Here are two symptoms of the establishment media’s ongoing (and irreversible) decline. First, the New York Times comically reported today that it has discovered — thanks to unidentified sources — that a retired Major League Baseball player failed a confidential drug test six years ago. Is there really a large market for this type of poorly sourced, out-of-date violation of a private labor agreement? Not really, unless you count feeding other establishment media outlets — who breathlessly repeated these un-sourced rumors as fact — as a large market.
The second symptom is equally comical. ABC News, following the recent example of NBC News, has decided to rent its operation to the White House to produce some slick infomercials promoting Barack Obama’s demand for complete nationalization of the U.S. health care system. This shouldn’t surprise anyone: Former ABC reporter Linda Douglass is now in charge of Obama’s health care propaganda.
Again, it would be easy to get all up-in-arms about this, but I think we’d all benefit by laughing this off. Network news has been a dead industry for years, surviving primarily due to the bureaucratic management practices of network ownership and the need to mollify Beltway politicians with flattering coverage. The steeper the decline in viewer demand, the more “news” operations are driven into the arms of their government benefactors — the only people on Earth who still consider them relevant.
Not every government “bailout” involves direct transfers from taxpayers. Granting special access and political favors have long been means by which the state artificially increases demand for establishment media outlets. Look for more “news” outlets to produce White House propaganda as financial losses continue to mount.