“Cerno is the man right now. He is five steps ahead of everyone else.”
Those were the words of Ali Alexander back in early 2018 at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). At the time I was not well acquainted with Mike Cernovich, although I remember being impressed at how he recognized me, despite having never met him before and my lack of profile.
Four years on, I am struck by Alexander’s prescience. To the liberal media, he is an “alt-right troll and conspiracy theorist.” Yet to those who genuinely understand him he is an investigative journalist, filmmaker, political commentator, and author. His success in all these fields has made him a massively influential cultural and political figure at the heart of the battle for America’s soul.
To credit him with recent Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter is probably a stretch too far. However, like so many cultural turning points over the past few years, Cernovich was right at the heart of the public conversation, driving the narrative towards his desired direction.
When Musk first became concerned about censorship on the platform, he asked his followers what should be done to promote adherence to free speech. “Buy Twitter,” Cernovich responded. A month later, Musk did exactly that.
Since launching his bid to take over the company, Musk has repeatedly engaged and responded to Cernovich’s tweets. Just this week, he got Musk to admit that Twitter “[obviously] has a left-wing bias.”
Musk’s interest in Cernovich has already sparked an outcry from the left, who consider the presence of Cernovich on his radar as evidence of his fascist sympathies.
A father of three and a former lawyer by trade, Cernovich’s rise to prominence began in 2014 with his involvement in the Gamergate controversy, where gamers organized en masse against progressive propaganda in the video game industry. He also wrote a self-help book titled Gorilla Mindset. However, it was only in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election that he established himself as a mainstream journalist and political commentator.
“I was someone who saw Trump’s rise earlier than most. I found it absurd for people to claim he has no chance of winning in 2016. I started arguing with people, they called me stupid, and then that sucked me into the vortex. This began in about June of 2015,” Cernovich told El American for this profile.
“As for when others noticed me, that’s hard to say. My reporting on the Susan Rice unmasking scandal certainly put me on the radar of a lot of powerful people who are conspiring against the country. HR McMaster used his regime propagandists to attack me in Foreign Policy magazine once I began uncovering what was happening at the National Security Council.”
Having established himself as a popular Trump world influencer, Cernovich’s second major break came in late 2017 after uncovering sworn affidavits in which former staffers accused Democrat John Conyers, the country’s longest-serving congressman, of sexual harassment. After passing the documents to BuzzFeed, who successfully verified them, the story broke and an avalanche of other accusers came forward. Within two weeks, Conyers had resigned from office in disgrace.
Cernovich’s next takedown came the following year when both he and Jack Posobiec unearthed a series of tweets and photos of Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn fantasizing about raping children and attending pedophilia themed parties. Disney initially fired Gunn, although following a cast backlash he was reinstated to the role. Gunn meanwhile threatened to sue Cernovich, although the threat failed to materialize.
However, Cernovich’s greatest victory came in 2019, when he, The Miami Herald, and the famed law professor Alan Dershowitz successfully unsealed documents that led to the arrest of the notorious financier and sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein. The mainstream media remain reluctant to credit Cernovich for Epstein’s arrest, despite court records proving the veracity of his claim.
“In 2016 or so I filed a lawsuit to unseal court records in a case involving Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell. At the time, no one really cared about or found the curious case of Epstein interesting. Other than Politico, which wrote a short piece on the case, no media outlet covered the lawsuit at all.”
“The timing of Jeffrey Epstein’s arrest couldn’t be more peculiar. After losing at the trial court level, I appealed my case to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. While my case was pending, The Miami Herald also joined my lawsuit, and in addition, Julie Brown did deep reporting on the Epstein matter.”
“On a Friday, the Second Circuit signaled that they were going to release the files I sought. Epstein was then taken into custody. Haters will call this a coincidence. However, Epstein’s crimes were common knowledge. The SDNY only arrested him once they realized that his secrets would be revealed. And in fact, by arresting Epstein, prosecutors were able to seize evidence, which was then sealed. Had I not filed my lawsuit, Epstein would be a free man.”
One of Cernovich’s most interesting qualities is his commitment to going against the grain. Unbound by tribal loyalties, he favors policies such as single-payer healthcare and a universal basic income. Despite his status as a major influencer within the America First movement, Cernovich has repeatedly criticized Donald Trump and expressed his hope that he does not run again in 2024. He instead favors Florida governor Ron DeSantis, who remains the favorite for the nomination should Trump eventually decide against running.
“Trump is the past. Everyone feels that. He’s out of touch and doesn’t understand modern issues. His rallies are like an oldies band playing the hits.”
Cernovich does the vast majority of his reportage on Twitter, explaining that he “enjoys the platform’s short-form writing style where clarity of thought is rewarded. As for the future of the company, he consoles himself in the fact that censorship on the platform cannot get any worse than the current status quo.
“Twitter can’t be worse under Elon Musk,” Cernovich concluded. “It might get better. In life, when you’re presented with certain demise for free speech, and the possibility that conservatives will be treated equally, then you would of course be optimistic.”
A devoted family man, Cernovich’s future role in the raging political and cultural war remains an open question. The only thing one knows for sure is that it is bound to be interesting.