The decline of big media is a very significant news story of the last decade.
Editor Rachel Alexander notes:
In 2005, The New York Times cut 500 employees. In 2009, it began placing ads on the front page of its print edition. The company stopped offering lifelong positions for its editors and journalists in 2013. Former editor Jill Abramson reportedly begged senior editors that year to resign with a buyout plan.
And the job loss continues:
The annual survey of the industry by the American Society of News Editors was recently released, showing the nation’s newspapers are still in decline.
The study found that newspaper employment fell to 32,900 in 2014 from 36,700 in 2013.
At this rate, says media analyst Ken Doctor:
If we project the recent decline forward, we’ll have one-half the number of daily journalists working in 2016 or 2017 as we did 16 years ago.
TV isn’t faring much better.
Financial Times reported in August that “Record numbers of Americans are unplugging their subscriptions”:
The second quarter is always tough for the pay-TV industry, as families move home and college students disconnect, but this time it was the worst on record for net customer losses: an estimated 566,000 people cut the cord.
Adweek tells us, “Viewers overwhelmingly watch cable for library content, not originals. And the originals they reliably watch aren't the big award winners, either. … Generally speaking, the sales falloff is worse than even the analysts had predicted.”
Two hundred and fifty Walt Disney employees, laid off, were forced to train their foreign replacements. Struggling CNN is trying out game shows, something the world surely needs more of.
Media analyst Scott Rasmussen observes:
Importantly, the loss felt by journalists is about more than money. It's a loss of influence and prestige. Before the digital era, TV anchors and big-time newspaper reporters had a monopoly over news coverage that could not be challenged. Alternative views could not be heard, even when the journalists were wrong.
The bad news for big media is due to the digital revolution, not to the fact that they are progressives (= whatever the question, government is the answer.
Not at all. Society is moving swiftly in their direction swiftly, and stragglers can just be bullied along.
Rather, they are unnecessary. Anyone who wishes can now build their own news network, consisting perhaps of the South China Morning Post, Hurriyet Daily (news from Turkey in English), and the Irish Times. Sometimes that is derisively called the "Daily Me."
Some may deride, but increasing numbers of people prefer it to the "Daily Them."
Now, here’s what I am calling to happen:
The survivors increasingly seek to be PR for progressive government.
One consequence is a sharp increase in manufactured news, possibly censorship of actual news. One blogger complains:
The Canadian Media is Shrouding the Federal Election in Darkness:
The Canadian election is merely five days away, and the campaign has now descended into a phase much like The Dark Ages. During the last two weeks of this eleven-week battle of attrition, the mainstream media’s fickle attention span has somehow remained fixated primarily on the minuscule niqab fray, instead of devoting top coverage to the many real and substantial issues facing our dear nation. It is curious why the mainstream media has suddenly found such concerted concentration on what it deems to be such a minor issue–and it’s worth spending the time unveiling.
Yes, the big mainstream media is auditioning for its new role, as PR for progressive government. And it seeks with all its might to elect progressive government, in part for that reason.
How better to demonstrate that than to take up the niqab cause! Most female progressives would wither under sharia, or face something grimmer. How better to demonstrate their loyalty to progressivism than to advance the claims of something so profoundly illiberal, simply to “help out” in defeating Stephen Harper.
Yes, they are making a bad bargain, but don’t let’s waste time on that. Progressives have never been known, historically, to care much about the destruction they leave in their wake, including their own daughters’ liberties in an age of creeping acceptance of sharia. For one thing, they can always blame the “bigots” who oppose their current causes.
There has also been quite the spike in plagiarism and fabulism in recent years. Whereas Jayson Blair and Stephen Glass were punished by obscurity, increasingly such people are seen as stars (Mapes), celebs (Williams), and heroes (Dunham).
The spike in both the frequency and popularity points to an underlying issue: Progressives are generally not interested in facts or evidence. Their understanding of life leads them to think in terms of narrative and identity. Their media reflect that fact.
Traditional groups like Christians and Jews remain, for the most part, oblivious to their peril and take refuge in an interesting menagerie of strategies for avoiding confronting it.
I hope to unpack these issues in followup posts.