Good News For A Change, Part 1: Independent Media Is Replacing the MSM
The ecosystem is now selecting for talent and honesty
From media tracker Deadline:
In the 25-54 demo, Fox News averaged 219,000, down 8%, compared to CNN with 124,000, down 14%, and MSNBC with 106,000, off by 3%.
In total day, Fox News averaged 1.25 million, down 7%, compared to MSNBC with 761,000, up 8%, and CNN with 463,000, down 12%. In the total-day demo, Fox News averaged 149,000, down 14%, compared to CNN with 86,000, down 20% and MSNBC with 77,000, down 1%.
I’m not 100% sure what these numbers refer to, but they’re obviously pathetic in a country of 350 million people. Compare the above to the views on X of some recent Tucker Carlson interviews:
Milei interview 428 million views
Trump interview: 265 million views
Putin interview: 139 million views (so far)
Viktor Orbán Interview: 130 million views
Andrew Tate interview: 111 million views
Ramaswamy interview: 45 million views
Alex Jones interview: 24 million views
Catturd interview: 18 million views
This power shift is an apocalypse for the typical mainstream media “reporter,” who now tends to be Ivy League educated and culturally allied with the political/financial ruling class. (The days of “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable” are long gone.)
Here’s the poster child for that bunch, Taylor Lorenz, bemoaning the end of her world:
And check out the “How we got here” ending of the following article:
(Axios) - Nearly a dozen mainstream media companies are gutting staff and scrambling to rescue their struggling businesses.
Why it matters: The media business is shrinking at the national, state and local levels — a scary, stark new reality for thousands of journalists.
The big picture: Media cuts were so severe last year that most industry observers weren't expecting such intense cutbacks in 2024. But an ongoing bloodbath is decimating news outlets nationwide.
It's also fueling a new round of conflict between unions and management as tensions run high.
Insider announced it was eliminating 8% of its workforce, months after a union strike over a contract impasse with management.
The New York Daily News editorial union walked off the job Thursday to protest "chronic cuts" by its owner, private equity firm Alden Capital.
Paramount CEO Bob Bakish warned employees Thursday that the company is planning a fresh round of layoffs.
Sports Illustrated's newsroom was gutted by sweeping layoffs after its parent company, The Arena Group, failed to make a $3.75 million quarterly payment to the group from which it licenses the Sports Illustrated brand.
Several media companies are also trying to sell some of their most recognized brands in an effort to free up cash:
BuzzFeed is having conversations about selling two of its premier brands, Complex and Tasty.
Red Ventures is trying to dump CNET.
How we got here: Ad growth in the 2010s was unsustainably high, and publishers acted like it would last forever.
It didn't. Now high interest rates are preventing them from taking on new debt to try to buy themselves time to figure it out.
But Actual Journalism Is Thriving
What’s really happening is a textbook case of capitalist creative destruction. Good journalists — and their readers/viewers — are leaving platforms that have been captured by an aristocracy that profits from war, debt, and ill health. And they’re migrating to platforms like Substack and Rumble where real journalism is still happening.
A whole constellation of independent journalists/interviewers like Joe Rogan, Matt Taibbi, Glenn Greenwald, Russell Brand, Maichael Schellenberger, and Breaking Points’ Krystal and Saagar are thriving. A typical long-form Joe Rogan interview will attract ten times the audience of CNN’s prime-time lineup. And Matt Taibbi recently noted that his Substack newsletter earns multiples of his previous salary as Rolling Stone’s political bureau chief.
This is the profile of a growth industry, not a dying one. Today’s media ecosystem is selecting for talent and integrity while punishing arrogance and dishonesty. That’s a recipe for upward evolution.