01 Mar Interview: Rick Ungar on His New Project “The Daily Centrist”
Rick Ungar, the co-host of the Sirius XM show Steele and Ungar, has a new media project brewing. His recently launched website The Daily Centrist aims to provide middle-of-the-road political commentary. Aiming to combat a culture “where news and opinion comes at you hard and, more times than not, from the extremes of the political spectrum,” Mr. Ungar is looking to create a platform for political discussions from a centrist perspective. He joins Merion West‘s Erich Prince to outline his plans for his new website, the differences between radio commentary and written journalism, and the future of political polarization in the United States.
Mr. Ungar, thank you for joining us today. To begin, could you talk about the process behind launching The Daily Centrist—when you conceived of the idea and said, “This is the project I want to pursue”?
The Daily Centrist was really born out of something of a frustration that while it’s easy to find a lot of op-eds and editorials from the extremes of both sides, there just wasn’t much that offered intelligent information and conversation for people who identify more as center-left and center-right. For me, being a pretty devout centrist, I just thought we needed that. There was a hole in the marketplace, if you will.
I was reading an interview you did with Newsmax in April of 2017. You talked about how you were drawing from a whole range of sources for your radio discussions, from ThinkProgress to Breitbart. At The Daily Centrist, do you conceive of it as a centrist in the sense that you present a whole range of views and allow the reader to choose from those views? Or will you feature content that is, in and of itself, more explicitly moderate and middle-of-the-road?
That’s a good question. Probably more of the first. When we talk about choosing from a range of views, there are limits on it because if you want to read what Breitbart publishes, for example, the best place to go for that is Breitbart. If you want to read what the other side has to say, go to The Nation. There are lots of places to find that stuff. What I was looking for was people whom I respect. Even if I don’t agree with them, I respect their point of view and ability to communicate it in writing.
We don’t put limits on it. I don’t think I’ve ever looked at an article yet and said, “Yeah, no, that’s too far Right,” or “That’s too far Left.” That really hasn’t happened. But the people who are writing for us know that what we want is smart solutions and discussions. Don’t start taking potshots at the “other side.” That’s just not what we’re looking for.
So more of a reasoned, informed discussion on the issues?
Yes, which is what I’ve always done. I mean, my reputation is, “Every conservative’s favorite liberal.” That’s because I don’t hate people because I disagree with them. Truly, some of my closest friends would shock you if you talked about conservatives. You don’t pick your friends by their politics, and you don’t discount somebody because they disagree with you. If somebody knows what they’re talking about, the fact that they come to a different solution or a different conclusion—they have every chance of being right as you do.