Dan Bongino and the Big Business of Returning Trump to Power

The Secret Service agent turned radio host is furious at liberals—so he’s trying to build a right-wing media infrastructure in time for 2024.

The New Yorker
December 27, 2021

Dan Bongino, one of America’s most popular conservative commentators, lives in the seaside city of Stuart, Florida, less than an hour from Mar-a-Lago, where his friend Donald Trump bridles against a forced retirement. Every weekday from noon to three—the coveted time slot once held by the late Rush Limbaugh—“The Dan Bongino Show” goes live across the United States, beginning with an announcer’s voice over the sound of hard-rock guitars: “From the N.Y.P.D. to the Secret Service to behind the microphone, taking the fight to the radical left and the putrid swamp...

Bongino draws an estimated 8.5 million radio listeners a week, making him the fourth most listened to host in America, ahead of Mark Levin, Glenn Beck, and other big names, according to Talkers magazine, which covers the industry. Though he came to broadcasting only after three unsuccessful runs for Congress, he now commands a Fox News program on Saturday nights, a podcast that has ranked No. 1 on iTunes, and a Web site that repackages stories into some of the most highly trafficked items on social media. In recent months, according to Facebook data, his page has attracted more engagement than those of the Times, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal combined...

Between April and October, engagement with his posts on Facebook rose nearly six hundred per cent, according to an analysis by Yunkang Yang, a researcher at the George Washington University’s Institute for Data, Democracy & Politics. The most striking increase, Yang said, came just after the killing of George Floyd. A post from Bongino.com amplified content from a smaller right-wing site called the National Pulse, which showed footage of a Black man at a rally in Washington, saying that he was ready to put “police in the fucking grave.” Bongino’s team added a brief commentary, suggesting that the sentiment was widespread: “This is what the Left is. . . . They personify hatred and embody divisiveness. We can never let these people anywhere near power.” The post generated more than a hundred and forty thousand likes and comments.

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