• Why Journalism is Going Extinct

    February 18, 2024

    Posted in: Democracy

    Is journalism going extinct? asks The Atlantic in an article of roughly the same name. The numbers are deadly: the grimmest news was from the Los Angeles Times, the biggest newspaper outside of the east coast. The paper announced it was cutting 115 people, more than 20 percent of its newsroom. In June of last year the Times previously dropped 74 people from its newsroom. Some 2,900 newspapers closed or merged since 2005. Sports Illustrated is in trouble. The Washington Post, NBC News, ABC News, CNN, NPR, ViceVox, and BuzzFeed, among others, have shed hundreds of journalists over the past year, including the author of the Atlantic article himself. Job losses among print, digital, and broadcast-news organizations grew by nearly 50 percent during 2023.

    The reason for all this professional carnage according to the article? Something something the Internet something something digital advertising revenues blah blah social media.

    One proposed solution calls for “direct and muscular government intervention” and legislation forcing Facebook and others to pay for “news” they feature off sources such as the New York Times. Yet, as journalist Glenn Greenwald asked rhetorically, “Will there ever come a moment when liberal journalists who work for corporate outlets, and who are being completely consumed by layoffs and financial failures and audience indifference, ask whether there’s anything they’ve done to contribute to the profession’s failure?”

    The answer of course is no, no one is going to ask but Glenn. Somewhere along the way (we’ll tag it as the beginning of the first Trump campaign of the modern era) journalism lost all pretext of objectivity and decided to devote itself fully toward advocacy. It is clear now the public wants accurate reporting, not advocacy, but never you mind, the media elites on each coast know better what you need. As long as the MSM traffics in falsehoods people will disappear from their audiences.

    Let’s look at one almost silly example: did Donald Trump says people should drink bleach to kill off Covid?

    No, Donald Trump did not suggest that people should drink bleach to kill off Covid. However, during a White House briefing in April 2020, Trump did make comments about the potential use of disinfectants and ultraviolet light to treat the virus. His remarks were widely criticized because they seemed to suggest the possibility of injecting or ingesting disinfectants, which would be extremely harmful. The media, however, would not be stopped, making the bleach thing into a meme, handing it off to Late Night, then picking it up again throughout the 2020 presidential campaign.

    Twelve months after the supposed statement, to keep things alive, Politico wrote “One year ago today, President Donald Trump took to the White House briefing room and encouraged his top health officials to study the injection of bleach into the human body as a means of fighting Covid. It was a watershed moment, soon to become iconic in the annals of presidential briefings. It arguably changed the course of political history.” “For me, it was the craziest and most surreal moment I had ever witnessed in a presidential press conference,” said ABC’s chief Washington correspondent.

    A year after the “fact” it is bad enough the media could not accurately report what was said but how about some four years later, twice in recent New York Times articles, on January 24 and on January 29, 2024 (“oblivious or worse, peddling bleach as a quack cure.”)

    The thing is Trump never said people should drink or inject bleach; knowing what he said is as easy as listening to what he said. Here it is in its entirety: “So, supposing we hit the body with a tremendous — whether it’s ultraviolet or just very powerful light — and I think you said that that hasn’t been checked, but you’re going to test it. And then I said, supposing you brought the light inside the body, which you can do either through the skin or in some other way, and I think you said you’re going to test that, too. It sounds interesting. And then I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it out in a minute. One minute. And is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside or almost a cleaning. Because you see it gets in the lungs, and it does a tremendous number on the lungs. So it would be interesting to check that.” It was obvious Trump was talking via example, hypothetically in that hyperbolic style of his. It takes a selfish media mind to roll all that into an admonishment to the suffering American people to drink a poisonous substance but that’s what happened. Even four years later.

    There are so many other example which persist in the media as untruths, exaggerations, or something evil done by other presidents but uniquely ascribed to Trump. Think that he wrenched children from their parents at the border into concentration camps, that he denounced fallen soldiers as suckers, and that he incited a bloody insurrection to overturn an election, and still peddles the Big Lie to the point where he is supposedly Constitutionally ineligible to run for president.

    Journalism is at a crossroads at best (it may have already crossed into the abyss.) The old models of reader -supported or advertising-supported media no longer are sturdy and seem still to apply only to a few giants like the New York Times. Americans’ trust in the mass media’s reporting matches its lowest point in Gallup’s trend line, largely because of Democrats’ decreased trust (the Republicans were lost an election or two ago, see Russiagate, though independents still lead the two parties in lost trust.) Just 7 percent of Americans have “a great deal” of trust and confidence in the media, and 27 percent have “a fair amount.”

    Meanwhile, 28 percent of U.S. adults say they do not have very much confidence and 39 percent have none at all in newspapers, TV, and radio. Social media is still the least trustworthy sector, while simultaneously being one of the most read/seen. The declines for the MSM have been steady since peaking in 1977 at about 70 percent trust levels. It has gotten worse since Trump but you can’t blame it all on him. It’s the media’s own fault.

    The loss of trust is because of a perception the MSM is biased. Some 78 percent of conservatives think the mass media is biased, as compared with 44 percent of liberals and 50 percent of moderates. Only about 36 percent view mass media reporting as “just about right”. A September 2014 Gallup poll found that a plurality of Americans believe the media is “too liberal.”

    Half of Americans in a recent survey indicated they believe national news organizations intend to mislead, misinform or persuade the public to adopt a particular point of view through their reporting. The survey goes beyond others that have shown a low level of trust in the media to the startling point where many believe there is an intent to deceive. Asked whether they agreed with the statement that national news organizations do not intend to mislead, 50 percent said they disagreed. Only 25 percent agreed.

