Writer Aaron Rupar talks about his exit from Vox and the start of the Public Notice Substack [podcast + transcript]

You probably know him from Twitter, but you should get to know his Substack.

  
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Welcome to the Present Age podcast [and transcript]. I’m your host Parker Molloy. Joining me today on the show is Aaron Rupar, the author of the new Public Notice Substack. Let’s get started.

Parker Molloy: Hey, Aaron. How's it going?

Aaron Rupar: I'm good. Thanks for having me on the podcast.

Yeah, of course. As soon as I heard that you were starting your own thing, I wanted to get you on here to talk about it, so that anyone who's listening to this can go read your new Substack. Can you tell me about it?

I appreciate that. Yeah, I'm viewing my Substack, which I'm going to call Public Notice, as basically an extension of the sort of coverage I've been doing for four or five years now, I guess maybe six. Boy, I started, well, early 2016, so five and a half, going on six. Which is basically coverage of Trumpism, right-wing media, and where they fit into the broader sphere of American politics. As with any of these Substacks, I think things have a tendency to evolve as you go, and you get a sense of what works with your audience, what doesn't work, what sort of things people are interested to read more about. And so I'm viewing it, at least initially, as a more conversational and iterative version of the sort of writing I'd been doing at Vox, with at least three newsletters a week to begin with. Actually, to begin with, it'll be more. I think I'm going to be doing a daily one for the first couple weeks and then scaling it back to more of a normal schedule after that.

But, yeah, I'm hoping that it'll be a place that people can go to get up to speed on what the big media stories of the week are, how right-wing media in particular is covering the broader picture of American politics. And a lot of good stuff that you're familiar with too, from your background at Media Matters. So that's how I'm viewing it going in. Like I said, I'm sure things will evolve. And it's always daunting when you're at the beginning stages of something like this. But I'm hopeful that a lot of the audience that I've developed over the years will come with me and check out the newsletter, and hopefully enjoy it. So we'll see how it goes.

Public Notice
Welcome to Public Notice
Welcome to Public Notice, the new home for my writing about politics and media. Let’s begin with a snippet from the weekend that captures the sort of thing I’ll be covering here. You’ve probably noticed that difficult negotiations over President Biden’s agenda have generated lots of headlines about…
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Yeah, definitely. Most people, if they're not familiar with your writing at Vox, they're probably at least familiar with the videos you post. You post constantly. Videos from all sorts of political events, Trump rallies, et cetera, et cetera. One question I had about that was, are you still going to be posting videos, and is your Twitter feed going to change at all?

I don't think it's going to change at all. It took a lot of outlay, in terms of money, to get some of the services that previously I had organizations paying for, whether that's SnapStream or TVEyes, things that I rely on to be able to do live posting and media monitoring. Again, all stuff that I'm sure you're familiar with from Media Matters, which also is very active in that space. But that's the idea, is to keep Twitter pretty constant. And so for people who just enjoy the video tweets and the video threads, not too much should be changing on that front. But then for people who do enjoy my writing, I'll be doing at least a couple of free newsletters a week, and then one paid one that I'm imagining at this point will be a summation of the most buzzworthy segments and news stories from media. More of a media-focused newsletter than the other two, which I'm thinking will be more focused on politics.

But I know that that's been a huge thing for me in terms of developing an audience, has been Twitter. And so it's expensive. And that was kind of a thing as I was leaving Vox and planning this next stage of my career. I felt kind of exhausted from all of the negotiations that I had to do just to try and strike deals with SnapStream, TVEyes, places like that. But I think I'm pretty geared up at this point to have all the same services that I've come to be used to, and to come to rely on to some extent, to do the type of media coverage that I do. So, for people who are just interested in my tweets, I think people, even if they have that level of interest in my work, and that much shouldn't be changing too much.

Cool. And also anyone who's a fan of your tweets should probably subscribe to the newsletter, which I'm not sure if you mentioned, it's called Public Notice, right?

