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Sun and Breitbart falling

Written By: - Date published: 7:05 am, June 14th, 2017 - 20 comments
Categories: newspapers, Propaganda, uk politics, us politics - Tags: , , ,

It’s a pretty bleak political landscape out there in the UK and USA, but here’s a couple of spots of good news.

The Sun slips below 2m daily sale for the first time in 43 years

The Sun slipped below the 2m sales mark in October, with an average daily sale of 1,978,324 copies. The last time it sold fewer than 2m was 43 years ago, in early 1971. It does qualify as something of a landmark moment but it’s important to put it in perspective. …

The piece goes on to set out some of the reasons why the decline might not be as significant as it looks (e.g. online readers). But others take an even stronger view:

A BBC editor declares the end of the tabloid media, which is now going into meltdown

A BBC editor has declared the end of the tabloid media as a power-broker in British politics. And said media is now essentially proving his point, by going into meltdown.

As the election results suggest, these gutter rags no longer have the same sway they had over voters in previous elections. People are waking up to their naked corporate bias and highly evident hypocrisy. And as a result, their previous role as power-brokers in British politics is fading away. That can only be a good thing for our democracy. …

The Sun and Mail tried to crush Corbyn. But their power over politics is broken

It’s the Sun wot didn’t win it. And despite the Mail’s pages and pages of frenzied warnings about how electing communist terrorists would be the end of the world, the Mail didn’t do it for their woman either.

The Mail sells its world of pain based on fear. The attack it tried to sustain over a panicked 13 pages just looked hyperbolic. Instead, the warnings about Labour became ignorable rages. With May refusing to engage, unable to be spontaneous, Corbyn often just appeared pleasant and bemused. Having destroyed Ed Miliband, the tabloids took it for granted it could be done again with a few key words. Tax. Extremist. Terrorist.

The world has moved on. This is not only the end of austerity, it is surely the end of the hankering for Thatcherism that is still the lifeblood of the men who run these papers.

It matters significantly now that they are out of touch. It matters that their relentless negativity did not chime. In this one moment they are cut down to size: not fixers of government, not the high priests of the electorate but strange angry blokes selling seven varieties of hate while ranting to themselves. …

Meanwhile in America:

As Trump’s Problems Mount, Breitbart’s Numbers Are Cratering

With its former chairman Steve Bannon as White House chief strategist and plans for an ambitious international expansion, Breitbart was supposed to be on its way to becoming a media behemoth in the Trump era, one with unparalleled access and a passionate audience.

Just a few months later, the numbers have a different story to tell. As of May 26, 2017, according to Alexa.com—the same web-ranking analytics company that Breitbart drew its numbers from in January—Fox News is the 64th most-trafficked site in the country. Huffington Post is at 60. Buzzfeed is at 50. The Washington Post, on the strength of a series of eye-popping scoops, is at 41. Breitbart is in 281st place.

Measuring web traffic is an inexact art, but other web-analytics companies reflect a similar, unusually steep decline in Breitbart’s traffic. ComScore estimated that Breitbart had nearly 23 million unique visitors during the month of November 2016, but only drew 10.7 million in April 2017, a 53 percent drop. Last month, the site had fewer visitors than it did in April 2016, when 12.3 million people visited the site. …

It would be great to see these hate mongers slip further into irrelevance. Unfortunately there will always be some forum or other to take their place.

20 comments on “Sun and Breitbart falling”

  1. lprent 1

    Problem with the brietbart figures (apart from alexas notorious unreliability) is that it would have had a massive bounce in November due to the election.

    A better view would have been to compare it with figures in the same months in previous years – ignoring elections.

    • RJL 1.1

      Also, a lot of these right-wing tabloids become very boring when their guy is in power.

      Unclear if that is true with Brietbart, but in NZ DPF *was* worthwhile reading when Labour was in power. Not because I usually agreed with him, but occasionally he had semi-legitimate points, and it was a place for people to vent against the prevailing government; which is always interesting.

      However, since National has been in power DPF has become very sycophantic, trivial, and very “holiday picture” obsessed. So not worth bothering with reading. Reading what is “great” about the government is boring.

  2. Sanctuary 2

    My view is it is all part of the evolution of the internet. Between about 1460-1500 Europe’s new printers produced about nine million new books, an explosion of information that created a ferment directly comparable to the explosion of information caused by the age of the internet, which I would date as roughly beginning with Windows 95 and the explosion of the home PC with a GUI OS and an inbuilt browser.

    The six decades after the invention of moveable type printing in Europe saw a subversive intellectual explosion, with the bible being printed in vernacular, the Renaissance flourishing, the Protestant reformation, and the first military victories primarily due to firearms (not even mentioning the Reconquista, the discovery of the New World and the Columbian exchange!).

    I think the first five – six decades of the internet age will be marked by similar realignments, the rise and fall of “alt-news” as people move away from, then back to, trusted news sources being part of that.

    • lprent 2.1

      Pretty much how I see and have seen it over the last 40 years online as well. And not just in the posts, but also in the comments.

      If you have a look at new systems like Moderator at the New York Times – starting up today – you see the future in commenting.

