The Downfall Bill Simmons and the Rise of New Media, Part 2

Part 1

Bill Simmons’ creative downfall described Part 1 coincides with a general downward trend across American sports. Men across America rediscovered their civic duty and national pride in 2016. The election gave them a cause and purpose, and sports now seem a shallow husk. That’s before considering the how insufferable American sports have been since the Colin Kapernick national disgrace.

Sports media is a vital component of the media industrial complex. Sports provide stimulation, distraction and satisfaction for the masculine parts of the mind that are rejected by modern culture. However, networks like ESPN have lost touch with their audiences by prioritising virtue signalling over national pride. Away from the weak simulation that is sport, men have become more free to focus their strategic and tactical brains, their testosterone and drive, to be ambitious, creative and political.

The Ringer was the perfect opportunity for Simmons to stick it to the establishment media that never appreciated him,  but amazingly, the website been a creative an air-ball with a toe on the line. When it came to race-baiting, virtue-signalling and insulting conservatives, especially Trump voter, the website has played it even more safe than the mainstream media. Simmons has employed nothing but blowhard liberals, with the only conservative voice his friend Jack-O, an old school Republican and staunch anti-Trumper. The Ringer does not present a political discussion, only Daily Show-esque sneering superiority towards Trump’s supporters. Attacking straw men placed by the fake news media is not persuasive.

I would never have expected Simmons’ site to be pro-Trump, but in the name of brand differentiation The Ringer could have simply been unbiased and offered a genuine alternative to virtue-signalling ESPN in a misguided bid for journalistic legitimacy. Sticking to Simmons’ formula or sports and pop culture  would have been fine.

Simmons used to have a unique writing voice, but now The Ringer is fungible. By the time he realised his vision, it was obsolete and no longer in touch with the zeitgeist. This is why Simmons has failed as a visionary . He also failed to identify and attack the same forces that forced him out of ESPN.

There is a lesson here. Comparisons may be made between Simmons pioneering attempts to go from alternative to mainstream by attempting to redefine the mainstream rather than altering his product, and this post-Trump election period, in which several counter-culture, alternative media personalities are attempting to take over the news media not by becoming the new news media, but by altering how news media works. The leap always risks the loss of edginess, of relatability, of authenticity, unpredictability – all alien to traditional 20th century sports and news media. But the alternative is the constant threat of deplatforming.

Charles C. Johnson, Milo Yiannopolis and Ricky Vaughn are among those banned from Twitter. YouTube recently implemented strict censorship, Breitbart’s sponsors were attacked and of course, Obama did this, which means the internet is no longer under the protection of the 2nd Amendment.


A leader must be a visionary,  he must have the ability to see where the puck is going. This was the role Simmons was to fill. This is the role in which Simmons has failed.

This is the role in which the leaders of new media like Mike Cernovich must succeed. Cernovich is the author of Gorilla Mindset, MAGA Mindset and runs the website Danger and Play, . among many other roles. See my Gorilla Mindset review here

Cernovich is like Simmons in some ways. He came up in what Cernovich calls the golden age of blogging, the 2000s. He expanded from a blog to a podcast and then a book, like Simmons. But unlike Simmons,  he has not relied on anyone else’s platform, he has slowly and patiently built his audience through a sophisticated multi-platform approach that is the new template for internet success and sustainability. This model to promote books has also worked for Nick Kelly (formerly Victor Pride) and Roosh V.

Having a totally independent platform has drawbacks, and Cernovich has been reliant of flawed technology, like Periscope, and at the mercy of the censors of Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. This is fine if your product is blogs, podcasts and books. But there is still this desire for more, and reliable outsourcing regarding a platform. Cernovich is debuting The Right Mindset with Mike Cernovich on Right Side Broadcasting. Perhaps this will be similar to Paul Joseph Watson’s relationship with Alex Jones and Infowars. Perhaps it will be more similar to Stefan Molyneux’s Freedoman Radio.

Cernovich uses Twitter to get in touch with the zeitgeist, the collective unconscious. This allows him to stay in touch, while someone like Simmons becomes distracted by media opportunities. Cernovich understands he must stay niche in order to retain his credibility and authenticity, so important to his brand. Obviously Right Side is not HBO, but this DIY model might be effective in this regard.

