Barack and Michelle Obama just formed a “storytelling partnership” with Netflix and they “will produce a diverse mix of content, including the potential for scripted series, unscripted series, docu-series, documentaries and features.”
Netflix’s 125 million subscribers in 190 countries means a tremendous new platform for the Obamas and their allies to continue shaping our politics and defining the arguments of our day. And most of the content won’t be overtly political. Why?
Politics is downstream from culture and culture is downstream from entertainment.
Collectively, Netflix users stream more than a billion (!) hours of content each week. The capacity for this kind of entertainment platform to shape our culture is immense.
Few conservatives understand the impact to which culture and entertainment shape our society’s political outlook. Our arguments are framed around data, economics, and principles. We don’t engage with voters in the language they speak and far too often we fight our battles way downstream of culture and entertainment.
Liberals do a much better job appealing to emotion and engaging the entertainment industry. The Obamas’ Netflix platform is a massive step in that direction.
The work we as conservatives do when voters come to an election or policy debate is limited if there’s been no engagement upstream with culture and entertainment.
Unfortunately too much of our conservative engagement in the entertainment space is lame and stilted. Most right wing films stake out perspectives at the distant fringes of our political dialogue.
Instead, we should be engaging and reaching out to our allies in the entertainment industry rather than standing athwart it.
P.S. It’s worth noting that their production company, Higher Ground Productions, shares a name with the Chicago-based accelerator program, Higher Ground Labs, which is supporting left of center technology.