-16 votes

Ben Swann: Needs a reality check?

Ben Swann, largely known for his television show "Reality Check" for Fox affiliate WXIX in Cinncinatti, became a popular beacon of balanced/objective journalism/reporting during the 2012 election cycle. His original audience in Cinncinati, was ultimately dwarfed when Ben's videos went viral online and skyrocketed his reach nationally/globally (10 million YouTube views in over 140 countries).

Thirsty to better connect to this new audience, Ben Swann left his gig at Fox to pursuit an independent venture of his own, "Ben Swann Full Disclosure," allowing him full editorial discretion. A large and risky undertaking, Ben is now relying on his audience to not only support his vision... but pony up $1.25 million to make it a reality. http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/439668500/liberty-is-ris...

$1.25 Million? Does Ben need a reality check?

Aiming for 100, 5 minute episodes... The math breaks out to $12,500 per episode, $2,500 per minute.

Is that a reasonable ask? Many liberty supporters are both emotionally & financially drained from the 2012 election, fresh off numerous money bombs. Not to mention it's an off-cycle political year.

Business partner Jeremy Richter, heading up the video production and marketing of the new series, claims "that's what this stuff costs". http://www.dailypaul.com/288822#comment-3104786. But does it? They're asking for world class production value without a world class means to deliver the content. Jeremy compares their budget with feature films, celebrity kick starter budgets, and the #1 cable news show on television.

Reality Check: these webisodes won't be broadcast on National TV with national advertisements and a multi-billion dollar media infrastructure. These videos will need to go viral, with little budget and competing in a very noisy market... On an off-cycle election year.

Are Ben & Jeremy putting the cart before the horse? Others have been just as successful, if not more, on a fraction of the cost. For example, Reed Timmer, gained popularity from the show "Storm Chasers" on the Discovery Channel. The show aired for six seasons before being cancelled. After the show, Reed similarly looked to kick starter to keep the dream alive. His ask: 12 HD, high quality episodes, ~20 minutes each for $75,000. That's $312 a minute.

The results were fantastic (check out 2012 season here: http://tvnweather.com/). They're driving thousands of miles each year in what is essentially a gas guzzling tank designed to survive a tornado.

So, I ask again. I want Ben Swann to succeed just as much as anyone else... but, is he in need of a reality check?

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why oh why must everyone go it alone

Why oh why must everyone go it alone. He ask for money and has to start pretty much from the bottom, rather than team up with dozens of established and widely read/ known organizations. Its the look at me, facebook generation even with Ben, IMO. http://12160.info/group/fuk-facebook
Yea I got an opinion , when I tell you I know some thing, as a fact, than feel free to opine, oh mighty down voters.

Breath of fresh air

It is so good to see some others on here, like Daily Rube, that would like to see Ben succeed, and are also asking critical questions about Ben's plan.

Maybe Audio Only "Reality Checks" will be created for

radio stations or maybe money can be spent advertising to tell people WHERE they can watch Ben's show online. Although I've only got about a 5% success rate waking people up over the past 4 -5 years, I've got a better than 50% success rate in getting people to turn off the TV. Once they break the habit of sitting in front of the tube, they have been much more receptive to watching the videos and movies I email them.

Once people start watching Ben I expect they will want more. I'm surprised that some group or company has not been able to get a TV channel up that would cater to Truth and Reality and become a first home for professionals that want to get out the message of liberty.

However, I never watch TV anymore and the younger generation does get most of their news and entertainment from the web...so it seems to me that the key to Bens success is making his show real easy to find online.

Paying google or other search engines to appear at the top of the search...having a quick blurb with url info in ads or stratgically placed somewhere the public will see them so people will know where to find him etc is going to be very important.

If he would expose the Federal Reserve System in a brutally honest way that the average person locked inside the matrix could just get a clue about that criminal institution would surly have people wanting to know more.

I love Ben’s journalistic approach

Like everyone on the Daily Paul (I would like to presume), there would be little else better in life than to see Ben Swann rockin it out of the park. And while the purpose of this project is without a doubt to be heralded it is also a vision without a plan. At least not a plan that is written and available for the general public to read and review. I hope this won’t be a reason that the full amount will not be attained because with Kick Starter it is an all or nothing value proposition. Here is what I love about Ben, don’t like about the Kick Starter model and a question we may all want to consider.

I love Ben’s journalistic approach; his concise reporting of the facts and revealing story telling style are without equal in mainstream media. I don’t see anyone in the broadcast news profession who can accomplish so much with such a short segment. He reminds me of John Stossel (from my generation) who discusses both sides of the issue - but he has the ability to earn an almost “Walter Cronkite” respect (from my father’s generation) and type of trust from this younger generation. He has EPIC appeal.

