“This Is What the News Won’t Show You”: Youtube Creators and the Reactionary Politics of Micro-Celebrity – Television & New Media – article

“This Is What the News Won’t Show You”: Youtube Creators and the Reactionary Politics of Micro-Celebrity

Rebecca Lewis | Television & New Media

2019-10-22

This article explores the implications of micro-celebrity practices employed by political and ideological influencers on YouTube. I take a case study approach, performing a content analysis of the videos from three political YouTubers from January 1, 2017, to April 1, 2018. My analysis reveals that for these influencers, micro-celebrity practices are not only a business strategy but also a political stance that positions them as more credible than mainstream media. All three conflate the mainstream media with “social justice” politics, claiming both are sensationalized and silence dissenting voices. By adopting micro-celebrity practices that stress relatability, authenticity, and accountability, they differentiate themselves from both the mainstream media and progressive politics as they perceive them. Thus, the YouTubers in this study align micro-celebrity practices with a reactionary political standpoint. These findings complicate previous mythologies of Internet celebrity that treat participatory culture as inherently progressive.

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