The mainstream news media has been deteriorating for years. Declining numbers of readers and viewers, reduced trust, increasingly obvious bias (on both sides), more and more sensationalism in a desperate try to get more readers and viewers — we’ve seen this for years.
In 2018, it just kept going down. But faster than it had before. The reason? Donald Trump.
The 2016 Meltdown
The meltdown began in late 2016, after Trump won the election. The liberal media thought they’d be done with him and here he was, president of the United States for at least four years, and with a Republican Congress behind him. Their worst nightmare. Instead of the great and glorious Hillary, the huge and horrible Donald.
The mainstream media went into full assault mode, bashing Trump and churning out fake news at a breathtaking speed. They could not handle this new type of Republican president, who aggressively pursued a conservative agenda as if he didn’t care what the press thought. Worse, he frequently attacked the press, and not only when they attacked him first.
For more on fake news, see:
Michael Brown’s An Appeal to the Mainstream Media: Own Up to Fake News!
William Brigg’s Real vs. Fake Fake News
And even worse than that, when the media went into assault mode, Trump fought back. He took to Twitter to speak directly to the American people. He got his message out first, before the media could report on it. The media was forced to report afterwards on his tweets, which were difficult to spin when embedded in an article word for word. The press couldn’t filter and “explain” what he said, the way they’d been able to do for decades.
Journalists in media were so blinded by their hatred of Trump they could not see the constant negativity was backfiring. People dropped their subscriptions to biased newspapers and cable TV. People turned to news from bloggers, Facebook friends and conservative outlets to avoid the bias of traditional news sources.
Instead of reading The New York Times, people visited the Drudge Report online. Instead of paying for CNN and MSNBC, people watched streaming news services like Newsmax and TheBlaze. Conservative Trump-supporting Fox News was the most-watched channel on basic cable for 29 straight months. Usually, when one party is in power, the opposition’s strength grows in the media and in tech. It’s unusual that Fox News is doing as well as it is.
The phrase “fake news” became wildly popular in 2017 and 2018 as Trump repeatedly caught the media reporting dishonestly. Some of the worst offenders have suffered for it.
In November’s ratings, CNN failed to place even one show in the top 20 for cable news shows. The New York Timessuffered a 23 percent decrease in net income during the third quarter this year as compared to last year. The paper began offering voluntary buyouts in early October, in order to downsize employees.
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Trust in the mainstream media continues to erode. A Gallup poll from September found that 69 percent of U.S. adults say their trust in the news media has decreased in the past decade. Only 17 percent overall “trust most news organizations,” while 67 percent overall say they “trust only some news organizations.” A substantial 45 percent referred to things like inaccuracy, bias, “fake news,” and “alternative facts” as the reason why they don’t trust the media.
Yet with all this dismal news, the mainstream media isn’t letting up on its attacks on Trump. Biased journalists would rather see their jobs disappear than stop the Trump bashing. Stories about journalists becoming delivery drivers for Amazon and turning to other odd careers are popping up.
The Tech Giants Slow Things Down
However, the big tech giants have been slowing the demise of the mainstream media. Google and Facebook are censoring news sources on the right. Google recently banned Western Journal and The Gateway Pundit from Google News. This will sharply curtail much of their traffic.
At the same time, Google prioritizes left-leaning news sites in its search results. Facebook changed an algorithm in January of this year which resulted in greatly reducing the traffic to conservative pages. Facebook next banned some of the most popular conservative pages this year, including Right Wing News.
For more on big tech bias, see Rachel’s:
For example, in Arizona, the local newspapers are declining and slowly going out of business. They are being replaced by the Arizona Daily Independent, a conservative online paper with a business model that includes unpaid, part-time contributors. ADI now covers a lot of stories that the mainstream local newspapers don’t.
Media has become a very competitive area, due to the rise of the internet allowing anyone to become a blogger with their own platform. It’s hard to compete against a self-funded conservative journalist who isn’t affected by layoffs. The mainstream media still hates Trump. At this rate, look to see even more of a decline in 2019 — along with the increasing rise of conservative news.