The Collapse of Journalism and the End of Free Speech in America

Daniel Greenfield
By Daniel Greenfield February 26, 2019 08:09

The Collapse of Journalism and the End of Free Speech in America

The media is dying. Read about it in the media.

Facebook is pumping $300 million into the media. And that’s after the Google News Initiative shoved $300 million into fighting “fake news” and helping struggling media outlets like the New York Times.

These aren’t investments. They’re charitable donations by Big Data to Big Brother.

Take Jeff Bezos taking $250 million, a little more than the $215 million he makes a day, and using it to buy the Washington Post, not because it’s a good business opportunity, but a good political one.

The media isn’t worth investing in.

TV and cable news are the weakest holdings of the entertainment giants. That’s why AT&T is none too fond of the CNN white elephant it’s stuck with.

John Stankey, Time Warner’s new boss (and therefore also CNN’s new overlord) told CNN that the news network has a “special social responsibility”. That’s the same rhetoric about public service that has the emerging giant monopolies subsidizing media companies as a charitable cause, not a profitable venture.

Journalism is deader than disco. The shambling monster still squealing about the First Amendment while pressuring social media companies to censor its conservative opposition under the guise of a Russian conspiracy theory has as much to do with journalism as Nabisco’s ad agency or Biden’s spokesman do.

The media doesn’t report the news. It reposts tweets, recycles news stories from a handful of wire services and largely relies on outside interests to do its actual reporting for it. Sometimes that means outside hit pieces covertly embedded, like Fusion GPS’ Russian Trump conspiracy theory, other times it’s more openly financed, like NPR getting $100K from a pro-Iran deal group to report on the Iran deal.

Media once stood for the multiple mediums, print, radio and television, which required expensive infrastructure and allowed major corporations to reach a national audience with its mass media.

The internet 1.0 crushed the infrastructure advantage of the media and then internet 2.0 made the media dependent on a handful of social, search and commerce platforms for its traffic.

Staring death in the red digital eye, the media tossed journalism out the window as it went after two targets, President Trump and the social media giants that were starving it of ad revenue. The Russia conspiracy theory evolved to incorporate the entanglement between Facebook, Russia and Trump.

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Soon, media outlets, desperately loathing and desiring Facebook, were filled with conspiracy theories explaining how Russian Facebook trolls had managed to swing the 2016 election. The conspiracy theories were nonsense. Actual analysis showed that the Russians had mostly targeted African-Americans on Facebook. But the media had dumped truth and the facts a thousand miles back.

The Trump-Russia conspiracy theories hatched by the Clinton campaign and distributed by the media were popular with the more hysterical breed of Democrat prone to marching around with pink hats and memorizing long Slavic names and their appearances at Trump hotels. They helped make the eyeball traffic of the New York Times, the Washington Post and CNN great again, albeit very temporarily.

But, for the media, the real target of the conspiracy theories was Silicon Valley.

Internet 1.0 had humbled the media. Internet 2.0 had crushed its business model. But where internet 1.0 had been a cheerful thriving anarchy, the web of the college campus, the wild realm in which anything was possible, internet 2.0 was a gated community owned by a handful of giant monopolies.

A fortune in capital had been flowing into Amazon, Google, Facebook and its ilk. Media outlets could only greedily lick their lips and report on the latest viral surfing gorilla video accident trending on some app whose value had gone from nothing to billions overnight.

The media’s growing thrust leftward wasn’t just ideological. It was also practical.

The old business model of serving consumers, while injecting bias into the stories and broadcasts, wasn’t working anymore. Why bother watching the news when you can scroll through your Facebook feed? The new media model would be loud advocacy. And it would be treated as a public service and financed by the very people making a fortune off viral surfing gorilla videos.

They just had to be talked into it.

Amazon had shown the way when its megalomaniacal boss, Jeff Bezos, bought the Washington Post. Soon, the formerly respected establishment paper, took on the tone and professionalism of a social justice blog, combined with blatant opposition research, hit pieces and election interference.

Silicon Valley had eaten the media’s business model. Now the goal was turning Big Data corps into the patrons of a media acting in the public interest. And public interest, meant the interests of the Left.

Like many welfare recipients, the media has made its case with a combination of truculence and victimhood. Its papers and magazines never go out of business because the public isn’t interested. They’re always “murdered” or “sacrificed” to corporate greed. If the media suffers a downturn, it’s a conspiracy. And social media giants must do the “right thing” and keep the media in business.

Or else.

The media is staying alive through the patronage of lefties convinced it will bring down Trump. But what happens when Trump is gone and there’s no Mueller or Russia conspiracy to pump for traffic?