Yeah. I thought Public Notice, it works for the type of stuff I'm going to be doing, trying to surface stories that are in the broad public interest, kind of in the sense that a public notice, as we historically think of it, is like a broadsheet that you'd see in a town square or something like that. I thought that dovetailed nicely with the idea that I have for this newsletter being a broadsheet summarizing, again, the things that I'm paying attention to in the sphere of media and politics.

It's like trying to name a band. I've played in enough bands where the band name can always be kind of a fraught item to agree on, to come up with. And so for a while, I was just going to go with the Rupar Report, and I still may incorporate that as the name of the paid newsletter that I do, or I might use that as a section of the newsletter. But yeah, I like the ring of Public Notice. I think it works for the type of work that I'm going to be doing, and so, yeah. That's going to be the name of it.

Oh, yeah. Whenever I hear one of these really good names, I'm just kind of like, "Dammit, why didn't I think of that?" You know?

Yeah.

I like mine. I like The Present Age, but also-

Yeah. I like it too.

I kind of wish it was something that felt... Because in my mind, I pictured it like, "This would be a great title for a magazine," or something like that. But then as time goes on, I'm just like, "Man, I wish it was just something that was like, boom, here's what you're getting," that sort of thing, instead of having to be like, "So if you read some philosophy, blah, blah," having to go into detail on that sort of stuff. But, yeah, Public Notice is just a great name.

Thought so.

And is that going to be at publicnotice.substack.com? [ed. note: the address is aaronrupar.substack.com]

Yes, that is what it's going to be. So, for many, many years I owned aaronrupar.com. I was just paying for it in case. And then I ended up just earlier this year letting that lapse. And of course it was snapped up. I no longer own it. And so that is still actually, as we record this here, that is still a little bit unclear exactly what the URL is going to be. But I believe it will be aaronrupar.substack.com to begin with. I'm still debating if I want to pay for the aaronrupar.info, or something like that. Yeah. One of those things where, for many, many years for GoDaddy, I just had money going out the door to hold this URL. And then, I don't know if I was trying to cut costs or something, but I let it lapse about a year ago, and here I am. I went back to see if I could purchase it and it's been snapped up, it's no longer available.

So, yeah. It'll probably have Substack in the title to begin with, but from what I understand those are things that are pretty easy to change down the line. The main place to find me will just be check out my Twitter account, I'll have a link there. But I'm guessing that for people who are listening to this who maybe aren't on Twitter or something like that, aaronrupar.substack.com should be the place to go to find that.

Public Notice
The big picture
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Absolutely. Yeah. God, that sort of reminds me of, a while back I was looking for an email address or something like that. And I was just like, "I am going to sign up for a Gmail address that's just my name, Parker Molloy." And it was taken, and I'm like, "Who the hell took this?" I kind of want to send an email to it and just be like, "Who are you? Why'd you take my name?"

Yeah. Well, there might be another Parker Molloy out there.

It's possible. I-

Yeah. There's an Aaron Rupar in Wisconsin. My last name is fairly... There's a few of us, but... I mean, with all of the people out there, odds are there might be another Parker Molloy.

Yeah. Yeah. One thing kept coming up on searches, something like an 18th century Irish immigrant or something was named Parker Molloy. I'm like, "That sounds about right. That's perfect."

I don't think that person would've opened a Gmail, but-

No, probably not.

Unless they did some time travel or something like that.

Who knows? Who's to say? So you were recently in Chicago. Right?

I was, yes.

I saw on your Twitter.

Yeah. It was amazing. Right now, I've been spending a lot of time during the pandemic here, I'm in Minnesota, presently. And so we, my two younger brothers and myself, decided to go to Chicago for... The main thing we were going for was the AEW All Out show, which was amazing, and actually worked out quite well for us because it was in Hoffman Estates. Which, for people who aren't familiar with Chicago, was way in the northwest of the metro. But if you're coming from Minnesota, it lopped an hour off of the drive, so it made it actually even an easier drive. When you're in Minnesota, a five hour drive is actually... seems like not that of a deal, because we're so isolated here in terms of other metros.

