“The Washington Post is on track to lose money this year,” The New York Times reported. The Atlantic is losing another $10 million this year, Axios said. And The Los Angeles Times is still struggling to sustain itself, according to Politico.
“The fake news business ain’t too healthy these days,” tweeted the New York Post’s Miranda Devine in response.
Her view is shared by many other Americans who are victims of the propaganda press and thus love hearing stories about their financial troubles.
In August of 2021, for example, former President Donald Trump mocked The Atlantic’s losses, saying, “It’s good to see that the Atlantic Magazine is losing large numbers of readers and a fortune of money. Only a widow of Steve Jobs and her boyfriend, I am sure Steve is thrilled, would keep it going. People think it will close soon, but who knows. It is amazing what’s happening to the discredited media like CNN, MSDNC, New York Times, and Washington Post. Their businesses have dropped off a cliff, which is actually a very good thing for the American people, because they are Fake News (likewise the networks, ABC, NBC, CBS).”
He’s correct that major media have lost credibility in recent years and that The Atlantic is hemorrhaging money and subscribers. According to a July 2021 report from NBC News, the magazine lost a whopping $20 million the previous year, was on track to lose another $10 million that year, and is dealing with a declining subscription base.
But major Democratic donors such as Laurene Powell Jobs likely consider these losses a remarkably low price to pay for controlling the outcome of elections. The Atlantic doesn’t exist to put out journalism but to control narratives. And even with the significantly declining quality of its journalism, a sufficiently deranged and gullible establishment is more than happy to lap it up and spread the propaganda around.
It was The Atlantic, after all, that cooked up the false and damaging Aisne-Marne cemetery hoax that played such a large role in determining the outcome of the 2020 election. For that error-riddled, unsubstantiated, and completely debunked story, Atlantic Editor-in-Chief Jeffrey Goldberg claimed to have a few secret anonymous sources who said Donald Trump attacked dead World War I soldiers. He later admitted the key detail of the story was likely wrong, but that was no barrier to the entirety of the corporate media running to amplify its claims. That the fake news story came out at the same time as the real news story of yet another Trump-brokered Middle East peace deal was the icing on the cake.
The Atlantic was also a key player in pushing the debunked and false Russia collusion hoax, the “Anonymous” operation, the Afghan bounty falsehood, and essentially every other disinformation operation being foisted on Americans. And when they push their lies, other media outlets amplify them.
The left-wing media are able to control narratives despite their weakened credibility not just because they retain so much power over establishment opinion but because the media outlets that wage war against their disinformation are so weakly funded.
To preserve the republic, Americans must fund those outlets fighting back. “To suppose that they only serve to protect freedom would be to diminish their importance: they maintain civilization,” Alexis de Tocqueville said of newspapers, noting that the more newspapers that exist the less likely there will be centralized government and despotism from the state. He feared what would happen with a unified press.
Debate about the policy proposals and issues of the day is of vital importance; it must happen. But it doesn’t happen with the uniform groupthink of the current corporate media, which must be marginalized.
“The left does not win its battles in debate. It doesn’t have to. In the twenty-first century, media is everything. The left wins because it controls the narrative. The narrative is controlled by the media. The left is the media. Narrative is everything. I call it the Democrat-media complex,” said the late Andrew Breitbart.
While destroying the corrupt propaganda press is a noble goal, the country needs a free and functioning press to hold the government and other powerful interests accountable. It’s not sufficient to tear down the rotten outlets.
Good journalism must be funded. Left-wing media outlets enjoy the massive support not just of left-wing donors but also corporate interests. It’s money very well spent, no matter how much of it they lose. Those who want to preserve the republic must also devote resources to wage against the information operations being run against the country.