The media is leveraging Trump conspiracy theories to win Silicon Valley patronage. But that’s just hooking one bad business model on another. When Facebook begins its deep dive, suddenly the hundreds of millions that it once casually threw about the way that Gilded Age tycoons lit cigars with hundred dollar bills will no longer be there for its media remoras. The media bet its future on Trump and FAANG stocks. It doesn’t have a Plan C. And that means that its future looks a lot like Myspace.

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The media is becoming another Silicon Valley acquisition that will soon outlive its utility.

It’s out of touch with 99% of the country. But it’s in touch with the special interests, politicians and leaders who run the country. And so it can turn a silly conspiracy theory into the national agenda.

Content providers are snapping up content creators all around. But unlike cable providers buying their own studios, Facebook and Google don’t actually need the media. They make their money from user submitted content. The media’s business model has failed. It needs Silicon Valley sugar daddies. And in exchange the Silicon Valley sugar daddies buy into the national messaging arm of the Left.

Facebook and Google don’t need the media to reach ordinary people. Their own reach is as far beyond the paltry airport users glued to CNN or the EPA resistance members paging through the Washington Post on their iPhone X as the sun is to the moon. But what the media has and Silicon Valley needs is political access. The media’s eyeball range is laughable. But it’s a gateway to the political insiders.

Jeff Bezos bought the Washington Post because it sets the agenda in Washington D.C.

Facebook is pumping money into the media because when it doesn’t, the media runs Facebook hit pieces. It’s cheaper for Facebook to toss $300 million at the media than to fight each negative media hit piece. $300 million sounds like a lot, but Facebook’s summer stock market beating amounted to a $100 billion loss for the company and a nearly $16 billion loss for CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Silicon Valley isn’t trying to buy the media. Even the people who pour hundreds of millions into any social app used by at least a single millennial know that’s a terrible idea. They’re buying influence.

The media, as we used to know it, no longer exists. Journalism is a joke. Local news coverage occasionally functions, but the national news means millennials fresh out of J-school writing up trending topics that exist only to be shared on social media and forgotten 5 seconds later, or older reporters writing up hit pieces on behalf of shadowy special interests operating behind the scenes.

Real journalists don’t work for the media. They’re employed in the shadowy netherworld where information warfare is cooked up by organizations like Fusion GPS, which hatched the Russia conspiracy theory that has hijacked our entire political discourse. The media is where the informational bombs are detonated by reporters who are too dumb and lazy to be any more than cutouts for the real players.

The media circa 2018 is just the messaging arm for the Left. And occasionally anyone influential enough.

This isn’t a business model. It’s the death throes of a dying industry making a compelling case why it can’t and won’t function as a business, and has no alternative except existing as a corrupt charity case trading political influence for cash from the monopolies destroying the last vestiges of freedom.

The continuing power of the media reveals how little say Americans have in running their own country.

The media is monetizing its political access to Silicon Valley. The media will spew lefty talking points and Big Data will subsidize its efforts to take out President Trump and anyone else it doesn’t like. Social and search will give the media a financial lifeline and an illegal competitive advantage by censoring conservative media on its platforms under the guise of fighting ‘fake news’.

That will mean that the big internet monopolies will have even more of a monopoly over the public marketplace than ever.

And that makes the very idea of free speech into the punch line of a tragic joke with its own IP address.

The internet monopolies were a huge threat to freedom before they became entangled with the media. Now they may be the biggest threat to our political freedoms in the entire history of the United States.

Facebook, Google, Amazon and the other internet monopolies are financing the media and censoring opposition media. That provides them with an unprecedented stranglehold on the marketplace of ideas.

If the elected officials don’t meet this unprecedented threat, elections will cease to mean anything.

This article was written by Daniel Greenfield and first appeared on

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Daniel Greenfield
By Daniel Greenfield February 26, 2019 08:09
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  1. Hoosier Homesteader February 26, 13:01

    A very good post. Well written, and spot on. “The News” isn’t the news anymore, and if truth be known, the majority of people know this.
    Mankind is its own worst enemy. It seems that whatever hurts society, that’s the way society goes. Media, Politics, Big Business, Big Pharma, Big Agriculture, they’re all infested by the same terminal disease: Corruption.

    Reply to this comment
    • Hacksaw February 26, 15:46

      Your blame is misdirected. Media, politics, business. These institutions aren’t corrupt but the people who operate them are. People aren’t basically good otherwise institutions wouldn’t become corrupt

      The only thing free about the “Free Press” is that the media can now outright lie to the public without repercussion. Instead of keeping the public informed the role of the media is to be a prpoganda outlet for promoting leftist ideology.

