Wednesday, May 16, 2018


Interesting item from Axios's Sara Fischer about the right's media strategy:
Pro-Trump media is spreading across the U.S., disseminating Trumpian rhetoric about fake news and mainstream media bias through every medium.

The big picture, from Rodney Benson, chair of NYU's Department of Media, Culture, and Communication: "Many of the media moving toward subscriptions have disproportionately left-liberal audiences. ... While liberal media draw their circles ever tighter around themselves (via paywalls, high-level content, etc.), conservatives are fighting to extend their mass reach."
The link in the paragraph above cites an earlier Axios post, which notes that Bloomberg, Vanity Fair, Wired, Business Insider, and The Atlantic have all recently introduced paywalls, while important newspapers -- The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal -- have tightened already existing paywalls.

So as serious news organizations make news less accessible, what's the right doing? Fischer notes the moves made by Sinclair on TV and Salem on radio to push pro-Trump content, as well as Newsmax TV's reported effort to raise its profile by hiring Bill O'Reilly for a new show.

A handful of local news sites, like “Tennessee Star” and the “Arizona Monitor,” are popping up, with headlines supporting GOP candidates that are then sometimes featured for GOP election ads, Politico reports. These sites are intentionally framed to look like real news websites....
Starting about thirty years ago, conservatives began to take over an unfashionable part of the media -- the AM radio dial. We see how that turned out: In much of the heartland, Rush Limbaugh could plausibly call himself "America's anchorman" -- he really was many Americans' main source for news (and still is to some extent).

Now we're supposedly in a cord-cutting Netflix-and-chill era -- but maybe Sinclair's bet on local broadcast news is no crazier than the talkers' bet on AM. And the fake local news sites probably don't even have to make a profit -- they're basically political contributions by other means, whether from U.S. plutocrats or the Kremlin (or both).

I think we're a long way from the Russianization of our media -- but we could well be heading in that direction. Right-wing incursions into untrendy media spaces could be a significant part of the trend.

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