like me," he said. 

A version of this story first appeared in the Aug. 2 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

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