President Joe Biden’s first 100 days have been devastating for the media. America’s trust in the press plummeted to new lows during the Trump administration, yet for the most part people kept watching. Consumers subscribed and clicked and watched the never-ceasing news cycles. For news networks, it was the best of times even if they were telling America it was the worst of times.
Stormy Daniels, Russian collusion, Impeachment Part I, two scoops of ice cream, Russia bounties, Impeachment Part II: news consumption was sky-high. But when Trump moved back to Mar-a-Lago, he took his ratings with him.
How does that Fleetwood Mac song go? ‘Well, I’ve been afraid of changing, ‘Cause I’ve built my life around you.’ The mainstream media built their entire industry around despising Donald Trump. When covering Orange Man Bad’s administration, White House correspondents transformed from formerly serious journalists into unhinged hecklers. But it is their latest transformation back to docile cheerleaders that is even more revealing.
The media’s awkward transition hasn’t gone unnoticed. CNN’s viewership has taken a nosedive. Axios reported that ‘politics consumption dropped most dramatically, tumbling 28 percent’. Watching Biden’s fan club fawn over his love of chocolate chip ice cream and aviators is not captivating: it is cringeworthy.
At the President’s first and only presser, PBS’s Yamiche Alcindor suggested that the reason for the surge at the border is because migrants see Biden as a ‘moral, decent man’. She had 64 days to come up with that hard-hitting compliment. But Yamiche isn’t the only Democratic operative who is downplaying the immigration crisis.
This is a team effort after all! Politico actually sent out a memo to its staffers about the border specifically instructing them to ‘avoid referring to the present situation as a crisis, although we may quote others using that language while providing context’. It is stunning to think that these are the same truth-seekers and democracy defenders who just a few years ago were melting down on social media about kids in cages.
The media’s flagrant hypocrisy when covering everything from Joe’s wind-induced stair spills to his radical (and green!) policies is breathtaking. Trump called the press the enemy of the people. They didn’t have to prove him right.
However, there is a silver lining to the decline of giants like the Washington Post and the New York Times. These famed institutions, unwilling to print anything but Biden agitprop, have left a real opening in the market for actual journalism. Enter Substack. The online platform describes itself as ‘a place for independent writing. We make it simple for a writer to start a paid newsletter’.
Bari Weiss is a great example of the type of journalist who thrives on this unconfined platform. Weiss, far too free a thinker for the Gray Lady, resigned because of the Times’s hostile woke culture. Her newsletter on Substack, covering a variety of topics from anti-Semitism to Critical Race Theory, has been incredibly successful. It turns out people are willing to pay for content that isn’t constrained and controlled by ideology. (You can subscribe to The Spectator here, by the way. Ten percent off if you use the code GRACE.)
Now that the President has addressed the ‘worst attack on our democracy since the Civil War’ during his joint session of Congress, the press can expect a nice long break from Joe. Not that it makes any difference. When Peter Alexander or Kaitlan Collins get the rare opportunity to ask Biden a question, they never say anything useful. Even when Joe Biden repeatedly tells reporters he can’t take any more questions or he will ‘get in trouble’, our once cut-throat White House press corps can’t even drum up the courage to ask the obvious follow-up — in trouble with whom?