One could almost hear the network executives and public officials screaming into their bluetooth headsets when the early ratings came in. “What is a Woman?” had more than 170 million views. Tucker Carlson’s new Twitter broadcast? 85 million. With numbers like that, companies that buy advertising are starting to visualize a Superbowl on Twitter.
On February 12, advertisers paid $5.5 million per 30-second spot to show commercials to the Superbowl’s approximately 200 million viewers. As another basis of comparison, only three of 100+ cable news networks managed ratings over a million. Following Governor Ron DeSantis’ presidential candidacy announcement on Twitter, CNN scoffed at the event as a ratings3 flop. Yet with all of its infrastructure and dedicated cable platforms, CNN’s ratings rarely crack 1 million while DeSantis’ Twitter “flop” scored approximately 3.4 million viewers as of Thursday, May 25.
The jaw-dropping scale of Elon Musk’s ratings triumphs is causing heads to explode like movie theater popcorn. And do stock up on the popcorn, because Musk has now demonstrated the capacity of Twitter to debut feature-length movies.
Since at least 2016, the legacy media coordinated news coverage with their friends in the permanent government. They notoriously abandoned objectivity to get Trump before pivoting to COVID. Why should Americans watch television news anymore? Because it’s free? It’s not free. Cable television is among the largest utility expenses in American households, often exceeding the gas, water, and refuse collection bills—often combined. Why trick out expensive studios in Manhattan with elaborate glass and electronics? Tucker Carlson moved some boxes around in his barn to prepare for his address to 85 million viewers.
COVID really was the last straw for the credibility of corporate-based media. Under the watchful eye of the government, the news media spouted a series of lies and guesses about the pandemic. It covered for the four governors who forced nursing homes to retain COVID-positive patients while villainizing anyone who left their useless cloth mask in the car. It made multiple claims about the virus and its origin that turned out not to be true and continued censoring and canceling people for noticing that the vaccine wasn’t working as advertised. Then it deliberately lied to the American people to manipulate the 2020 election. Next, it came out that the government and social media coordinated to censor political speech that offended bureaucrats. The Knight Foundation now reports, “Fifty percent of Americans feel most national news organizations intend to mislead, misinform or persuade the public.” The only shocking thing about that statistic is there are still people who don’t think that.
One day we may learn the circumstances and terms under which the legacy news media surrendered its independence to the permanent government’s operation to control and manipulate domestic political opinion. Totalitarian governments can look with envy upon the message discipline across the supposedly independent American media outlets of our supposedly free press. But like so many other things the Left touches, it destroyed the legitimacy and effectiveness of the legacy news media. Americans can tell when they’re being manipulated. So they’ve increasingly turned off television news.
To paraphrase Matt Walsh’s movie title, “What is a television?” That flat screen mounted on your wall might be capable of receiving televised signals from broadcasters. But more likely, the “television” on your wall has become just another screen on which to watch videos streaming from the internet. If you want to watch cable television, you probably need to find an airport or to go pay your grandparents a visit. Otherwise, there’s no longer any need to suffer through the coordinated Soviet-style propaganda.
Listen carefully and you can hear their panic. How are we going to prevent “misinformation” from influencing voters to vote the wrong way? What if the public starts changing its mind about the Ukraine war, climate change, or sex change operations on children?
Bureaucrats unironically claim that allowing voters to freely choose between candidates “threatens democracy.” Corporations are howling after falling in line for the agenda and beginning to notice the economics of backlash. “It has to be Biden,” former FBI Director James Comey recently said in an interview, effectively encouraging even more election intervention by the FBI.
But Comey is wrong. It doesn’t have to be Biden. The American voter, not the FBI, is in charge of deciding what’s best. And if we can’t get reliable information from the subverted legacy media, then we’ll find other routes.