    The pattern is pretty clear: as long as the MSM is a significant source of misinformation never mind out-and-out lies, the people’s trust in it will continue to fall. We’ve reached a breaking point where many people believe the media intends to deceive. That distrust is entirely a self-own by the media, and finds itself expressed in the most direct terms. People literally are not buying what the MSM is selling.

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    Copyright © 2020. All rights reserved. The views expressed here are solely those of the author(s) in their private capacity.

  • Recent Comments

    • Rich Bauer said...

      1

      You didn’t mention Faux News or AmeriCONUSERVITO. Guess you were only referring to journalism entities. As for factchecking Donnie Diapers, get back to us about the other 19,567 lies he has made.

      02/18/24 6:11 PM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...

      2

      Does the Columbia Journalism School know? The NYTimes has been irrelevant for decades. It might turn into a publication with “sponsored” content only but sadly people will still subscribe out of a misguided desire to be “informed”.

      02/19/24 5:43 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      3

      “Half of Americans in a recent survey indicated they believe national news organizations intend to mislead..”

      More than half of Republicans (and Republican-leaning independents) said there was solid evidence that the election was illegitimate.

      So which half mislead these idiots?

      02/19/24 9:31 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      4

      Is journalism going extinct? Not really. The Dodo birds who swallow “journalism” from clowns like Tucker Carlson and AmeriCONSERVITTOYOU are the ones going extinct. You are what you read.

      02/20/24 9:20 AM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      5

      “People literally are not buying what the MSM is selling.”

      These idiots can’t afford to buy gas or food when they are buying Trump’s Golden Sneakers. News is free entertainment for these idiots. Let’s not give them credit for critical thinking. They swallowed the lies the MSM spewed about Yellow Cake and the Axis of Evil. They swallowed lies about rigged elections. Fox News admitted its business model depends on lying to its dumbass audience.

      Real Journalism may be going extinct, but these idiots who can’t think critically are definitely going extinct.

      02/20/24 2:30 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      6

      It is clear now the public wants accurate reporting, not advocacy has to be The funniest line you ever wrote.

      Let US not be too harsh on the MSM. The human bean’s cognitive dissonance wants to believe lies to conform to prejudices, just as Comer and the other HunterBiden freaks wanted to believe the lies fed to them by Russians spooks. The FoxPopulies about Dominion and Smartmatic were fed to boost ratings and Ad revenue. Only when they cost Faux News hundreds of millions were the liars fired.

      As long as Faux News ratings continue to be the highest, it is proof People are buying the lies.

      02/21/24 10:50 AM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...

      7

      Bauer: I’m feeling somewhat optimistic. The ruse the Israelites pulled off way too long may be unravelling. They certainly had an impressive run with most buying into their self serving mythology. Don’t be hard on current critters clinging to outdated beliefs. It takes a long time for a bogus
      mythology to lose its hold on feeble minds.

      02/21/24 7:15 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      8

      JP,

      History shows delusion persists until reality literally crashes on their heads or their bank accounts. The Trump-won delusion is a case in point.

      02/22/24 9:50 AM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      9

      JP,

      Speaking of outdated beliefs, Nikki and Diapers, as well as Meatball Ron, have downplayed slavery. I am waiting for the Confederate Flag Trump sneaker. It will be made with child slave labor.

      02/22/24 11:01 AM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      10

      Given Donnie Diapers is a Deep State plant to destroy the MAGA movement, don’t be surprised if those $400 Trump Air sneakers have an Air tracker in each sole. Homeland Security was caught blind on January 6 and will want to know where the MAGA fanatics are next January. (Especially since no MAGAs are getting vaccinated with the tracker microchips)

      02/23/24 4:09 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      11

      A recent poll from Marquette Law School found that in a general election matchup against President Joe Biden, Haley would blow him out of the water by 16 points (58-42%).

      And you still don’t believe Donnie Diapers isn’t a Deep State plant to destroy MAGA?

      02/25/24 9:20 AM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      12

      The only thing that is going yech-stinks is the smell from Donnie’s diapers.

      02/25/24 3:13 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      13

      It’s not news the news business is not the only thing running out of money. Trump’s two committees have $36.6 million in cash on hand compared to Biden’s $132 million stockpile, which he and the Democratic National Committee raised $42 million for in January.

      Nikki is helping to run Trump to the poor house by staying in the race.

      “His endless drama and legal bills will deplete the Republican Party and bring even more electoral losses,” Haley’s communications director, Nachama Soloveichik, said in a statement.

      When the race reaches the homestretch, Donnie Diapers can exaggerate all he wants about his money. But even Faux News won’t run his campaign commercials if he doesn’t put his money where his mouth is.

      02/27/24 9:27 AM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      14

      Are people buying Donnie Diapers Truth Social? Buyer beware. If you buy the stock and Donnie gets prison time, will Truth Social stock have any value?

      02/28/24 4:19 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      15

      Here’s another “silly” MSM example: is Donnie Diapers a flight risk?

      Yes. Assuming Donnie Diapers loses bigly in November, his pending prison cases will go forward without delay. The guy’s SOP is to delay justice as much as possible. Why wouldn’t Diapers take his crappy jet to Saudi and force a lengthy extradition process? Nothing in the States to keep him here. All his properties would be taken in court judgments. Yeah, Melania would have to go back to pole dancing. But, folks, exile-Diapers would make everyone happy.

      1. The Dems don’t want Diapers to become a martyr for the MAGATs.

      2. The RINOs would humiliate the MAGATs as their never-surrender cult leader took their money and left them to face justice.

      3. Nikki would assume the GOP leadership.

      4. Poo-ton in exile would have a buddy to hang with. (You know them Saudis could do it too.)

      It isn’t so silly for the MSM to consider Diapers a flight risk. He will say he will fight on to the end, but the people aren’t buying what Diapers is selling.

      02/29/24 12:51 PM | Comment Link

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