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DANIEL MCCARTHY: Bad News For The Media Isn’t Always Good News For Conservatives

Bad news to the media often feels like good news to conservatives.

So word that Vice and BuzzFeed are laying off hundreds of journalists, weeks after Messenger’s complete collapse, is unlikely to evoke much sympathy on the right.

Again, it’s not just conservatives who are against today’s news industry.

Gallup found last year that only 32% of Americans say they trust mass media “a lot” or “a lot.”

The same survey found that 29% did not trust the media ‘very much’, with a record 39% confessing ‘not at all’.

Last month, the Los Angeles Times announced it would cut its newsroom by more than 20%.

The Washington Post, led by Jeff Bezos, has also made a series of acquisitions and cuts.

But traditional newspaper issues are often taken for granted.

Ten years ago, online outlets like Vice and BuzzFeed were meant to be the future of media, a new species adapted to the Internet ecosystem.

That is the problem now. Those sites and others rely on algorithms they don’t control to survive.

First came “search engine optimization,” then the game became the algorithms that decide what content to serve to millions of Facebook and Twitter (now X) users.

BuzzFeed was notorious for its addictive and easily shareable “lists” until Facebook became saturated with junk from BuzzFeed and Thought Catalog and Mark Zuckerberg’s platform decided to change the rules.

After all, how much clickbait can a reader accept?

Online media startups saw tremendous growth and attracted investment, but they were like athletes on steroids.

Entrepreneurial young journalists with deep connections to classmates and former colleagues at established media outlets garnered hype and headlines from their friends.

If that sparks investor excitement, and if you have investor money, your new site could quickly explode in traffic. Because they started from nothing.

But after the initial spurt, how was it able to sustain double-digit growth that surprised investors?

The social media that news sites rely on faced the same problem.

After new users started to decline, Facebook’s solution was to get existing users to spend more time on the site. This means that links will no longer send users to other sites, such as news sources.

Currently, Facebook and X make it nearly impossible to promote journalism on their sites. They want eyeballs to stay on their platform.

In the early days of social media, you needed to maximize your traffic. This meant that it served as a host for any kind of content users wanted, including news.

At the time, YouTube and Facebook felt like the Wild West, where neither copyright laws nor political correctness placed limits on what users could share.

Politics isn’t the main reason why social media suppresses news right now, but as Kyle Smith of the Wall Street Journal recently pointed out about X, politics is an exacerbating factor.

Smith noted that progressive campaigns to shame advertisers into abandoning Fox News and Elon Musk-owned X itself are encouraging advertisers to avoid all political risks.

Budweiser’s humiliating loss after hiring transgender “influencer” Dylan Mulvaney to head the brand showed how alienating conservatives can hurt.

So why advertise with political news outlets?

It may seem both desert and bitter irony that left-leaning sites like Vice and BuzzFeed have become collateral damage in progressives’ war against center-right political expression. .

But the broader lesson is that online media is dependent not only on advertising (this is true for almost all media) but also on the whims of Big Tech, which has concerns about growth, and has never been in a safe position. That is not the case.

In contrast, newspapers flourished as community institutions supported by local retailers.

However, with the advent of national and even global online retailers, advertising spending is no longer dependent on geography. (Related: Daniel McCarthy: Does Trump have a Taylor Swift problem?)

Businesses can reach consumers directly or cast a wider net with a little more exposure on larger platforms like Google and Facebook.

But not just the news, but our very system of governance is built on regionalism: individual cities, towns, states, and congressional districts.

Newspapers served as city halls, more than just physical city halls.

The sweep of new, hype-driven, out-of-place media is not something to celebrate, but it is not a disaster for our republic.

Meanwhile, the loss of regional identity is at the root of much of today’s polarization and stalemate.

In Democracy in America, Alexis de Tocqueville writes, “Among democracies, the number of newspapers should decrease or increase in proportion to the degree to which government becomes more or less centralized.” ‘ he claimed.

If the number of newspapers decreases, power will become more centralized and conflicts over it will increase.

Conservatives who don’t want that to happen have reason to want newspapers to survive.

And newspapers that want to survive must fight hard for local interests and values, including conservative ones.

Daniel McCarthy is the editor of Modern Age: A Conservative Review. For more information about Daniel McCarthy, please visit www.creators.com.

Copyright 2024 Creators.COM

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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