But yeah, we ended up making a really fun weekend out of it. We did a Cubs game and we hit up the barcade in Wicker Park and all that fun stuff. And my family, we've been quite diligent about COVID stuff, so we were kind of worried about that. But when we got back we did the rapid test just to make sure that everything was on the up and up. And now at this point it was weeks ago, so I think we're in the clear. But one of those things that we had planned, in the very bright and sunny days of June, when it seemed like we were kind of pulling out of this pandemic. And then of course by the time the trip actually happened, COVID was much more of a concern. But it was actually, given how much time we've all spent at home over the past year and a half, it was really fun to get out there.

I'd never really done a trip like that with my brothers either. So to do a brothers road trip, and we saw some really fun wrestling, and of course Wrigley is always a joy as well. So, it's always fun to get to Chicago. I've done that trip from Minnesota when I was living here permanently through college and then a little bit beyond, I used to travel to Chicago quite regularly. But it had been a bit since I had been there. So, kind of reminded me how vibrant and fun the city is. And it was a great time.

Yeah. Because I saw this, I saw that you came to Chicago. First, well, it was on your Twitter. But besides that, the Washington Free Beacon decided to write about you. Did you see that?

Oh, God. Yeah. Well, what happened was... And I don't know if people follow @RedSteeze, but he and I... he was kind of needling me over... I posted a photo from one of the wrestling... We went to two wrestling events, but the first one that I was at. And we had gone to the wrestling show and we were back at the hotel and I had had a couple of drinks. So I was feeling just feisty enough to engage. And so it was sort of good-natured, at least on my end. But it's kind of that pipeline of people, right-wing media figures, where it went from @RedSteeze to the Washington Free Beacon, and it became kind of this... Again where people on the right love to own the libs for being hypocritical or not practicing what they preach.

And so the idea was that I was a huge hypocrite because I was in this indoor setting. And granted, the mask compliance at AW was actually pretty good. It seemed like people generally, with exceptions of course, but when they were sitting down in their seats were masked up. But yeah, it kind of just became one of those things where whenever you're kind of a prominent liberal online and right-wingers have a chance to shame you for being a hypocrite, or not following the rules that you profess to find important for people in society to follow, it's kind of a fun thing for them to do, I guess.

So. Yeah. I'm sure you've experienced that sort of thing too, where you kind of become the story. And at this point I've been enough times where I can just shrug it off and it's not a big deal. But yeah, that whole weekend I was kind of... My Twitter notifications, I was getting notifications that, oh, this or that right-wing figure was teasing me or trying to shame me for the fact that I was out and enjoying life, at least for that weekend.

Yeah. Every time that happens with me it's usually one of those sites, Free Beacon. Or Twitchy, that's another one.

Ah, Twitchy, oh my goodness.

witchy, when they put me in headlines, they don't qualify it or say who it is. And I'm just like, guys, no one knows who I am. If you're going to write an article about a movie star, you can just say their name and people will know who you're talking about. But if you're just like, "Parker Molloy said this on Twitter," it's like, who the fuck is Parker Molloy?

Right. Because your title, I think, at Media Matters was editor at large. Is that right? So yeah. I mean that... Oh, Media Matters editor, people kind of understand what Media Matters is. But that's kind of the case now for me too, where it's like... When I was at Vox that was always... People love to own Vox, so it was like, oh, this Vox person. And now, it's so new that I'm independent that I'm not quite sure how that's going to work, if I have enough... If my brand is strong enough where people will still care or not. But yeah, when you're just doing a newsletter, it's kind of like, newsletter writer so and so. It doesn't quite have the same kick that, oh, Vox person or Media Matters person has.

Yeah. Sometimes I miss being part of the target that is Media Matters on Twitter. Like when Lara Logan had like-

Oh my God.

Last week, where she was like, "They're like the Taliban," or something like that. And I was like, I've been gone for like two months, and if they turned into a paramilitary organization, I don't know. That seems a little out of character, but okay.

Well, that's kind of... Because, yeah, Media Matters is interesting in that respect because a lot of it, including yourself when you were there, but Bobby Lewis or Andrew Lawrence, people who have such voice on Twitter, but then you read the posts on the Media Matters site and they're so straightforward. They're very factual and quotes. And that's like for me at Vox, Media Matters stuff on your site, and on Twitter too but especially on the site, was such a great resource because it was very factual. And so yeah, whenever you see people portraying Media Matters as this rogue... like a paramilitary organization or something like that, it's so over the top that you just kind of roll your eyes at it, but I don't know.