Referring back to Part 1, one must note that beneath an unforgivably nauseating layer of lowest common denominator garbage that the record companies have resorted to to sustain themselves, those in the music industry who have thrived in the post-internet apocalyptic wasteland are a kaleidoscopically varied bands who have earned a core audience and respected them. These bands are hardworking, loyal and DIY. They interact with their fans on social media. They do not outsource to be lazy. They sacrifice themselves to reinvest in themselves. They operate by a thread. This is the model that ensures those who do it genuinely love it, or at least can’t do anything else. This ensures quality.


Simmons and The Ringer are committed to going full SJW, adopting a vision from the ’90s that has served its purpose and now must itself be overthrown. When Simmons grew up civil rights styled activism, even rioting, was glorified. Figures like Muhammed Ali and Kareem Abdul Jabbar openly rejected American values and a young Simmons loved them for it. When the Donald Sterling recording was illegally released Simmons approved player boycotts, and was not in any way concerned with privacy rights or the hypocritical disavowal by the other NBA team owners. I’m not defending Sterling. I’m illustrating that to Simmons, this style of journalism/activism is acceptable where the ends justify the means.

While Simmons was distracted pressing flesh, being a parent and building a media empire to realise his vision, the American cultural and political landscape  changed and those advocating violent protests are racist domestic terror groups like Black Lives Matter or fanatical, violent leftists like Antigua are nothing like the civil rights activists whose legacy they destroy. This is how quickly you can go from cutting edge to obsolete in the 21st century if you take your eye off where the puck is going. As Warren Buffet said, a reputation takes a lifetime to build and a minute to destroy.

Cernovich knows this. He has rejected selling out many times before. He has always had a quality over quantity approach to his audience, often blocking followers on Twitter and Periscope, and regularly taking stances that threaten to alienate his audience, such as supporting Roosh V, supporting Donald Trump and rejecting the Alt-Right. He is aware of the value of integrity and authenticity to his, and everyone’s, brands in the 21st century, as the old-world facades crumble away. The change is coming. The New Right is gradually making inroads into more mainstream channels. Joe Rogan interviewed Alex Jones. Philip DeFranco can get away with essentially pro-Milo commentary. The most mainstream YouTuber, Pewdiepie, can see that getting serious is the new trend. The New Media revolution is coming. Someone just needs to set the template for the next step.

Read Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) at The Ringer

Read Mike Cernovich (@Cernovich) at Danger and Play

Read my review of Gorilla Mindset here

The Downfall of Bill Simmons and the Rise of New Media, Part 1

Major league American sport is sports media, and the media is American culture. Before the internet took over from the fake news, it took over sports media. This is why those outside Bill Simmons’ fan base should care that his HBO show was cancelled.

Simmons was one of the internet’s first success stories, making the leap from blogging to podcasting to running his own website to TV. Simmons was released by ESPN just as the internet came of age and became the new mainstream. What went wrong? What can other internet luminaries learn from his failure?

Writers like Simmons used sports to explore styles of sports writing such as long form analogy pieces and listicles, that embraced the advantages of the medium. The technology allowed for innovation, for example, links allowed obscure extended metaphors andthe use of short clips for humour. Tech innovation led to writing innovation.

As ESPN’s Sports Guy he was a blogger before for AOL subscribers. He wrote in an opinionated editorial style. For a while he was positioned as an alternative to the straight journalism of the main brand. He was the ‘net nerds insider in a world of alphas, extroverts and jocks. He brought obscure pop culture references and extended, tenuous metaphors in a style that imitated college friends talking about sports in a bar, a style perfected on his The BS Report. He used references from RockyThe Karate Kid and Teen Wolf. The internet facilitated this style, and also allowed for a sense of contuity between stylisiticly relsted articles. Search engines, Wikipedia and pre-copyright YouTube allowed for an expansion of what could be referenced, implied or used by way of analogy.

As the internet grew Simmons audience expanded and culminated in making The Book of Basketball: The NBA According to the Sports Guy a massive success that earned him considerable clout at ESPN, ultimately leading in Grantland, a sports/pop culture journalists creative playpen. He made the transition for sports blogger to TV personality behind the scenes with the 30 for 30 series, then in front of the camera on NBA Countdown and The Grantland Basketball Hour. His love of hip-hop was novel in a time when the NBA was actively suppressing players being too hip-hip. Referencing 2Pac or NWA was edgy. Simmons is now a nearly-50 year old man who gushes over every new hip-hop act like an awkward dad trying to relate to his son.

How could one man go from pioneer of a new kind of media empire to out of touch in such a short time? For Simmons readers, the disease of more might sound familiar.

