No Minister

Die MSM, Die – or bring back Trump

That’s a hell of a dilemma for a MSM that was willing to tell any lie about his Administration and scream about it 24/7 if it meant getting Trump out of office.

As signaled by NYT journalist Jim Rutenberg in 2016, balance and objectivity had to be thrown out the window, so uniquely awful was Trump:

If you’re a working journalist and you believe that Donald J. Trump is a demagogue playing to the nation’s worst racist and nationalistic tendencies, that he cozies up to anti-American dictators and that he would be dangerous with control of the United States nuclear codes, how the heck are you supposed to cover him

Because if you believe all of those things, you have to throw out the textbook American journalism has been using for the better part of the past half-century, if not longer, and approach it in a way you’ve never approached anything in your career. If you view a Trump presidency as something that’s potentially dangerous, then your reporting is going to reflect that. You would move closer than you’ve ever been to being oppositional. That’s uncomfortable and uncharted territory for every mainstream, nonopinion journalist I’ve ever known, and by normal standards, untenable.

But the question that everyone is grappling with is: Do normal standards apply? And if they don’t, what should take their place?

I don’t think any of his comrades needed convincing. This was going to the Bush years on steroids and they not only followed Rutenberg’s suggestions but went more partisan in their support of the Democrat Party than at any time in US history.

So now where are they with their online traffic?

Ouch. While even Fox News has taken a hit it’s obvious that the more an MSM site focused on Trump, the greater has been the loss with his departure. It should also be understood that these figures are not looking at circulation / subscription / readership figures for the press or viewership figures for the TV shows. In both cases – such as CNN losing some 68% of its prime-time audience from the Q2, 2020 – the drops are worse than these, and if you look at individual shows they’re worse again.

There can’t be much confidence in CNN’s new streaming service, CNN+, when it’s all sourced from the same base of “journalists”. The drop is also connected to this reality, News Media Credibility Rating Falls to a New Low. In fact a recent Reuters survey showed that Americans had the lowest trust in the MSM of the 46 nations surveyed. I’ve got quite a collection of double standards that is a big part of that loss of trust, but this one will do for now.

Recall that the circulation figures for NZ newspapers show an endless trend of decline, so the online world is not going to save them either.

In the case of the USA, the likes of CNN have been desperately casting around for a new villain, which explains the hysterical attacks on Florida Governor DeSantis (R) and Tucker Carlson on Fox. Nothing has worked yet.

Written by Tom Hunter

July 22, 2021 at 2:00 pm

One Response

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  1. The table is interesting. The declines are all over the place. Forbes has the largest. Fox is greater than CNN. ABC is huge but CBS has not changed much at all.

    So I don’t think there is either an anti Trump or a pro Trump message in there at all.

    However, what is the message? Well, long form journalism seems to have suffered the most (Forbes, The Atlantic, Time).

    Long form journalism is highly specialist, and in my view is easily subject to predation from specialist blog and internet sites.

    I guess more thinking is required about what is happening here.


    July 22, 2021 at 6:38 pm

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