Some people, I guess, are kind of ashamed of things that they say on TV or they don't want people... That was kind of always the thing that I felt with the long-running feud that I've had over many years now with Glenn Greenwald, which kind of the origins was me just calling him out for being on Tucker and posting video clips. And obviously, other people at Media Matters have been targets of him as well, where he kind of... I think the term that he's used is we're hall monitors or something like that. Like we're narcing on him or something. But oftentimes you're just conveying things that he's saying on Tucker Carlson's show, and if that's enough to set someone off, then I think the problem is probably more with them than anything else. So it's a little bit of people like Lara Logan telling on themselves with stuff like that.

Yeah. See, now that could be one way to get your Substack off the ground. You could just start a big fight with Greenwald.

Oh man, I'm kind of drained.

That might be the path. Just be like-

Yeah, I mean, I've tried to rise above, I guess. Yeah. Over the years you mellow out a little bit. And I don't know, there was a time where Twitter fights were a lot more appealing than they seem to be to me now. I think maybe part of that was just being at Vox, which obviously doesn't really want their staffers engaging in bare-knuckle combat on Twitter. But I still think it's worth calling these people out at times. But with someone like Greenwald, I think it's become so normal for him to go on Fox News, it's not really newsworthy anymore. There was a time where he was getting a lot of grief because he would proclaim that the idea was that he was going on Fox and telling viewers, sharing perspectives that they wouldn't see normally.

But any pretense of that is so far... it's become so absurd to even claim that something like that is going on that I just don't see a lot of news value in highlighting that stuff. And that's sort of the thing, more broadly, with Tucker Carlson's show, which I still try and keep an eye on most nights. But I find myself grappling with just the extent to which it becomes kind of self-perpetuating, where if you make a big event out of every one of his shows, does that help create this perception that they're big events? Because a lot of what he says is so predictable at this point. Obviously he has millions of viewers. And so you can't discount that nor can you really understand what's going on on the right if you ignore people like Tucker Carlson, or if you ignore the Trump rallies.

I don't think that's really a hugely constructive way to approach them, but... And obviously people at Media Matters, that's their job is to document. But for someone like me who is kind of dipping in and out to try and get a sense of what people are talking about on the right, if you're live clipping every one of his monologues there is a sense in which you're kind of promoting him or validating him to your audience as well. And I don't have any great answers for that, but it's something, as I'm kind of immersed in right wing media, that I find myself almost on a daily basis wondering what the correct way to handle situations like that is.

Yeah. I totally agree. I find myself grappling with that same sort of, okay, is this really important to focus on? Is it not? But when it comes to someone like Tucker Carlson, for example, he is essentially setting the platform for the Republican party moving forward. On his show he pushes Great Replacement theory kind of stuff. And then you'll see a member of Congress on Fox and Friends talking about that. That's the same thing that the Charlottesville Nazis chanting that they won't be replaced. That's the same thing. We've come that far to where now that's mainstream.

Or the El Paso shooter. And there's a dynamic where you get kind of numb through the sheer repetition of it, where the first time you hear Tucker Carlson invoke Great Replacement theory, it's this big news event, because it's like, wow, this is a far-right talking point that's made its way onto Fox News. But then after like 10 broadcasts of that, it becomes kind of numbing where it's like, okay, this is just another bit on his show. And you're right. There was a congressman from Texas who was on Newsmax, pretty much word for word saying a lot of the same things that Tucker Carlson says on his show about how the Dem immigration policy is to bring immigrants in who vote for Dems. And this idea that it's this conspiracy to change the electorate in a way that dilutes the power of traditional, with air quotes, American voters sort of thing.

And yeah, it's a tricky thing to know how to handle that, because again there's kind of a novelty the first few times you hear something like that. I think back, the El Paso shooting, which happened, I believe that was in 2018. And at that time, Trump was really hammering the caravan talking points and this notion that immigration was tantamount to an invasion of the country. And that came out in the manifesto that the shooter released at the time of the shooting. And now that we've fast-forwarded three years and it's just kind of a normal Republican talking point. And so there are consequences to things like that, but it also is just a difficult thing to cover on a day in and day out basis because it's kind of exhausting.

