The Media Bubble is Collapsing
Last week, Gannett, Buzzfeed and the Huffington Post (Huffpo) laid off hundreds of their primary content writers.
On the tail of massive losses by parent company Verizon Media, HuffPo cut its entire opinion and health beat staff, removing a total of 20 people from the company rolls. Verizon itself announced 800 more in their entertainment division would also be laid off.
Meanwhile, Buzzfeed announced a 15% reduction in its workforce in a move that affects 215 employees. The latest casualty was their entire entertainment writing staff.
Newspaper giant Gannett also cut loose 400 of its employees working at local newspapers across the country.
In total, at least 1,000 media employees lost their jobs this week with a great portion of those consisting of reporters and commentators.
In economics, the term “bubble” is used to describe the condition when an asset such as a house, stocks, or goods experience a sudden increase in value followed by a decrease which is as if not more rapid than the preceding rise. This sudden devaluation is caused by an injection of common sense into the market when investors realize the price of the asset exceeds its actual worth.
Clearly, the cuts at HuffPo, Buzzfeed, and Gannett reflect the diminishing worth of their human capital. The most important question anyone watching this is: What caused this sudden depreciation?
We have not magically entered a magical post-news era. Last I checked, things are still happening and people still want to know what is going on. So journalism itself is not worthless.
Furthermore, HuffPo and Buzzfeed are both online platforms. These are the digital giants that were going to slay the legacy media. So why are they hurting as much as print giant Gannett?
It is our analysis that the collapse in the value of reporting at these outlets is the result of those reporters’ and commentators’ actions and decisions. We asses these choices have culminated in their product, and became devoid of all value.
In other words, the damage is limited to certain persons, although not necessarily just those who have been let go, and the damage is self-inflicted.
Over the past two decades these reporters have effectively undermined three attributes necessary to serve effectively as journalists:
1) Reporters must be good. A display of consciousness towards what is right is how readers know reporters can overcome personal biases to serve the public. This has nothing to do with virtue signaling which is nothing more than tactical bragging for marketing purposes. The events of Furgeson, the 2016 election aftermath, and the Covington Catholic incident among many others reveals reporters are not only unconcerned about doing right, but they will deliberately harm innocent people and businesses for mere political effect.
2) Reporters must be credible. News stories today are designed not researched. The very term “news story” is itself a misnomer. “Narrative feed” is far more accurate.
3) Reporters must be independent. Who are you going to believe about a major corporate merger: outlets owned by the companies involved, or an unconnected citizen journalist? Who are you going to believe about a major development in DC: a group of people who get paid in money and favorable access by the swamp, or a random YouTuber with hard evidence of wrongdoing?
A failure to uphold any one of these attributes is a mortal wound to journalistic integrity. Meanwhile, journalists spent years actively undermining all three.
Today’s media is dysfunctional to the point where rank and file reporters embrace the evil of harming innocent minors as an acceptable form of persuasion. It does not take a PhD in theology to see advocating for child abuse is immoral.
Reporters have earned notoriety for pushing stories they know are false in order to advance political narratives. Everything from the coordinated cover up of Hillary Clinton’s espionage act violations to the unhinged bloviating over Muh Russia confirms this.
The press no longer cares to maintain even the thinnest veneer of independence in its coverage – going so far as to coordinate with FBI leakers to get exclusive nighttime coverage of the Roger Stone’s arrest and in the process became the bigger story as they overtly added insult to injury.
It is in this last aspect, independence, where the media’s failure becomes all more astonishing.
Unlike conservatives, liberal media pundits do not have to worry about being deplatformed from social media, removed from PayPal, or even unpersoned by MasterCard. They do not have the problems conservative site do in finding advertisers from major American corporations like Kellogg’s or Ford. Liberals have the full backing of corporate America and DC power players alike.
Meanwhile, conservatives and other sincere actors have engaged in warfare on both fronts. It is in the fires of this adversity that new levels of excellence have been forged on the right. By chasing conservatives out of the public sphere, corporations and Deep State both highlight the corruption in the mainstream while making it clear who can be trusted as true outsiders.
A glaring example of this is Silicon Valley’s discrimination against conservative news outlets. By deplatforming sites, suppressing their results in queries, and simultaneously pushing mainstream content as “approved” they confer the mantle of rebel on the right, while the far-left press is enveloped by the stink of the moneyed establishment.
As mainstream outlets struggle to maintain relevance among savvy users, smaller fly-by-night operations run on a shoestring and skeleton crew are eating the MSM’s lunch.
News media that is not concerned about being good, not seen as credible, and incapable of acting independently is doomed.
This week, roughly 1,000 journalists have entered the job search market. They may work for less, forcing wages down across the board for reporters and inflicting yet more market damage on those left behind to continue the struggle. Or, they may learn to be more competitive, drop the political operative shtick, and respond to the needs and concerns of their readership.
On the other hand, they may also be replaced by a new crop of reporters committed to goodness, credibility, and independence.
Either way, we as Americans win in the end.
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