Breaking Points: How Corporate Media Became a Misinformation Machine

These are “trusted sources.”

If you see it on CNN or MSNBC, it isn’t misinformation, disinformation or malinformation. Every hot take that comes out of Elie Mystal’s mouth has been subjected to relentless fact checking.

Washington Post:

“Zucker, a longtime TV man, was their leader, their anchor, their cheerleader, their savior, their rudder, their therapist, their news muse and their ATM. It’s soul-crushing — to maybe a Muppet or two — when elites get weepy over losing a bestie while the country is on the verge of collapse from covid; inflation; worker, food and supply shortages; gun violence; and, not incidentally, the widening gap between rich and poor. Oh, and rising tensions with Russia.

Whatever happened to “no crying in baseball,” the operative emotional principle in newsrooms of my youth and even 10 years ago when I was (briefly) a CNN co-anchor? When I was told that the CNN president who hired me was being fired, I burst into tears (in my office) because I knew in that instant that my own future at the network was doomed. I cried a lot for good reason over the next several months, but I didn’t whimper on TV, for heaven’s sake, the way some did over Zucker.

It was enough to make me wonder what happened to CNN’s spine. I can surmise only that Zucker is what happened. He was certainly beloved by those who prospered on his watch. Maybe he was the best boss anyone ever had. But he also guided the network away from the ramrod-straight, just-the-facts news programming that CNN founder Ted Turner had envisioned and toward a more personalized, interpretive style of reporting that came with a price in a deeply divided nation. Not all CNN shows went this way, I hasten to add, but enough did that the audience kept slipping away. At the start of 2022, CNN averaged 548,000 viewers during the week of Jan. 3, an 80 percent decline from the same period in 2021.

The Zucker chapter is a reminder of the yawning gap between the way average Americans and the media elite live. It’s a chasm that has been widening for years. There’s not much overlap left. While the great unwashed struggle to survive amid social and economic unrest, anchors and many correspondents are typically comfortable millionaires who live in a pristine bubble, communing with colleagues and other elites, escaping to the Hamptons, Nantucket and other swanky watering holes to avoid germs and attend gatherings where their elbows are unlikely to ever bump into the sort of people who voted for Donald Trump.

Many in my business don’t understand why Joe Rogan’s podcast remains so popular or why Fox News continues to clobber CNN in ratings. But this is how a great outlet loses track of an audience that once ate out of its hand — and is the very last to know.”

This was excellent.

I’ve created a visual illustration of the bubble.

In a few months, Brian Stelter, Don Lemon and Jim Acosta are going to probably be fired after the Discovery merger goes through. CNN will sharply pivot to being “FOX News Lite” to try to remain competitive. This will probably end with the collapse of American democracy.