And again, it loses some news value. So that is where I think that it's the type of work that Media Matters does is so vital in terms of just shedding light, to a largely progressive audience, of what people are talking about on the right and raising awareness in those ways. But you hear, and I noticed this recently with Chip Roy, who is on Tucker Carlson's program. And I clipped this because it, to me, kind of rose to the level where he was saying that Democrats are sick and twisted individuals, and this sort of dehumanizing and incendiary rhetoric. And that's kind of like a nightly thing on Fox. And so you try and imagine if you're someone who's earnestly watching this stuff, what your views about politics would be.

And it's not a pretty picture. But it's part of the complication of being a journalist covering media at this point. Political media is just knowing how to handle these very difficult subjects in a responsible way that doesn't perpetuate problems. And so, Trump had a rally just this past weekend in Georgia that I live clipped and added some commentary on Twitter. And I got a number of DMs from people who were like, you're part of the problem, you're promoting them. And I try to be sensitive to that. I think there is news value in knowing what Trump is talking about, because he's the presumptive 2024 Republican presidential nominee at this point and obviously he's setting the agenda for the Republican party.

So I don't really think ignoring is the way to go. And again, I don't have any perfect... You could probably teach classes on this stuff, but it's difficult. And these are kind of new problems because we live in such a media-saturated environment now that it's just inescapable. And you have to find a way to cover this stuff if you're going to cover politics, and it's dicey. So I don't pretend to be perfect, but these are things that I am going to try to continue to grapple with in the newsletter as well.

Great. Yeah. I think for me, one of the points that pushed me into trying to do this newsletter and doing a Substack thing, just like you are, is the fact that when I was at Media Matters there were several times where I watched something happen and then I was like, I'm going to write about that. And then I'd write about that. And then I'd watch the same thing happen six months later. And I'm like, I'm going to write about that. I've already written about that, but I'm going to write about it again. And then the same thing would keep happening and nothing was changing. And I'm just like, okay, maybe I'm not writing this correctly. Or maybe I'm not getting through to the people I need to get through to. Or maybe I just need a change of scenery.

And I think that that's been helpful for me. I still think political media is kind of a disaster at the moment. But you also have all of these new sorts of outlets to go to, and to try to... One thing I like about Substack, or email lists generally, is the fact that you don't have to worry about what some algorithm is going to do or what some... Like if Twitter shut down tomorrow, they could do that, and then I would lose everything. I wouldn't have anyone in my contact list. With this, people sign up, and they get emails directly from me.

And Substack can fall apart and I would still have those email addresses to be able to continue to communicate with people. And I think that as time goes on it's going to be more important to be able to reach people directly. And so that's one reason that I thought, yes, this is the path to go for me. This is the chance to get out of that. And also, a chance to just write about whatever I wanted. Sometimes it's on point. Sometimes it's just, here's something I've been thinking a lot about. The most recent piece that I wrote had to do with just kind of this general feeling of dread that's going on. And that's not something that Media Matters would've published, because they'd be like, this is nothing to do with our mission. I'd be like, I know. But it's a chance to express myself in a more personal way without having to... There's a level of not necessarily bad self-censorship, but just staying on topic at a job.

Yeah. And you still do some media analysis on your Substack. So it's not like that's completely gone away. But I totally hear you with the sort of banging your head against the wall aspect of covering these recurring issues in right wing media that never seem to improve. And that can be very frustrating because it's like, well, why am I even bothering? And obviously it's important that people do that sort of reporting, because not everyone, like myself, people can't spend hours each day immersing themselves in right wing media. And so it's important that there are trusted sources who can report on what's going on there. But I think you're also right, because one of the things that I was debating, whether or not to do this newsletter that I was thinking about is, oh maybe I should just go the route of doing the Twitter super follow thing. But, as you were just touching upon, ultimately I concluded that putting that many eggs in the Twitter basket might be a bad idea.

