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February 11, 2024 | Good News For A Change, Part 1: Independent Media Is Replacing the MSM

John Rubino is a former Wall Street financial analyst and author or co-author of five books, including The Money Bubble: What to Do Before It Pops and Clean Money: Picking Winners in the Green-Tech Boom. He founded the popular financial website in 2004, sold it in 2022, and now publishes John Rubino’s Substack newsletter.

Sports Illustrated recently shut down. The Los Angeles Times laid off a fourth of its staff, including its entire Washington bureau. CNN’s viewership has fallen to that of a modest YouTube channel.

From media tracker Deadline:

In the 25-54 demo, Fox News averaged 219,000, down 8%, compared to CNN with 124,000, down 14%, and MSNBC with 106,000, off by 3%.

In total day, Fox News averaged 1.25 million, down 7%, compared to MSNBC with 761,000, up 8%, and CNN with 463,000, down 12%. In the total-day demo, Fox News averaged 149,000, down 14%, compared to CNN with 86,000, down 20% and MSNBC with 77,000, down 1%.

I’m not 100% sure what these numbers refer to, but they’re obviously pathetic in a country of 350 million people. Compare the above to the views on X of some recent Tucker Carlson interviews:

Milei interview 428 million views
Trump interview: 265 million views
Putin interview: 139 million views (so far)
Viktor Orbán Interview: 130 million views
Andrew Tate interview: 111 million views
Ramaswamy interview: 45 million views
Alex Jones interview: 24 million views
Catturd interview: 18 million views

This power shift is an apocalypse for the typical mainstream media “reporter,” who now tends to be Ivy League educated and culturally allied with the political/financial ruling class. (The days of “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable” are long gone.)

Here’s the poster child for that bunch, Taylor Lorenz, bemoaning the end of her world:

And check out the “How we got here” ending of the following article:

Mainstream media bloodbath: News outlets slash jobs as business suffers

(Axios) – Nearly a dozen mainstream media companies are gutting staff and scrambling to rescue their struggling businesses.

Why it matters: The media business is shrinking at the national, state and local levels — a scary, stark new reality for thousands of journalists.

The big picture: Media cuts were so severe last year that most industry observers weren’t expecting such intense cutbacks in 2024. But an ongoing bloodbath is decimating news outlets nationwide.

  • It’s also fueling a new round of conflict between unions and management as tensions run high.

Driving the news: Forbes’ newsroom union began a three-day walkout Thursday arguing management was union busting. Its CEO announced layoffs later that afternoon hitting roughly 3% of the company.

  • Insider announced it was eliminating 8% of its workforce, months after a union strike over a contract impasse with management.
  • The New York Daily News editorial union walked off the job Thursday to protest “chronic cuts” by its owner, private equity firm Alden Capital.
  • Paramount CEO Bob Bakish warned employees Thursday that the company is planning a fresh round of layoffs.
  • The Los Angeles Times planned a one-day, multicity walkout in protest of plans for 115 job cuts. Two top editors resigned, less than two weeks after executive editor Kevin Merida stepped down.
  • Condé Nast saw hundreds of union workers walk off the job Tuesday to protest hundreds of previously announced layoffs impacting approximately 5% of staff, or roughly 300 people.
  • Sports Illustrated’s newsroom was gutted by sweeping layoffs after its parent company, The Arena Group, failed to make a $3.75 million quarterly payment to the group from which it licenses the Sports Illustrated brand.

Several media companies are also trying to sell some of their most recognized brands in an effort to free up cash:

How we got here: Ad growth in the 2010s was unsustainably high, and publishers acted like it would last forever.

It didn’t. Now high interest rates are preventing them from taking on new debt to try to buy themselves time to figure it out.

But Actual Journalism Is Thriving

What’s really happening is a textbook case of capitalist creative destruction. Good journalists — and their readers/viewers — are leaving platforms that have been captured by an aristocracy that profits from war, debt, and ill health. And they’re migrating to platforms like Substack and Rumble where real journalism is still happening.

A whole constellation of independent journalists/interviewers like Joe RoganMatt TaibbiGlenn GreenwaldRussell BrandMaichael Schellenberger, and Breaking Points’ Krystal and Saagar are thriving. A typical long-form Joe Rogan interview will attract ten times the audience of CNN’s prime-time lineup. And Matt Taibbi recently noted that his Substack newsletter earns multiples of his previous salary as Rolling Stone’s political bureau chief.

This is the profile of a growth industry, not a dying one. Today’s media ecosystem is selecting for talent and integrity while punishing arrogance and dishonesty. That’s a recipe for upward evolution.

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February 11th, 2024

Posted In: John Rubino Substack

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