      The Times Sharply Increases Articles Open for Comments, Using Google’s Technology https://nyti.ms/2siF90M

      That kind of system is going to get more common.

      • adam 2.1.1

        Won’t people just do a work around of these moderation bots?

        For example, change their language, or their sentence structure to get around this automated moderation? Actually, probably somthing more clever than my suggestion.

        As we have a history in the last 40 years, of doing a work around on pretty much everything on the internet.

        • lprent 2.1.1.1

          Yes. And that is exactly what is intended. Generally they aren’t about stopping what you say. They are about how you say it and behaviour on site.

          Think about how we moderate here. There is a bit about preventing simple bigotry. But mostly we moderate behaviour. It is easy to be a troll here. But they just have to be smart about it.

          It makes for a better reading experience for others

          • lprent 2.1.1.1.1

            You will of course tend to get new colonisation of different sectors. Along with the lawsuits hawked, 4chan etc. but generally most people tend to stay where they prefer what they read has content rather than shock value.

      • Ad 2.1.2

        From the New York Times article:

        “Moderator also tries to predict why the comment would be rejected (e.g.: inflammatory or insubstantial).”

        Oh please can we get it here?

        And just a couple of Labrador puppy videos per week?

    • Carolyn_nth 2.2

      Interesting point about the re-adjustments towards more citizen political engagement at a certain point after the bedding in of new communication technologies.

      However, this:

      first military victories primarily due to firearms (not even mentioning the Reconquista, the discovery of the New World and the Columbian exchange!).

      That sort of conquest and “discovery” was part of imperialism and colonisation – ie the subjugation of people in their own lands, for resources, profit and power by European interests.

  3. Keith 3

    Re Tabloids and ” these gutter rags”.

    “People are waking up to their naked corporate bias and highly evident hypocrisy”.

    They could be describing the NZ Herald to a “T” in the last half of that sentence, however it is probably a bit too much to ask that Aucklanders have woken up to the fact both the Herald and Mike Hosking are bias and thoroughly hypocritical.

    • garibaldi 3.1

      I would hazard a guess that most Aucklanders are well aware of that bias and that many of them are quite happy with it.

  4. Ad 4

    This was the rankings as of May 1st.

    1. | HuffingtonPost
    149 – eBizMBA Rank | 80,000,000 – Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors
    2 .| Breitbart
    298 – eBizMBA Rank | 60,000,000 – Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors
    3 .| DrudgeReport
    366 – eBizMBA Rank | 30,000,000 – Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors
    4 .| Politico
    464 – eBizMBA Rank | 25,000,000 – Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors
    5 .| TheHill
    637 – eBizMBA Rank | 20,000,000 – Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors
    6 .| Slate
    732 – eBizMBA Rank | 18,000,000 – Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors
    7 .| DailyKos
    1227 – eBizMBA Rank | 15,000,000 – Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors
    8 .| InfoWars
    1533 – eBizMBA Rank | 9,000,000 – Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors
    9 .| Salon
    1887 – eBizMBA Rank | 8,000,000 – Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors
    10. | TheBlaze
    1953 – eBizMBA Rank | 7,700,000 – Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors

    Not sure about any of you but I would regularly skim through 1, 4, 6, and 9, and don’t have the time for more.

    Apart from 1 and 9, the hard low-fact right are still cleaning up.

    Just tells me also that The Standard’s traffic monitor must be urgently restored so that we get a clearer sense of whether we are making any into the top 2.

    Those national site rankings matter to every political party and NGO in the country.

  5. mordecai 5

    Breitbart will survive – it has a low cost base, and significant loyal support. What is interesting is the glee that you wish to usher in its demise. The left never did like free speech, did it?

    • Cemetery Jones 5.1

      Breitbart in its early days didn’t either. They tried to crush Mark Ames and Yasha Levine of eXiled Online for exposing the Tea Party movement as being an astroturf project of the Kochs, and had their readers brigade the comments section every time an article went up. That was back when Andrew Breitbart himself was still alive and there was a republican administration though. I think Breitbart only really discovered their love of free speech when a democratic administration took office.

      I do agree though that the Milo protest at Berkeley and the subsequent battles of MLK park, along with numerous other rallies taking place in the states shows that while the Breitbart right discovered free speech relatively late in life, what used to be the American new left is losing its tolerance for free speech in its dotage.

  6. swordfish 6

    If YouGov data (linked to by ianmac and my good(ish)-self over the last 24 hours) is anything to go by … then nearly a third of Sun readers saw front page splashes on “Jihadi Jez”, Corbyn’s “jihadist comrades”, Corbyn the “terrorists’ friend”, and (Election Eve) “Don’t chuck Britain in the Cor-bin,” …… then went out and voted Labour anyway

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DBvuU_pXcAACquQ.jpg

    That’s just a little under 600,000 Sun readers disobeying Rupert’s strict instructions (more if you include on-line readers)

    (2017 = 30% Sun readers voted Labour …… 2015 = 24%)

    https://yougov.co.uk/news/2017/06/13/how-britain-voted-2017-general-election/

    No surprise that Murdoch reportedly stormed out of The Times’ Election Night Party when the BBC announced the Exit Poll

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