The mainstream media is sounding alarm bells about the demise of their news sites, as younger generations in particular transition to obtaining their news directly from their favorite personalities. MSM journalist Charlie Warzel, writing for MSN (ever notice how similar the acronyms are — maybe MSN stands for MainStream News) whined on Friday about this shift taking place as a result of social media.
Warzel acts like people going directly to their favorite influencers and journalists for news as “trusted sources of news” while “[l]ocal-news outlets have died a slow death” is heart wrenching, but fails to admit that people tuned in to the news for years to hear from their favorite “trusted” news personalities like Dan Rather of CBS and Mike Wallace of 60 Minutes. That was actually worse, because those personalities were subject to the biases of the networks they worked for. Those who watched Rather over the years saw his increasingly left-wing views come out, as the major networks lurched to the left. 60 Minutes is now a full bastion of left-wing hit pieces.
In contrast, independent journalists posting directly to platforms like X and Substack, where they can make a living directly from subscribers, are beholden to no one. Under X owner Elon Musk, there is very little prohibition on what they can post; most conservatives have few problems with its minimal censorship which generally prohibits truly offensive behavior. X rules prohibit abuse or harassment, encouraging terrorism and hateful conduct based on anti-discrimination categories. Granted, it’s not perfect, there are still a few conservatives who remain shadowbanned on the platform which has not been fixed.
Tucker Carlson is a perfect example of this shift. While one of the most stalwart and popular conservatives today, he was increasingly suppressed at Fox News. To be fair, Fox News was under intense pressure from the left, in particular after it was sued by Dominion Voting Systems in a lawsuit that could have driven it to bankruptcy. Unlike the MSM, which is full of true left-wing believers, conservative media outlets like Fox News usually drift to the left due to threats, which don’t just come from the left but occasionally come from RINOs concerned about their pocketbooks.
Since Carlson was fired over six months ago, his popularity has increased. Musk said in September that Carlson’s Fox News show had under 10 million viewers — it was at 3.3 million viewers last year — whereas his show on X gets more viewers than the population of the U.S., which is over 340 million. Granted, the stats have come under criticism as somewhat inflated since not all viewers watch the entire show.
Meanwhile, Fox News has lost viewership since he left. From October 2022 to October 2023, it declined from 8% to 16% in various categories of viewers. The station may still lead most of the other cable news networks, but people are starting to flee cable news.
Other high-profile Fox News hosts have moved on and found success outside of traditional TV, including Megyn Kelly, Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly. Kelly first tried a stint at NBC, but said in September, “I’m done with TV.”
According to Edison Research, 42% of Americans age 12 and up have listened to a podcast in the last month, up from 37% in 2020. Young adults in the UK spend more time watching TikTok than broadcast television, and one in five adults under age 24 use TikTok as a source of news. In contrast, only 17% of Americans now pay for news subscriptions.
Even left-leaning online news sites that are more edgier than traditional media sites aren’t faring so well. Buzzfeed shut down in April, Vice filed for bankruptcy and Gawker shut down again in February.
This shift is here to stay, because the media is so overwhelmingly biased against conservatives. With one study — from a left-leaning organization, The Center for Public Integrity — showing that over 97% of journalists donate to Democrats, conservatives have no choice but to turn to X if they want unfiltered news. One of the most popular political topics in the country is election fraud, and it’s just going to become even more popular as the 2024 election arrives. With a blackout by even much of mainstream conservative media on the topic, as well as the rest of the big left-leaning social media giants, half the population that leans to the right will be looking to X.
Left-wing journalist Megan Taros whined on X on Saturday about being unable to find a decent job with a newsroom anymore, even though she’d been looking for a job since February. The former Arizona Republic reporter who specializes in race and equity issues was willing to settle for a mere $50,000 annually, even though she has “tremendous debt” from a master’s degree. She refuses to accept freelancing and fellowships, not grasping that the media world is evolving away from traditional newsroom jobs. Instead of focusing on building up her piddly 5,278 followers on X so she could become an influencer, making money from X ads and subscribers, she concluded, “This is my final call before giving up.”
More users on Instagram, TikTok and Snapchat get their news from influencers than from traditional journalists on the platforms, according to a new report conducted for the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, part of Britain's University of Oxford. Taros can ignore this shift at her peril.
Conservative journalists have adapted to this shift far better, having been blacklisted from most media jobs for years. New and younger half-influencer, half-journalists like the Hodge Twins, Benny Johnson, Zuby, Rogan O’Handley and Dom Lucre have built up hundreds of thousands or even millions of followers without much of any traditional news outlet, and can easily make a living on X.
Musk has made X into the most powerful media platform in the world, decimating the longtime stranglehold of the MSM. The MSM can ignore him and X and whine, but unless they adapt, conservative media personalities will leave them in the dust.
Reprinted from Townhall