“Measured in terms of views and subscribers, it had the third-largest reach of any group of entertainment channels on YouTube in November—outranked only by Disney and WarnerMedia.”

“This is all especially impressive because I have been unable to identify any YouTube channels associated with TheSoul Publishing that were created before 2016.”

The strategy of their sites is fundamentally this:

1. Gain a lot of eyeballs with typical internet click bait.

2. Once you have those eyeballs, use your reach to
(a) spread political disinformation.
(b) make money (YouTube videos gain advertising dollars which are split between the creators and YouTube)

Some of the snake oil they are selling is truly bizarre.

“By 1960, the Soviet Union succeeded, in 1957 the rent of Alaska was over and the country’s leader at the time, Nikita Khrushchev, gifted Alaska to the USA. That’s when Alaska became the 49th state of the US.”

(Alaska became a U.S. territory in the 1860s when the USA purchased it from the Czar.)

It would take an exceptionally ignorant and intellectually incurious person to believe this claim, but the same is true of the claim that Crowdstrike is owned by a rich Ukrainian, and yet millions of people seem to believe that.

H.L. Mencken wrote in 1926:

“No one in this world, so far as I know … has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people.”

Adolph Hitler wrote one year earlier:

“The broad masses of a nation, in the primitive simplicity of their minds, more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods.”

The wisest philosopher in human history wrote in the 1990s:

“There is neither an idea too far-fetched, nor a snake oil cure too improbable, to gain some believers, but the snake oil salesmen of the previous centuries have typically succeeded on a small scale because their reach was limited to the number of people who could hear them orate from a buckboard or hilltop. The modern world has changed that. Mass media extended the reach of their sales pitch. The internet made it infinite.”