The year 2021 was not a good year for the mainstream media, which lost almost 40 percent of its audience mainly in its news programs, a high contrast to 2020 and during Trump’s tenure, where they saw exponential audience growth.
According to data from media analyst Nielsen, CNN lost 38 percent of its audience in weekday primetime, Fox News, despite being the most-watched channel for the sixth consecutive year, in the same time slot lost 34 percent of its audience, for MSNBC the drop was 25 percent on weekdays as well.
News channels suffered a smaller loss in comparison, with ABC’s “World News Tonight” and “CBS Evening News” each dropping 12 percent and NBC’s “Nightly News” audience dropping 14 percent.
Digital media, such as the New York Times and the Washington Post, lost 34 percent and 44 percent of unique visitors, respectively, according to a measurement by Comscore in November 2021 compared to the same month last year.
NewsWhip, a company dedicated to tracking media, examined 14 million political articles on the Internet last year and found that they had an average of 924 interactions on social networks, according to a Breitbart report.
The 13.5 million articles NewsWhip analyzed in 2021 dropped to an average of 321 interactions, a two-thirds decrease.
What are the assumptions?
Even though 2021 also had a long period where people were quarantined or avoided going out for fear of the pandemic, and thus presents the ideal scenario for turning to TV as a form of entertainment—even so—the mainstream media lost viewership.
But the decline in mainstream media viewership does not seem to respond to the context.
The Trump factor
Unlike the current president, Joe Biden, Donald Trump was very active on social media, had a vast audience. His direct, critical, and sometimes unfiltered style—unusual characteristics for presidents—generated a lot of interaction with the public.
Of course, many of those who followed Trump, among them journalists on the hunt for news, did so not to sympathize with him but criticize him. In other words, part of his audience were his opponents.
Much of the media traffic comes from social networks. Perhaps that’s why when Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter suspended Trump’s accounts, a considerable decrease in visits and interaction could have occurred.
Biden particularly does not use social media, nor does he answer questions from the press and only tends to read his speeches without going off script, a stark contrast to the former president.
The Media Research Center, an organization dedicated to monitoring the media bias of the liberal or left-wing media, whose motto is ‘believe in America, not the media’ documented throughout Trump’s administration, all instances in which the mainstream media reported positive news as unfavorable or used different standards to measure Trump and Biden.
For example, during the pandemic, CNN reported on a White House event with a few dozen people at which Ivanka Trump, the president himself, and others spoke, calling it ‘a super spreader event’ of the virus, calling out Trump for trying to minimize the virus.
However, as for the demonstrations of thousands of people from the Marxist organization Black Lives Matter, besides ending in looting and destruction, CNN concluded that these did not generate any contagion or spikes.
The Establishment media labeled Trump as a ‘Nazi,’ ‘white supremacist,’ and ‘racist’ despite his economic policies greatly benefiting the middle class, including the black population, Latinos, Hispanics, and other minorities.
In April of this year, a CNN technical director was recorded by Project Veritas admitting the network’s efforts to get Trump out of the White House, manipulate the audience with pandemic fear and other practices unworthy of such a media outlet.
There is no denying that presenting neutral journalism is tough to achieve, but perhaps because the mainstream media—where big money is— has tried to normalize biased journalism to attack the opposition, is that people are turning to alternative media, independent journalists, non-conventional social media not only to show their disapproval but out of the eagerness to seek the truth.