You have often heard it said that the hard left dominates America’s news outlets. For years, conservatives have been criticizing the establishment media for its obvious bias in favor of progressive causes. In fact, the skewed reportage of organizations like CNN, MSNBC, The New York Times, and others created a backlash from the right that resulted in the election of President Donald Trump.
But what if the American media landscape is evolving? According to a recent Axios report, conservative media is rapidly growing, and if the trend continues, the left might not dominate the industry for much longer.
Conservative Media on the Rise
Axios’ Sara Fischer explained that conservative news outlets are on the rise in the United States. These organizations are reaching more people by expanding their areas of coverage to appeal to a wider audience. This is significant because it is an atypical trend. Usually, media outlets only take off when a president from the opposing side is in office. This is a reversal of that trend.
A number of conservative outlets, such as The Washington Examiner, The Washington Times, and RedState, are “experiencing major growth by widening their coverage,” according to Axios. They are accomplishing this increase by reporting on the high-profile issues that are receiving the most attention on a given day. These include human interest stories as well as entertainment news. By focusing on a wider array of stories, right-leaning news sites are attracting a bigger audience.
Fischer also pointed out that sites that maintain a narrower focus have not seen the same level of growth. The same applies to sites that are not “hyper-political.” Indeed, some of the less political sites like The Weekly Standard have shut down.
Conservative news outlets are dominating when it comes to gaining traffic and engagement in social media. These organizations have learned how to capitalize on viral news stories and the controversies that seem to erupt daily. Fischer points out that right-leaning sites have experienced an increase in referral traffic from Facebook from 2018 to 2019. Sites like the Daily Wire and Daily Mail Online are rivaling the Huffington Post and The New York Times on the platform.
It’s About Time
If Axios is right, this could be the moment conservatives have been waiting for. Previously, the only media outlet that spoke to the right-leaning sensibilities was talk radio and Fox News. The hard left maintained a tight hold on the rest, which means that it was difficult for conservatives to reach the American public with their message. With the rise of alternative media, the right has more ways to challenge the left-wing narrative.
But there are some pitfalls that conservative news outlets must avoid. The first involves the left’s efforts to silence conservative views online. There can be no doubt that the progressive gatekeepers of information have taken notice of the expanding presence of conservative thought on the internet. They are already attempting to derail, or even destroy conservative organizations and personalities online.
From shadow banning to demonetizing, the leftists who run the bigger social media platforms are actively working to prevent their users from viewing certain types of content. Conservatives need to find ways to stay ahead of the game, as the progressive left’s efforts will not cease anytime soon.
The other threat, which could potentially be more destructive than the left’s censorious efforts, is the quality of content being created. As mentioned previously, many conservative sites have expanded their audiences by focusing on human interest and viral news stories. This has created a form of news entertainment that relies more on selling outrage than reporting on critical issues.
Nowadays, when you search the average right-leaning sites, you are more likely to see pieces written about what someone said about someone else on Twitter than you are to read an analysis of the trade war with China. In many cases, sites are more focused on what some crazed leftist said on television than on informing the American public on serious topics.
This has given many sites a tabloid-type feel, one that will get clicks but won’t give any real information. At some point, readers will likely grow weary of this type of content and will look elsewhere to get their news. Conservative media must ensure that they do not drive their impressive audience away with clickbait.
Conservatives are finally getting what they want: More outlets that represent their voices. It’s been a long time coming, and the progressive left is not happy. But while conservatives celebrate their progress in this area, they must be sure to hold their news sources accountable. They can’t afford to devolve into right-leaning versions of The National Enquirer if they wish to succeed. Either way, it looks like this is a good start.