Pretend you’re an entertainment journalist.
There’s a new singer on the scene who has no agent, record label or marketing muscle behind him. He’s a virtual unknown, but by the power of social media his music explodes on the iTunes charts.
He lands not one or two but three songs in the top 10, a literal overnight sensation. His music dominates on social media, too, and his first live performance since his career ignited draws a sizable crowd.
He just joined X, formerly known as Twitter and now has more than 300K followers.
Worth a story, no?
It gets better.
The singer shares plainspoken lyrics that speak to the working stiff, the guys and gals who break their backs only to watch it scooped up by the government. The songs aren’t overtly political, but they speak to modern frustrations in ways that make progressives nervous.
How fast do you write that story?
Well, if you work for Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Deadline or TheWrap.com you don’t even bother. Those entertainment sites are ignoring the stunning rise of Oliver Anthony, a Virginia resident whose song “Rich Men North of Richmond” went viral mere days ago.
A Google News search also couldn’t find the AP or Reuters picking up the story. Most mainstream news outlets pretend it’s not happening.
Meanwhile, his recent concert drew strong media coverage from right-leaning outlets.
No words... Thank you. pic.twitter.com/UUFVfJQdab— Oliver Anthony (@AintGottaDollar) August 13, 2023
Billboard begrudgingly covered Anthony’s rise, while both TMZ and Rolling Stone found the most newsworthy element of his story is that conservative influencers are sharing his music.
Like that noted alt-right figure Joe Rogan.
Some may be unaware of his overnight stardom. Progressive journalists live in a bubble, protected from right-leaning or contrarian views. Anthony may be all over a conservative’s social media landscape, but liberals may be blissfully unaware of his story.
There’s another angle, though.
Reporters understand Anthony’s work undercuts their narratives. Bidenomics is working! There is no collusion between the Biden administration and Big Tech!
Everything is fine, and our elites have the situation firmly in hand.
Anthony’s music says otherwise, and reporters are loathe to give those messages the oxygen they richly deserve.
Just wait, though.
Journalists may be pouring through Anthony’s social media feeds for “problematic” thoughts. Some may be on the ground in Virginia, digging for dirt on a singer who defied the groupthink. They may work harder discrediting Anthony than a certain president’s son and his miles and miles of misbehavior.
Their silence may soon be replaced with blistering editorials and investigations into why an unknown singer is outselling the biggest stars in music.
The best-case scenario for Anthony? He keeps making music for the masses while the media keeps looking the other way.
UPDATE: Musician and podcaster Winston Marshall echoes the themes presented above in a blistering attack on Rolling Stone magazine for The Spectator.
This is a big story in music. The biggest maybe since rapper Bryson Gray knocked Adele off the iTunes top spot in October 2021 with “Let’s Go Brandon.” Gray’s story was largely ignored by the music press, completely so by Rolling Stone. An unknown rapper beats the biggest-selling artist of the twenty-first century to number one? Nothing to see here. Why the crickets? Well, it didn’t help that Gray was an unapologetic conservative “punching up,” as they say, at the president. And Rolling Stone magazine is now, remember, the Establishment. It is the mainstream. It is legacy media. And it has a narrative to protect.
SECOND UPDATE: Variety finally decided to cover Anthony’s remarkable story.
Oliver Anthony’s ‘Rich Men North of Richmond’ Is an Instant Smash Among Conservatives, While Progressives Wonder if He’s a ‘Plant’
The far-Left outlet bemoans that Anthony lacks a sizable paper trail, all but saying the reporter dug for any dirt possible but came up empty.
Actually, Variety comes right out and admits it:
(“Oliver Anthony” is a nom de plume; still, nothing that turns up under his real name suggests that he was actually financed by a PAC or major label or doesn’t really know what a deer blind is.)
Next, the outlet demonizes the singer’s fans because they’re (gasp) right wing.
But if an artist is known by the fans they keep, the highest-profile fans Anthony has quickly accumulated are very much on the right side of the aisle — insta-supporters like former Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, firebrand commentator Matt Walsh, former Mumford & Sons banjoist-turned-political gadfly Winston Marshall and far-right country figure John Rich, who said he has had long conversations with Anthony and offered to produce and finance a full album.