Rumble will again host the Republican National Committee’s official livestream for its third presidential primary debate, as the streaming site continues to platform, promote, and profit from misinformation and bigotry. And mainstream media are not mentioning its extremism.
New findings from Media Matters show only 1 article from the top 5 U.S. newspapers and 1 cable news segment that mentioned Rumble’s extremism in reports on the debates since the RNC initially announced the partnership in April.
The RNC will hold its third primary debate on November 8 in partnership with NBC News, Salem Radio Network, Rumble, and the Republican Jewish Coalition. The RNC already partnered with Rumble for the first and second debates.
Media Matters previously found that between April 12, when RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel first announced the partnership, through September 24 (three days before the second debate), cable and broadcast news outlets and the top 5 U.S. newspapers directed their audiences to Rumble to watch the debates without providing crucial context about the extremism that is rampant on the platform.
Now, we have found that mainstream media coverage of the debates is still falling short, with only 1 article from the top 5 U.S. newspapers and 1 cable news segment accurately describing Rumble’s extremism since our previous reporting on September 25.
Rumble is a dumping ground for fearmongering, falsehoods, and bigotry — including antisemitism
Rumble is a right-wing video-sharing platform that has been financially backed by numerous right-wing tech, media, and political figures, including billionaire tech investor Peter Thiel, former Fox News host Dan Bongino, Sen. J.D. Vance (R-OH), and 2024 Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy. The platform prides itself on its lack of enforcement, embracing far-right figures who have been banned on other platforms, partnering with extreme figures, and profiting from the spread of their dangerous rhetoric. And it has ultimately become a dumping ground for right-wing fearmongering, falsehoods, and bigotry — even though Rumble has policies against “racism, anti-semitism and hatred” and content that “promotes, supports, or incites violence.”
Since the RNC’s October 16 announcement about its partnership with Rumble for the third debate, Media Matters has identified numerous instances of bigotry on the platform. A day after the announcement, conspiracy theorist and self-described “proud Islamophobe” Laura Loomer launched an exclusive show on Rumble, with the company’s CEO Chris Pavlovski supposedly “super excited to add” a program that “fits in perfectly” on Rumble.
Rumble creators have also spread egregiously antisemitic, anti-Muslim, and anti-immigrant rhetoric since the start of the recent violence in Israel and Gaza, including from white nationalist Nick Fuentes, who claimed that the “essence of Judaism” is a “seething, genocidal hatred for non-Jews,” and from conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, who claimed that the “corporate media worldwide, the major universities” are “turning us over to Islam.”
Rumble host and white nationalist Stew Peters also called for the murder of Catholic Charities workers during a speech livestreamed on the platform, stating that the best option to stop undocumented immigration is “shooting everyone involved” with the nonprofit.
The RNC has continued to partner with Rumble for the primary debates, even as it also partners with the Republican Jewish Coalition for the third debate, seemingly in response to the violence in Israel.
Top U.S. newspapers continued to tell readers that they could stream the debates on Rumble without mentioning the platform’s extremism
Media Matters reviewed coverage of the GOP primary debates from the top 5 U.S. newspapers by circulation — the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and USA Today — since September 25, when we published our previous study. We found just 11 print and online articles that mentioned Rumble in relation to the GOP primary debates, only 1 of which mentioned the platform’s extremism. The rest of the articles simply referred to Rumble as a streaming service or a video-sharing platform (9 articles) or as “right-leaning” (1 article).
In our previous study, Media Matters found 10 print and online articles that were published between April 12 and September 24 and mentioned Rumble in relation to the GOP primary debates, none of which mentioned the platform’s extremism and only 4 of which mentioned Rumble’s right-wing or conservative bent.
This means that since McDaniel first announced the RNC’s partnership with Rumble on April 12, the top 5 U.S. newspapers have published 21 articles about the debates which mention Rumble, 20 of which told readers that the debates would be available to stream on Rumble but didn’t mention the platform’s extremism.
The 1 article to mention Rumble’s extremism was the Los Angeles Times’ reprint of an article from The Associated Press dedicated to Rumble’s disinformation and extremism. In the article, Ali Swenson helpfully explained:
In the weeks since the first debate, the site’s leaderboard of top-performing content, which is featured prominently on Rumble’s homepage, has regularly included multiple accounts that promote QAnon, a baseless conspiracy theory that has led to violent incidents and deaths.
A search for “election” on the platform populates videos that falsely claim that the so-called deep state cheated in the 2020 presidential election and that the 2024 election already has been rigged.
Beyond election fraud claims and conspiracy theories, Rumble also has come under fire for being slow to respond to hate speech and calls for violence.
Stephanie Ruhle and Brandy Zadrozny highlighted Rumble’s extremism ahead of the second primary debate
Media Matters reviewed transcripts on CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC, as well as transcripts for news shows on broadcast networks ABC, CBS, NBC, and PBS, from September 25 through November 7 and found only 1 segment about the GOP debates that mentioned Rumble’s extremism.
In our previous study, from April 12 to September 24, we found only 2 segments about the GOP debates that mentioned Rumble — both of which aired on Fox News, and neither of which mentioned the platform’s extremism.
The only new segment about the debates that mentioned Rumble’s extremism aired on MSNBC the night before the second primary debate and featured host Stephanie Ruhle and NBC News journalist Brandy Zadrozny.
Media Matters searched transcripts in the SnapStream and Kinetiq video databases for all original programming on CNN, Fox News Channel, and MSNBC and all original episodes of ABC’s Good Morning America, World News Tonight, and This Week; CBS’ Mornings, Evening News, and Face the Nation; NBC’s Today, Nightly News, Sunday Today, and Meet the Press; and PBS’ NewsHour for the term “Rumble” from April 12, 2023, after McDaniel announced that Rumble would be the exclusive livestreaming service for the first GOP presidential primary debate, through November 7, 2023.
We also searched print and online articles in the Factiva and Nexis databases from the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and USA Today for the term “Rumble” and any of the terms “primary,” “debate,” “stage,” “candidate,” or “presidential” and also any of the terms “GOP,” “Republican,” “RNC,” “Republican National Committee,” “Fox Business,” or “Fox News” from April 12, 2023, through November 7, 2023.
We included segments, which we defined as instances when any of the GOP presidential primary debates for the 2024 presidential nomination were the stated topic of discussion or when we found significant discussion of any of the primary debates. We defined significant discussion as instances when two or more speakers in a multitopic segment discussed any of the debates with one another.
We also included articles, which we defined as instances when any of the GOP presidential primary debates for the 2024 presidential nomination were mentioned in the headline or lead paragraphs. If a paper published the same article in both print and online, we included only the print edition.
We then reviewed the identified segments and articles for whether their mentions of Rumble included the platform’s ideological leaning or extremism.