We've seen this with Facebook and the whole pivot to video thing that it's good to not become too reliant on one platform for your professional livelihood. And so obviously Substack is a way to diversify and to also leave space to do more writing than threads, or 280 character tweets, that sort of thing. So yeah, there were a couple different considerations with that, but I do think having a home for your work off of Twitter is probably a good and healthy thing overall.

Oh, absolutely. Anything that gets you a little bit further away from Twitter? Probably healthy.

Probably healthy. I have kind of a hard time with that because Twitter has become... I have it broken up into lists now where I have a news tab and a sports tab and a friends tab. But it really has become kind of my pipeline. Back in the day, 15 years ago, it was like, okay, I'm going to go read the newspaper to get up to speed in the morning with what's going on. And now Twitter has become my entire gateway. And that might change a little bit as I get more immersed in Substack, or as I spend more time on Substack. Because there's a lot of stuff across a wide range of topics going on, on Substack.

So I'm sure I will incorporate that more into my information consumption routine. But it is kind of amazing how all of us as working journalists have, for the most part, been sucked into this vortex of Twitter, for better or worse. And I do think there are a lot of good things about Twitter, but just how ubiquitous it's come and kind of inescapable, when you take a step back, it's like, wow, I do spend a lot of time on it. So, for better or worse. Probably for worse.

It's one of those things where I look at the usage stats on my phone and it's just sad. It's like, hey, your screen time for this week. And I'm like, don't tell me. I don't want to know.

I'll get the ones where it's like your screen time, your average per day, is seven hours per day, down 40% from last week. And it's like, I guess that's progress. But yeah, I've even gotten bad enough in recent years, now I read books on my phone or my computer. Even at night I'm trying to unwind with my family and I've got the multi-viewer to see what's on Fox News and Fox Business and Newsmax. Definitely I'm overstimulated constantly, and I'm sure that does have... it affects you. But again, I view that as part of my coverage area as well as just sort of being aware of what's happening, not just on TV but on the Hill.

And so I'm watching C-SPAN all the time too. But yeah, it does kind of lead to... Even when I'm reading a book on my computer, I usually have a multi-viewer in the other half of the screen where I'm paying attention to everything on cable news. So, 50 years ago that would've been kind of unheard of, I guess, but there are upsides to that too. But yeah, I definitely feel very overstimulated all the time.

Yeah. That's the general theme of my newsletters, just we're hyper connected and at the same time, so I don't know. Sometimes I feel like I just can't relate to any other human being. But I'm like, it's so weird that at this moment I can send out something to 200,000 people, but still not be able to actually feel like I'm communicating with anyone.

It's interesting to think about if we would've lived through a comparable pandemic 50 years ago, before there was the internet. To me, I feel like it would've been a lot more isolating, just in the sense that we use... Like you and I can do this video call and talk, and granted we could have talked on the phone back in the day too or something like that. But even though we basically spent like a year of our lives holed up at home, I never really felt starved for interaction, although it's a little bit more of a shallow interaction than actually hanging out with people or getting together with friends, that sort of thing. But so I don't know, I guess I kind of view that as a upside to this hyper online world that we live in, that I do feel like... I have relationships with people... You and I have never before today, even though I feel like I know you, we've never really talked ever.

We've DM'd and stuff like that, but we've never hopped on a call together or anything like that. So, it does lead to these kind of strange relationships or sort of different sorts of relationships with people. So, I think in some ways to me, I feel like I would've had a harder time enduring the sort of social conditions that in some ways we still are enduring, but this kind of like... the separation that we've all had from each other. Although just before we got in this call, I was talking with Casey Michel. I'm not sure if you're familiar with his work, but he's a political journalist who just sort of book on kleptocracy. And I was doing a Q&A with him for the newsletter, and he was kind of like... I was just congratulating him on finishing his book and stuff. And he was like, oh yeah, my wife likes to say that's how I spent the pandemic was writing this book. And I was like, man, that's so much more constructive than getting into drinking whiskey and daily fantasy sports that I did.

I was going to say, I started collecting baseball cards. That's what I did during this. That's how I spent my pandemic, just picking up random hobbies here and there. I was like, yeah, baseball cards again. I did that when I was like 12. Let's bring that back. That's a thing now.

