For weeks, news headlines across the country have told dismal tales of layoffs, cutbacks, strikes, and selloffs at some of America’s biggest media brands.
The crisis became so dire that Axios called it a “mainstream media bloodbath,” reporting that “nearly a dozen mainstream media companies are gutting staff and scrambling to rescue their struggling businesses.”
After severe staff cutbacks in 2023, “most industry observers weren’t expecting such intense cutbacks” this year, according to Axios, but “an ongoing bloodbath is decimating news outlets nationwide.”
What specifically did Axios report?
At Forbes, a three-day walkout in January failed to stop the CEO from announcing layoffs that affected some 3 percent of the company.
Insider recently eliminated 8 percent of its workforce after failed union negotiations.
Paramount employees were told in late January to look forward to a fresh round of layoff, even as the company enters talks with potential buyers and merge partners.
Responding to plans for 115 job cuts, staff at The Los Angeles Times staged a multi-city walkout. Multiple top editors also resigned over the fiasco.
The entire staff of Sports Illustrated were recently told their jobs have been eliminated after the magazine failed to make a $3.75 million quarterly license payment. According to the NYPost.com, SI’s licensee, The Arena Group, may be forced to auction off the magazine, and several bidders have expressed interest, including Jeff Zucker, currently CEO of International Media Investments, and Minute Media, owner of Mental Floss.
And then there’s BuzzFeed trying to sell two of its premier brands, Complex Networks and Tasty Lifestyle Brands.
Over in the (much healthier) conservative media hemisphere, Breitbart Senior Writer John Nolte argues that the mainstream media is sugarcoating the news of its own demise and that the reality is in fact far worse.
“The wheels are coming off all over,” he writes:
CNN has fallen off a ratings cliff.
The Los Angeles Times is losing about $40 million a year, cutting nearly a third of its staff over two recent layoffs.
The Washington Post slashed staff and lost nearly $100 million in 2023.
BuzzFeed laid off 15 percent of its staff and closed BuzzFeed News entirely.
Vice Media filed for bankruptcy in 2023.
Sports Illustrated shut down.
The Vogue, Vanity Fair, and Condé Nast layoffs are coming.
Explaining the downfall of BuzzFeed in greater detail, Nolte wrote that the company “went public in 2021, valued at $1.7 billion, and lost 97 percent of its value in the few years since.”
Vice Media followed a similar trajectory, he noted, which “went from being valued at $5.7 billion to being unable to pay its bills and filing Chapter 11.” The company is now “valued at just $350 million.”
With all that said, what’s causing the bloodbath?
For its part, Axios blamed unsustainably high ad growth in the 2010s that saw publishers become addicted to the income stream—a stream that has turned to a trickle in tougher economic times.
No doubt that’s part of the equation. And of course, each company has its own unique internal challenges and external headwinds.
But the story is surely far less complicated.
With increasing frequency, mainstream news outlets have been selling lies disguised as the truth, and Americans are no longer buying it.
They told us that Trump colluded with Russia to win the 2016 election and that he was likely a Russian agent. That turned out to be a scam peddled by crooked FBI agents and was eventually exposed in the Mueller investigation.
They told us that Hunter Biden’s laptop—which incriminated his father Joe Biden in foreign financial scandals while VP—wasn’t really Hunter Biden’s laptop but an elaborate Russian disinformation plant. Slowly, quietly, years later, media outlets have admitted the truth.
They told us that it was a conspiracy theory to claim COVID-19 leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology—until, years later, they have finally conceded the virus probably did originate in that lab.
They told us that Trump called Nazis “very fine people,” held “kids in cages” at the border, and used tear gas to clear D.C. protesters to stage a Bible photo op. They told us that Jussie Smollett and Bubba Wallace were victims of racist hate crimes and that the Nobel prize-winning drug Ivermectin was “horse dewormer.” They told us that January 6 was the darkest day in America’s history and that the 2020 Black Lives Matter riots—which killed dozens of people and did billions of dollars in damage—were “mostly peaceful protests.”
They told us too many lies to list.
Now they are going broke.
“The media business is shrinking at the national, state and local levels—a scary, stark new reality for thousands of journalists,” Axios warns.
But even that is fake news.
The alternative media business is going great. The truth is finally getting out. People are turning to trusted, independent outlets like Intellectual Takeout to go beyond the soundbites, beneath the headlines, and into the stories that matter to everyday Americans.
That’s good news for all of us.
Image credit: Unsplash