Going into business without a plan is like going to war without a strategy. You can always start it but there is going to be a cost you didn’t expect. This effort takes Ben, Jeremy and at least a dozen other people’s (according to the Schiff interview) time, energy and focus. It also taps an exhausted body of loyal Ron Paul followers. These men and women have given their time and resources to eight years of prolonged campaigning, depending upon how long they have been participating in the animating contest of freedom. Asking for one and a quarter million dollars in this economy without a more formalized plan could be asking a bit much.

Now let’s look at the numbers for their part of the story. First let’s examine what it would take “on average” to accomplish the goal of raising $1.25 million in 45 days. Well you would need to raise $25,000 dollars seven days a week and if every person gave an average of $50.00 that would mean you had 556 people a day making a financial commitment to the project. Of course you can decrease the amount in half but you would have to double the number of people per day. As of now the average is 404 people per day contributing $69.

It is 4:30PM (PST) on June 15, 2013 and we are five days into the funding with $139,453 raised by 2,023 contributors. That represents 11.16% of the total amount of money required and only in the first 5 days, which just happens to be 11.11% of the 45 days in total. Now forty five days remain. The project is exactly on target and to the good by a small percentage. But this amount (almost) has to be doubled just to pay off the 10% commission being paid to Amazon and Kick Starter, providing the total amount is reached. Let’s call that Plan A.

My question is what is the Plan B?

The audience is listening.

Exactly on target?

Actually looks like it is below the target unless something picks up:

Plan B? You mean plan C don't you? They already cancelled plan A, the first kickstarter... this is plan B.

Plan C, maybe first thing is post a budget, cut down the episode count... cut down the cost per minute of the episodes... do more fancy episodes once they get more viewers.

Please don't shoot me...

...with down-votes. I was just thinking of an answer for you.

Ben will be able to contact anyone who pledged, or subscribed to his emails at benswann.com, in an instant at any time.

Any time he needs to, he can tweak his plans and give a 'shout out' and he's back in business. Perhaps at less cost and time.

(If we're loyal and still love him.) ;)

he shook the msm to its core

i mangled my hand 3 years ago. it wakes me up every night in pain.
i can hardly write my name. my wife is the sole provider.
we live in an abonded house. I DONATED 10 BUCKS!!!

video production isn't the only expense...

A news reporter doesn't just sit in studio. Remember that he has to fly around the country (perhaps the world) to get scoops, interview people...

And I'm sure part of that budget will go towards advertising as well. It may not be a "world-class distribution platform", but he will have to spend money to get the word out.

I think it's important to establish liberty "infrastructure", as well. Once Ben has the thing going, it's much easier to leverage those resources/pivot to the next information campaign.

The comment about "off-cycle political year" isn't really relevant, IMO... This is about much more than winning elections. We all know how important it is to educate the public and build a base of people who have an accurate picture of what is happening in the world.

Long story short... I donated!

it's worth it

I'm donating $100.

This is small money compared to Glenn Beck or Rush.

Check out http://ronpaulforums.com for activism and news.

you seem anti free markets.

who are you to dictate ones vision? people are not stupid and know how to count. i gave him 50$ because i felt like it!

Not dictating a thing.

For the record ;)

opinions are like a$$holes

everyone has one!

His numbers are reasonable

I was in charge of advertising for a regional retailer for a number of years, and 10 years ago the cost to produce a 30 second ad was about $2000...and that was considered a very tight budget.

TV production is expensive.

I agree that distribution is a big question. I wonder what he's thinking.

I hope...

you will be able to make your goal.

I'm donating $100 Monday and possibly another $100 my next paycheck.

1.25 Million Dollars is a lot

But, despite not being made for Prime Time Television, Ben is going directly against the MSM, and all their might. It's going to be a lopsided battle, for sure. They can spend 1.25 mill on one episode of one show.

I would rather not send one of our best warriors into battle with a zip gun.

I believe Ben is one of the last (or the last) sane solutions available.
If he can wake the masses to even a few truths of liberty, and wipe away even some of the apathy, it might swing the tide. Those working within the GOP could capitalize on his work. A high production value would certainly aid in that, IMO.

I plan to increase my pledge as soon as I'm able. I fear that if Ben fails, all that's left is "duck and cover".

Just open the box and see

Ideas to help Ben Swann

Thanks for posting.
You gave me some ideas! :)

1. Does anyone know some new people that will be running as 'Liberty Candidates'? Each probably has their own following. Maybe we can notify "these" Liberty people and their supporters about Ben's project, and then Ben will have the ability to help them out when they need it.

2. There are many excellent writers here on this thread and the DP. Maybe some of you would be willing to post some succinct, correct 'blurbs' that can be used in local newspapers and forums across the country in the 'free' opinions/views sections to get the word out?

Question: What gets more attention? 'Good' Press or 'Bad/Controversial' Press? (Does it matter which, as long as the word gets out?)


Great Ideas

I suspect that Bad/Controversial press gets more attention.

There is a post on DP about drug legality with south of -200 votes, still being hotly debated. ;)

The OP's statements were VERY provocative to liberty minded people.

It will depend on the medium, and how to convert the press of whatever nature into a beacon.

