Guest post by Joe Scarpato.
Originally appeared on joe.scarpato.org.
What has happened to the once formidable liberal media in America? Newspapers like the New York Times, Washington Post, Boston Globe, etc. are hemorrhaging readership every day. News magazines aren’t doing much better. Newsweek was recently sold by the Washington Post for a pittance after not having made a profit since 2007 and losing about $30 million last year. Time Magazine is apparently not doing much better. It lost over 17% of its readership in the first six months of 2007 (and Google doesn’t show any more recent readership information), but Forbes magazine suggested that Time wouldn’t exist much beyond 2014.
What about Primetime news on CBS, NBC and ABC? Yup. They’re losing viewership as well. And CNN, once the bastion of liberal news on cable television, now is lucky to have half the prime time viewership of Fox News which continues to gain viewership each year. The other liberal cable news shows like CNBC and the like aren’t even worth mentioning in the same breath.
And let’s not forget radio. While the talk radio business is still booming for conservatives (Rush Limbaugh still reaches some 20,000,000 listeners each week and most other conservative talk shows are doing well), what’s happened to liberal talk shows on radio? Air America, the liberal challenger to conservative talk radio, bombed recently, even after an influx of money from liberal sources to keep it afloat.
Why is this happening? Here’s my take on it. Before talk radio and Fox News, there was no alternative source of information on a large scale. Once talk radio and Fox News entered the arena, many Americans realized that the news they had previously been getting was actually slanted by news outlets that were primarily run by liberals. While that shouldn’t be so surprising since most journalists identify themselves as Democrats, it did change the mass media equation.
In addition, the rapid expansion of internet sources eliminates many of the filters editors once put on sensitive news. While this isn’t always a good thing, it does get the attention of more people more quickly than any of the other media. Even here, the more conservative sites seem to have the upper hand, with The Drudge Report being the leader by a large margin in the field of instant online news.
Today, thanks to the decline and fall of the once all-powerful liberal media, Americans are getting a lot more information and hearing both sides of the issues before making up their minds…and, overall, that’s not a bad thing.