The Glorious Death of American Legacy Media, and What Comes Next - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
The Glorious Death of American Legacy Media, and What Comes Next
MSNBC’s Chris Hayes on “All In,” July 1, 2021 (YouTube screenshot)

There was, over the weekend amid a cacophony of media resistance to the formerly unifying celebration of America’s Independence Day, one of the most amateurish and ridiculous cartoons ever produced.

It came courtesy of Communist China’s Xinhua News Agency, a propaganda shop with its rhetorical guns aimed at the American people and the ideas of our founding. The cartoon depicted a pair of white guys in suits clinking glasses together with “TO FREEDOM” in a quote bubble above their heads, and just to their right a crazed lunatic in a ski hat held a pistol in one hand and an AR-15 style rifle in the other with “OF SHOOTING” in a quote bubble above his. The mass shooter, as he’s clearly supposed to be, is standing over a gravestone upon which is written “DEATH FROM FIREARM.”

And in the text of the tweet in which the cartoon appears, the Chinese communist apparatchiks at Xinhua said, “How a gun-happy nation spends its #FourthofJuly weekend.”

The first obvious reaction to this is best expressed not verbally but with a middle finger at a murderous, tyrannical, psychotic regime that has literally killed more human beings than any other in the 100 years since it was birthed into the world as a revolutionary political party. But beyond that is something else, namely gleeful ridicule of the hilariously gawky and ignorant use of the English language by the Xinhua flacks attempting the cartoon.

If you can’t speak the language any better than a 5-year-old, perhaps it’s best to avoid attempting to insult native speakers in that language. Just a tip.

But this was lost on MSNBC host Chris Hayes, who is perfectly unoffended by murderous and English-illiterate ChiCom propagandists attacking America over the Fourth of July weekend. Hayes retweeted the idiotic cartoon with his own comment: “Continue to be truly fascinated by how much America’s truly exceptional levels of gun violence figure in the perception of the country around the world.”

Chris Hayes has lost 36 percent of his audience in the first six months of 2021, though that figure does reflect a momentary post-election spike. His June viewership of 1,339,000 is barely half of the 2,656,000 he had in January. He’s lost 26 percent of his audience since this time last year.

MSNBC as a network is off 48 percent.

At CNN, which has lost some 68 percent of its viewership in that same time period, Brian Stelter has now embarked on a crusade to tie Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, who is one of the only cable news hosts holding on to an audience (Carlson has some 2.8 million viewers, compared to Stelter’s 786,000), to Alex Jones.

As Ace of Spades noted, Stelter is incapable of holding an audience for an hour unless he can demonize and complain about a high-profile conservative target. And without Donald Trump as a viable target, it’s clear he and his producers have decided Carlson is the best thing going.

The fact that Carlson accused the NSA of reading his emails, per a whistleblower who contacted him to give basis to the accusation, is Stelter’s hook for comparing Carlson to Jones. Interestingly, the NSA issued a non-denial denial after Carlson went public with the charge. At this point it seems certain that something was done with Carlson’s electronic communications, and the real questions are exactly what and how, and for what purpose. Perhaps there were reasons for Carlson’s emails to be caught up in NSA’s net, but what the agency has not said is “we did not collect Tucker Carlson’s electronic communications.”

That means Tucker Carlson is not Alex Jones, and people who attempt to cast him as such lack credibility.

This describes Brian Stelter, for certain. But it also applies to American corporate media as a whole, and the numbers proving it are eye-popping.

The Reuters Institute teamed with YouGov to poll more than 92,000 respondents in 46 countries on media credibility. In some of those countries, people still believe what’s reported in the major media. In Finland, for example, some 65 percent of the respondents said they give credibility to media reports most of the time, which was the highest figure among the 46 countries.

Interestingly, YouGov didn’t poll China, so we don’t know what the Chinese think of their state-run media. Not that anybody there would be so stupid as to give a pollster anything other than the ChiCom party line.

How did America’s corporate media fare? Well, not so well.

In fact, the number for the U.S. legacy media crowd is 29 percent. Dead last of the 46 countries. The French, Greeks, Hungarians, Filipinos, Chileans, Argentinians, and Mexicans all have more trust in their press and TV talking heads than Americans have in people like Chris Hayes and Brian Stelter.

Or in the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and the Houston Chronicle, among many others, which have been repeatedly caught unquestioningly parroting Chinese propaganda like Hayes did over the weekend. In fact, all of the above publications are known to have included something called China Watch, an insert produced by the Beijing-based English language ChiCom outfit China Daily, in their distribution. China Watch routinely runs CCP propaganda disguised as news, and these corporate-owned media outlets take their money and distribute their swill with zero regard to their readership.

People notice these things, you know. The ratings and circulation numbers reflect that notice.

Were it not for an active effort by Facebook and Twitter to prop up legacy corporate media at the expense of independent publishers, you would have probably already seen some of these media companies go bankrupt. The newspapers are all but dead as it is, with massive newsroom layoffs and other clear signs of trouble (like running stories paid for by third parties or even begging for donations) visible to anyone paying attention.

They’ll tell you it’s just the changing media market. Well, yeah — it’s changing, all right, and for a damn good reason. It’s changing because nobody believes you anymore.

If people thought the local paper wasn’t full of it then they’d support that paper by buying digital subscriptions or even holding onto their print subscriptions regardless of whether or not they read the paper copy anymore. Newsprint does have uses even if you read the paper online, you know; it’s great for lining a table if you’re eating boiled seafood, it’s quite helpful as kindling to start the charcoal on your barbeque grill … there are lots of uses for it.

And of course, it you’ve canceled your print subscription to the paper you likely can still avail yourself of those uses, because lots of newspapers keep right on delivering that paper even if you’ve quit paying them. It’s how they keep trying to fleece their advertisers with inflated circulation numbers. That’s a scam that has been going on so long it’s amazing they bother anymore.

Everybody knows this. Nobody believes them. The whole industry is in abject free fall.

And it’s a great thing. Don’t be sad about this. This is the creative destruction of the free market at work.

The news media is just one more cultural institution in America that the Left — not just the liberals, who have run the news media in America almost from the very beginning, but the Left, as in the Marxists of cultural and other bents — has utterly destroyed.

They’ve done it to everything they’ve touched. They did it to Hollywood, they did it to the arts. They’ve done it to higher education, they’re doing it to elementary and secondary education. They’re busy doing it to corporate America. And they’ve destroyed the legacy corporate news media.

It’s dead. It’s still twitching, but it’s dead.

The real question is what arises in its place. Because people are still going to get information about the world. Where it comes from is the subject of the next great game.

Scott McKay
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Scott McKay is a contributing editor at The American Spectator  and publisher of the Hayride, which offers news and commentary on Louisiana and national politics, and, a national political news aggregation and opinion site. Additionally, he's the author of the new book The Revivalist Manifesto: How Patriots Can Win The Next American Era, available at He’s also a writer of fiction — check out his three Tales of Ardenia novels Animus, Perdition and Retribution at Amazon. Scott's other project is The Speakeasy, a free-speech social and news app with benefits - check it out here.
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