From within a non-descript apartment building on a main thoroughfare in Chula Vista, California – but ten minutes north of Mexico – several computers sit on two desks. Big bay windows lead out to the street below. Once, what witnesses believe were parts of a surveillance drone fell onto the street. It had bird feathers stuck in its parts. Black cars came and cleared the mess.
It’s in this predominantly latin setting in an unincorporated city of military hub San Diego, where The Anti Media is based.
When you land on the TheAntiMedia.org home page, today’s stories meet your eyes. Headlines such as “Mainstream Media Officially Goes All In For Hillary” appear alongside “Supreme Court To Rule On Post 9/11 Government Kidnappings.”
A large Adsense ad pops up on the right side of the screen, while another, slightly smaller one sits just to its left. Beneath the Adsense pop up on the far right is a widget-filled sidebar. Click on an article and two ads sit above and below the social media sharing buttons just below the colorful headline with a predominant photo. A square Adsense pop up on the right hand side appears. Within the article text itself, two more Adsense ads. Revcontent curated ads appear at the bottom of the article, above the comment area, which is fueled by Facebook’s comment plugin.
The Anti Media has nearly two million Facebook likes. A group, Anti Media Artists, has more than 6,000 members. The organization’s “.org” domain received 70,000 uniques in one week recently, likely thanks to the election cycle. The site ranks 5,256 in the US. 24,142 in the world on Alexa.
The Anti Media started as a hobby of founder Nick Bernabe, but has become a dependable news source for thousands of people.
“I saw how the media was able to manipulate the elections, and I felt that maybe it was time for someone to try and challenge the political, economic, and geopolitical system in an effective way,” Bernabe said. “The first meme I made I put on the Anti Media Facebook page and it went viral within two days. We had a thousand followers, and I realized this could work. I worked with other people I found to be good memers, and started sharing random news links on Anti Media page.” The page began to grow.
“I reached out to people with strong followings,” he said. “I asked if they would share our stuff, and we’d share theirs. It started working. People with larger followings would share our stuff and it resulted in more followers.” Bernabe started scaling this upwards, reaching out and partnering with other organizations and individuals.
“When we created viral content, we’d reach out to influencer and ask them to share our stuff.”
Bernabe’s original goal was to create a crowdsourced news service free of corporate interest and political demagoguery. The Anti Media’s content is broad as its writers.
“We’re not progressive media, we’re not libertarian,” Bernabe said. “We’re media that can be applied across the spectrum when it comes to anti establishment. Some of our writers are anarcho-socialist, some are libertarians, some voted democrat, some leaned conservative. We want to build a coalition of people that can agree on basic ideas such as curbing crony capitalism, corruption as a bad thing. The only way to fix that is by working together. That sets us apart from many alternative media outlets.” The Anti Media is still a work in progress.
“We are about to launch a new home page, and we want the site to become more of a hybrid between Reddit and Drudge Report,” Bernabe said. “Over time, we’ve had three iterations of the website. The one we have now is blog format, but some of our article get massive views.”
Anti Media’s mission is to change the conversations. “What led to our explosive growth is that we never became demagogues or dogmatic with our ideology,” he revealed. “I consider myself an anarchist, but I also consider myself a political agnostic where I am very much open to ideas whether its socialist or libertarian or various different forms. That sets us apart.”
Image from Shutterstock.