CV NEWS FEED // The LOOP, CatholicVote’s flagship daily news email, celebrates its eighth birthday today. What started as one man’s ambitious idea has, with hard work and God’s providence, grown into a rapidly expanding media source projected to surpass a half-million subscribers in the coming months.
As of March 31, 2023, the LOOP goes to almost 380,000 people across the world, making it among the most-viewed Catholic email newsletters in circulation.
It began in 2015 when LOOP founder and editor Joshua Mercer watched a CNN debate on the definition of marriage moderated by Piers Morgan. Mercer observed that the discussion, which was between prominent Catholic intellectual Dr. Ryan T. Anderson (arguing for true marriage) and celebrity financial advisor Suze Orman (arguing for redefinition), was not conducted on equal grounds.
What really struck me was where everyone was seated. Orman sat at the main interview table with Piers, while Anderson was relegated to sitting in the audience, as if it was undignified to have him sit at the table.
It was at that moment that I realized: this is a perfect summary of what media is today. Catholics no longer have a seat at the table.
Mercer specifically reflected on how Morgan in particular berated Dr. Anderson with epithets such as “bigot,” while Orman was given free rein to explain her views absent harsh criticism. Mercer took it to mean the mainstream media was telling faithful Catholics “This is how little I think of you: you’re so full of bigotry we consider you to not be on the same level [as us].”
This prompted Mercer to think about all the times so-called “objective journalists” like Morgan have acted as “gatekeepers,” deciding what news people would see and filtering out stories that would cause people to have a positive impression of Catholics and traditional values as a whole.
“It confirmed what so many of us now understand,” Mercer said:
Catholics simply cannot rely on mainstream media sources to present the world as a sincere Catholic sees it. It’s not a fair game. They are not honest referees; they are trying to manipulate current events to further an agenda.
It was then that Mercer, who also serves as CatholicVote’s Communications Director, was inspired to start a daily email from a uniquely Catholic point of view – something that was sorely lacking in mid-2010s Obama-era America.
In developing the LOOP, he found the conciseness and aggregatory nature of it to be key. Mercer figured: “Not everyone is going to have the ability to sit through the news for two or three hours. We’ll do it for you.”
However, as he clarified in 2021, the LOOP would be unlike any other newsletter or news aggregator then in existence:
2015 was also the high watermark of clickbait on the internet… I thought I would make the LOOP the anti-click bait. You could open the email, you could read it, and you could get everything you need and go on with your day. If you want to click to learn more, you can. Part of our philosophy with CatholicVote is to treat our readers with respect, and I think it’s been rewarded.
Mercer’s words ring true, as the LOOP has exponentially grown in the past eight years.
Starting out with only a few thousand subscribers, its audience has grown by more than a hundredfold. In 2022 alone, the LOOP nearly doubled its subscriber count. That year, its audio component, LOOPCAST, also launched on all major podcast platforms and now has 30,000-40,000 listeners every week.
The entire LOOP team, including Mercer and CatholicVote CEO Brian Burch, anticipate even more rapid growth to come. This year, the email is projected, by a conservative estimate, to hit over 600,000 subscribers, with the potential to surpass the million mark by the end of 2024.