I have a mutual friend who's really... I don't know Phil Hughes, the former major league baseball player at all, but I have a friend who's really good friends with him. And Phil has become on Instagram, kind of a baseball card celebrity. He does this thing on Instagram where he opens packs of cards. And so I've kind of vicariously... Because at my parents' house, we still to this day have boxes and boxes and boxes of cards from when we were kids, myself and my brothers. And actually one of my brothers recently went through them. And I guess there really weren't that many cards that are worth anything, because even back in the day you needed to buy the premium packs or whatever. And that was totally lost on me. I thought all cards were kind of the same or you could get good cards in any pack.

But you know, everything is so digital now that I guess it kind of... Baseball cards have kind of become this transgressive analog physical item. And so I think it's kind of cool that they're back in vogue now. So I guess, I don't know. We'll see, if this pandemic goes on for another six months, I guess the next variant wave that we have, maybe I'll cave in and buy a box of cards too, but I haven't quite gotten there yet.

Yeah. I'm definitely going the baseball cards and video games route to pandemic survival.

Oh, I love your tweets. Yeah. I absolutely love your MLB The Show tweets. I have friends who are into that game, as well.

It's fun!

Yeah. It's cool that you're savvy enough to post little videos and stuff.

Yeah. So when I was working at Media Matters, I had a separate Twitter account set up that was just following all of the right-wing accounts, just so I can keep up with whatever nonsense they're up to. And so that's the one I connected to my PlayStation. So the feed, the only thing in it is just... Because I never tweet from it, but that's where I have all the photos and videos sent to, to pull from. So yeah, the feed over there is just all of my PlayStation things and nothing else. So it's pretty great. But yeah. You know what, thank you so much for stopping by to talk about your newsletter. Is there anything else that people should know if they're on the edge about whether or not to... Well, first off, if you're on the edge about whether or not to subscribe for sign up for free, you should totally do that. That's without a question. Worst case scenario, you just ignore the emails.

I'm guessing if you made it this far into this podcast, you're probably willing to sign up for free. And so I encourage people to check it out. I've got a couple... As we sit here, I'm a week out from launch, as Parker and I are talking, and I already have a couple posts that I'm excited about that are ready to go. And so I'm hoping that ultimately the content will speak for itself. So yeah. Check it out. Like I said, aaronrupar.substack.com, and check out my Twitter account. I'll certainly be tweeting things out from there as we go. And appreciate you having me on. And at some point we'll have to return the favor. I'd be interested to talk with you about your personal immersion in right-wing media and coming out of that. And perhaps the scars that that left.

Oh, and there are many.

You were at Media Matters maybe three years, right? So you were there a pretty good chunk of time.

Yeah. About, about two and a half years, I guess. Because it was right before the 2018 midterms was when I started over there. And then was there for the midterms, there for the 2020 election. And I was under the impression that after the election there might be a couple weeks of chill-out time. No, of course not.

No. God, no.

It just went right on, right on being crazy.

I've been kind of thinking because yeah, it did kind of calm down there. After Biden's inauguration, there was a brief moment, I guess. Then there was the impeachment though, but I felt like I was breathing easy about how things were going for a couple months, I guess, as the vaccination rollout was kind of successful and things economically seem to be going pretty well and stuff. But now that we're approaching the midterms and there's been Biden's approval numbers are kind of shaky where it seems... And his agenda is somewhat imperiled at this point. I feel some of the old anxiety creeping back here a little bit. So I guess you probably got out at kind of the right time. I'm still planning on covering the same old stuff for the newsletter.

But I guess I do at this point... I've been doing it long enough where I feel a sense of almost duty to cover this stuff. I'm sure it's leaving some scars on me too, but I guess I'm willing endure it a little bit longer to... Because I feel like the story of Trumpism and the struggle to protect the integrity of elections here in the States, it's still an ongoing and very active story. So at least for now I kind of feel obligated to continue to see it through.

Absolutely. And people should 100% follow your newsletter for more on that. Thanks. Thanks again for stopping by.