I definitely like #2. I could use some succinct, correct blurbs. These can be muttered in grocery store check out lines too.
I mutter anyway, might as well be sensible. ;)

Just open the box and see


"shelter in place." (sarc)

"I, __________, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic."


There is no duration defined in the Oath

Quite right

I guess I showed my age. :)


Just open the box and see

time will tell

"but, is he in need of a reality check?"

It seems 'kinda out there' for me too, but heck, he might just do it. Nothing to lose, really. If he makes his [$1.25million] mark, then it will become reality. If he doesn't, it won't, no harm done, and maybe he'll propose something cheaper at a later date. Crowd funding is sorta new, and who knows what will come of it? Nobody loses any money if he doesn't reach his goal. If he does, the people who contributed will get what they paid for.

I have a hunch too, that if the payments(pledges) reach anywhere near the goal, say maybe a million for example, that someone like Jeff Bezos might kick in the rest. Just a hunch.

I know no one may want to do

I know no one may want to do this, but do you think we could all write email bomb Glenn Beck with the subject "interview Ben Swann"? Maybe I'm feeling too optimistic but it would be great exposure for Ben's new endeavors. For a couple reasons. First being so Glenn can prove that he is indeed libertarian and does want to change this country. The second being that Glenn may be sympathetic to a liberty minded media startup being that Glenn had to go through the same struggles with starting theblaze tv. What'd you think?

He's not

reporting sport scores or the weather. He's reporting on Big Issues, and it's going to have to stand up against establishment rhetoric and disinfo. There is going to be interviews, people are going to have to travel, their will be legal fees and grunt investigative work. That's gotta cost money. He's not driving around pointing a camera at clouds. These two things aren't even in the same ball park. What do you think it would cost to interview Assad, see if there actually are WMD's there, talk to the people that live their and interview both the rebel factions and Syrian troops. That kind of thing could stop a war. What would it cost to go to Benghazi and find out what actually happened their? You won't get answers if no one looks.

Unchained investigative journalism. What's that worth to you?

I am sure Ben will be addressing this one

I trust the guy. Productions are not cheap. And it's not like he is asking for you to hand over your savings. He is asking for 10 bucks. If you can't let go of 10 bones even for a good cause, then I believe you have some other issues that need far more attention then worry about a proven soldier of liberty's intentions. He's risked his career to report on the things that no one else will. And now he wants to do it right, independently. That takes money.

Quit being a hater!

Not hating

Again, want him to succeed. I think learning from others success stories/approaches like Reed's can only help. Achievable financial ask. Build momentum.

We have no other recourse.

msm is as corrupt as ever, and continues to be more so. Our Republic has become a police state, endorsed by the media and the sleeping people.

I have more invested than you could possibly imagine. I stretch every penny to make it so. If that is what it takes to take our country back, so be it. I will not stop until I am put to rest. Let it not be said that I did nothing.

If this does not realize the goal, your money will not be taken. If this does in fact realize the goal, it will only grow stronger.

My comments above reflect the fact that Ben and Jeremy have been fully vetted. I would not blindly give my hard earned frn's to ANY unknowns.

"What if the American people learn the truth" - Ron Paul

I'm going to donate $10 next paycheck

Money is tight right now but I want to have this hit the mainstream. I'm hoping there is some way for the general public to watch it who might not otherwise. I too donated a lot of money to the Paul campaign, at least a lot for me, $201.20. I was hoping for a President Paul, but I hope my $ went to good use.

So I share somewhat the same sentiment, and I hope a lot of the FRN's go to making the project mainstream instead of just peddling to us already in the know. I am operating under the assumption that a lot of that $$$ is going to promotion.

I suspect you will get an answer from Jeremy as to where the $ is going. I know they want good production and I understand that, but my hopes are that a lot goes to promotion.

I had my mother "like" Ben Swann on facepalm, because I don't have an account, and she changed parties. Unfortunately, she voted for the wrong guy (Wrongney.)

Anyways, I hope this post is sincere and not made to create division, and will hopefully create some transparency and hopefully responses and action will show these segments hit people who only watch mainstream news.

We can share all we want, but everything I share with people who only watch mainstream media, only maybe 1% will actually read or watch what I send them, and even 1% is probably a stretch.

So I hope promotion is a lot of the $ to get started. Even if it isn't, I'll stick chip in a few FRN's to watch the videos (I have an audience of one other than me who is a liberty loving son.)

Very sincere

I would love to see more from Ben Swann. I'm worried we won't, due to an over zealous kick starter goal. I would love them to start smaller. Perhaps 20 high quality shows. Prove themselves. Learn what works and doesn't work. Then kickstart again next election cycle when it really matters. Timing is everything.

If at First You Don't...

______ try again, and again, & again.

Ben will prevail in the long run. These are the times when you wish for that magical winning lottery ticket to help fund the fight for Liberty.

"I, __________, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic."


There is no duration defined in the Oath