Whether Simmons knew it or not, he had lucked onto one of the most sustainable, low-overhead, high exposure double as a podcasting sportswriter. Unfortnately, growing up in old media meant his vision of success was defined by an outdated model, and his downfall was a result of his failure to update his vision.

Grantland was a way for the ESPN dino-media to keep Simmons and his kind at arms length. Simmons seemed happy, but kept working on his plan to his vision of a variety show. This was probably the result of his work for Jimmy Kim Mel. 30 for 30 was a success, but in front of the camera Simmons was a failure. He is a good writer whose style has become ubiquitous to the point of overexposure, and his references have become dated. He has become an imitation of himself.

The Book of Basketball will likely be his legacy. His threats to update are (ironically) more in keeping with a website. A book should be a reflection of the time of its publication, a time that was Simmons’ creative peak.

But then he had to go and try to be a real journalist, even if it was out of pride, and tackle the NFL and Roger Goodell.


The story is adequately covered in Business Insider, Vanity Fair or Deadspin.

Simmons was a victim of the dino-media. Simmons contract itself is evidence that ESPN did not understand how to quantify internet popularity. He was continually at war with John Skipper, like a conservative working for CNN or the Washing Post. In his attempts to question the NFLs handling or the Ray Rice controversy Simmons was suspended, then later let go faster than a New York Times writer criticising Carlos Slim. Simmons is either the victim of a conflict of interest relating to Disney’s ownership of ESPN and other companies like the NFL that prevents it from effectively reporting on  controversies like domestic violence and concussion related injuries in the NFL, the internal discplinary procedures of the league and the nature of Goodells authority, or of  ESPNs desperation to ditch his exorbitant contract to save money because its social justice friendly objectives have left the company unable to pursue its corporate mandate of profitability. So essentially, fake news, or SJWs.

Such corruption, obfuscation and conflicts of journalistic integrity were rife during Trump’s campaign, and the aftermath has brought into question the very nature of establishment media. One might think Simmons would notice such parallels. This corruption is a 2oth century virus the dino-media is attempting to infect the 21st century with. Social media is the cure.

Simmons was an internet pioneer who used an established platform to build his own personal brand, through a multimedia approach. This is the template for all internet brands. Following his departure I eagerly awaited the launch of his new website to replace GrantlandThe Ringer. Any Given Wednesday was to replace The Grantland Basketball HourThe Bill Simmons Podcast replaced The BS Report. Backed by HBO, he had the time and the money to build his vision of what ESPN had always held back. Simmons was out of excuses. All this has meant Simmons no longer actually writes…

His failure to transcend his former persona has left him. His attempt to recreate the echochamber he built at ESPN was a little too familiar. His revenge on ESPN has failed, because they both follow the same misguided social justice agendas. Simmons has failed to differentiate his product from the mainstream at all, at best promoting a kind of liberal predictability that only seems creative to journalism majors who love Rolling Stone. It lacks the testosterone of the old-school coverage, but also any edgy counterculture elements. It is a safe product, about as edgy as the rebels in Disney’s Star Wars or Lady Gaga. This is what controlled opposition looks like. Like an indie band signing with a major label, Simmons has alienated the non-mainstream internet with his lazy politics. As noted by Vox Day in a recent periscope, sports journalists seem to virtue signal to ‘real’ journalists for legitimacy. Chasing lowest common denominator numbers is the old way.

Simmons mistake was attempting to recreate his old platform, his old vision, rather than be a true visionary and come up with a new one for a new time. Embracing a cable station that would own your video content just as everyone stopped watching TV is like trading in a T-model Ford for a luxury horse and carriage.


The pattern of 20th century media and culture was to co-opt and corrupt every countercultural movement or revolution and render it a meaningless husk. In the ’90s Grunge, Marilyn Manson and rap music were all symptomatic of depression growing into frustration, shouts for attention to neglectful parents, manifested as nihilistic rebellion or rejection of Western culture, co-opted into the next trend; frustration that gave form to a new cry for help – the school shooting. The mainstream assimilated all as it grew, like Akira.

It was not until the internet destroyed the music industry that people took notice. The technology made the choice – music files were smaller than videos. The internet has changed the way we watch TV. Hollywood has felt the economic hit, and has taken up arms against the internet, which has exposed them in every way. They know their industry is next. The internet had become the best way for athletes to built their brands. Conor McGregor’s use of twitter and podcasts with Ariel Helwani to promote himself has made him the biggest draw in modern sport.

In 2016 it was the news media industry that the internet chose to destroy. And it did it on the grandest stage of them all – the Presidential Election.

Part 2