      Reply to this comment
  2. Time For Change February 26, 15:35

    The media in the US has always aided and abetted the Establishment with articles and stories that are used to influence public opinion in the favor of the wealthy people and corporations that control our elected “representatives”. Usually that means getting the public worked up in favor of war or spending huge sums to prepare for war, usually waged to promote the interests of the corporations (read some Smedley Butler or other “woke” folks). It hides the corruption in government on both sides of the political spectrum, including the folks at this website’s favorite crook, the Donald, who has been a money-launderer and con-man for the majority of his career. This article proves it IS hard to find ANY media that doesn’t have an extreme and transparent bias, but they ALL still carry water for the corporations and oligarchs dedicated to killing free speech and democracy in the name of corruption and greed.

    Reply to this comment
    • Dr. English February 28, 18:25

      Wow. Where is your proof that Trump “has been a money-launderer and con-man”? I agree with most of your post but unfounded, fact less allegations only paint you as just another mud slinger. So once again….where is your proof? Please remember that your opinion is nothing more than your opinion unless it’s supported by verifiable facts/ Prove your allegations and how they currently discredit the president since he’s been in office.

      Reply to this comment
  3. Tiger. February 26, 15:56

    This cut to the heart of the matter.
    Also recent elections of AOC and Muslims and students with no clue whatever show that we are on track for another Civil War. Be ready for anything.

    Reply to this comment
  4. left coast chuck February 26, 16:30

    Historically “newspapers” have always been biased. There have only been less than ten papers among the formerly thousands of newspapers that were known for their mostly unbiased presentation of news. The term “yellow journalism” dates from the 19th century. News media is generally blamed for the Spanish-American War. Scurrilous tales about politicians date to at least Andrew Jackson and probably earlier.

    What makes today different from earlier times is that like other corporations, the news outlets have become concentrated. The local newspaper is owned by the corporation that owns U.S.A. Today. It used to be an independently owned newspaper owned by a local family. That went by the wayside several decades ago. First it was owned by Hurst and then its present owners. So print media ownership is becoming more and more concentrated.

    Radio and television have from their inception been controlled by a limited number of players, at least in the major metropolitan areas. When I was a young lad there were three television stations. Compared to those days, there is a plethora of news available. That’s why I mostly watch NHK rather than NBC. The local station I watch is owned by ABC but it provides more local news than the big three. In this area Spectrum is the only cable provider so you really only have one source of television even though it may provide many channels, the ownership is a single corporation.

    Major newspapers used to maintain staff reporters in foreign capitols so that at least one got a varied viewpoint albeit many times similar because the overseas reporters generally all got their news at the press club where the news was carefully managed by whatever government supported the press club. It was no secret that news was carefully managed by most foreign governments. Many, like Japan and Britain have their own official radio and television stations.

    The only comment I can make about the phony Trump/Russian conspiracy is that if Trump is in Putin’s pocket as so many have alleged, Putin certainly is not getting his money’s worth. He ought to demand a refund. Trump has abrogated the arms treaty that the U.S. and Russia signed many years ago because of alleged violations by Russia. Trump has provided main battle tanks and other equipment to Ukraine. Trump has proposed placing “defensive” missiles in Poland which has traditionally been the highway into Russia by sundry invaders.

    So from my viewpoint, if Putin bought Trump and placed him on the throne in DC, he ought to complain to the Better Business Bureau because he certainly isn’t getting his money’s worth out of the deal.

    The lunatic fringe has shifted from the folks who saw Russians under every bed on the far right to folks who see Russians under every bed on the far left. For someone who has been observing the political scene for over half a century the shift is both interesting and as ludicrous now as it was in the 1950s. It is just as vehement now as it was in the 1950s. One would hope that we would have moved on by now.

    Reply to this comment
  5. Yosemite February 26, 18:19

    Don’t forget “POLITICAL CORRECTNESS” and so called “HATE SPEECH” and “HATE CRIMES”.

    Political Correctness and Hate Speech leave no room for FREE SPEECH!

    Every Dictator in the World had/has Their OWN FORM of Political Correctness.
    The so called Free Press/MSM is dying and signed its own Death Warrant.
    Hate Crimes say some crimes are special or the victims are special and deserve Special Treatment…. Either it s a crime or it is not…. We no longer hear much about “Crimes of Passion” ……Surely they have not stopped…….Maybe they have changed the names.

    Political Correctness has killed Comedy. Roseanne got fired and lost her job. She is NOT PC and definitely tells it like it is.

    People are electing KNOWN Socialists that want to destroy America and turn it into another Third World Nation……Just like they did to Venezuela.

    The Thing about Socialism is:
    Socialism only last as long as other people have Money.

    When those other people run out of Money……The Country and Economy Collapse. The Gravy Train Ride has ended……….

    Also those Dictators said they will make everyone equal…..They do. They make every Working Class people Equally POOR and MISERABLE…….

    They also pay people that are Lazy and quote capable of work but refuse to so.

    Meanwhile The Ruling Class never go without anything and continue to get rich and richer.

