"You're gonna miss me when I'm gone," former President Trump told the media before he reluctantly stepped down on Jan. 20, and he was right. Was he ever!
According to Washington Post media reporter Paul Farhi, "Barely two months into the post-Trump era, news outlets are losing much of the audience and readership they gained during his chaotic presidency." "Newspapers, television, all forms of media, will tank if I'm not there," Trump told the media shortly after he took office in January 2017, and that's exactly what happened.
Farhi wrote that CNN, with its lineup of Biden/Harris administration cheerleaders, "has lost 45 percent of its prime-time audience in the past five weeks." Left-wing MSNBC's audience has dropped 26 percent in the same period, according to the Nielsen ratings.
"Fox News, the most Trump-friendly of the TV networks, has essentially regained its leading position by standing still," Farhi added, noting that Fox's ratings have fallen by only six points since the first of the year.
Newspaper websites have also recorded fewer "clicks" since Trump departed Washington, D.C. The New York Times lost 17 percent of its website visitors between January and February and the Washington Post lost 26 percent of its website visitors during the same period.
The Times and Post have the same problem, "progressive" political agendas in their newsrooms, as I wrote last Saturday. Both papers have been very kind to the Biden/Harris administration, to put it mildly. When the Trump administration was in power, their headlines screamed about "kids in cages" on the U.S.-Mexico border. But now, thousands of those same kids in those same cages are in "compassionate" and "humanitarian" detention facilities. My, how things have changed in the news business.
The conservative Washington Examiner went a step further by criticizing Times coverage of the Biden/Harris administration, asserting that "a once-great newspaper has become unreadable." Columnist Ira Stoll wrote that "the 'woke' circus at the 'paper of record' is destroying its ability to produce quality journalism." Stoll speculated that Times journalists might be spending "too much time in diversity, equity and inclusion committee meetings" instead of covering the news accurately and honestly, which is their primary job.
Farhi wrote that in 2014, before the Trumps came down the golden escalator, "the three leading cable networks collectively attracted an average of 2.8 million viewers a night during prime-time hours. By 2019, Trump's third year in office, that number had nearly doubled to 5.3 million viewers per night." Farhi called it "the Trump effect."
On the newspaper side of the ledger, the New York Times began the Trump era with 3 million digital subscribers and ended it with 7.5 million subscribers, while the Amazon-owned Washington Post tripled its digital subscriber base to more than 3 million during the same period. Oh by the way, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos hates Donald Trump, and Trump hates Bezos, probably because the Amazon boss is richer than he is. Are we having fun yet?
One final astute observation by Farhi: "Trump's various scandals and outbursts helped reporters build resumes, sell books, land lucrative commentator gigs, and win awards," as many Trump haters made money off the object of their derision. That's how it works in today's two-faced news business.
Guy W. Farmer is the Appeal's senior political columnist.