Writing at Blacklisted News, Michael Snyder provides a cogent analysis of the continuing decline of the mainstream media. Snyder makes the obvious connection between two major trends: declines in readership/viewership and ad sales, and declines in the public’s trust in the major media outlets:
Ratings at CNN, MSNBC and Fox News have all been plummeting in recent years, and newspaper ad revenues are about a third of what they were back in the year 2000. So is the mainstream media dying? Despite what you may have heard, the mainstream media is certainly not completely dead just yet. The average American watches approximately 153 hours of television a month, and as I pointed out in a previous article, about 90 percent of the “information” that is endlessly pumped into our heads through our televisions is controlled by just six gigantic media corporations. However, there are a whole host of signs that things are changing – especially when it comes to news. More Americans than ever are losing faith in the establishment-controlled media and are seeking out alternative sources of information. Is this a trend that the big media companies are going to be able to reverse at some point?
Technological change is not the root cause of this decline, he notes:
It isn’t the fact that they haven’t adapted to the Internet very well that is the primary reason for their decline.
Rather, it is the fact that the American people are losing faith in the New York Times and other similar establishment mouthpieces.
Snyder cites poll numbers showing this loss of trust in the corporate media, including this:
And the American people know that they are getting very little truth from the establishment media these days. A recent Gallup survey found that only 23 percent of Americans have a great deal of confidence in the mainstream media at this point. Increasingly, Americans are turning to other sources for news and information.
. . . and this:
A recent survey conducted by a liberal polling firm would indeed seem to indicate that this is the case. That survey found that only 6 percent of Americans consider MSNBC to be their most trusted source for news…
NBC News and sister cable network MSNBC rank at the bottom of media outlets Americans trust most for news, with Fox News leading the way, according to a new poll from the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling.
In its fifth trust poll, 35 percent said they trusted Fox news more than any other outlet, followed by PBS at 14 percent, ABC at 11 percent, CNN at 10 percent, CBS at 9 percent, 6 percent for MSNBC and Comedy Central, and just 3 percent for NBC.
Technological change—and the rise of alternative media it has made possible—has not in itself caused the decline of these major media outlets. The latter are entirely responsible for the mess their arrogance has gotten them into. The public are flocking to new sources of news and information because the old guard have failed them badly. It is a classic case of creative destruction, and it is arriving not a moment too soon. In fact it is six years too late, by my count.