    The Government takes the majority of workers checks… why should anyone work when they see their neighbors and other people getting paid and not working.

    Reply to this comment
  6. Cappie February 26, 23:05

    The government broke up Ma Bell – why can’t they break up the media monopoly also?

    Reply to this comment
    • Miss Kitty March 2, 13:07

      Because they don’t want to. Since The Left has effectively taken over half of the government as well as most of the media, they surely won’t take steps to break up the propaganda arm. Because “free speech” means destroying all dissent now, which means anyone who isn’t Them and hasn’t drunk the kool-aid.

      Reply to this comment
  7. QueenofHuronia February 26, 23:38

    also read the newsletter from NOMOREFAKENEWS.COM

    Reply to this comment
  8. victor February 27, 04:32

    i have one question to ask. are you for the Democrats or Republicans. this is a simple question

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck February 27, 17:58

      To whom do you address your question? Is it directed at the owner of the site; the author; or some individual poster?

      Perhaps for some of the posters the answer is “Neither.” Neither party has a lock on corruption. It spreads equally through both major parties. With regard to the minor parties, it is hard to tell unless one just happens to personally know the candidate but from my perspective, most of the candidates for minor parties, not all, but most, seem to be slightly on the lunatic fringe. With all the mud slinging between the parties, it is small wonder that we have the woeful candidates that we do. We should not have to hold our nose while voting. We should not have to decide which candidate is the lesser of the two evils. We should be able to vote for the truly best candidate. Unfortunately, it has been a long time since I voted for whom I considered the “best” candidate.

      Reply to this comment
    • Kc March 3, 17:26

      It should not matter! Corruption flourishes, by both parties. That’s why I chose to be an independent- voting for candidates, issues…, each on their own merits, is how citizens should vote! Sadly, so many are so willing to be led by the nose, by political/media propaganda!!! I guess critical thinking on their own, even being literate enough to do so, is just too taxing on their “minds”. Students from elementary, to college level, are having leftist OPINIONS pushed on them, many to the point of having to agree politically with the instructor, to even pass!!! Used to be, instruction was presenting facts and ideas- graded on mastering knowledge/skills, and on the ability TO think critically about an idea, and to be able to present a well researched, thought-out argument, be it for or against that idea! If students are no longer being exposed to intelligent debate, to the many sides of any given issue, and then encouraged to form their own conclusions, they become adult sheeple, unable to think for themselves! 😥😡 Politics don’t belong in the classroom, period! Yes, in college Pol Sci classes, government classes…, it may be acceptable.
      I am very grateful for the numerous, excellent educators I have had! Yes, most were left leaning, HOWEVER, they not only allowed, but encouraged, us to think for ourselves, wether we agreed with their point of view, or not! THAT is how it’s supposed to be!
      Of course, as with most all young adults, I thought I “knew it all” back then. Those wonderful educators, taught us consider ALL aspects of issues, ideas, topics, short and long term, pro-con, and to consider what we thought was best for the majority of our citizens, for our country/state/community…, NOT just what was the most beneficial for ourselves! THAT type of thinking is what a democracy is all about. As for real news journalism, sadly, I do believe it’s dead, too, for these same reasons. 😥

      Reply to this comment
  9. Wannabe March 1, 13:09

    Every news media outlet, including FOX, has their top paid journalist spots that all the journalists aspire to attain. And those top positions can make upwards of 20 million a year. So it doesn’t matter what they report or how it is reported because they don’t care. They just want to make that money and will do whatever they are told to get and keep the position. This is why they can get up there and lie, and throw propaganda, and one sided stories without batting an eye because their employer is not going to discipline them for thus said because they want their reporters to do so. Now if they get caught up in sexual misconduct or racial slurs they are dismissed immediately but don’t worry about the loss because there is another chomping at the bits to take their place. It is truly sickening. Wow talk about greed.

    Reply to this comment
  10. Pony March 1, 14:43

    This would be a very good article, if you had properly used the word “media.”

    Media is plural.

    Would make it easier to read if the editor or someone would go back into this file and correct it.

    Reply to this comment
  11. NCat March 12, 21:14

    There are so many wrong statements I don’t even know where to begin. I guess I’ll just say that since we are preppers we know to check facts. For instance, read the testimony by US intelligence agencies that was provided to Congress. There’s BOTH the testimony and a whole written report anyone can get for free. All about Russian influence and it was NOT just targeting blacks or just on Facebook. I would also suggest anyone check out any of the big news companies that are”public companies” (i.e. have stock.) Anyone on the stock market is required by law to file financial paperwork showing revenue and expenses and this is required every 6 months and also available FREE to the public. SOME are losing money, others are highly profitable. Don’t take my word for it, verify it for yourself.

    Reply to this comment
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