Former president Donald Trump often said he was "the best thing to ever happen" to mainstream media outlets such as the Washington Post and CNN. Recent events and revelations suggest Trump was right.
The New York Times, one of the only mainstream outlets to thrive in the post-Trump era thanks to its non-political content including games and recipes, detailed the Post's struggles in a report published Tuesday:
The Post's efforts to diversify its journalism beyond political coverage extends back until at least the summer of 2016. At that time, senior editors considered a plan that would expand the newspaper's coverage to temper a decline in readership during what they thought would be the presidential administration of Hillary Clinton, according to two people with knowledge of the proposal.
The plan, code-named Operation Skyfall, was set aside after Mr. Trump won the presidential election.
As the importance of moving beyond Washington coverage became more urgent over the past year, [chief executive and publisher Fred] Ryan has given some mixed signals about how ambitiously he wanted to move.
Of note: This was before the Post adopted its stupid slogan: "Democracy dies in darkness." They rolled that out in February 2017 after Trump took office. Yet the paper's executives were preparing to adopt a new business model that would emphasize "darkness" because they thought (correctly) that Post readers would have very little interest in investigative reporting or any coverage critical of a Democratic administration.
As it turned out, Hillary's defeat in the 2016 election was a boon for mainstream journalism as millions of emotionally unstable liberals sought reassurance that Trump was bad and his opponents were morally righteous. Outlets such as the Post and CNN were happy to oblige. The clicks came rolling in; ratings soared.
Everything changed when Trump left office. CNN's ratings tanked while its highly touted premier streaming service, CNN+, flopped. Network president Jeff Zucker was forced out earlier this year, and new leadership started cleaning house. Partisan hacks such as Jeffrey Toobin and Brian Stelter were sent packing.
The Post, which is owned by Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos, is also struggling to survive in Trump's absence. Business has "stalled in the past year," according to the Times. The paper is on track to lose money in 2022 after years of profitability. Layoffs are reportedly under discussion amid growing frustration with the "numerous low performers in the newsroom."
Trump really was the best thing that ever happened to the mainstream media. "Newspapers, television, all forms of media will tank if I'm not there because without me, their ratings are going down the tubes," he predicted in December 2017. That is exactly what happened. As the Post reported several weeks after President Joe Biden was sworn in: "Trump predicted news ratings would 'tank if I’m not there.' He wasn’t wrong."
Trump's prediction wasn't entirely correct, however. He also said the media would start "loving" him and "let [him] win" in an effort to maintain their Trump-era profits. Like all partisan Democrats, mainstream journalists would do anything to stop Trump from winning. They just desperately want him to run.