Trump’s Bashing The New York Times Makes For More Readers–And That Is Good For America
The Economist reports a most interesting outcome of the press bashing that has consumed Donald Trump’s time in the Oval Office. His problem is that autocratic actions on his part have major push-back from the American public.
Donald Trump calls it the “failing” New York Times in his tweets, but his presidency has breathed new life into the newspaper and other mainstream media outlets. The New York Times, the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal have all received boosts in subscriptions and page views; cable news networks, such as CNN and the Fox News Channel, are getting huge increases in viewers at a time when most other channels are losing them; and even the long-suffering stocks of newspaper companies are rallying. Since the election shares in the New York Times Co have risen by 42%, outperforming even the mighty Goldman Sachs.
The unprecedented nature of political events has kept American eyeballs glued to pages and screens. The pace of change, especially since the election, compels Mr Trump’s fans and foes alike to stay abreast of developments. Many do so using Twitter. But many others seem to want the kind of analysis that established groups provide. Mr Trump’s bashing of certain outlets also may have encouraged some to subscribe or watch in defiance.
The Trump bump has been most pronounced at the New York Times. It managed to sign up more than half a million digital subscribers last year—including 276,000 in the fourth quarter alone, mostly after the election. It now has 3m subscribers in total, including about 1.7m digital-only subscriptions. By one measure traffic to its site is nearly a third higher than a year ago. A never-ending flow of big stories helps. “In the evening you put the non-Trump pages to bed so you can focus on the late-breaking Trump news,” says Mark Thompson, its chief executive.